S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 Review & Spoilers
Mark Waid, writer
Alan Davis, penciler
Mark Farmer, inker
Matthew Wilson, colorist
Besides starring in a weekly television show and appearing in blockbuster movies, Phil Coulson is front-and-center in two monthly comic book series (S.H.I.E.L.D and Secret Avengers). At this rate the guy is supplanting Wolverine as the most active character in the Marvel Universe.
I skipped the previous two issues of S.H.I.E.L.D, and picked this one up due to the Spider-Man and Doctor Strange connections. Fortunately, the story is self-contained, and there’s no need to have read earlier books to keep up.
Story begins with a mystical criminal/terrorist gang infiltrating Doctor Strange’s home. Even with the Sorcerer Supreme off-world, breaking into his inner sanctum seems almost too easy. Once inside, the gang quickly dispatches Wang, but its leader, Colonel Myrdden, foolishly opens the book he was hired to steal. All this takes place on page one before transitioning to the credit page. Cool, kind of like a television show teaser.
Immediately after the credits, Coulson along with Spider-Man speed toward Doc Strange’s home. Along with a S.H.I.E.L.D team already on scene, D-Level super-villain, Pavel P. Rasputin is waiting to assist, in order to have previous charges against him dropped. While the other agents wait outside, Coulson, Spidey and Rasputin enter the house.
Doctor Strange’s home is both mystically weird and mundane, complete with upside down rooms, magical traps and a regular kitchen. The trio fight their way through the gang’s security, while encountering the mystic horrors unwittingly unleashed by Colonel Myrdden.
Admitting to being scared shitless, Rasputin attempts to escape, but Spider-Man forces him to remain. At the same time, Coulson is separated from the Spidey and Rasputin. Choosing to continue without him, the two make their way to Strange’s inner sanctum in hopes of shutting down the magic unleashed by Myrdden. Once there though, the Colonel’s gang, who’ve been transformed into various demons, overwhelms both.
Coulson arrives at the last moment though, and despite starting to turn into a demon himself, he manages to close the cursed book, and instantly end the magical threat.
With everything wrapped up, Rasputin is pardoned, as promised, and Coulson promises to drive Spider-Man home in the flying S.H.I.E.L.D car.
Good issue. Based on the clue Coulson finds in the final panel, there’s an overarching plot here, but thankfully, this issue is easy to follow without reading the previous two S.H.I.E.L.D books. I like Coulson giving Spider-Man credit for being a hero who puts the welfare of other above his ego. So often, people working with Spidey dismiss him as a joke, so I dig this respect for one of Marvel’s most powerful and selfless heroes.
Another positive here is that we’re getting to see what probably amounts to the more routine events in the Marvel Universe. Yes, there’s magic and super-humans involved, but S.H.I.E.L.D is responding to what amounts to a breaking-and-entering . . . in Doctor Strange’s house. In a lot of ways, it almost seems realistic.
Finally, Agent Coulson is not a bad character. A bit too cool at times, but also somebody I don’t mind rooting for.
I originally ignored this series, but considering Mark Waid is writing, that might have been a mistake. What I saw in this particular issue was all good, and I’ll be adding S.H.I.E.L.D to my pull-list from here on out.
Tags: Mark Waid, S.H.I.E.L.D., SHIELD, Spider-Man