The World’s Gone Mad: Wonder Woman Banned From School

Time for a small dose of outrage. Rules are generally useful and there to help a community. It’s the interpretation of those rules that usually causes problems.

Take this interesting set of images and associated comment from a parent’s friend:

Letter a friend of mine’s daughter received from school today. Her Wonder Woman lunchbox features a violent super hero that does not comply with the school’s dress code.

mMaOlHO - Imgur

yBKn1kg - Imgur

mGpP09i - Imgur

Assuming the letter is legit (you just never know), then someone needs a solid dose of reality checking about what is violent imagery and what isn’t.

What’s your take?

[Original source of images]

Review: I Sell Comics Podcast

iTunesI Sell Comics is a podcast that shouldn’t work. It has two guys on it who’d be the first to admit that they’re not wordsmiths or polished presenters. There’s enough background noise at times to rival a busy supermarket. There’s pauses, long tangents and guests with awkwardly delayed introductions. Hell, there’s even a lot of cliquey / boy’s club stuff that should alienate a whole bunch of people. But I love this podcast.

I Sell Comics works well for a very obvious and powerful reason: anyone that’s watched more than a couple episodes of Comic Book Men will feel like they know these two guys. They’re the more passive of the four on the TV show (or at least their show personas are) and their likeability translates well to the podcast. Mike Zapcic’s knowledge of pop culture from the ’70s to now is the glue that holds things together, although Ming Chen’s self-effacing manner doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve mentioned the weaknesses of the podcast in the first paragraph, but after listening to a whole bunch of episodes those issues are still endearing rather than grating. My only real concern is that after nearly 160 episodes the casual chat we witness could merge into a ‘going through the motions’ exercise. Some have argued that point has already been reached but for mine the line hasn’t been crossed and hopefully won’t be. As a podcaster myself I tend to be forgiving of production issues given the amount I’m responsible for myself. Even taking that into account, the idiosyncrasies of I Sell Comics are more often than not beneficial. If you’re a fan of the TV show then go have a listen. If you haven’t seen Comic Book Men then there’s probably still enough in each show to keep you engaged although a fair proportion of the chat may not make as much sense.

9/10 *

* Disclosure: I may or may not have emailed The Secret Stash pitching that I be allowed to open a Secret Stash Oz. For some reason I’ve received no reply – who’d have thought??

Five Good Comics Groups On Facebook

_1__COMIC_BOOK_COLLECTINGFacebook has lots of flaws, but one thing I do like about it is its groups feature. And for comics fans there’s a lot of good groups on there to get your teeth into. Here’s five I particularly like:

1. Comic Book Collecting

This is a big international group with  more than 26 thousand members. This means lots of content to browse and a team of active moderators keeps the quality high. Recommended.

2. Comic Readers Australia / New Zealand

This is a new group devoted to comics discussion by Aussies and New Zealanders. It’s early days so jump in and help get the community happening.

3. Buy / Sell / Swap Comics Australia

With more than 800 members, this group has regular enough posts to interest most buyers and to gain some interest for those trying to offload a comic or ten.

4. Australian Comic Collectors Society

A smaller group but very friendly. Good discussions on a range of collecting topics including local collecting supplies and grading.

5. The Comics Herald

Ok this is nothing but gratuitous spam but we have our own humble little Facebook group. It’s where you’ll get updates on our latest stories although any discussion is more than welcome. We of course appreciate every like of the page as it helps get our stories out there.

Post your own Facebook group suggestions below – comics-related of course.

Five Really Obvious Comic Predictions for 2015

howard-the-duck-2015It’s that time of the year – predictions and prognostications for the coming twelve months.

After many years of getting predictions stunningly wrong in a range of areas, I thought I’d put forward five bloody obvious predictions that I’m actually likely to get right.


1. The New Marvel Star Wars Comics Will Sell Well

Right now I’m betting there are comic store staff worldwide bench-pressing full bathtubs in preparation for lugging the bales of Star Wars comics that will be coming off trucks in the coming months. With it still being nearly a year until Star Wars Episode VII releases, and the generally lauded history Marvel has with the franchise, there’s no way these babies aren’t going to be as ubiquitous as a 1990s hologram cover. Particularly given there are reports of 100 variant covers for issue #1.

2. Marvel Will Reboot Everything Not Nailed Down

Marvel have spent the past few years cancelling, rebooting or rebranding every character or team they’ve focused their gaze upon. 2015 will be no different. Personally I’m hoping for them to cancel Daredevil yet again so they can relaunch it as fifth volume of the series….

3. Image Will Kick Into A Higher Gear

I talk to a lot of collectors and retailers, and their experience mirrors my own buying habits: Marvel and DC are losing my money in favour of Image titles. My current pull list is 50% Image and I can only see it growing.

4. And Indies…

… will continue to struggle. No-one is keener than me to see a bunch of independent projects see some serious attention, but I’m not holding my breath. All I can say to indies on behalf of all comic lovers is: keep going! And hell, send us your work to review, we’ll try our best to get to it.

5. New Howard The Duck Comic Will Be Better Than The 1986 Movie

I loved the original comic book series and though I doubt the 2015 series will beat it, I know it’ll be better than the 1986 movie. Please, let it be better for the love of everything decent in the world.

Sean’s Pull List: 8/09/2014

my-pull-listThere are a lot of comics that come out each week, and I never seem to be able to cover all the ones that I want to. So from now on I will be doing a weekly round-up, where I take three of my favourite comics for the week, and one I don’t particularly like, and give you a short reason why. I still plan to write about some bigger events by themselves, but single issues that I enjoy will go here. So without further ado, here is my picks for the week of 8/09/2014!

Must Buy

Southern Bastards #4 – Jason Aaron and Jason Latour

Four issue in, and Southern Bastards is easily within my top five favourite comics right now. It tells the story of Earl Tubbs, a man returning to his childhood home of Craw County, deep in the American south.  Coming back to clean up his childhood home, Earl is confronted by the memory of his father, a small town sheriff who administered his justice with a thick tree branch. Craw County has changed since his fathers death forty years prior, now being run by the corrupt coach of the local football team, and Earl is forced to become the man he never wanted to be.

The thing about Southern Bastards is that it is so much more than that description. Both a meditation on masculinity and violence, as well as living under the shadow of a father who was almost larger than life, Earl Tubb’s tale is a somber and depressing look at the sins of a father, and a town that has given up on being anything but complacent with its criminal underbelly. #4 brings all these themes to a head, as the fallout of the last issue has forced Earl to rethink his place in Craw County, both as a citizen and as the son of a violent man, as he confronts Coach Boss. This issue is easily the most action packed so far, bringing Earl right to Coach Boss’ doorstep – with unexpected consequences.

Aaron should be commended for committing to the world he has created. Any lesser writer would not have headed in the direction he has decided, but Aaron has gone right down the rabbit hole without so much as a stop to take a breath this issue, and by doing so has laid down the rules for the future of this series: anything can, and will, happen.

But this series would not be anything without brilliant art, and Latour is a master artist, both in style and execution. His quieter moments are drawn with a wide frame, as he works to show how slowly this town works, but as soon as the action begins, he gets right up in the character’s faces, showing the raw emotion and the gory details of each individual blow dealt. His subtle colour work this issue should also be commended, as the palate slowly draws on more of a red hue as the action ramps up. This is easily some of the most inventive and brilliant use of colour I have seen in a comic.

With it’s first arc wrapping up, Southern Bastards presents an exciting new direction. With a huge character reveal in the epilogue, this series is only going to shine brighter as the year progresses. The Jason’s have struck gold, and I can’t wait to see what is next.

Grade: A+

Death of Wolverine #1 – Charles Soule and Steve McNiven

Wolverine tends to be a more divisive character within Marvel’s ranks, with most people bemoaning his tendencies to turn up in almost every X-Men/Avengers comic imaginable. Well, Charles Soule figured out the one way to fix this – kill Wolverine. Death of Wolverine only needs the the most basic understanding of the character, and that in Paul Cornell’s Wolverine arc “Killable”, his famous healing factor was taken from him. this is how events should be done – no over complicated setup; no need to read thirteen separate tie ins to get the full picture (yet),  just a fully featured, standalone story.

Death of Wolverine begins with a fantastic full page spread of an injured Wolverine. It becomes clear that Steve McNiven of Old Man Logan fame really knows how to draw Wolverine, with his panels showing every inch of the intensity of such an important character. His work is bloody, violent, and downright impressive. Justin Ponsor’s colours help this along nicely – while they aren’t nearly as stylised as some other artists, instead opting for a more realistic colour scheme, he still manages to use muted colours to give the entire proceedings the feel of an old Western film, the last stand of a loner gunslinger.

That’s not to say that Soule isn’t up to the task. Having not written Wolverine in an X-Men comic before, you’d think he may need a moment to find his stride, but you’d think that he had been writing the character all his life. Soule’s Logan is sad and reflective, finally aware of how much time he has left, and of how much pain his lifestyle really brings. He uses different captions, one each for pain, smell, and sound, to highlight how much the character takes in. This is especially important in regards to pain, as it gives the reader a chance to understand how little the character was aware of how little he paid attention to such feelings, and now they are brought to the forefront.

Death of Wolverine begins strong – Soule has a firm grasp of the character, and McNiven definitely knows how to draw him. But events have started strong before, so hopefully because of the quick turn around between issues means that this series doesn’t lag. I guess we all hope that Soule has a clear idea of where we are headed – he certainly hasn’t failed us yet.

Grade: A-

God Hates Astronauts #1 – Ryan Browne

My theory when writing something completely off-the-rails insane is that you have to commit – you don’t only go part of the way to creaking something completely bonkers, only to find a point that they realize they don’t want to cross. God Hates Astronauts is that theory in practice, as writer-artist Ryan Browne creates something incredible – a tale that is going to be really hard to explain in such a short piece (I’d struggle in a larger essay so bear with me here), and makes it surprisingly readable, even if we aren’t sure what direction it is heading in.

God Hates Astronauts begins with a man with a crab for a head and the admiral of his ship, named Admiral Tiger Eating A Cheeseburger (obviously), being blown to bits by a makeshift rocket ship. From there, the tale changes gear to one of bestiality, galactic royalty, infedelity, Deadpool-style non sequiturs, and a whole load of other things. I couldn’t possibly string these all together to provide a decent synopsis, but trust me the issue is a blast.

Browne is a master of insane plotting, but manages to make it cohesive. Everything that happens in this universe makes complete sense in regards to everything else – this isn’t an insane man in a sane world a la Deadpool, it’s insane people in an insane world. Yes, we don’t really know where the story is headed by the end of the issue, but it sure was a ride to get there.

His art is nothing to scoff at too. He is well suited to his own weird sensibilities, such as a man with a ghost-hippo head, and his amusing sound effects are equally as weird. Everyone looks suitably manic in a cartoon kind of way, and it really is pure unbridled fun.

Really the only thing I wanted to put in this review of God Hates Astronauts was “Sean likes Comic” but it wouldn’t have really sold it to you anyway. Not that I did a particularly good job with it, but trust me on this – God Hates Astronauts is easily one of the funniest, if not the most insane, comic you will read all year.

Grade: A-

Maybe Avoid

Grayson: Futures End #1 – Tom King, Tim Seeley, and Stephen Mooney

Let me begin by saying that the current ongoing of Grayson, telling the story of Dick Grayson becoming his own little 007 after being demasked in Forever Evil, is really good. I love where he is headed, free from the doom and gloom of the regular Bat family proceedings to pursue an international man of mystery story, with the excellent Mikel Janin on art. That series, as it stands, is really good. Grayson: Futures End#1 however, set five years ahead of the rest of the continuity, isn’t. That’s not for lack of trying – Tom King and Tim Seeley get the tale to somewhere in the end, giving a brief recap of Dick’s past , but most of the issue is a bit of a mess.

It’s a story written in reverse, like the Christopher Nolan film Memento, but that’s where the similarities end. Where Memento gives itself a strict set of rules in how each of the preceeding scenes play out, Grayson jumps time frames erratically. From minutes before, to potentially years, the story jumps around without so much of an explanation of where it was headed. We don’t see why Dick does what he does this issue, nor do we understand his motivations. He seemingly commits an act that is incredibly out of character, without building it up at all. This story would have been better suited if it had been told in a way that was more cohesive, even in a more standard chronological order format, but it’s not the technique that is the fault – it’s how it was used.

The art isn’t particularly anything to write home about. While some of the later scenes where colourist Jeromy Cox uses more than the reds, greys, and greens are more suited to Stephen Mooney’s style, the earlier stuff is confusing and not nearly gritty enough for the content. No, it’s not bad, but it lacks the oomph required for the story.

I really do have to hand it to the team for trying – they could have made a succinct story that utilised the backwards storytelling to  a better effect, but the story they wanted to tell was too broad, and covered a large time frame. The shame is that this team really does good work in the main series, they just miss the mark a bit here.

Grade: Ambition – B+ Execution – C

Sexism Towards Cosplayers: Here’s How To Act


Bleeding Cool have a great article from Nicole Jacobs on the crap she’s had to put up with at events. It’s a great read and hopefully some of those guilty of crappy behaviour like this in the past might stop and think before they try it again.

If you’re a Cosplayer yourself, there’s some great tips on how to deal with harassment.
Check it out here


Disclosure: I’m an infrequent contributor to Bleeding Cool.

2013 Comics Highlights

capt-marvelIt’s the time of the year where we look back on the previous 12 months and the highlights and lowlights. Kimberley Griffiths and I dragged ourselves off our respective summer couches to throw some bouquets and brickbats:

Kimberley’s take

1. /Hawkeye v4/

This series has gone from strength to strength, and bringing in whole issues for Kate Bishop was a genius idea on the creative team’s part. Some have disliked the amount of introspection in Fraction’s book, but for me, it’s a welcome relief from the constant chaotic events that tend to take over the Marvel universe. It just edges out my number two thanks to none of its issues being annoying event tie-ins. Favourite issue? #11 (Pizza Dog), thanks to the innovative storytelling and David Aja’s fabulous art. (Marvel)

2. /Captain Marvel v7/

The first volume of Kelly Sue’s book is now over, but this has been a huge standout for me. When it first started, I was mostly just excited to see Carol in pants, but it had me hooked within two issues. Wonderfully written, only a few missteps with the art and the Infinity tie-in, and great character development. I can’t wait for volume 2.

Favourite issue? #17, which ended on a poignant, whimsical note.  (Marvel)

3. /Pretty Deadly/

Another Kelly Sue Deconnick title, this one is brand new but already shows promise to be a stand out for 2014. I feel like we’ve been waiting for it forever, but the anticipation didn’t dull any of my enjoyment – gorgeous art from Emma Rios, a witty, clever script from DeConnick, and Jordie Bellaire’s subtle touch on colours. It’s a fairytale western mystery, and if that combination doesn’t hook you, the art certainly might.

Favourite issue? #1 if only because there’s only three so far. (Image)

And the worst: Rick Remender’s /Captain America/ /v7/. I made it five issues in before I decided it wasn’t worth it, not even for Steve (Marvel). The Bounce, for being a self indulgent, trying too hard to be cool, disaster of a book (Image).

David’s take

1. /Daredevil: End of Days/

This mini-series was not only the highlight of 2013 for me but probably the highlight of the last five years in comics I’ve read. Art to die for, a brilliantly penned story with equal amounts of Daredevil history and new events – this series has got some serious praise and it’s all deserved. (Marvel)

2. /Judge Dredd/

I’m quite the Judge Dredd fan and I really like what IDW are doing with him. The stories are new, the art is more than respectable and the franchise is getting the respect it deserves. My only criticism would be that IDW oversaturated a little with the Judge Dredd: Year One and Judge Dredd Classics, although Mars Attacks versus Judge Dredd has been brilliant. (IDW)

ToddUgliest3. /Todd: The Ugliest Kid On Earth/

I’ve raved repeatedly on this title, and I’ll continue to do so. It’s wall to wall quality from an art, story and humour viewpoint. Each cover is pretty well worth the price of admission alone. (Image)

The lowlight for me was: Hoax Hunters even though I liked it a lot initially – it just lost me by issue six or seven and I just gave up.

For 2014 I’ve added Pretty Deadly to my pull list and would love any suggestions for others. Happy New Year from us all here at The Comics Herald!

Marvel’s Numbering Obsession

daredevil_1_2011_coverIt’s not often I go on a rant, so it’s probably about time. The focus of said rant is Marvel Comics, who I’ve been interacting with as a consumer since the mid-1970s. I know things have changed a lot since then, I know that financially it’s harder to make a buck out of the industry, but I still think it’s possible to not treat longer-term readers with the disdain that’s currently occurring.

Specifically, I’m talking about the numbering of issues and constant re-booting of series. It’s not a recent issue by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one that appears to be getting worse.

I’m a huge Daredevil fan – he’s the one mainstream character I’m (dismally) attempting to be a completionist with. Which means that aside from a significant number of mini-series and one-shots, there are three volumes of Daredevil starting with the 1964 Volume 1 series that ended with #380 in 1998. Volume 2 kicked off pretty much straight away and ran 119 issues until 2009. Then there was a break of more than  a year with Volume 3 kicking off in 2011 and being very successful under the stewardship of Mark Waid.

Which is why I was little taken aback by the announcement that Volume 3 is finishing with issue #36. In fact, I was more than taken aback, I was pretty immediately angry. I was initially angry at the fact that the decision is nothing more than a highly cynical move to create another ‘first issue’ opportunity, potentially under the Marvel NOW! banner. Then after calming down a bit, I realised that DD’s upcoming 50th anniversary may be the reason for the change. My calm lasted only a few minutes when I thought about that: there’s a bunch of ways to celebrate a character’s anniversary without killing a series.

So that’s where I’d love your input: does this sort of stuff annoy you, amuse you or plain doesn’t concern you at all? Sure it’s a pretty longstanding gimmick, but it seems to be getting worse by the year.

Is there anything that can be done?

Five Cameos You Won’t See In Avengers: Age of Ultron

ROM___The_space_knight_by_OtimagLike most people I’m pretty excited for seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron, which got me thinking to some great characters I’d like to see (from either a comedic or sentimental viewpoint) make a cameo, that won’t appear in the movie unless Joss Whedon has his mind hijacked. Here they are anyway:


She’s teamed up with the Avengers before, she has roller skates and can generate a great lightshow – surely the 3D version of Age of Ultron needs such an addition!

2. Cloak and Dagger

These guys have a potential movie in their future, so why not introduce them here? If Spiderman can’t be in the movies, then why not use some key supporting characters?

3. ROM Spaceknight

Ok, this is batshit insane but a guy can dream can’t he? I know ROM was a licensed property, but gee he deserves a huge comeback and where better than this movie?  Plus – there’ll be wall to wall silver-coloured CGI for Ultron so why not throw ROM in there?

4. Howard The Duck

Even I think this is beyond silly but had to put it out there. Maybe Whedon could finally redeem the character from a movie viewpoint though?

5. Machine Man

Hmm, I seem to have a thing about silver metal characters, but how cool could those telescoping arms and legs look?

Your turn: what cameos would you like to see that’ll probably never happen?

[pic via Otimag at deviantART]

Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Pilot

agents of shieldWhen I first saw the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (which will from here on be referred to as SHIELD), I wasn’t impressed. While the internet was going crazy over it, I was sitting in my own little bubble of dislike, hoping what I saw as dreadful clunky dialogue wouldn’t be an indication of the entire script.

Despite my misgivings, I was excited for SHIELD. I was hopeful that the trailer was simply a ploy to get those who enjoy Joss Whedon’s trademark pop culture saturated dialogue, delivered by a mismatched team of Whedon box-tickers, to tune in. That in the actual pilot, the clichés would be kept to a minimum, and instead the show would be a taught, tense, action-drama.

Suffice to say, SHIELD lived up to the wrong expectations. Not only is the entire pilot an endless string of [supposedly clever] one-liners, barely managing to hold together the melodrama and paper thin plot, the acting is sub-par, and it doesn’t work as an introduction for those not already well versed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe – believe it or not, the entire world hasn’t seen every instalment of the cinematic behemoth. Viewing this show without favour is tough, but if you ignore the good faith of the MCU, and don’t let the Whedon fans sway your opinion, the writing is on the wall. SHIELD Isn’t great. I’m not even sure I can stretch to call it mediocre.

What I wanted from SHIELD was something like Burn Notice or Covert Affairs, with a bit of Breaking Bad grittiness, but this is network TV, so I would have been more than thrilled with an Alias vibe  (the TV show, rather than the comic). What we got, was NCIS crossed with Eureka (thanks to @myleftkidney for this analogy). There was also an underlying sensation that this show could have been a failed nineties attempt to compete with Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.


Don’t lie, you remember it fondly.

SHIELD opens with narration, which is common for a pilot episode . The narration is also an indication of the quality of acting throughout. I’m not sure how to describe Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) opening monologue, other than dire. Not only is it badly written, it’s overacted, and doesn’t at all have the tone you would expect of underground journalism, which is what this is supposed to read as. It does however, inform us that SHIELD has been made. There are people who know about the organisation, even if they aren’t aware of their exact operating capacity, and that conspiracy theorists are keen to get their claws into any leads they can dig up.

We’re introduced to the pilot’s main plot point straight away, just like any other procedural. The plot point is Michael – a juiced up black dude who isn’t Luke Cage, played by J. August Richards.

No seriously, that’s all this guy is. A  inner city black guy cliché with little to no personality other than he’s an angry factory worker single father, who got fired and is now enhanced by something called Project Centipede. He’s also the only character in the whole pilot that doesn’t look like they stepped straight out of a fashion catalogue – clothes, makeup and all. He’s basically the worst kind of vaguely racist black guy trope there is, and this continues right to the end of the episode.

Everyone else is impossibly pretty, and well put together. Even Skye who is supposed to be living out of a van, exposing the conspiracies of the world, has perfect hair, and even more perfectly pressed clothes. Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) has the personality of a brick, and the scientific team of Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge), are clearly a product of Whedon’s fandom awareness – a pre-loaded ship complete with it’s own portmanteau (FitzSimmons), and brain-twin style dialogue. The only shining light of the team is Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, who doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, despite the large hints of an interesting, if cliché, back story.

joss-whedon-strong-female-charactersConsidering Whedon’s championing of strong female characters, I find it surprising that he has apparently chosen Agent Ward as the secondary main character after Coulson (Clark Gregg), rather than Melinda May. I can’t help but feel they’re keeping things open for Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill to come to the show full time once How I Met Your Mother has finished.

Joss has taken an idea right out of about fifty percent of MCU fanfic, and explained Phil Coulson’s survival (after he was callously stabbed in the chest by Loki) as a way to motivate the Avengers. Yawn. If I wanted that explanation I’d just head on over to AO3 and read any one of a few thousand stories with this same idea. They’d probably be better written and more interesting, too.

Continuing with Coulson,  I couldn’t help but feel that he was out of character during the whole show. We know him as a man with a singular expression, occasionally making a wry observation, or coming out with a memorably clever quote. A man with a slightly sick sense of humour, that delivers his lines with a benign, bland, almost vacant look. In SHIELD, he cracks wise every second line, smiles often, gets a bit shouty, and talks down bad guys without a megaphone in hand. Overall, temporary death seems to have changed Phil into an entirely different person. Even if he is an LMD, it’s still a bit weird.

shield-coulsonSo character wise, it’s a misfire. I can only hope the actors grow more into their roles over coming episodes, but thus far, even their accents feel fake. It’s not all bad – there are some moments where Skye is genuinely charming and a bit goofy, and Fitz and Simmons are pretty funny with their cute brand of talking over each other humour, but the good moments are unfortunately outweighed by the not so great. Is it too much to ask to have one single character that gets through an episode without snark?

Most of what I’m presuming was a huge budget, has clearly been spent on Joss Whedon’s creative input, with what was left over used to create Lola and her groan inducing reveal at the end of the episode. The visual effects are on par with, or below what we were seeing in TV shows like 24, Alias, and Dark Angel, back in the early 2000s (shows that SHIELD should be looking to for more than just visual cues).

While I have issues with the acting and visual effects, my main gripe is the writing. Like most of Whedon’s shows, SHIELD is trying very hard to be self aware. So hard, that it manages to come full circle, and lose itself in what it’s trying to be. The episode felt like little more than a bunch of snarky dialogue and in-universe name drops, strung together with various instances of lampshade hanging to get through forty-three minutes, in the hopes of snagging viewers with references to various parts of the Marvel Multiverse. There is little here to grab the interest of someone completely new to both Marvel, and Joss Whedon’s style of storytelling. I feel like the team of Whedon/Whedon/Tancharoen have forgotten that a shows success isn’t just about generating approval from an existing fanbase. It’s about gaining new viewers, introducing them to this universe, and keeping everyone interested.

Lesson #1: Don't piss off a huge part of your fanbase

Lesson #1: Don’t piss off a huge part of your fanbase

The one liners not only become tiresome, but some are downright offensive. One in particular, which I think may have been aimed at taking a dig at how we treat celebrity here in the real world, instead came across as derogatory towards female cosplayers, a problem that could have been easily rectified by having Skye call out Agent Ward’s attitude. Instead, she shrunk away and admitted in a small voice, that she was one of the fangirls he was referring to. Considering the prevalence of negativity towards women involved in geekdom, this is not at all a good message to send.

Over all, ABC has missed a golden opportunity to deliver a gritty, interesting spy drama, and has instead given us something that would have worked just as well as a cartoon. Part of the MCUs appeal, is the way it has managed to ground itself in the real world, instead of being a direct adaptation of the comics. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like it has forgotten this in its very first episode, but it’s not until the final scene that the ability to suspend your disbelief goes from wavering to shattered.

Despite these misgivings, I am going to continue watching, if only to keep up with MCU continuity. I sincerely hope the show improves, and with the showrunning being handled by Whedon’s younger brother Jed, and his wife Maurissa Tancharoen, there may be scope for something new and compelling to come from a pilot that had more failures than successes.

Rating: 3/10