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S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Stan Lee(Author) Jack Kirby(Author) Jim Steranko(Author) Gary Friedrich(Author)&1more

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With international threats on the rise, a council of global powers taps Nick Fury to protect us from Hydra, A.I.M., Baron Strucker and the Yellow Claw! The greatest team in comics, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, dove into the world of covert ops, mixing Cold War drama with the mighty Marvel manner - but when Steranko took over, he rewrote the entire rulebook. Collecting: Strange Tales 135-168, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1968) 1-15, Fantastic Four 21, Tales of Suspense (1959) 78, Marvel Spotlight (1971) 31, Avengers (1963) 72
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Review Text

  • By North London Man on 5 January 2016

    At nearly 1000 pages the first thing you’ll notice is the sheer thickness of this mighty tome. Even by the standard of Marvel’s Omnibus format this is a BIG book. Once started, this book will occupy many hours of your time, with its dense dialogue-driven storytelling (so different from today's deconstructed style), verbal exposition and combination of stunning visuals, cover art and splash pages - all done in the ‘Marvellous Marvel manner’ of the time.As scripter, co-plotter and editor in one form or another, Stan Lee is naturally billed first, with Jack Kirby (responsible for co-plotting, breakdowns and art to varying degress) second. But of course for anyone even vaguely familiar with Marvel’s sixties output, this book is all about the amazing Jim Steranko and his revolutionary storytelling style, captured here and wonderfully presented as it should be - even with a breakout gatefold spread for that classic Steranko diorama.The first (roughly) half of the book collects Strange Tales 135-168, but it’s not until 155 that Steranko comes truly on board performing full writing and art duties, with Stan editing the book thereon in. What precedes this landmark entry is Stan’s writing, with Kirby providing art or breakdowns 'only' - unbelievably, Kirby was also illustrating (and to an extent co-plotting) several landmark books himself, simultaneously at this time. As such, the carousel of revolving artists such as John Severin provides a fascinating insight into both Jack’s guiding layouts and influence at the time, and the other artists’ contribution, with standards remaining surprisingly consistent, thanks to Stan’s tight editorial control. Legend has it that when big John Buscema took his turn, he erased Jack’s pencils, making way for his own strident visuals. It’s difficult to accurately discern exactly how much talent is attributable to whom, as John’s initial splash does look reminiscent of Jack’s style. However, the following pages are clearly Buscema’s own, his peerless draughtsmanship and naturalistic renderings significantly and uniquely upping the quality hitherto evident. Yet it is Jim Steranko’s vision, formed jointly (and perhaps for the first time ever in this medium) so profoundly around a graphic design ethos AND sequential storytelling, that is so, so significant.From a cultural perspective, if you come to this book directly form, say, the TV series ‘Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.’ - and Marvel have indeed marketed this collection as “S.H.E.I.L.D. The Complete Collection” rather than the more accurate “Nick Fury & S.H.E.I.L.D…” (thus rendering it more attractive to the younger TV audience) you may be in for a few shocks. There are, resolutely, no middle-aged touchy-feely metrosexual patriarchs the likes of Agent Coulson, anywhere in the book. Nick Fury is a rough, tough no-nonsense former army sergeant, more akin to Lee Marvin or John Wayne rather than David McCallum’s Illya Kuryakin or even Sean Connery’s Bond - it’s to Marvel’s credit that these (among other) obvious influences are referenced as ongoing in-jokes in the script. It’s not until Steranko comes fully on board, that Fury evolves slowly and it must be said quite naturally into the more urbane, sophisticated, multi-faceted spy of then popular culture.Ditto Jasper Sitwell, written here as the innocent but ambitious heir-apparent to Fury’s mantle, as a 1950s style, caucasian Ivy-League geek, loyal, patriotic, but above all highly capable; Not the vague, bland bureaucrat from the TV series who is largely invisible in cinematic form. Other supporting agents are Dum Dum Duggan and Gabe Jones - Irish and African-American compatriots, respectively. Once again Marvel was ahead of the curve creating characters of mixed race and background, and it seems slightly regretful they’ve been traduced to blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cinematic outings, displaced by more contemporaneous and thus more palatable stereotypes such as the otherwise excellent Maria Hill. Ultimately, the production values evidenced within this book (of the sixties!) makes you realise just what an abysmal failure the TV series is on many fronts, replacing the revolutionary storytelling evidenced here with a dull, routine, bland TV vehicle that cheapens the generally fabulous cinematic offerings also.Of course Marvel have shrewdly made S.H.E.I.L.D. the cement which joined the (initially disparate) movie outings, and it’s fascinating to see how Kirby and more prominently Steranko’s vision has been appropriated to facilitate this. Gadgets and gizmos naturally play a significant role, but it’s Fury’s unrelenting self-belief that underpins the narrative, from battling Them, Aim, Hydra etc. to facing old adversaries and major villains. Again, the TV series doesn't run to Samuel Jackson's budget, but this book will make to reappraise how our cultural values and identities have changed. There's little if no casual racism or ethnic stereotyping that might cause offence, in a way, for example early Iron Man stories might. Far from it: this is a highly progressive book that makes you wonder why the TV series didn't embrace this in an intelligent manner.There are numerous introductions and written pieces positioned, thoughtfully, throughout the book with Steranko’s own inserted just before he holds the reigns (with the reliable Roy Thomas initially assisting) for his revolutionary run. I won’t say too much about this as it’s well documented elsewhere. Suffice to say that Steranko’s run must surely rank as one of the single greatest entry points for a comic-book writer and artist. The word visionary is too often bandied about, but is supremely fitting here. Who else could make the 'king of comics' Jack Kirby’s work look stale and formulaic by comparison? That's not to belittle Jack at all - he was producing amazing work elsewhere, and his influence is very clearly evident in Jim’s own work - but what work it is!If you only want a few book’s that best capture Marvel’s spirit, and more widely something that provides an extensive insight into popular culture, this book is very highly recommended. For everyone else of the comic-book reading fraternity, this book is an absolutely essential purchase. Don’t yield, back Shield!

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