If you weren’t paying enough attention this past week, the first issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. was released to a wide range of fan reaction, mainly because of how deep it will seemingly be plunging us into the Marvel Universe and how things came to be. I read the first issue. Allow me to tell you why this was very, very good.
We open with a young man named Leonid in 1953 being taken into a car, and seemingly revealing that he has the power cosmic. I think. I mean, he suddenly turns into a bunch of stars, which in Marvel continuity signals a person of the cosmic persuasion. He’s taken to Rome where he meets the High Council of the Shield. Then, we get flashbacks to Imhotep, who was apparently the first ever agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., as he did in fact use a shield (with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on it!) Enjoy a little guest shot of Apocalypse in the Egyptian crowd, which who knows if they’ll touch on more. After a stop over in the Han Dynasty, we skip ahead to Florence 1495, where we find da Vinci and a couple of his pals/students helping him over the years to assemble his… da Vinci armor? Whatever it is, it send him flying into oblivion, so that’s pretty awesome.
Next we move to Galileo, who seemingly invents the first Ultimate Nullifier before Reed Richards’ great-great-great-great grandfather is even in diapers, so suck on that Mr. Fantastic. I love the idea of Galactus in 16th century Rome for some reason. After his first history lesson, Leonid joins the High Council due to what I imagine is some immense power this guy must have. One night, his father, a man called The Night Machine, shows up to take Leonid away. By this point, I have no idea what’s happening, but I don’t even care because I love how awesome things seem to be getting. Clearly something big is happening that will be revealed to me soon, so I sit and read. Then Night Machine kills a bunch of guys. Then S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Richards and Stark (holy shit) appear upside-down on the ceiling (holy shit) and open fire on Human Machine (holy shit). Finally, Leonid goes through a door he has been told to stay away from that Human Machine somehow has the key to, and going up the stairs he meets Leonardo da Vinci in full da Vinci armor, who says that in his hands he holds hope and the rescuing of all things.
Not often do I make an audible ‘Wow’ sound but I did here. It was amazing. It was clearly woven deep into Marvel continuity, but it didn’t at all feel bogged down by anything. This is a story about the secret history of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the power cosmic, and clearly a number of other amazing things. Weren’t Spider-Man’s parents agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? God, I hope they show up in this at some point. I can’t tell you how amazing this first issue is. All I can wonder is, since all the historical agents we find declare “This is not how the world ends,” then how does the world end?