I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, as it is, of course, a unique concept. I have recently gotten into Hickman's Secret Warriors, and I haven't read any of his indie stuff, so to me he's a new creator, one who is unproven. Hickman proves himself with S.H.I.E.L.D., creating something far greater than anyone could have expected. Based on that alone, I would score this book very highly, but this is not how the review ends.
Based on the previews and promotion for this book, I was expecting an interesting story set in the past. I knew that it had something to do with Leonardo Da Vinci, and that perhaps he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Nothing incredibly groundbreaking, but certainly a fun concept. This book, however, is much much more than that. It featured tales of historical figures, important both in real world history and Marvel Universe history, saving the world from various threats throughout time, and established a history for S.H.I.E.L.D. going back to Ancient Egypt. Delivering on the expectations of the book is good enough to secure an excellent score, but this is not how the review ends.
What the book did on the surface was only a small part of the story. The true ambition of this book is to give purpose and meaning to the entire history of the Marvel Universe, tying together events and characters to turn all of Marvel history into one massive, connected story. This is a grand purpose indeed, and one that may seem impossible to attempt, but Hickman is off to a good start. A glorious purpose such as this would win any first issue a 10 out of 10, but as you can see by the paragraph below, this is not how the review ends.
I will definitely be following this series to see Hickman attempt this feat. I'll be paying even more attention to Secret Warriors. I'll probably check out Fantastic Four to see how that might tie in. I may even go back and pick up some of Hickman's indie stuff. All of this excitement and anticipation from the first issue of a comic is what really makes this book great. It makes me want to read more comics. That alone would be good enough for any one book, but this is not how the review ends.
Hickman's S.H.I.E.L.D. succeeds on every level, and it is a grand enough book to exist on many levels at once. It delivers a satisfying story, it aims for a grand purpose, it sets the stage for things to come, and it hooks the reader. The perfect comic book.
10 of 10
I LOVE BLUD BLOOD! - Rob Liefeld