Review: S.H.I.E.L.D #2

Published on June 11th, 2010

Marvel have been putting out some wonderful new series over the past few weeks, and they are truly winning the keys to my heart with their quality. Secret Avengers, Thunderbolts and now S.H.I.E.L.D… all these series are brand new (Thunderbolts, athough not a new series, has reached new beginnings) and combine a bit of everything I look for in an ideal comic.  Secret Avengers and Thunderbolts are unconventional team books, and S.H.I.E.L.D is an amalgamation of historical fiction and pure thrill-drenched mystery. Although each are only one or two issues into their first stories, and are still very much in early days, I cannot deny the excitment and joy they give me.

I mention this because S.H.I.E.L.D specifically, is the series which has come to shock me the most out of the three comics I mentioned above. I frowned upon the adverts for S.H.I.E.L.D with disgust, as the concept seemed too over the top to be taken seriously, and I remember talking to Comic Impact staff member Sheldon about how ridiculous it looked. Now this series is making me realise that I couldn’t have been any more foolish.

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S.H.I.E.L.D #2 is a wonderful comic. In places, it almost made the hairs on the back of neck stand erect. Historical fiction has never been so good in the Marvel Universe.

Jonathan Hickman is crafting S.H.I.E.L.D’s history with a finesse similar to how Michelangelo carved David. In the first issue we saw S.H.I.E.L.D as it progressed through the ages, dating back to its foundation with Imhotep in 2620 B.C, all the way through to Galileo and other historical figures who have led it in slightly more recent times. Now we are seeing are two protagonists Leonid (the newly chosen leader-to-be of S.H.I.E.L.D) and Leonardo Da Vinci (a once leader of S.H.I.E.L.D) take a more prominent position in the series. Leonardo Da Vinci has come forward in time to correct the misguided motives of S.H.I.E.L.D, as they once believed in the infinite human experience (the future), they now believe in a conclusion, an end (if you read this issue, then that sentence will make much more sense). Da Vinci wants to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D and restore it to its former glory.

At the same time, Da Vinci explains to us readers and to Leonid, why it is that Leonid is an essential part in this moment of history, and why he himself has had to come forward in time to put a stop to things. Hickman delivers this smart and complex plot in a way that is easily understandable and accessible to us, yet not insulting to anyone’s intelligence.

The long scene with Leonid’s father in this, is equally as remarkable. It does not show him as the evil man he came across as in the first issue, and it seems that he is opposing S.H.I.E.L.D with good reason, as if he knows a secret that we the readers do not. This doubles over as one of the most stunning fight scenes I have ever seen. The artwork by Dustin Weaver is gorgeous throughout, but even more so in these pages of fighting. Agents Stark and Richards blast him with a device that sends him to another time and place, from which he will not return for 3 years so Da Vinci says.

Leonardo Da Vinci is really the thread that ties this story together, and he is as much the stories narrator as he is a main character, in that through-out the course of the issue, Hickman has used him as a means to basically lay out an entire backstory to get us readers up to date on what has happened, why it has happened and what we can expect to happen in future issues. In doing this, he has also created an amazing character out of Da Vinci. His design looks very cool, and I suppose that is all down to Dustin Weaver yet again, producing some amazing art! Just seeing Da Vinci as a strong and worthy character in a comic is good enough for me, but for him to maintain the traits that make him believable as the real man himself, is another thing entierly.

All the different parts of this story are starting to link together now and take shape. I can predict this is going to blossom into something quite extraordinarily beautiful in a few issues time.

Maybe I just love comics that are overly complicated, but I don’t care. This is one remarkable issue, and one that no amount of reviewing could do justice. I highly advice going back and getting the first issue and then this if you have not already.

I’m making some pretty extravagant remarks for a series with only two issues to its name, but you know what, I really don’t care. If I want to enjoy it as much as this, then damn it I will (and I’m sure I’m not the only person saying that). Everything from the front cover, to the preview for the cover to the third issue is pleasing. Top marks, this series has indeed caught me completely off guard!

Rob Andrews
Rob@comicimpact.com