web stats

CSBG Archive

Drawing Crazy Patterns – The Helicarrier Crashing

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Today, based on a suggestion from reader Taylor Porter, we look at five times that the Helicarrier has crashed.


The SHIELD Helicarrier is their famous flying aircraft carrier. Designed by Jack Kirby, it has been with SHIELD ever since they debuted. Over the years, a number of comics have decided to go with the (very awesome) visual of the Helicarrier crashing.

One of the first and, I daresay, likely the greatest of the SHIELD Helicarrier crashes came in 1985, in Marvel Graphic Novel #18. John Byrne felt that something like the Helicarrier crashing should be treated like a BIG DEAL, and he definitely did so in this issue (which starred She-Hulk getting caught up with some bad guy invading SHIELD’s Helicarrier).

(click on the above double page splash, and all the double page splashes below, to enlarge the image)

In 2005, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. brought the Helicarrier crashing to the ground when the Hand and their army of re-animated super beings attacked it in Wolverine #27…

In early 2008, the Red Hulk brought the latest SHIELD Helicarrier down to Earth in the pages of Hulk #2…

A few months later, a Skrull invasion brought the OTHER SHIELD Helicarrier down in Secret Invasion #1…

In 2010’s Siege #4, Iron Man uses the current Helicarrier (then operated by HAMMER, SHIELD’s successor) to attack the Sentry, who has gone over the deep end and become the evil Void…

E-mail me suggestions for future installments at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.


Were there no Helicarrier crashes in Godzilla? That surprises me.

I’m not surprised there have been so many recently, though, with half the comics reading like Michael Bay flicks (and that would include every Millar comic).

And “Oh the humanity,” Tony? Seriously? Sigh.

There were some in Godzilla, but they were kind of lackadaisical, honestly, so I skipped ‘em.

You’d think they’d stop paying for those.


And “Oh the humanity,” Tony? Seriously? Sigh.”

I came here to say that.


I personally like the crash in Hickman’s Secret Warriors best.

“oh the humanity!”

Jeph Loeb at his finest.

Been reusing this one a few times recently.

Loved Byrne’s Doctor Who gag hidden in the She Hulk dialogue.

You have to wonder why they let that thing go back into the air. It’s like allowing the Titanic to set sail over and over again.

I also dig the aftermath of the SHIELD helicarrier crash in one of the early issues of ‘Nick Fury vs. SHIELD’. As I recollect, they didn’t show the crash itself, but had Fury leading a salvage operation on the wrecked ship.

And yes, Hickman’s ‘Last Ride of the Howling Commandos’ arc has the best helicarrier action I’ve seen in about forever.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

July 6, 2011 at 2:58 am

If the HELLicarrier crashed into Attilan and you said “Oh the Inhumanity” that would be funny.

The helicarrier also crashed during the Onslaught storyline. I remember because, for lack of anything else for the Punisher to do with that story, they had his comic taken over by SHIELD ops trying to deal with the crash.

I. Hate. When. Comic. Book. Characters. Talk. Like. This.

I. Hate. When. Anyone. Talks. Like. This.
It. Is. So. Played. Out.

Ok, so I chuckled at the ‘Oh the Humanity’ bit.

Wonder how many kids would catch that?

And do the vortex beams have a neutron flow?

Its funny that it was a “big deal,” then it happened like 4 more times in the last few years. That proves everything is lame and for shock value now.


July 6, 2011 at 6:47 am

I’m not so much versed in hip american longo. Someone care to explain what’s funny about the ‘Oh the Humanity’ bit?

Matthew Johnson

July 6, 2011 at 7:25 am

I believe the standard spelling is “bubeleh,” not “boobala.” Though the latter spelling might make more sense if Gaffer were talking to She-Hulk and not the SHIELD agent.

“Oh, the humanity” was a line said during the radio report on the Hidenburg disaster. It became a part of pop culture after that (I think I first heard it in Looney Tunes cartoons).

JC LEBOURDAIS – It is reference to the Hindenburg crash. It was also reference by Ironman with the, “there’s a field out there with a history of this sort of thing…”


July 6, 2011 at 7:56 am

Thanks guys!

Good thing with comics, you always learn something new :)

So Tony Stark does in Siege #4 what Midnighter did whit The Carrier at the end of the first Authority story-arc. So original.

Thanks, Brian. I’m glad there were at least some in Godzilla, because why even do a Godzilla comic if no Helicarriers are going to get smashed?

I don’t know what would freak me out more (if I was a regular guy living in the Marvel Universe). The fact that there seem to be mutants/super powered people around every corner or walking outside my home, looking up, and seeing that S.H.I.E.L.D. monolith hovering above and knowing that those things seem to be crashing to the Earth frequently recently.

It’s funny considering all these in light of the “Fury of SHIELD” origin one-shot published in the 1990s: while there was no “crash,” per se, the first Helicarrier was shown as blowing up moments after its official launch. So in a sense, the general pattern for the things was established from the very beginning. :-)

John Trumbull

July 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

They’ve crashed the Helicarrier FOUR times in the last six years? Man, Marvel is REALLY out of ideas.

And in “Marvel Time” that’s 4 times in the last year! Yeesh.

Google tells me that She-Hulk #17 is the home of my favorite Helicarrier joke: two of the cast members (who read comics as legal precedent) discuss how it is pointless to always draw the Helicarrier as a two-page spread.

The Onslaught Saga crash in Punisher was actually pretty nifty and a good example a one-shot crossover successfully worked into both ongoing and crossover storylines.

At the point where all the major titles had synchonised plotwise in preparation for Heroes Reborn, Onslaught was seen to unleash a MASSIVE electromagnetic pulse (he had all of Magneto and Xavier’s powers with none of their restraint after all) from his newly established citadel in the middle of Central Park and cripple the entireity of Manhatten Island and the surrounding region as a pre-emptive measure to ensure himself against attack by the conventional forces of the world.

This had absolutely NO consequences in any of the other titles apart from Punisher except perhaps a scene where the Avengers rescue a trapped subway train, with Thor repowering the track with hammer-lightning. And Teen Tony’s armour stopped working so good. The FF were all fine, Daredevil was off doing his own thing and there were few signs of chaos (aside from some rampaging Sentinils) in the Spiderbooks, but then they were the closing stages of the Clone Saga, so they had their own problems at the time.

Punisher was locked up in the Helicarrier for shooting Nick Fury whilst brainwashed, but when a sudden total systems failure caused it to fall out of the sky (which is just the sort of thing that happens when an EMP goes off), the situation changes somewhat. The ship crashes into the Hudson, near the Jersey Bank and Frank Miller-esqe 1980s gang hoodlums on jet skis head over to it to do some looting and pillaging, Waterworld style. This is enough to persuade Shield commander G.W. Bridge (I love that name) to spring Frank and aid the low-tech defence, since this is very much in his wheelhouse, so to speak.

Great scene, and it made the cover (“The Helicarrier Falls!”), which interestingly, I don’t think that any of the others did.

I did very much enjoy in Hickman’s Secret Warriors, where they establish SHIELD has “The Dock”, literally a dry dock with eight or ten spare Helicarriers up for repairs, waiting for deployment or just ready to be put up there the moment the main one goes down.

I think Post-Civil War, they also established that thanks in part to Stark Industries subcontracting on all of the preocurement, there are several Helicarriers of differeing sizes deployed in the air all over the world symltaneously.

You forgot about the time it crashed during the Onslaught fiasco. They covered it in the Punisher issues of the crossover I believe.

I notice most of those listed here were recently. Give ‘em points for originality. I must of missed the one during the Onslaught story.

The helicarrier crashing really has no meaning anymore does it. Byrne did it cool, but now its like a monthly thing. Where does S.H.I.E.L.D. keep getting more of these?? Is there a secret bunker somewhere?

This is why our country is 14 trillion dollars in debt…we keep having to rebuild these stupid things.

“JC LEBOURDAIS – It is reference to the Hindenburg crash”

Specifically it refers to the reporter watching burning bodies falling from the sky. Which is why it’s such a tasteless joke. Kind of like joking about Sept 11.

Shout out to the opening episode of Avengers EMH where the Helicarrier crashes after the Big House suddenly unShrinks and shreds it from the inside.

Hell, yes, EMH played that out awesome! That whole opening episode (not counting the mini-episodes) was just pure chaos. Loved it!

I enjoyed the Helicarrier crashes in Godzilla! As I recall, the first time the main HC crashed in that comic, it was accidentally knocked out of the sky by Hercules. If I remember correctly, he threw part of a bridge at the Big G, who ducked, and the HC got hit. In fact, I believe that the main point of that story (I think it was Godzilla #3) was how the Champions and SHIELD kept getting in each other’s way as they both tried to fight off Godzilla.

After that, the SHIELD Godzilla task force got a HC of its own, called “Behemoth.” I’m sure that crashed a few times.

Oh, I recall that the HC almost crashed in the Ultron story arc in the New Avengers. The Sentry caught it and could not stop it on his own. Then Wonderman and Ms. Marvel showed up and, together, the three heroes were able to carry the HC to a safe landing. That would be good to see here.

Didn’t Elektra crash one during Elektra Assassin ?
Also one was crashed during Operation: Zero Tolerance, or the next X-Men event including Machine-Man, and another one was crashed by the the Red Hulks (can’t remember if it was Red Hulk, Red She Hulk, the Intelligentsia or Hulked Out Heroes)
Man, do these things even fly ?

The hellicarrier also crashed in Earth X.

I think it crashed or nearly crashed at least in New Avengers over Rhode Island. I think it’s around civil war, jessica drew has ben incarcerated by maria hill and tony, and then hydra attacks it. to liberate jessica. also ultimates has half a dozen of the carriers or so as wreckage in the ocean after an attack by the chitauri, so maybe half a point?

Zaladane crashed a Helicarrier in the Savageland, you see Magneto, Rogue and Kazar overlooking the wreckage, in Uncanny X-men #274

A Helicarrier crash was a major plot point in Irredeemable Ant-Man.

Someone needs to steer one of those whales into the Baxter Building for a change. Maybe then Reed will hand over whatever tech it is that keeps his flying bathtubs aloft and SHIELD can stop littering the landscape with mile-wide mass graves. As impact approaches the whole thing could just bust apart into 64,000 escape pods and then reassemble somewhere else.

Or just put it on legs. That worked fine for H.G. Wells.

Noting that Wikipedia’s built up a list of the known-to-be-named Helicarriers on their page for those ships.


This would make for part of a good argument for Marvel to publish a SHIELD Agents’ Orientation Manual, yes?

SteveAsat: The Helicarrier crash from Irredeemable Ant-Man was the same one depicted in Wolverine: Enemy of the State, the Blackhawk.

Kev Agent of The Shadow

March 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Stan crashed the thing way back in 1971 in Captain America #141.

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives