Warning: Possible Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s The Avengers, and possibly a few comics. You have been warned.
A full trailer for Marvel and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series premiered this week. The series – starting fall 2013 – features Agent Phil Coulson of the Marvel movie fame (reprised by actor Clark Gregg) and some younger S.H.I.E.L.D. agents dealing with various super-powered incidents. The series also stars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and – at least in one episode – J. August Richards playing a maybe-but-not-confirmed Luke Cage.
From this trailer, we’ve learned two key points of the series in its relation to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe – the Marvel films made in line with Marvel’s The Avengers.
- Agent Coulson is alive after is questionable fate in Marvel’s The Avengers.
- This series takes place AFTER Marvel’s The Avengers.
I’ve heard the argument lately that Coulson’s rise from the supposed dead has taken the wind from the sails of the series and it’s dramatic potential. The argument is that Coulson’s not-death has rendered real-death meaningless, that all fan-favorite characters have the same immortality as the main titular ones. Sure, Iron Man or Captain America won’t die, but neither will their comrade in arms of lesser fame whose death gives them their final push to beat the bad guy and save the day. If they can’t die, then what about the damsel in distress, or the cute kid sidekick, or even the big bad itself everyone fawns over (looking at you, three-peat Loki).
What dramatic suspense is there when anyone with enough fan following gets a pass from the Grim Reaper?
Maybe I’ve been reading comics for too long (LIES!), but a character returning from death alone isn’t enough to faze me out of the story. We comic fans have gone through this time and time again. Superman, Jean Gray, all the X-Men, Jason Todd, Batman, Captain America, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bart Allen, Norman Osborn, Spider clones, and more than I can count. DC’s 2009-2010 Blackest Night crossover comic and event is a huge joke on the premise of comic book characters returning from the dead.
Some returns from the dead are good, and some aren’t. It all depends on the story. Is it well written? Does the return make sense? Is the emotional impact still valid? If it’s still a good story, and if the original death story maintains its emotional impact, then bring it on.
Admittedly, the premise is a difficult one to pull off, but it can be done. For example, I really enjoy the (currently on Netflix) DC animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood (NOT the original comic version). The return from death is also a premise that shouldn’t be used too often, just as overplaying any story trope can kill that trope’s effectiveness.
Now let’s return to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson. Given some of the suspicious aspects of the character’s ending in Marvel’s The Avengers, and my faith in Whedon’s storytelling, I don’t expect to be disappointed in the explanation of Coulson’s coming to be in this series. As long as it’s written and pull off well enough, I look forward to the everyman Agent Coulson character returning. Plus, I wouldn’t put it past Whedon to bring him back just to kill him again.
In the end though, anything’s better than a Superboy Prime reality punch…
Was there a character whose return from the dead you thought was handled well? Handled poorly? Why?
Are you looking forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall? Why or why now?
Recommended Viewing: Max Landis’ The Death and Rebirth of Superman
In retrospect, I feel I should have made last week’s column promoting Free Comic Book Day. Maybe even post twice last week. (*gasp*) Unfortunately, that is then and this is now, the week following Free Comic Book Day.
Really quick, what is Free Comic Book Day? The first Saturday in May, participating comic shops across the country and beyond give out specially-created free comic issues to increase awareness for the comic book medium and the shops that sell them. You can learn more from reading Free Comic Book Day’s FAQ, or just listen to Wolverine himself: Hugh Jackman.
I took a good tour of the local Nashville comic shops throughout the day, visiting Rick’s Comic City, The Great Escape Madison, and Comix City Too. While each one celebrated Free Comic Book Day, each one did it in their own way.
Rick’s Comic City, located in a strip mall in the Donelson area of Nashville, made the day a big event. Their free comics were outside on tables in front of the store, thankfully covered from the rainy day by an overhanging roof. RCC attracted several costumers and even local artists, such as Guy Gilchrist of the newspaper comic strip Nancy. The neighboring store in the strip that’s not typically part of RCC housed more merch and the artists who signed and gave drawing lessons. The store even gave out a ticket to exchange for more books for each $10 spent. (I picked up two copies of Iron Man: Extremis, which the third Iron Man film is partially based on.)
Instead of going the event route, The Great Escape Madison used the opportunity to show off their other merch. In addition to comics, TGEM also sells albums, movies, video games, toys, and collectibles. It’s a nostalgic trip of a store. Its free comics were in the back of the store, not hidden as signs and staff made their location clear. Their placement forced people inside the store to be enticed by their merchandise and take advantage of their 40% discount on used comics and trades. (You know I did.)
The same thing happened at Comix City Too, keeping its comics further back in the store. CCT showcased its table top gaming. In addition to comics, this store prides itself by serving fans of board games, card games, and pen-and-paper RPGs with extensive merchandise selection and regularly-hosted tournaments and game nights. If you’re a Warhammer fan, this is the store for you.
Despite the differences of these three stores – from making Free Comic Book Day an event all its own, using it to showcase a varied selection, or merging it with an already-established gaming event – each of these stores were packed in attendance. I had to wait an entire half an hour in line for the register at RCC, and the other stores had respectable crowds as well. I wish I thought to take some photos of the several friends and other cool people in costumes and show off how popular the day is.
Free Comic Book Day seems here to stay in Nashville’s comic shops, and I hope it was just as successful at your own.
What did you do for Free Comic Book Day?
What books did you pick up?
Beware anyone with scissors, glue, and a spare weekend.
As my fellow comic book fans are aware, we tend to collect a surplus of individual comic issues that we generally don’t care about. Usually because they aren’t that good or we have no interest in reading again. We often end up with a lot of incomplete story arcs and one offs because of this. (More recently, I’m looking at you, Rick Remender’s Captain America, but great work on Uncanny Avengers.)
What do you do with your leftover comics? Do you keep them in a long box, never to see the light of day again? Do you try to sell them, getting mere pennies back on your investment (if you’re lucky).
Over this weekend, inspired by a comic collage coffee table my roommate made with some of our comics, my girlfriend and I made comic collage posters!
What went into these?
- Old IKEA scenery poster boards
- Variety of my comics, admittedly heavy on the Marvel side
- Mod Podge matte waterbase sealer, glue, and finish
- 1″ paint brush
At the end, we turned one of these:
Into one of these:
Improvement? I’d say so. Classy and creative wall decoration? Definitely.
What do you do with your leftover comics?
Have you done any recent craft projects lately? If so, what?
Here we have the extended promotional trailer for DC Comic’s New 52 initiative, where they reboot or create 52 titles in September. I’ve blogged about this before, but I find myself becoming less optimistic that this cheap gimmick will continue the stories I’ve been caring about lately or create anything that actually means something and lasts through the next eventual Crisis.
Does any of this sell you on DC Comics though? Do these trailers or any of the news you’ve heard made you care in the slightest? Is DC seeming to be achieving their goal in attracting a new audience, or do you seeing this falling on its face?
Maybe I’m just bringing my own biases into this, but I don’t see anything in this trailer selling the New 52 initiative. It’s familiar superheroes (mostly familiar with Superman in a tee shirt) beating up people and things. The shorter TV commercial is even less enticing. What’s new? What is the selling point of getting new and fallen-out readers to these books?
New books at #1 isn’t an irregular thing. Marvel essentially did the same thing with The Mighty Thor #1 and Captain America #1, yet these are not restarts or even soft reboots. These are new volumes, picking up at a fresh story for new readers while still embracing everything that has happened even within the previous issue of the last volume.
So why should I care, DC? Especially since you’ve screwed around with the Batman bits I was really digging, such as Dick and Bruce co-existing as Batman and Bruce Batman’s nifty new suit with the Bat signal chest. Why should I care? Why should the new and the old care? And why isn’t THAT in your trailers and commercials?
The real sticking point though is that DC pulls a quote from the New York Times to promote their initiative as being “audacious.” Let’s look at that for a moment.
1) Showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks
2) Showing an impudent lack of respect
Yeah, that fits.
The world was set ablaze earlier this month when DC Comics announced that they would be restarting or debuting 52 titles this September. Finally, with the announcement of Grant Morrison tackling the perennial super hero title Action Comics, the world now knows what books to expect this fall.
Restarts of long-running ongoing titles seem silly to me, simply a cheap marketing gimmick. So do revamps simply for the sake of revamps and for other reason. These first issues may be a good starting point for new readers, but they’ll be inconvenient or annoying interruptions for current ones. Not to mention that restarting a book for new readers is only a temporary fix, as the titles will become convoluted and impenetrable again within a couple of years. Is that really worth screwing up over 900 issues of continuous publishing?
With that said, this whole debacle presents specific opportunities and sadly dropped balls. Here’s what I picked out from my own views. What about you?
And yet again I missed a week. I didn’t actually buy anything last week, so oh well. At least I’ve had my last two twitter spree posts to keep you entertained. But now, it’s all about the comics, and with not getting last week’s books until this week, there are a lot of them. What did you pick up that I should check out?
I finally missed a week. Didn’t even make it to the big 1-0. Oh well. Now I get to put more titles in one post, including this week’s Pick of the Week. Did I miss something these past two weeks? Do you have a book you want to talk about? Talk about it in the comments.
And… I got nothing. This was a lack-luster week for me in terms of comic buying, as nothing really interested me enough to make a purchase. Still, as per a resolution, I’m updating this every week. So now I bring you a No Pull List post (a.k.a. filler). And of course, there’s the usual question. What did you pick up this week?
Ouch. SEVEN BOOKS THIS WEEK. My wallet is hurt. A bunch of good Marvel books came out this week (including a much-needed second printing). I keep wanting to cut back on books, and I do in a way (Superman and Wonder Woman are out of the list), but then I keep picking up new books. Comment on my list and tell me how you manage your monthly titles.