Have you ever wanted Marvel to do their own take on “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”? No? Well, they’re doing in anyway.
One of Marvel’s newest titles, simply titled S.H.I.E.L.D., will chronicle the untold history of the Marvel Universe’s secret agent super group. Turns out that Nick Fury’s predecessors stretch all the way back to the Egyptian Empire and have been there to defend the planet from various threats in the times before the superheroes.
Issue #1 begins in 1953 and follows Leonid, a mysterious teenager who is shown to have some sort of cosmic power or ability, but the nature of said power remains unexplained. He is recruited by the 1953 incarnation of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is located in Rome in the days before helicarriers) and is given a brief history of the agency’s protection of humanity throughout the centuries. Such instances include a Brood invasion in 2620 B.C. and an attack by everyone’s favorite devourer of worlds in 1582. And after spending three uneventful years within the walls of S.H.I.E.L.D., Leonid stumbles upon Leonardo DaVinci hiding in a room that has been locked for centuries.
Does this issue create a load of questions for the reader? You betcha! Will it bring readers back for issue #2? It might. As I hinted at earlier, it definitely has a bit of a “League” feel to it, especially with references to historical figures and a European setting, so fans of that series, as well as Marvel in general, will be drawn in by this series. And for the fanboys, a handful of blatant Marvel refereces are placed throughout the issue. For example, a certain immortal mutant was present for the B.C. Brood invasion, and two 1953 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents will each father a modern day hero.
I was looking forward to this series since I saw the first cover. And who wouldn’t get excitied after seeing a stone carving of the Vitruvian Galactus? I’ll be picking up issue #2, especially if writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dustin Weaver keep dropping subtle (and not-so-subtle) Marvel U Easter eggs.