Personal confession time. Over the past 15+ weeks I have reviewed each and every #1 in the ongoing Marvel All-New, All-Different Universe…except for one. One that still haunts me to this day. See, the day Marvel launched Secret Wars #9 was also the same day that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 came out. I wanted to turn the attention over to that incredibly important landmark issue, but in the process, I missed a really great comic. This week it may not be the Marvel Rundown we need, but it’s the Marvel Rundown we deserve.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 and #2
Writer: Marc Guggenheim Artist: German Peralta Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
This is bliss. Unlimited budgets, unlimited cameos and plenty of new directions to take some of the characters and a big ongoing story that this series is attached to. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a wonderful supplemental piece to those currently watching the television show. Previous writer Mark Waid framed the series as a group of done-in-ones, a more procedural based title. Often times, the issues resulted in incredibly fun banter between the different members of the group and whatever superhero guest star that shared the issue with the different character.
That’s where this new series starts to differentiate itself from the others: The new S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually telling a more serial narrative that is directly tied to the comic books. This comic is tailor-made for diehards of the Marvel Universe that are both watching the show and reading comics. Watching the show will give readers a more solid understanding of the base characters and reading the Marvel Universe will give a solid background of what’s going on in the All-New, All-Different Marvel continuity shifts directly referenced in the issue. While I really appreciate the show, there’s no way the television series could have a cameo from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark or even an Iron Man armor.
Thankfully, writer Marc Guggenheim doesn’t stop there either, he lays down some tight plotting in these issues that flowed between issues #1 and #2 nicely. The actors aren’t drawn with a likeness of the actual actors that would distract from the actual story, and this might sound silly, but it’s easier to become enveloped in the story when artist German Peralta only shows some of the broad strokes of the characters. The comic gets really unique when some of the relationships between the different characters are actually shifted around from the television show. This is a comic based on a television show that is based on a ‘60s comic book (so if all this stuff sounds complicated, that’s because it is!).
Peralta manages to make these characters expressive and fluid without struggling to find the likenesses. This is the kind of thing where if the actors aren’t drawn right, it can ruin the entire project. Peralta also excels at dynamic action scenes. At times the exact details of faces can get a bit muddy, with the individual character wrinkles, but it’s a flaw that never quite distracts from the individual story. Rosenburg’s colors also give the story a wide a palette that never makes the two issues feel stagnant or boring.
At the end of the second issue, Marvel even teased that this story is crossing over into the upcoming Avengers event. I’m almost starting to wonder if this comic is going to make a new reader’s head explode? Is Marvel really even interested in attracting new readers with this comic? Are fans of the television show flocking to the comics world to see what’s new in the Marvel Universe? Are regular Marvel comics readers who don’t watch the television show going to be interested in this story? With the knowledge base of both S.H.I.E.L.D. properties, this comic book is as amusing as spending the day with Fitz’s digital monkey.
Verdict: Recommended to comic book readers and film watcher(ers)