On Sunday at Comic-Con International: San Diego’s “Marvel’s Next Big Thing” panel, Marvel announced their next big thing was a new S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing series. The series, which launches in December, will center on Special Agent Phil Coulson and Nick Fury Jr. as they take point in the secretive peace-keeping force’s pre-emptive war on evil. Leading the mission on the creative side of things is Mark Waid, joined by an all-star team of artists ranging from Carlos Pacheco to Alan Davis and even Chris Sprouse.
“S.H.I.E.L.D. is a high adventure that spans the entire Marvel Universe, from the Savage Land to the Negative Zone to Duckworld and everywhere in between,” Waid tells Newsarama. “The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take the forefront in defending the Earth from huge threats, and every case requires its "guest specialists" that can and will be drawn from every corner of the Marvel Universe.?”
The Daredevil writer says Coulson and Fury are the “mainstays” of the book, but the “fun” of the book for him comes to introducing some of Coulson’s fellow agents from television.
“The fun of the book is being able to introduce the rest of the TV S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to the Marvel Universe proper--Mae, Fitz, Simmons, and the others!”
Given these facts, some fans might presume this is a companion book, either spiritual or literal, to ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series but Waid assures comics fans this is front-and-center in Marvel’s comics universe.
“Spiritually related, certainly, yes--it's not movie-universe, though,” Waid explains. “It's straight-up Marvel Universe--meaning that it "counts" in ongoing continuity and (as you'll see) in a big way.”
Although in most S.H.I.E.L.D. stories Hydra seems the ever-present threat, in this S.H.I.E.L.D. series Waid says expect “something very different.”
“We're starting with one- and two-part adventures, each a distinct case,” says the writer. “But over time, we'll see how they weave into a bigger story involving something that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not used to battling.”
Although a standalone S.H.I.E.L.D. book seems like a no-brainer given the aforementioned television series and its prominence in the Marvel movies and comics itself, Marvel has had poor luck keeping a S.H.I.E.L.D. book alive in its comics history. Waid, who is considered an expert on comics lore, says he’s “not entirely sure” why but has a formula he thinks will work.
“?I'm not entirely sure why interest in S.H.I.E.L.D. ebbs and flows, though I'm not sure that's not true of anything from Hawkeye to Moon Knight, either,” Waid points out. “I do think that flat-out espionage without at least the tiniest dash of superheroics is a hard sell to a Marvel audience--but while we will have plenty of guest-stars (PLEN-T), it'll always be a S.H.I.E.L.D. book all the way.”