Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
  1. #1
    Groucho Marxiste Omar Karindu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    345

    Default Controversial opinions: Jonathan Hickman's SHIELD is not worth buying

    It's rare to see a series with a brilliant premise, a proven writer, and one of the best artists in the business, but SHIELD certainly fits the description. It's baffling to me, then, that my purchasing and reading the first six issues ensures that I won't be reading a seventh.

    I realize there's probably a larger plan waiting in the wings for volume two, but SHIELD -- and a lot of Jonathan Hickman's Marvel work -- has suffered badly from an incredibly frustrating problem of, for lack of a better phrase, gratuitous narrative coyness. Readers are asked to make a sizable investment in a story that doles out small, unconnected bits of information for very long periods of time before any real payoffs occur.

    There have been hints of this in Hickman's other work, like Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four, but in the SHIELD miniseries this problem occurs to a degree that find intolerable. This isn't a complete or coherent story, even when it's read in a sitting as a complete volume rather than as six discretely published issues. In other words, even the trade paperback version won't make much sense or work that well as a story.

    On financial grounds alone, this is difficult to defend. Compare the story you get in six issues of SHIELD for what else you could buy at the same eighteen-dollar price -- a complete film on DVD, a complete novel, half a season of TV at iTunes -- and it starts to look like a cheat. Comics prices are bad all over, to be sure, but the techniques Hickman employs in this series mean the reader gets even less for the money than usual..

    This was solicited as a complete story in size issues, a limited series of that length, and it isn't. I'm really not interested in subsidizing Hickman's experiment in long-form storytelling under those sorts somewhat deceptive circumstances. Additionally, Hickman's reusing storytelling tricks -- and quite gimmicky ones -- even within these six issues, in a way that's quite tiresome to me. How many issues have turned on revealing yet another historical figure to be some sort of superhuman mystery figure?

    The first time, when it was Da Vinci, the trick was somewhat clever and fresh. But it's happened something like five or six times in five issues, with this last one being an especially clumsy use of the method with the reveal of the identity of the glowing fellow. (Michelangelo Buonaratti's unfortunate resemblance to the whining, co-dependent "God" from Preacher may be deliberate, but if so it's a rather silly in-joke.)

    Additionally, I really don't feel that this story has benefitted much from being set in the Marvel Universe. Most of what's been interesting in it isn't the Marvel connection, but the mythology Hickman's creating around the "great man theory" figures from history. And now that the "great man" stuff is turning into a frankly silly attempt to pack in every historical figure Hickman admires or finds interesting, I'm less sure that plot makes much sense.

    There is a nice idea at the core of this issue, I'll admit, when the expected conflict between the innovative Leonardo and the dogmatic Newton turns out to be a moot one, with both sides being wrong in some sense. But for most f the series, we're not really getting the stories to which these glimpses and moments allude. Instead, Hickman and Weaver serve up single images that allude to stories Hickman isn't bothering to narrate in any kind of fullness or depth.

    Like so much of his Marvel work, this is less a story than the bullet point outline of something that might one day be fleshed out as a story. Hickman's ambitions for his stories tend to far outstrip his ability to tell them. For some people, the tantalizing glimpse of a bigger and better story lurking behind the one they'll actually get to read is a workable technique; for me, it's an artistic failing.

    Add that to the practical concerns surrounding the marketing and cost of the story, and I really can't recommend this to anyone in good conscience. It's expensive for what it is: a batch of potentially clever and initially clever ideas that are very badly served by the techniques and format used to present them.

  2. #2
    the bandit diablo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    the meanstreets of topeka kansas
    Posts
    1,044

    Default

    The premise seemed interesting but I didn't care for the artwork in the preview I saw so I passed on the series.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    2,044

    Default

    Jonathan Hickman has put out a ton of ideas in his Marvel comics and they are interesting mostly good reads, but the guy is already at Claremont levels of dangling plot lines.

  4. #4

    Default

    I haven't read SHIELD and probably will end up looking at the trade, but the premise turned me off. There's doing an alternate history story that believably works famous figures into a unique narrative, and there's just mashing bits of history together in the name of Rule of Cool (the history buff's version of ninja pirate zombie monkeys ). From your description, this sounds like the latter.

  5. #5
    the bandit diablo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    the meanstreets of topeka kansas
    Posts
    1,044

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitz the Bloody View Post
    I haven't read SHIELD and probably will end up looking at the trade, but the premise turned me off. There's doing an alternate history story that believably works famous figures into a unique narrative, and there's just mashing bits of history together in the name of Rule of Cool (the history buff's version of ninja pirate zombie monkeys ). From your description, this sounds like the latter.
    That's because marvel has writers that try to be like morrison but can't execute on their ideas.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by diablo7 View Post
    That's because marvel has writers that try to be like morrison but can't execute on their ideas.
    If they can't execute their ideas, doesn't that mean they've succeeded at being like Morrison?

  7. #7
    Mr. Nothing SeritoNiN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    1,112

    Default

    I thought the series was utter crap.

  8. #8
    Elder Member Sean Walsh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    12,055

    Default

    The whole idea - SHIELD has been around since ancient times - is......a bit much to swallow. I like the idea of it, but once mainstream Marvel characters started entering into it it became ridiculous.

    Also....it's being taken seriously. I enjoy stories where historical figures do this kind of beyond-ordinary stuff on a slightly-humorous and utterly redonkulous level, but we're meant to take this seriously. And in that, it fails.

  9. #9
    Colourist wannabe Predabot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    The icy north!
    Posts
    2,788

    Default

    WTF Omar... WTF! >:-/

    This series... this series, is one of the GREATEST IN MARVEL'S LONG HISTORY! It deserves to be in an Omnibus once it's complete, it's that good.

    It's an evergreen, a story that will keep on giving, forever.

    Check the reviews, check the enthusiasm among us fans whenever an issue comes out. It's real, it's palpable. This is Hickman's masterpiece, the story that he will be remembered for as his starter, the one that made him big. It's his Animal Man.

    Jesus man... you've been wrong in the past, but never like this. Never like this... F***, I don't even have the words to tell you how wrong you are, how... Jesus christ, I better stop now.

    @Nitz: Don't believe him. This story is perfect for you, all of the little details, all of the scope and ideas, it's precisely what you want out of a marvel comic. Something that you can really dig deep into, and study thoroughly. ESPECIALLY with all of the connections to his other Marvel-work. FF, Secret Warriors, and most likely Avengers as well, all tie into this, in some way or another.

    Trust me, you'll LOVE it! ^^

  10. #10

    Default

    ....well, it's been over a year since this post was published, and I barely remember anything about posting it or reading what Omar wrote. Might as well give it a try, since Hickman tends to be an interesting writer even when his work doesn't succeed.

  11. #11
    Groucho Marxiste Omar Karindu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    345

    Default

    Two points:

    1. I was reviewing volume one, then in isolation. I stand by my assessment of that volume, when read entirely in isolation.
    2. If you're going to respond to a detailed critique, it often helps to have reasons besides "You're wrong because I say it's good because [no reason provided]" and "Those of us who like it REALLY like it!!!"

  12. #12
    Groucho Marxiste Omar Karindu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    345

    Default

    Whoops! Double post.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Omar Karindu View Post
    Two points:

    1. I was reviewing volume one, then in isolation. I stand by my assessment of that volume, when read entirely in isolation.
    2. If you're going to respond to a detailed critique, it often helps to have reasons besides "You're wrong because I say it's good because [no reason provided]" and "Those of us who like it REALLY like it!!!"
    You're probably right about Predabot's rebuttal, but at this point, I'm just trying to get conversation back to the CSBG forum, even if it's only a small start.

  14. #14
    Groucho Marxiste Omar Karindu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    345

    Default

    I'm not trying to discourage anyone from reading and/or discussing the series; I just hate that sort of "but you're wrong because I like it!" sort of thing.

    I didn't read past the first six issues; it's quite possible something happens later on that pays off or redeems or qualifies what's in those first six issues. (The major retcon plot point by cameo in Secret Warriors didn't do that.) It might be interesting for someone to discuss that by way of advocating for the series.

  15. #15

    Default

    Bringing this back from the "dead" of the archives because, following Hickman's meteoric rise at Marvel as the writer of the Avengers books, it seems especially relevant.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •