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Call for Reviews: S.H.I.E.L.D. #2

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Postby Kerny » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:39 am

This book was dense. A lot happened with not a lot happening, if that makes sense

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Postby Zero » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:53 am

Spicy Dick wrote:I suspect, like LOST, we will both be rooting for the bad guy here.


But who's the bady guy? DaVinci doesn't seem to be on the same side of SHIELD's ruling council here, so maybe he and the Night Machine are allied.

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Postby Mr_Batman » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:52 pm

I was unable to obtain a copy of this for some strange reason. I think a lot of the people at my LCS had it on their pull list or something. Whatever I got Red Hood.

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Postby Eli Katz » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:54 pm

We all have our biases as readers and fanboys. Some people can’t stand love stories; other people can’t stand stories with unhappy endings. Some people crave sequels; other people demand original, unpredictable plots. The things that we love and hate, as readers or viewers, are deeply personal and often difficult to rationalize. But they guide our choices as consumers of entertainment.

The big issue for me, no matter what I’m reading or watching, is that I have to be able to suspend disbelief to enjoy the story. If the storyteller draws unnecessary attention to the storytelling process, I snap out of the enchantment of being entertained and snap back into the ugly, unenchanting world of real life.

How does this apply to S.H.I.E.L.D. #2? Well, the whole book seems to be a glossy, post-modern effort to draw attention to the storytelling process and in turn undermine the entertainment value of the story itself. First, I don’t believe -- in fact, I refuse to believe -- that real-life Renaissance figures, such as Galileo and Leonardo Da Vinci, are part of the Marvel Universe and can travel the cosmos. Seriously, that’s ridiculous and it takes me out of the story before I can even get started.

Yes, I know that Marvel has often used real-life people as characters in the past. Back in the early 1970s, for example, both Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew played important roles in the INCREDIBLE HULK. And, yes, I know that Marvel has frequently incorporated current invents -- including the Vietnam War, 9/11, and the Iraq War -- into its books. But I accept those real-life intrusions into the comic book world because they were contemporary intrusions. I can’t accept a complete re-writing and Marvelization of world history. It’s too big and, more important, too absurd.

Second, Hickman’s use of the script page near the end of issue 2 completely disrupts the flow of the story. This is an ugly, post-modern device that has been overused by flaky writers like William S. Burroughs and Kathy Acker. I can’t stand it. There’s nothing worse than breaking apart the narrative style and hammering the reader with many different kinds of storytelling approaches in one book. It’s distracting and inconsistent, and again it takes me out of the story.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, it’s hard to get drawn into a book where nothing makes sense and no one speaks like a regular character. S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 has some of the most stilted language I have ever read in a comic. I’m not exaggerating. It’s as if Hickman took the very worst dialogue written by Jack Kirby 35 years ago, and tried to make it even more awkward and unnatural sounding.

This book, story-wise, is a pointless mess. The only consolation is that S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 features some pretty pictures with many shiny, bright colors. But I need more than nice pictures to enjoy a comic book. I need a full story with three-dimensional characters.

This book is not worth the cover price.


STORY: 0
ART: 8
OVERALL: 4

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Postby Amoebas » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:17 pm

Eli Katz wrote:in fact, I refuse to believe -- that real-life Renaissance figures, such as Galileo and Leonardo Da Vinci, are part of the Marvel Universe and can travel the cosmos. Seriously, that’s ridiculous

This book is not worth the cover price.

Great review. You just pretty much described my feelings for #1. I now have no interest in reading #2 it when it arrives in my BoxoComics on Monday.

Galileo was off on orbits and the cause of the oceans tides, yet he can stop Galactus???? :?

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Postby Justin M. Campbell » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:59 am

Honestly, I think Hickman gave away the game here.

Leonid is the thing in the sun from # 1 and likely has some connection to Marvel cosmic entity Eternity.

But I think the minutia of the story is going to be the drawing point.

I dug it, but, like I just said, it telegraphed some stuff.

Although, seeing Parel's version of Galactus as the cover for # 3? Bad ASS!

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Postby thefourthman » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:56 am

Eli, I have to ask, have you read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Five Fists of Science or Hellboy or Time Lincoln or The Amazing Screw-On Head. With the exception of Time Lincoln and Five Fists of Science, these are comics that are considered the pinnacle of achievement for the medium. (Some highly overrated - League, some near perfect genius- Screw On Head)... They all take historically (or literary-ly?) important characters and place them into the absurd and fictional world of comics.

For me, that is one of the cool things that comics can do.

I need to give this a re-read before I review; but, not necessarily by you Eli (as you probably still haven't read issue one - which may have taken some of the edge off Da Vinci for you, although the objections to Nostradamus seem odd, he probably would have dug it, maybe Da Vinci too), I am kind of dumb founded by the complaints of it not making sense.

I can understand the problems with dialogue or techno-babble or even the script page (and that one boils down to pure personal preference, I would much rather see one page of that then three or four pages of talking heads needlessly stretching out the title - but then again, having read everything Hickman has written in comics, I am used to that particular tool at this point), but from my reading it seemed pretty straight forward to me.

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Postby Amoebas » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:17 am

Question - If SHIELD has always been there to take on the big stuff, where were when the Skrulls came to Earth in the 50's or in '61? The Toad Men? The Stone Men from Saturn? The Lava Men? Galactus on his (2nd) visit? (which really devalues the significance of FF #48-50 imo).

I suppose the only way to answer this is for them to say they orchestrated the creation of 3-D Man, the FF, the Hulk, Thor, etc.

And if that's the case then the magic of early Marvel is rendered meaningless.

Time will tell, but I for one hope this is a What-If world and not the proper universe. If this were the case then it might be (somehow) more believable.

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Postby Eli Katz » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:18 am

thefourthman wrote:Eli, I have to ask, have you read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Five Fists of Science or Hellboy or Time Lincoln or The Amazing Screw-On Head. With the exception of Time Lincoln and Five Fists of Science, these are comics that are considered the pinnacle of achievement for the medium. (Some highly overrated - League, some near perfect genius- Screw On Head)... They all take historically (or literary-ly?) important characters and place them into the absurd and fictional world of comics.

For me, that is one of the cool things that comics can do.

I have read and enjoyed some of those books. It sounds as though I enjoyed League more than you.

Here's the thing: I'm not opposed, on principle, to comics providing alternate histories. I'm not opposed to novels or movies doing that, either. Heck, I love Philip K. Dick's novel, The Man in the High Castle. But I am opposed to a Marvel book doing it. Marvel has a well-established fictional world. That world does not, for the most part, intrude our world, and it does not, for the most part, incorporate real historical figures. Certainly, it does no rewrite world history.

So for me, this story is breaking the longstanding conventions and limits of the Marvel Universe. That's why I oppose the use of historical figures in this particular case.

And maybe I could have looked beyond this, if the overall book had been better written and more entertaining. But it has absurd dialogue and is trying to be all po-mo. No thanks.

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Postby BlueStreak » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:20 am

Amoebas wrote:Question - If SHIELD has always been there to take on the big stuff, where were when the Skrulls came to Earth in the 50's or in '61? The Toad Men? The Stone Men from Saturn? The Lava Men? Galactus on his (2nd) visit? (which really devalues the significance of FF #48-50 imo).

I suppose the only way to answer this is for them to say they orchestrated the creation of 3-D Man, the FF, the Hulk, Thor, etc.

And if that's the case then the magic of early Marvel is rendered meaningless.

Time will tell, but I for one hope this is a What-If world and not the proper universe. If this were the case then it might be (somehow) more believable.


As SHIELD's set in the 1950's, it happens before all these events occur.

My bet is that the SHIELD organization in this book will disband before all is said and done.

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Postby thefourthman » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:20 am

Amoebas wrote:Question - If SHIELD has always been there to take on the big stuff, where were when the Skrulls came to Earth in the 50's or in '61? The Toad Men? The Stone Men from Saturn? The Lava Men? Galactus on his (2nd) visit? (which really devalues the significance of FF #48-50 imo).

I suppose the only way to answer this is for them to say they orchestrated the creation of 3-D Man, the FF, the Hulk, Thor, etc.

And if that's the case then the magic of early Marvel is rendered meaningless.

Time will tell, but I for one hope this is a What-If world and not the proper universe. If this were the case then it might be (somehow) more believable.

there is a feeling that SHIELD will weigh heavily on Hickman's FF and Secret Warriors as well. But, as you say, only time will tell.

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Postby doombug » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:21 am

review coming tomorrow 8)
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Postby superfictious » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:25 am

I think I'll take a stab at a review a little later, but my initial take after reading the first two issues is that this is a mini-Crisis event.

I can also see how some would be turned off by this type of story but, as I am a Morrison fan and this is definitely Morrisonian storytelling, I'm all for it.

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Postby thefourthman » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:27 am

Eli Katz wrote:I have read and enjoyed some of those books. It sounds as though I enjoyed League more than you.

Here's the thing: I'm not opposed, on principle, to comics providing alternate histories. I'm not opposed to novels or movies doing that, either. Heck, I love Philip K. Dick's novel, The Man in the High Castle. But I am opposed to a Marvel book doing it. Marvel has a well-established fictional world. That world does not, for the most part, intrude our world, and it does not, for the most part, incorporate real historical figures. Certainly, it does no rewrite world history.

So for me, this story is breaking the longstanding conventions and limits of the Marvel Universe. That's why I oppose the use of historical figures in this particular case.

And maybe I could have looked beyond this, if the overall book had been better written and more entertaining. But it has absurd dialogue and is trying to be all po-mo. No thanks.

But that's not quite true. Cap fought Hitler and from all appearances, the Marvel Universe is an exact replica of the real Universe until the dawn of Super-Heroes. Not only that, at least in appearance (if not in admittance from editorial) Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all been the president during their terms. The whole conceit of Marvel over DC is that it is indeed based in the real world.

I just think it is a particularly odd thing to note about the book.

Like I said, I can understand some of the complaints. This one seems really odd to me.

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Postby Rockman » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:28 am

I liked the book myself. I cannot tell you what is really going on, but I like the way that DaVinci is portrayed in it.

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