Tag Archives: Marvel Universe

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Ep 1 – Pilot Review

27 Sep
S.H.I.E.L.D Assembles!

S.H.I.E.L.D Assembles!

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe collided for the first time with its small screen counterpart tonight as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D came crashing through our telly boxes and boy it did not disappoint!

Action packed from the get go, the shadowy government agency which has connected the big screen Marvel films together finally got some room to grow and explore. There was plenty here to tie in to the movies with some cool references to Captain America: The First Avenger and some nifty shout outs to the wider Marvel Universe (Journey into Mystery, Stark Industries and a sneaky Spider-Man half quote) plus a Men in Black II homage which gave me a chuckle.

The pilot served its purpose well, both reminding us of the Shield we know and love whilst teasing themes and plot lines to come throughout the season. One aspect of this show will undoubtedly be about regular joes dealing with life in a post Battle of New York world. In the same way that a post Avengers world has heavily influenced our own culture and thrown superheroes and the comic book community further into the mainstream, the denizens of the MCU are going to face existential questions about their place in the cosmos knowing there are aliens, gods and monsters out there in the big bad world.

marvels-agents-of-shield-02

Our first hero deals with these directly, being influenced by events from the most recent Marvel outing Iron Man 3. It’s nice to see their first hero be black though minus Mike & Agent May there was a distinct lack of ethnic representation (Where on earth was Agent Sitwell?) Mike Peterson is a great first choice and J. August Richards does a great job desperately trying to be the hero despite factors beyond his control.

The other main theme as a series will be Agent Coulson trying to turn his team of agents into heroes and teaching them that all the superpowers in the world mean nothing and that the true hero is within. That team however is a mostly unremarkable one, with some being utterly unlikeable and unmemorable (Fitz & Simmons seem there literally for the one pun) though Brett Dalton as Agent Ward was a better fit than he first appeared. The less said about Skye the better. Hey Skye the 90’s called, they want their “cute hacker girl” trope back. As nice as it is to look at attractive or ruggedly handsome actors for an hour I would much prefer to see some older, average looking or “non hollywood” faces round out the team.

SAM HARGRAVE, MING-NA WEN

A nice cameo from Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill seemed to make up for some of the weaker characters as did Ming-Na Wen’s calm and collected Melinda May. If any of the shows cast gets a chance to appear in a future MCU film or vice versa I’d hope Melinda May & Natasha Romanoff get some screen time together.

Joss & Jed Whedon have done well to keep a cinematic feel, helped by a great score by Bear McCreary (Bear also scores The Walking Dead) The hand off as writer from brother to brother will hopefully go smoothly enough that big brother Joss won’t have to step back in anytime soon.

Verdict: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is the perfect companion to the MCU and a great distraction whilst waiting for the next big blockbuster. Joss Whedon sets a new corner of the Marvel U loose while keeping the much loved Coulson comedy and some familiar faces (Ron Glass or Book Shepherd to any Browncoats out there). The big question still remains. What happened to Coulson? Life Model Decoy? Android? Clone? Skrull?! We’ll just have to keep tuning in to find out.

9.0/10

Shield

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Infinity – The Hunt #1 Review

12 Sep
Let the hunt begin!

Let the hunt begin!

There has been a lot of talk of “Event Fatigue” recently, and I agree to a point. With the Age of Ultron still a fresh wound and the X-Men’s Battle of the Atom occurring simultaneously, some people will have to choose which earth shattering event to follow. While the main Infinity series rages on, a little gem as arisen in the form of Infinity – The Hunt.

Most tie-in books seem either tacked on or contain so much important information that they are a compulsory read. The Hunt is neither of these, in fact, the concept it so good it could indeed sprout its own spin-off once the dust has settled.

The basic premise of the book is to take the kids of each of the worlds meta-human schools and pit them against each other in a more peaceful version of the Hunger Games. Competing are students from the Avengers Academy, Future Foundation, The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, the Braddox Academy, the Wakandan School for Alternative Studies, the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted and the Latverian School of Science (the Atlantean School was invited but there are complications between them and Wakanda). The mere fact that all these schools exist in the Marvel Universe and have not come together yet is astonishing but provides amazing possibilities.

Future Champions

Future Champions

Steven Sanders channels the style of FF’s Mike Allred but also keeps other well known characters like the students of the Jean Grey School in their usual aesthetic. There are a whole heap of great designs here too for newer characters from the lesser known schools. Two of these new students bring in the concept of Para-Athletes to these games. Box of the Braddox Academy uses an exoskeleton due to a congenital birth defect which left him short two limbs. Additionally, from the Pan-Asian School is Gang, a genius teen with Muscular-Dystrophy  who has built himself a space-suit style outfit decked out with the latest tech. Neither are going to worry Tony Stark any time soon but they would definitely interest him. After the recent Para-Olympics painted Para-Athletes as “Super Humans” it is great to see their comic counterparts become literal super humans.

The elephant in the room here though is Avengers Arena. Students from many of the schools competing here have already been kidnapped and forced to compete in a more extreme version of these games. Their absence is felt and touched upon but the glaring question is why Avengers Arena needed to take place at all when this could have been the much more interesting alternative.

The main problem however is that this title isn’t about the “Contest of Champions” but rather Thanos’ evil forces invading earth. Undoubtedly the kids and teachers will be forced to work together to combat the threat in coming issues and probably get in each others faces whilst doing so. Despite this, the first issue was a lot of fun and offers a great new concept for the future.

Verdict: Infinity – The Hunt #1 lulls you into thinking this is a battle of the youngest and brightest students in the Marvel-U, but is forgiven for its flawless execution and great concepts. I would be very disappointed if this didn’t result in an ongoing series or at the very least an annual games.

8.0/10

Next #1

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