Friend and fellow BBP writer JP Fallavollita told you about the new S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 on The Wednesday Run last week, so being the regular reviewer of the “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” television series, I figured I’d give it a look. Check out my review of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 after the jump.
Screen to Page
The usual flow of motion is to go from comic to television or comic to film. Rarely does the creative process go in the other direction. Usually what you’ll see is a one-shot or limited series. Unless we’re talking Star Wars, the days of the movie special like DC’s “Doctor No” or Marvel’s Buckaroo Banzai are long gone. Mr. District Attorney, Isis, and Welcome Back Kotter are all products of a past age.
That said, Buffy has done well with its continuing seasons, as have the digital versions of Smallville, Arrow, and Batman ’66, so it’s not a completely dead art. It should be noted that characters like Harley Quinn, Jimmy Olsen, and others began in other media before comics. Why not Agents Coulson, May, Fitz, and Simmons? In the right hands, they make the transition perfectly. It may not be an exact ride, dodging existing characters and situations – notably Skye/Quake is missing – but the flow is flawless.
The Power of Mark Waid
We are introduced to Agent Phil Coulson on his first official mission, one where he plays lead and hero in a world and a comic filled with the Avengers and the forces of the Nine Realms. May and Fitz and Simmons are along for the ride as well, portrayed by Carlos Pacheco, legendary artist of Avengers Forever. This is a huge action story, and not only that, this comic was fun. When was the last time you heard someone say that? – That a comic book was fun to read? S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 is fun to read. And of course it’s fun.
Looking at the credits, despite the evidence of these new-fangled Avengers handling myriad threats from Asgard, we know why this is fun. It’s Mark Waid. Waid knows his superheroes, knows his comics history, and most of all, something lacking in comic book fiction these days – he knows the importance of being a hero. Waid is my hero, for many reasons, but at Marvel Comics, he rocks for writing Avengers #400, a comic where Earth’s mightiest heroes looked like their twisted 1990s mutations, but spoke and behaved in character, as if the masters – Stan Lee or Roy Thomas – had written them. Classic, and perfect.
Here’s what’s key with Coulson. He is us. He is the ultimate fanboy. Remember in the Avengers movie when he wanted Captain America to sign his trading cards? Bingo. Here we are shown a guy who kept lists and notes on the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe the way some kids keep sports stats. Confess, go ahead, you know you’ve done this. He is us.
Agent Phil Coulson comes out of the big and small screens to the comic page very well. He’s looking good, and after reading only the first three pages of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1, if I didn’t already love the character, I did now. What’s great is that Coulson exists in the Marvel Universe, so he can put this knowledge to good use, with S.H.I.E.L.D.. He can figure things out, mix and match agents and heroes to missions. As Coulson himself says, “It’s fun when your hobby becomes your work.”
Waid gives fans what they want with this comic by the way. Those folks who tuned into the “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” TV series looking for superheroes, only to be disappointed, will be thrilled by the story the writer offers. While in the background, this is high caliber superhero action, how much bigger can you get than the Avengers against giants, demons, and monsters? And if you’re a fan of the TV series, both Waid and Pacheco deliver the right approximation of the characters you love every week on ABC.
The characters aren’t all the creators get right. The story is built like the TV show as well. Just as we followed clues for one and half seasons to find out Coulson returned to life and what exactly the Diviner was, here we are presented with a similar mystery. What is that rock, and how did it get stuck in the Rainbow Bridge? I look forward to unraveling this mystery, seeing more of the Earth-616 Coulson, and learning more about his fellow Agents as well.
Next: Captain Marvel. And while “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is on hiatus, I’ll be reviewing “Agent Carter,” starting tomorrow night. See you there!