It has been a long time coming, but the ground-breaking series that showcased the ancient founding of SHIELD, S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hickman and Weaver, has come to an end. I have not been this excited to see a series wrap up since perhaps Secret Wars, which famously suffered a similar prolonged publishing delay. It has been awhile and I had to do a second reading of both volumes of this title to jog my memory. It is best read in my opinion as a trade or in one sitting. Hickman’s writing style is very complex and layered but rewards close attention and patience.
This issue showcases the climax of the battle for SHIELD, as LEONID, the chosen catalyst for Da Vinci’s enigmatic human machine, bridges a solution to the dichotomous philosophies fueling the SHIELD war. i.e. the philosophy that everything eventually dies or the philosophy of endless possibility. The ending was long over due but shed some thematic light on some other Hickman works within Marvel’s publications. What I loved the most about this series and this issue in particular is how so much of it was an elegant yet succinct love letter to Marvel’s cosmology. The series explored the origins of humankind, its renaissance, its future the Inhumans, Deviants and the evolutionary guidance of the Celestials all within 12 issues. What appears to be the resolution in this issue (at least from my perspective) is that Da Vinci’s machine becomes a earth-made celestial of sorts, a literal deus ex machina that resolves the conflict by creating ideal earths for the figureheads of each faction in the SHIELD conflict. Issac Newton gets his desolated apocalyptic landscape, and Da Vinci gets his Utopia of human progress.
One question that I could not get out of my head was my own speculation if the resolution in this issue was the trigger point for the multiversal incursions we saw later in Hickman’s run on the Avengers and New Avengers titles? There was some strong theme carryover particularly with the dualities of life and death, building/ planning complex structures, from a single idea and so on. I tend to judge writers on their contributions to the meta-narrative. I really have to praise Hickman for deep and lasting contributions to the Marvel mythos. From the infinity formula, to life model decoys, the SHIELD series (volumes 1 and 2) offered us a compelling and poignant origin story.
If you enjoyed this title I strongly recommend reading other works under Hickman’s pen, such as his run on the Fantastic Four or Secret Warriors which brought back Leonardo Da Vinci, and his work on Avengers and Infinity. Hickman’s stories are carefully constructed plots that are well organized, and filled with wonder, additionally they feel like pieces of a puzzle revealing a greater landscape. No other writer in my opinion has executed their vision as sophisticated as Hickman’s they are artistic products of wonder and imagination that have really fleshed out the marvel universe, I’m happy to have been along for the ride, delay notwithstanding.
The three plates retail for $11.99 and will be out this September.
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There has never been a better time to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Although Marvel’s top spy agency is never exactly under the radar, the cinematic universe has added new interesting to the organization as first Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, and then Maria Hill and the members of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pushed the group into the spotlight. Riding the wave of the renewed interest was Mockingbird, a character that had previously died in the comics and was given new focus after her introduction into the television series. Never a headliner, the character had a decent comic past, as a romantic interest for other heroes or as a superhero herself as a member of the Avengers. What has never really happened though is a story which is up to par with what made the character one that could make it on to Earth’s strongest superhero team without any actual superpowers.
If there was ever to be a story about why Mockingbird made it into the team then this just might be it. The story is a relatively simple one as she awakes one morning to find that her mentor is dead. Not willing to take the official answer for the death, she leads her own investigation, one which spends the majority of its time in a morgue room. Although there might not have ever really been anything in the character’s past to make her approachable or even likable, this does as good a job as any to focus on her character and to give her a makeover at the same time. There is also a backup story which focuses on a new hero called the Red Widow, who comes off looking a bit like Black Widow’s teenage sidekick, though it is told in a way which is an interesting take on a superhero origin story.
Some might be turned off of the title from the start because of words like “Anniversary” being in the title, but this issue actually manages to surprise as one of the better releases for Marvel this week, and one which is not thrown into the monumental undertaking that is Secret Wars. Instead it focuses on the character and the plot to tell a compact yet entertaining stories, with some great visuals as well. The main story is much better than the backup story, but both are good enough to pass the test. If this is any indication of the Marvel that is to be in the post-Secret Wars landscape, then it looks as though the company will have some nice surprises in store.
Story:Chelsea Cain & Margaret Stohl Art: Joelle Jones & Nic Leon Story: 9.2 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy
This August, celebrate a half century of Marvel’s premier intelligence agency in one colossal issue! Today, Marvel has released a new look at S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 – the oversized anniversary special! Be there when blockbuster writer Mark Waid and artist Lee Ferguson answer a question 50 years in the making. A question that lies at the heart of the creation of SHIELD – who is the “Man Called D.E.A.T.H.”?! This full length story features a never-before-published S.H.I.E.L.D. sequence penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Jim Steranko!
Then, Al Ewing and Stefano Caselli bring you the terrifying origin of the new Howling Commandos! Before they spin out into their very own series later this year, witness the return of Dum Dum Dugan as he steps from the shadows to assemble a team truly unlike any you’ve seen before!
Rounding out this massive issue, S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 also includes the very first S.H.I.E.L.D. story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! Be there as a half-century celebration of espionage and intrigue comes to comic shops this August!
S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 (JUN150809)
Written by MARK WAID, AL EWING & STAN LEE
Art by LEE FERGUSON, STEFANO CASELLI & JACK KIRBY
Cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
Howling Commandos Variant by ART ADAMS (JUN150810)
Variant Cover by JACK KIRBY & JIM STERANKO (JUN150811)
Black & White Kirby & Steranko Variant Also Available (JUN150812)
FOC – 08/03/15, On-Sale – 08/26/15
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
Southern Bastards #10 (Image Comics) – One of the, if not the, best comic out there right now. It’s usually a slow burn, but each issue has more character insights than many comics have in a year. This Southern noir is fantastic on every level.
Captain Canuck #3 (Chapter House Publishing) – Some times you want your heroes to lose the gritty aspect, and just be heroes. This series gets back to that courtesy of some talented Canadian creators. Fun action, that’s entertaining and loses the cynicism of today’s superhero comics.
Invisible Republic #5 (Image Comics) – An amazing series that definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It involves a reporter digging into the revolutionaries that took over a planet, and digs up a bit of dirt. An amazing focus on history being used as propaganda.
Princeless: Be Yourself #2 (Action Lab Entertainment) – The new series hasn’t missed a beat and continues the fun fantasy adventure with a bit of girl power mixed in.
Rasputin #7 (Image Comics) – The first arc focusing on the historical figure was interesting. Flash forward 100 years, and not only is he alive, he’s also advising a Presidential candidate. Now you have my undivided attention.
Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The second series dealing with the group of hackers follows on the plot from the first series, and tries to answer some unresolved questions.
Batgirl Annual #3 (DC Comics) – Kind of a catch-all for Batgirl, as she faces off against Helena Bertinelli, a former Batgirl (from No Man’s Land) and Dick Grayson (her pre-new 52 romantic interest). Throw in a visit to Gotham Academy and this sounds pretty fun.
He-Man: Eternity War #8 (DC Comics) – There has been no missteps in this entire series as the creative team has pushed the envelope of what defines the core group of characters. This is not your childhood’s He-Man.
Jem and the Holograms #5 (IDW Publishing) – This series has been nothing but fun since its launch. It doesn’t look likely to stop any time soon either. One can only hope that the suggested food fight from the cover gets realized inside.
Lazarus #18 (Image Comics) – Lazarus goes to Duluth to win the war, as different plot lines begin to intersect.
Top Pick: Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight: Trade Paperback Vol 3: Slay Ride and Blood Lagoon(Dark Horse) – “Books like ‘Grindhouse’ were the reason the Comics Code was invented.” – creator Alex De Campi.
That’s a promise and a warning. De Campi absolutely delivers on grindhouse cinema gratification in comic book form– even better, it comes from a frankly female perspective on the genre. This series is messed up in all the RIGHT ways.
Each trade contains self-contained story arcs so you can pick up volume 3 even if you’ve never read the series before. In Volume 3 my entirely fictional girlfriend, Deputy Garcia is back with her motorcycle and eyepatch. I can’t wait!
Series creator Alex de Campi is our podcast guest next week!
Batgirl Annual #3 (DC Comics) – Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher art by Bengal, David Lafuente, Mingjue Helen Chen, Ming Doyle…. Look at that list of awesome writers and artists! Not only do we get Babs catching up with Dick Grayson but we also see her meet with Batwoman and the Gotham Academy kids! These are all of my favorite things in one place! It is a standalone story you can read even if you aren’t reading the new Batgirl series. But after reading this I’m sure you’ll want to.
Phoebe Gloeckner: Diary of a Teenage Girl (North Atlantic Books) – Considered one of the best graphic novels of last decade it’s probably time that you (and I) finally read it! Plus there’s a movie of it coming out soon and you don’t want to be called a “poser”, right? The book is a combination of prose and illustration reads like autobiography. The press release calls it “a dark story of sex and drugs in the life of a 1970s teenage girl.” You should read Sean T Collins review because I can’t do it justice till I read the book.
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2 (Marvel) – This is the funniest series in Secret Wars and the prettiest too. Last issue we met Shakespeare, Marlowe and King James (Logan Howlett aka Wolverine) and other Faustians (aka people with superpowers). This issue Angela and Sera will meet “Ye Olde Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Top Pick: Thors #2 (Marvel Comics) – The case is heating up as the murder mystery of the Gods continues. Blood, Hammers, and Justice shalt be served!
Daredevil #17 (Marvel Comics) – The last days of The Man Without Fear? Could be. This creative team has been white hot so I know Matt is in good hands, but I want to see the payoff.
Red Sonja Vol.2 #17 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Red hot chick swinging a sword, as usual all over this one. The 1973 one shot gave me a rejuvenation for this title. Hope the momentum doesn’t wane.
Superman #42 (DC Comics) – I am actually enjoying the prelude to the “Truth” storyline a lot more than the actual crossover. I’m interested to see just what it was that made Lois out Clark’s ID to the world? This intrepid reporter needs some answers. By Rao, I need them now!
TMNT Ongoing #48 (IDW Publishing) – The Stockman Swarm, The Shredder and Karai all move in for the kill. How could this not be good?
Top Pick: Thors #2 (Marvel) – the first issue of this story was fantastic; a crime story following the ‘police’ of Battleworld, the Thors. Law and Order meets Asgardian officers, working on the orders of Lord Doom to keep the peace, and the foundation of Battleworld, in one piece. Excited for what happens next.
Top Pick: X-Men ’92 #2 (Marvel) – the first issue totally brought me back to Saturday mornings, watching Marvel’s merry mutants as most of us remember them, complete with colourful costumes and Wolverine and Cyclops sniping at each other. I am looking forward to see more from Cassandra Nova and what her rehabilitation facility for mutants is really all about.
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2 (Marvel) – This was a very interesting first issue, following Angela hunting ‘witchbreed’, which turns out to be mutants. The second issue puts Angela on the path to see dire omens not come to pass, and also introduces use to “Ye olde Guardians of the Galaxy”. Looking forward to this.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #8 (Marvel) – I am a huge fan of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show, and just as big a fan of the comic book treatment of the show. It’s fun to see the tv agents paired up with various heroes from the Marvel universe an work together to solve the problem of the issue. This issue has Agent May and Mockingbird setting out to kick some ass….sign me up!
Batgirl #42 (DC Comics) – despite not being remotely in the target demographic for this book, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of this series’ exploration of fame and identity.
Conan the Avenger #16 (Dark Horse) – Dark Horse’s Conan run has been one of the most consistently enjoyable comics for me in recent years (with the exception of that odd bit where Belit went to Cimmeria), so if given an option I’ll always pick one up.
Copperhead #9 (Image Comics) – Read the first trade of this unusual space-western/single-mom comic and really enjoyed the strange little world that Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski have thrown together, so I’ll keep following this story.
Rasputin #7 (Image Comics) – A really strange little gem, this series posits a revisionist history of the infamous Russian mystic in which Grigori Rasputin’s powers not only are quite real and extend to genuine resurrection and clairvoyancy, but he’s also secretly a prince in communion with the forces of Russian folklore.
Southern Bastards #10 (Image Comics) – having really enjoyed Scalped, I eagerly anticipated Jason Aaron’s new series. Took me a while to get into the first trade – something about the way Jason Latour draws mouths threw me off until I got used to it – but the second trade’s revelation of Coach Boss’ backstory was mesmerizing and made this a must-read for me.
When monsters ruled the Marvel Universe, the wildly imaginative brain and pencil of Jack Kirby brought dozens upon dozens of these creatures to life. Monster comics may be a thing of the past, but Marvel is celebrating their legacy this October with over twenty-five Kirby Monster Variants coming to some of Marvel’s biggest new titles! Featuring some of the industry’s most legendary and iconic artists, witness the inimitable imagination of Jack Kirby brought to life by Geof Darrow, Paul Pope, Art Adams, Eric Powell, Simon Bisley, Cliff Chiang and many, many more!
October also sees the release of Marvel’s Hip-Hop variants…..
Groot! Fin Fang Foom! Orrgo! Lo-Karr, Bringer of Doom! Look for these exciting Kirby Monster Variants coming later this year:
A-Force #5 The Crawling Creature Variant by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Avengers #0 Devil Dinosaur Variant by DAVID MARQUEZ
All-New, All-Different Point One #1 Nezarr, the Calculator Variant by PAUL POPE
All-New Hawkeye #1 Elektro Variant by JEFF LEMIRE
Amazing Spider-Man #2 Infant Terrible Variant by PAOLO RIVERA
Ant-Man #1 Scarlet Beetle Variant by TRADD MOORE
Captain America: White #3 Jinni Demon Variant by GLENN FABRY
Civil War #5 Lo-Karr, Bringer of Doom Variant by JOHN CASSADAY
Contest of Champions #1 Xemnu the Titan Variant by DAN BRERETON
Doctor Strange #1 Awesome Android Variant by ERICA HENDERSON
Extraordinary X-Men #2 Yeti Variant by PHIL NOTO
Groot #5 Quonian Variant by CHRISTIAN WARD
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 Groot Variant by MIKE ALLRED
House of M #4 Kraa the Unhuman Variant by DAVE JOHNSON
Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 Orrgo Variant by MICHAEL DEL MUNDO
Invincible Iron Man #2 Fin Fang Foom Variant by MARK BROOKS
Karnak #1 Rommbu Variant by ERIC POWELL
Ms. Marvel #19 Wrecker’s Robot Variant by CLIFF CHIANG
New Avengers #2 The Blip Variant by SIMON BISLEY
S.H.I.E.L.D. #11 Poker Face Variant by JAMES STOKOE
Sam Wilson, Captain America #2 Zetora Variant by TONY MOORE
Spider-Gwen #1 Hypno-Creature Variant by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Spider-Man 2099 #2 Ulvar Variant by CHRIS SAMNEE
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 Thorr Variant by CHRIS BACHALO
Uncanny Avengers #1 Mangog Variant by GEOF DARROW
Uncanny Inhumans #1 Vandoom’s Monster Variant by ART ADAMS
Celebrate half a century of Marvel’s premier intelligence agency in 2015 as they proudly commemorate the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary! When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced S.H.I.E.L.D. in the pages of 1965’s Strange Tales #135, boldly proclaiming it “The Greatest Action-Thriller of All Time!” – the landscape of the Marvel Universe would be changed forever. Now, half a century later, S.H.I.E.L.D. has made the jump beyond the comic page – bringing us some of the most iconic stories and memorable characters in all of popular culture. Join us as we celebrate this monumental legacy with exciting new projects throughout 2015!
First, this August, S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 answers a question half a century in the making. A mystery that lies at the heart of the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D. – who is the “Man Called D.E.A.T.H.”?! Written by Mark Waid with art by Lee Ferguson – this special, oversized anniversary issue features a never before published S.H.I.E.L.D. sequence penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by Jim Steranko! Plus – Al Ewing brings you a second story featuring the return of Dum Dum Dugan and the birth of the new Howling Commandos! Along with the very first S.H.I.E.L.D. story from 1965 and the original sequence that inspired S.H.I.E.L.D.’s creation – this is not one to miss!
Then in September – find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. means to the Marvel Universe with the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary Specials. Five weekly one shots about the men and women who stand on the front lines, shoulder to shoulder, ready to take on Hydra, A.I.M. and the worst the Marvel Universe has to offer! From some of the best and brightest talent in the comic industry comes action packed new specials starring Nick Fury, Agent Melinda May, Mockingbird, Quake and Agent Peggy Carter! Featuring writers David Walker, Jody Houser, Chelsea Cain, Kathryn Immonen, Matt Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon – prepare to see S.H.I.E.L.D. in a completely new way!
Plus don’t miss these other exciting projects later this year celebrating the legacy of S.H.I.E.L.D.! This June, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes to your favorite Marvel Comics for The Art of Evolution Variants. Featuring stunning artwork commemorating episodes from the show’s second season, these gorgeous pieces covers will be coming to these twelve titles:
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1
Armor Wars #1
Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1
Civil War #1
Guardians of Knowhere #1
Hail Hydra #1
Squadron Sinister #1
Then, experience the original groundbreaking espionage adventures as Marvel proudly presents S.H.I.E.L.D. by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby: The Complete Collection TPB and S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus. You’ve been granted Priority A-1 Clearance, so get ready to dive into the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. with these two can’t miss collections in September!
This May, Marvel’s best and brightest are stepping out on the town and taking on the “City that Never Sleeps” for a series of special variant covers! In total, there’ll be 15 special NYC Variant Covers to some of your favorite Marvel titles!
From the Bronx to the Battery and everything in between, be there as Marvel celebrates its New York roots with covers that showcase the Big Apple and the heroes who live here! Rendered by some of the top artists in the industry, each cover features Marvel’s iconic characters in uniquely New York settings.
Below you can see the covers for:
Ant-Man #5 NYC Variant by Mico Suayan
Daredevil #16 NYC Variant by Alex Maleev
Hulk #16 NYC Variant by Matthieu Forichon
S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 NYC Variant by Mike Perkins
All-New Hawkeye #3 NYC Variant by Pasqual Ferry
Guardians of the Galaxy #27 NYC Variant by Nick Bradshaw
Howard the Duck #3 NYC Variant by Bobby Rubio
Spider-Gwen #4 NYC Variant by Mark Brooks
Look for these additional NYC Variants to grace the covers of these exciting Marvel comics throughout the month of May: