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When We First Met – The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Elektra Assassin #2 introduced us to the Wile E. Coyote to Elektra’s Roadrunner, a SHIELD agent named Garrett…

The end of the issue finds Garrett blown up. However, this is SHIELD, so that’s not the end of his story…

#3 sees him back in action, now as a cyborg.

The 1989 Archie Goodwin/Howard Chaykin Wolverine/Nick Fury Graphic Novel the Scorpio Connection introduced Nick Fury’s son, Mikel, who thinks Nick Fury KILLED his dad…

At the end of the story, Fury turns him around…

And eventually Mikel became a valued member of SHIELD.

In Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, the X-Men are attacked by an alien named Ord. Is it possible that SHIELD has something to do with him? Cyclops goes to Fury in #3, but is rebuffed.

A mysterious woman then appears…

In #6, after the X-Men discover Colossus is really alive, the X-Men capture Ord but SHIELD shows up to say that he has a version of diplomatic immunity. We meet the mysterious Agent Abigail Brand fully here…

Finally, after Fear Itself, we had a mini-series called Battle Scars, whose first issue introduced us to two Army Rangers, Marcus Johnson and his best friend “Cheese”…

Eventually we learn that Marcus is the son of Nick Fury and bad guys want to kill him (or WORSE!). Cheese helps out his friend and in the end (after Marcus loses an eye), both men get offered jobs at SHIELD…

Except to see a lot more of Fury and Coulson now that their respective characters are being featured so prominently in film and in television.

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40 Comments

As much as I like the new Nick Fury as a character it just feels like such a shallow “wink wink nudge nudge” to the audience. I don’t see why 616 Nick needs to look and act like movie Nick, especially when Ultimate Nick Fury is a thing. Though in the movie verse I’d love to see Nick Fury established as a code name taken by all Directors of Shield, with our Fury’s predecessor being classic white guy with cigars Fury.

[pedantic] Jasper did become director of SHIELD during the Nick Fury vs SHIELD mini series [/pedantic]

;)

I always felt that the problem with Daisy Johnson as a director of SHIELD was that she looked a lot like Maria Hill. There were times when an artist had them standing next to each other and I couldn’t tell who was who. In fact, when Daisy joined the Avengers, my first thought was, “Maria Hill joined twice?”

I just started reading new comics again seriously this month as an experiment to see if i wanted to become a regular reader again (For the past few years I’ve only read trade paperbacks and old runs). I read Secret Avengers and found the Daisy Johnson thing very confusing. They need a way to better set her apart from Maria Hill. Also, at some point in Secret Avengers they seem to say she was 19 years old. How is she 19 and Director of SHIELD?

Wow, Maria Hill might be Bendis’ character, but she was poorly written at the start.

“I didn’t know that.” Not something the director of SHIELD should really be saying, new or not.

Wasn’t the Jasper Sitwell that became director later revealed to be a cult originated super LMD or something like that?

Bob from Accounting

October 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

Nobody ever expects SOUPY SALES!

The Angelina Jolie photo referencing there is really distracting. Especially because she has a Vulcan haircut and ears. She looks like a Vulcan Angelina Jolie. Also, what major impact did Secret War have on Marvel? (Not challenging you, I didn’t read it so I’m genuinely curious). Is it the book that revealed everyone’s secret identities to each other?

Please tell me that G.W. Bridge’s name was George Washington.

Also, at some point in Secret Avengers they seem to say she was 19 years old. How is she 19 and Director of SHIELD?

It is silly, which I think is part of the reason they’re working so hard to make Hill the Director instead while still giving Daisy cool stuff to do.

Also, what major impact did Secret War have on Marvel?

It got Nick Fury ousted as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and introduced Daisy Johnson. His departure and the events that followed it (including Daisy’s rise to becoming the Director of SHIELD) made up a whole lot of Marvel stories over the past decade (most written by Bendis himself).

Also, what major impact did Secret War have on Marvel?

Secret War was where Nick Fury lost the SHIELD director position, which he never really got back.

Daisy Johnson never worked for me, mostly because Bendis had her first turn up with super-duper clearance no one else had and gave her an “I win” power to create powerful vibratory forces at a distance, even inside someone’s brain. In her debut, she beats the otherwise unbeatable villain Lucia von Bardas almost immediately and then takes out Wolverine with a glance. She’s a Mary Sue of the worst sort, sort of like Bendis’s version of Layla Miller before Peter David developed the character.

Bendis has always tended to resolve his ensemble superhero stories by having some heretofore unseen or indecisive character show up, wave a hand, and create the outcome his plot needs. For examples who are not female teenagers with an alt-fashion look, see Wanda in Dissassembled, Doctors Strange and Voodoo in any number of New Avengers stories, and the Sentry in his work; or, for another “arbitrary plot decider” character who is such a teenager, see Tempus in the opening arc of the current Uncanny X-Men, for example.

Oddly, the other writer who used her frequently, Jonathan Hickman, barely used her powers at all and focused mostly on Nick and the old fogeys. I get the sense Daisy’s not terribly popular with writers other than Bendis, since the next person to write a big SHIELD story after she was made her the new director had Daisy screw up massively and get demoted in favor of Maria Hill.

From what you guys are telling me, it seems like Secret War had a big role in making the regular Marvel universe more like the Ultimate Universe by making SHIELD a lot more prominent in day to day superpowered affairs? Would that be fair to say?

The Mutt: G.W. Bridge’s name is in fact George Washington Bridge. And I’m not just telling you that because you asked us to. In comics it couldn’t have been anything else.

Two things jump out at me reading this.

First, character design has become a bit of a lost art. Kirby manages to do a pretty good job of creating a half-dozen distinct characters in that Howling Commandos spread. Junior and Rebel look a lot alike, but each has a little detail that sets them apart. The rest of the characters are even more distinct. Sternanko does much the same thing for the expanded S.H.I.E.L.D. cast that he introduces more slowly. Jimmy Woo, Contessa and Clay Quartermain each have their own look that speaks to their personality. Even the much derided Rob Liefeld pulls off a distinctive design with G.W. Bridge.

However, the characters of more recent vintage are all pretty bland visually. The most interesting thing about most of them is who got photo referenced. Even Abigail Brand is dependent upon the coloring to identify, so the line art isn’t doing the heavy lifting. When the penciller changes (which happens every 15 minutes these days), the unique identity of the character runs the risk of disappearing.

Second, has there ever been a more influential short-run title than NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.? Twenty-two issues of most things barely make an impression, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has become the core of the Marvel Universe. Checkmate had two runs of 34 and 32 issues, respectively. Yet, it has been much less influential on the broader DCU. Was it the sheer inventiveness of Kirby, or the mastery of Sternanko, or the age of the Marvel U that made the difference?

Anonymous above was me

@Omar Karindu: My second-favorite part of “Secret Avengers” was Daisy Johnson getting ousted as SHIELD director, a dumb concept strangled in its infancy. (My favorite part is how they turned Rhodey into the Iron Patriot as part of the screen-to-comic synchronicity. I thought I’d hate it, especially after Spencer’s “Iron Man 2.0″ title, but he actually did a great job.)

Some character observations:

1. Man, Bendis cannot write Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Seriously, depicting him as a stuttering, insecure wimp? Bendis desperately needs to do some remedial SPIDER-MAN reading, specifically the Stan Lee and Roger Stern tenures.

2. Jimmy Woo: Why did Steranko go from writing him as a tough, American secret agent to having him spout Charlie Chan cliches?

God, Liefeld’s “art” is like a train wreck. You desperately want to look away, but the sheer awfulness of it somehow compels you to look.

Did not know Quartermane was that old of a character! I honestly thought Peter David created him for his Incredible Hulk run.

@Dalarsco
The Ultimate universe might be ending soon, so it might be good to have Nick Fury Jr. around.

@trajan123
He’s not the best 616 Spider-Man writer. For some reason, he’s a completely different writer when writing Ultimate Spider-Man.

@ Dean Hacker that’s a great point. What makes it more damning is that the Marvel cartoons– especially the last wave before Disney took over– take great care to give all the characters distinct facial and body types, even the costumed ones. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes did so well at this that you could easily tell Steve Rogers and Clint Barton apart outside of their costumes, despite both being tall, super-athletic blonde white men. I suppose that when one team handles the entire visual production for a single show, it’s easier than trying to keep a consistent aesthetic across dozens upon dozens of artists working on individual series.

Hey Brian, you forgot the SUPER Agents of Shield.

@Dalarsco: 616 Fury needs to act like film Nick due to the sucess of The Avengers. It’s necessary to lure fans of the film into the comics. Besides, the Ultimate Universe has been crumbling since Ultimatium.

@T.: Daisy Johnson is indeed 19 years old. She was groomed for the role by Nick Fury personally and he took her under his wing as his protege. She proved worthy for the role after successfully leading the Team White branch of Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors and previous work for S.H.I.E.L.D. where she held the position of a Level 10 Agent, a clearance level bestowed only by Fury to Black Widow. Following the events of Secret Warriors, Fury left S.H.I.E.L.D. in her care.

@Omar Karindu: Secret Warriors was co-written by Bendis AND Hickman, which is where she was appointed Daisy to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place.

Reading through all these character introductions, three things come to mind.

First, the way Lee and Steranko made the 60′s characters seem so iconic nowadays. Jimmy. Clay. Val. Jasper. I remember being pissed at Bob Harras when he killed off the majority of them during his Nick Fury vs. SHIELD mini-series back in the mi-80′s. Thankfully, that was all reversed at the end of Fury’s 1989 series run. But most of them, including Gabe and Clay have since been shuffled off the mortal coil once more.

Secondly, and this is an even major gripe: Is anyone else sick of the “repeat panel” approach to storytelling that has become so trendy nowadays? It’s a shameless, lazy-ass way for the artist to make the characters look shocked or speechless when drawing proper facial expressions does the job so much better. But that, I guess, takes work and dedication. Can you imagine Jack Kirby looking at this stuff? It makes Liefeld look like Michelangelo. Photo referencing is just as irritating, especially when it comprises 99% of your output, but panel repetition is particularly tedious.

You see it in the Maria Hill, Daisy Johnson, and Abigail Brand intro pages referenced above. Combine it with the minimalist dialogue employed by Bendis and similar writers, where there’s barely two sentences per word balloon, if any at all. I’m not going to spend $3.99 on a comic book where the freaking panels repeat themselves on every other page. I know some readers hated it when reprints became an economical way of keeping comics alive in the 60′s and 70′s, but I’d rather spend four bucks on a reprint of older works than most “new” material being published today.

Finally, Is it safe to say that Marvel has pulled a New 52 by switching over to the MCU version of nearly every major character? ‘Cause I can barely tell the difference when I look at stuff like Cap’s costume and such. I just can’t.

Secret Warriors was co-written by Bendis AND Hickman, which is where she was appointed Daisy to Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place.

Not exactly. The initial issues were co-plotted by Bendis and Hickman, but Bendis has said i several interviews that it pretty quickly became Hickman’s show, period. IIRC, Bendis isn’t listd as co-writer after a certain point in the issues themselves.

First, the way Lee and Steranko made the 60?s characters seem so iconic nowadays….Secondly, and this is an even major gripe: Is anyone else sick of the “repeat panel” approach to storytelling that has become so trendy nowadays?

Steranko himself used small rows of repeat panels — with little differences — on a few occasions to decompress little pieces of the action. Nick Fury falling to the Yellow Claw’s psi powers in Strange Tales #163 or 4 and Scorpio’s face resolving itself through an energy field in Nick Fury #5 are particularly good examples.

Steranko also introduced the Gaffer during his tenure, I believe. He was the resident S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist, similar to Fitz-Simmons in the new TV show.

Can we please just get the real Nick Fury back in the comics? I love SLJ as Fury in the movies, but I’m a little sick of the tail wagging the dog at Marvel, with the movies dictating that 50-some year old characters have to be removed to placate the movie fans who might be buying an avengers book.

I always liked Nick Fury but I never realized how much I loved the character until they introduced Nicky Jr.

I cannot wait for the real Nick to come back

The thing that bugs me the most about the MU trying to follow the movies is the new movie inspired costumes for people like Cap and hawkeye. The new costumes look stupid, for one thing. But it also makes it seem like Marvel doesn’t think people could understand the idea of the same character wearing different outfits. Do they really think someone who had seen the Avengers movie would pick up a comic with Cap in his old costume and go “Who is this guy named Captain America that’s in a slightly different outfit than in the movie? Must be a completely different character.” I know the Nick Fury/Nick Jr example is a bit more extreme since it’s not just a change of outfit, but it’s still the same line of reasoning.

Since the movie Cap and Hawkeye outfits were inspired by the Ultimate comics versions, at the end of the day they’re still ideas that originate in comics though. That doesn’t change the fact they’re ugly as hell though….

@Dalarsco
” I’d love to see Nick Fury established as a code name taken by all Directors of Shield”

I never even considered this possibility but I kind of like it! It could also be pretty neat way to have multiple Nick Furys (Furies?) who look different though I was okay with the new Fury being the half-black son of classic Fury, at least until they gave him an eyepatch too… that was little too ridiculous… I could have even excepted that he took his dad’s name as a codename but him embracing it as his real name after having been called Marcus Johnson for all his life? That was just as stupid as him losing the same eye as his dad and wearing eyepatch too
But anyways having every director of shield using nick Fury as a shared codename is a nice idea, it’d be fun to see it happen in a comic some day. But then what about female director? Would they be called Nicole Fury or something?

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from Crossgen comics used the shared codename idea. Basically the idea was that all the various James Bonds were different people that used the codename James Bond. But of course they substituted Bond for their own creation. It was an interesting comic that unfortunately didn’t last too long before Crossgen imploded. But Marvel could definitely borrow the idea for Nick Fury.

There’s a Doctor Who novel (“Who Shot Kennedy?” or something like that) which has a reporter investigating UNIT and the Doctor and realizing “The Doctor” is obviously a code-name for a high level British agent that’s been used by at least a half-dozen people since WW II.

Actually the dreadful sixties Casino Royale film used the James Bond idea first: The real Bond (David Niven) quit after having to capture an enemy spy he loved, so the Secret Service kept the legend of their top agent alive by assigning the James Bond name to multiple successors.

But anyways having every director of shield using nick Fury as a shared codename is a nice idea, it’d be fun to see it happen in a comic some day. But then what about female director? Would they be called Nicole Fury or something?

They could just call her Nick Fury. For some reason I think that would be extra awesome.

It just occurred to me, shouldn’t Sharon have been in this list?

@fraser
And Woody Allen was one of them as Evelyn Tremble. Ain’t that awesome? I’d pay big money to see more movies with young Woody as Bond :)

Wasn’t Michael Rossi a SHIELD agent?

JC, as a fairly short man, I did enjoy that Allen’s secret scheme was a bioweapon that kills all tall men and makes all women beautiful.

I will weigh in as also being sick of the comics always matching the movies. It first really bugged me with the X-men. I liked the leather costumes well enough in the movies. It made sense that colorful spandex just doesn’t translate as well to the movies, but I didn’t like that the comics felt they had to suddenly have them all wearing black and yellow leathers. And does Patrick Stewart get a kick back now that the artists have made Prof. X as though they are tracing over photos of him?

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