Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #1
By Marc Guggenheim, Germán Peralta & Rachelle Rosenberg
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV series is something that’s really grown in leaps and bounds since Season 1. What originally starting off as a flawed, monster-of-the-week series with uninteresting, bland characters, has now been transformed into one of the best comic book series on television. Considering that, it was really no surprise that we’d see the latest incarnation of a S.H.I.E.L.D-related book released from Marvel, featuring a similar cast and bearing the same name as the series, with its third season now on a long, mid-season break.
Coming, perhaps ironically, from one of the Executive Producers on Arrow, Marc Guggenheim writes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #1 and uses the first issue to explore everything that the show itself can’t do because it lacks the budget. There are plenty of high-octane action sequences taking place in several different locations using tools that what would be expensive on the show, including a guest appearance from Iron Man himself, Tony Stark. Guggenheim gets the interactions spot-on between the character exchanges; little touches, like Phil Coulson naming his different Strike Teams after his favourite authors (Tolkien, Asimov and Heinlein) really help make the book feel close to the similar tone of the television series.
Of course, having said that, there are several differences that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 has to ABC’s television series. Stark has already been mentioned, but going forward one wouldn’t be surprised to see more big names coming, if the last S.H.I.E.L.D series from Mark Waid was anything to go by. Iron Man’s role, however, makes it a bit difficult for the established characters to shine as aside from Phil Coulson, there isn’t much attention given to them. That’s obviously a shame becuase as we know from the show, they’ve all got great potential to develop and watch unfold. Sadly, dialogue aside, we’re never really given a reason to care as (once again, Coulson aside) they’re not fleshed out enough to make us care enough for the plot because it lacks any sense of tension at this stage.
The art is solid, with both artist Germán Peralta and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg going for the cinematic feel of the series and the characters are very much in tune with their live action counterparts, as you’d expect. The colors are vivid and eye-catching and the pencils impress as well, really helping bring the characters in particular to life. The action sequences are visually impressive and adopt a darker tone than the television series.
On the whole, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #1 is a flawed but fun first chapter in a new series that begins to explore the potential of having the television cast inserted into a world where that is not restricted by a budget. Unfortunately, it fails to wow readers. Germán Peralta and Rachelle Rosenberg do impress on artistic duties, however, and there’s enough potential in Guggenheim’s new series to stick around for more to come.