We're finally getting a comic "inspired by" the TV series. Little by little we've been witnessing little changes the bring the Marvel 616 universe and the Cinematic Universe closer together. As comic fans, we want both to be successful and both could benefit from the success of the other. Usually when we see comics based on live action media, they tend to feel a little watered down. With Mark Waid writing the series and different Marvel artists drawing each issue, there's the feeling that Marvel is taking this book seriously.
Waid opens the issue with a light introduction to Agent Phil Coulson. As seen in Marvel's The Avengers, we know that Coulson was a bit of a fanboy when it came to the heroes. Waid does a nice job illustrated that within a couple pages. We also get a sense of who Coulson is in the Marvel Universe and his relationship to others. We are also introduced to some familiar faces (familiar if you watch Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
What makes this exciting is the "unlimited budget" concept. By being able to bring in whichever characters are needed, there's a bigger feel to the story. It makes sense that when there's a big threat on the loose, the government can't just sit around and hope the Avengers or Fantastic Four or Spider-Man will be around to stop it. I look forward to seeing how S.H.I.E.L.D. will work with other heroes to get the mission completed, just like we're seeing in Ales Kot's SECRET AVENGERS.
Kicking the series off with art by Carlos Pacheco is enough to get anyone excited. Pacheco gets the opportunity to cut loose a little and is able to draw some non-typical Marvel settings. In other words, this issue doesn't take place strictly in New York City. If this is an indication of seeing other heroes assisting S.H.I.E.L.D. outside their normal environments, we're in for some interesting stories.
We first saw Phil "Cheese" Coulson in the 616 Universe in BATTLE SCARS by Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn, and Matt Fraction. We saw that Coulson was an Army Ranger along with Marcus Johnson, aka Nick Fury Jr. It was at the end of their adventure in this series that Coulson and Fury joined S.H.I.E.L.D. This eventually lead to his place in the SECRET AVENGERS series. When we see bits of Coulson's past over the years in the opening, there's no mention of being a Ranger and being in S.H.I.E.L.D. at twenty-five serving under Dum Dum Dugan doesn't fit in with what we've had so far. Coulson's had a pretty big part in SECRET AVENGERS.
It doesn't feel like the same character so the question is, is this series in the 616 Universe? My impression was this series was meant to take place in the 616. Is what's been established about Coulson being overlooked for the sake of bringing more of the TV series' feel to comics?
We haven't fully seen the "helper monkey" just yet. Let's hope it works out alright.
This series may be a result of trying to incorporate elements of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series to comics but that's okay. It's been too long since we've had a proper S.H.I.E.L.D. series. SECRET AVENGERS is doing a fantastic job but that's focused on a smaller group of agents and Avengers. Mark Waid has the freedom to call forth whichever characters are needed for the story. There is a lot of potential in being able to see heroes work outside their comfort zone along with the government agents in order to stop big threats. We'll be getting a different artist for each mission and Carlos Pacheco does a great job with a huge number of characters involved in the story. It's not clear how exactly this series fits in with the Cinematic and established comic continuity based on all we've seen of Coulson in comics so far. This has the makings of a really great and fun series.