Everything’s getting caught up in this new Civil War, including Coulson and his team. So just like everyone and everything else that got roped into doing a tie-in, it’s time for characters to fight each other for whatever reason they may have. As such, in honor of the new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we bring you this review.
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Illustrated by Ario Anindito
It’s Coulson versus his teammates in this epic showdown! Phil Coulson’s Third Faction is hitting the battlefield of Civil War II! But how will they fare against Coulson’s former teammates and their new leader, Elektra?? Sides are being chosen and these Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will never be the same.
Remember back during Marvel’s first Civil War, when the pro-registration side started recruiting super villains to fight for them? Remember how it was generally considered a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination? Well good news, because no one has learned from that mistake!
Yes, apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. is really lenient when it comes to second chances, seeing as it felt fit to give Elektra Natchios, fresh off he destruction of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier Black Hawk (a fact the comic brings up on numerous occasions) control of her own team. Not only that, but she’s taking control of Coulson’s team on a mission to hunt down, well, Coulson. And for some reason this isn’t a potential conflict of interests.
Weirder still is that Maria Hill is well aware of all these potential conflicts. She knows May takes issue with Elektra for killing all the agents on the Black Hawk, but still put them on a team. And she has no problem with Elektra putting the well-loathed traitor Grant Ward on the team as well, albeit with a Battle Royale-style explosive collar.
What is it with S.H.I.E.L.D. making incredibly questionable decisions each time there’s a Civil War?
To be fair, though, while Hill’s decision is somewhat illogical, it’s a necessity for the drama and conflict that unfolds. Marc Guggenheim uses the setup for all its worth to provide plenty of character moments and clashes, and makes sure to remind us that, yes, Elektra is responsible for a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents dying. I only wish there was more in the way of a good reason for Hill to actually assign the team to Elektra; the most we get is Elektra herself questioning it, and getting another question in return.
Between all that, we do get some nice action and combat, as Coulson’s own little team of defectors tries to save the day in their own way. One impressive moment comes from Elektra not only disarming, but completely disassembling a gun in mid-combat, and Ario Anindito does a fine job illustrating the scene. The action is fluid, and the characters are all nicely drawn; in spire of my complaints about adding Elektra to S.H.I.E.L.D., I can’t deny her outfit looks pretty cool, adding the typical dark shades of a S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform to her usual dress.
As many of the characters are taken from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show, there’s the usual difficulties with adapting real people into comic characters without making them seem out of place. Characters who previously existed in the comics before being added to the show, as well as those who have yet to appear, maintain their comic book appearances. Characters such as Fitz, Simmons, and May get adapted into comic form well enough, even with the usual S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuit replacing their usual clothes.
Although Daisy “Quake” Johnson herself seems to be at this weird spot where she’s stuck between her comic and live action versions; it’s hard to place her personality, as it seems to shift between the two from issue to issue. One moment she’s reminding us that she was, at one point, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the next she’s getting angry at Coulson for keeping secrets.
One other thing I must give the comic credit for is Coulson’s refusal to strictly take one character’s side. The ‘Civil War II’ conflict is a completely false dichotomy, being split into camps that are basically “use precognition to see the future and arrest everyone we can before they do something wrong” and “don’t even look into the future at all, ever.”Continued below
Coulson’s stance is more “investigate the visions before acting upon them,” which is more or less a happy medium between the two. It’s a more reasonable use of Ulysses’s precognition, rather than blindly following or completely shunning them.
Such a shame the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics have yet to influence any comic outside their own, give or take a very brief crossover during ‘Standoff,’ otherwise people might actually be able to listen to him.
Final Verdict: 5.4 – in spite of some baffling decisions, the comic still works with it as well as possible, and manages to deliver some good dialogue, action, and character moments.