Graphic Novel Review: S.H.I.E.L.D – Perfect Bullets

S.H.I.E.L.D: Perfect Bullets

S.H.I.E.L.D: Perfect Bullets - Credit: Archant

They are the Marvel Universe’s first-line of defence... But who are the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?

(Panini Books)

Given the success of the S.H.I.E.L.D television show, it was perhaps inevitable that a Marvel Universe version of the team would eventually feature in their own comic book.

But unlike the TV reality, where superpowered beings are very much in the minority and the world is only just coming to terms with the existence of alien races, residents of the Marvel U are used to both of these elements, as well as the likes of undersea civilisations, magic and supernatural creatures like werewolves, zombies and vampires.

Hence trying to imitate the S.H.I.E.L.D series on the printed page would not really be viable, so writer Mark Waid has instead chosen to embrace the wild and diverse nature of the MU and showcase it through the eyes of Phil Coulson and his team of agents, which now includes comics versions of TV characters like Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and Melinda May.

As well as establishing a new team of S.H.I.E.L.D agents, the series also brings in special operatives to help out with certain missions, including the likes of Spider-Man and the Invisible Woman, which ensures plenty of variety in both stories and cast.

The range of missions is also fascinating, with Waid truly exploiting the rich tapestry of the Marvel Universe to offer fresh and interesting challenges to his protagonists, whether it be ridding Dr Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum of mystical house burglars, employing Susan Storm’s remarkable talents to rescue a prison of Hydra, or helping save a high school from black market supervillain gizmos.

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The episodic nature of the series to date is perhaps preventing the development of any long-running story arcs, but it’s early days, and both Waid and the team of artists he has at his disposal have certainly not disappointed at any level.

A spectacular start to what promises to be an unmissable series.