Tuesday, June 7, 2011

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Back from hiatus (and starting over with a new issue #1), S.H.I.E.L.D. is here to strain our collective brain.

This is yet another in a series of deep, carefully crafted stories by writer Jonathan Hickman (for further examples, see FF and Secret Warriors). It weaves together an ancient society dedicated to protecting humanity, some of the most famous characters from history (each of whom apparently led a secret existence), modern Marvel mythology and some mind-blowing cosmic concepts.

It's not an easy story to follow, but how rewarding for the reader willing to take the plunge! Tales of fate versus free will, human ingenuity against overwhelming odds, and the price of genius.

It's an amazingly complex work, and as a helping hand the back part of this book offers a helpful recap of the major characters - including Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Nostradamus and Nikola Tesla!

If it sounds like a crazy concept... well, it is. But it's also powerful and compelling - and great fun!

The art by Dustin Weaver is very impressive, and I assume the series took a few months off to give him time to catch up - he's obviously putting a ton of work into every page. Inspired work on display here!

This issue actually provides some answers, but there are still some major mysteries to solve, and the small matter of a civil war inside the organization to be settled.

This series isn't for the faint of heart, but I recommend it highly!

Grade: A-



Kyle said...

Hey Chuck, this sounds like a fun comic, but I probably haven't followed a mainstream Marvel Universe comic since Mark Waid's Captain America, (holy cow! can that be right?) unless Langridge and Samnee's Thor count...? ahh.. didn't think so :)

Anyway... with relatively little knowledge of recent Marvel history/continuity, how open would this be to a new reader...?

Chuck said...

It's surprisingly accessible. The only Marvel characters who have appeared so far are the fathers of Tony Stark and Reed Richards (in flashbacks to the '60s), the Celestials (in an even earlier flashback) the Brood and Galactus (ditto). It really stands alone, and it's not even certain yet that this ancient organization has ties to the modern version of SHIELD (though presumably there's a connection in the somewhere). Good stuff, though I'm still trying to buy into da Vinci as a heroic figure...

Kyle said...

Sold! Really sounds like my kind of thing... just ordered it using your Amazon link. Tossed on Sword Woman by Robert E. Howard to get the free shipping... I have been eyeing that for awhile.

Chuck said...

Kyle, appreciate your business! (For those who don't know, if you order something through the Amazon links on this site, your pal Chuck gets a tiny percentage of the sale. Which I turn right around and use to buy more books from Amazon.)
Let me know what you think of SHIELD - and good call on the Howard book. You can't go wrong with ol' Robert E!