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How to Get up to Speed on Agents of SHIELD

We’ve been recapping and reviewing Agents of SHIELD for quite some time now, and over the last couple of weeks we’ve written several articles that discuss the comic origins of the major characters.

Well, this has gotten one reader hooked, but not being a comic person, he feels a little lost and wonders how to get up to speed on Agents of SHIELD. He emailed us a list of questions, and our hope is that this won’t only help him, but will be helpful to anyone who is trying to jump on the Agents of SHIELD Quintet in mid flight.

Earth Nerds,
I got the Flu a few weeks back. Naturally, that meant I needed to binge on a new show on Netflix. I landed on Marval’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Now I’m hooked! I’ve watched the first season and the season two episodes up to this point. I love it.

But I need your help. I’m not a comic book person – I don’t really know much about the S.H.I.E.L.D. “world”. I know it ties in with Iron Man and Captain America, but I have questions…

1. I get that S.H.I.E.L.D. is connected with the Marvel “world” with Captain America and Iron Man. What should I know about this world – what are the basics?

imagesKeep in mind that everything I share will be an oversimplification. We’re talking 75 years of comics history, so I’ll only give you high level stuff, as you can really achieve nerd overload with too many details.

Simplified, SHIELD is the Marvel Universe’s peace-keeping force. They are like the CIA, FBI, Interpol and MI-6 rolled into one bada@@ operation. They gather intelligence, go on covert ops, and under Nick Fury’s leadership, have tried to anticipate the bad moves plotted by the big, bad guys.

Unlike the television show, Nick Fury has for 90% of comic history been portrayed as a grizzled old white guy with an eye patch, and he has historically worked with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, etc. to tackle some big, bad stuff, all with the goal of keeping the world safe.

2. S.H.I.E.L.D. intertwines with other movies and shows. Which ones? I have 2+ months before S.H.I.E.L.D. season two starts again – what other movies and shows should I watch while waiting? Preferably listed in order by which I should watch them.

Avengers and Captain America 2 are essential, and will provide a ton of context for you. If you enjoy those, go back and pick up Iron Man 1, Thor 1, Captain America 1, Iron Man 2, Thor 2, and Iron Man 3.

3. When watching S.H.I.E.L.D. I feel like there’s more I should know about Director Fury that isn’t revealed in the show. Why is he so removed from the Agency? What happened to his eye? Why did he (SPOILER ALERT) turn S.H.I.E.L.D. over to Agent Coulson instead of continuing to run it himself?

A lot of this is answered in Captain America 2. What happened to his eye, you ask? If you want to read a few comics that relate heavily to the TV show, then check out our review of Secret Warriors, which also talks about Fury’s eye.

4. It seems like (SPOILER ALERT) the world is on the brink of collapse with Hydra taking down most of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Why don’t Captain America, Iron Man, or the Avengers step in and help?

captain_america_the_winter_soldier_hd-t2The cynical answer is that Cap and Iron Man are busy setting up action figure licensing deals with Disney.

The practical answer is that you couldn’t film that level of action and effects on a small screen budget, so you save those stories for the movies.

The answer as it relates to trying to give a plausible comic answer is that SHIELD as a spy agency is better equipped to handle covert type of threats, whereas Captain America and Iron Man are best suited when they have something big and tangible to hit. I’m still hopeful we’ll one day get to see a Chris Evans appearance on SHIELD. Wouldn’t that be grand?

5. At the end of “What they become”, the last episode before the long break in season two, (SPOILER ALERT) what do you think happened to Skye? I couldn’t tell – did it also happen to Raina? What do you think happened?

What happened to Skye and Raina is that they were transformed into Inhumans, which are superpower beings created by the Kree, the blue Alien race featured on SHIELD and also in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

The Inhumans are a long time Marvel Comics property (and a pretty cool one at that). Since Marvel doesn’t have the movie rights to the X-Men (they were sold to Fox when Marvel was going through tough financial times at the turn of the century), they are currently enhancing the storylines that involve the Inhumans.

Daisy Johnson Skye InhumansThe plan is for the Inhumans to play the large role that would’ve gone to the mutant X-Men, had Fox not owned those rights. In 2018 Marvel will be releasing an Inhumans movie, so between now and then we can expect tons of Inhuman storylines in the comics and on Agents of SHIELD. This is a long play unlike anything we’ve seen before. In short, Marvel has 3 years to create a fan base for the Inhumans movie.

Specifically, Skye is the Character Daisy Johnson, AKA Quake, from the comics and although it’s not confirmed, I’m guessing Raina might become this obscure character from the comics. Here’s a full character spotlight on Quake, which will be helpful when you are anticipating the back of of season 2 of Agents of SHIELD.

I realize this won’t fully get you up to speed on Agents of SHIELD, as there is simply too much comic history to catch all the Easter eggs noticed by long-time comic readers, but I do hope it helps. It’s a great show and I only think it will be getting better and better.