Comic Book Review: S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 – The Forgotten Machines of Nikola Tesla


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Cover Art for SHIELD #5

Story and Art: Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver
Colors: Christina Strain
Letters: Todd Klein

In a Nutshell

First off, reviewing this comicbook is not easy. Frankly, I had to re-read the previous four issues because I have already forgotten what the story is all about. You see issue #1 was released around the first half of 2010 and now the series is only in issue #5. So here goes…

Since the beginning of time, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the one organization that has taken upon itself the safety of the human race against the known and unknown. At present the High Council of the SHIELD is ruled over by the immortal Sir Isaac Newton. But Leonardo Da Vinci’s return has challenged that leadership. Da Vinci wants a more enlightened rule as opposed to the domineering control imposed by Newton. The fight between these two great men goes way beyond egos. In reality it is a clash of ideologies, between hope and fate, with eternity on one side and the end of the world on the other.

In the middle of all these, a young man named Leonid is poised to receive the higher calling of leading the SHIELD, after all he is the eternal dynamo or the source as Da Vinci puts it. Leonid’s father, known as the Night Machine, had planned to destroy the Immortal City, the seat of the SHIELD. Two stalwart SHIELD agents stopped him. These were none other than Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards (fathers to Iron Man Tony Stark and Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, respectively). But Stark and Richards – along with Night Machine – disappeared in the explosion that ensued in the fight.

Now, Stark and Richards find themselves six hundred thousand years into the future. And their only chance to come back is to find and save the Night Machine, who’s revealed to be Nikola Tesla.

What's Cool

  • Nikola Tesla as the latest addition to the great men who played major roles in SHIELD’s history.
  • SHIELD car used by Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards in 1951 reminds me a lot of the one used in Men in Black. I have always been amazed by old clunkers that transform into space-age vehicles at the push of a button.
  • Very impressive artwork, very striking character facial expressions and vivid color work.

What's Crap

  • Storyline is moving at a slow pace.
  • Reading this comicbook can give you headaches, if you haven’t read previous issues.
  • I think the story about the evolution of helium into oxygen and the resultant comparisons between Da Vinci’s and Newton’s philosophies are a bit forced and heavy for the ordinary comics reader.
  • I find the cover art less inspiring as compared to the first four issues.

The Bottom Line

Honestly, I love the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics series. Story-wise, I find it hard hitting. Imagine human history replete with events that we never heard about in school. The only problem with this comicbook series is the fact that the release dates for each issue are far between. Still, I find SHIELD to be very entertaining. Issue #5 is made more exciting by the fact that another scientist, Nikola Tesla, holds the key that will determine the fate of the world. Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver both deliver in this issue.

Fanboyninja Weekly Comics Review (Oct. 6): Batman, Brightest Day and More

Brightest Day #11

While writing this comic book review, I committed one awful mistake. I wrote Blackest Night instead of Brightest Day on the subheading. Good thing, I saw the blunder before I published this piece. Well, this little oversight is not without reason. It stems from the fact that I’m starting to feel that the whole series has become a bit dragging. Maybe it’s just me and my tendency to look back and compare Brightest Day with Blackest Night.Brightest Day #11

So why the heck should I include Brightest Day #11 in my weekly rundown when I’m getting bored with the series? Well, part of the reason is the mano-a-mano scene between Aquaman and Black Manta. The King of the Seven Seas got off the hook (literally) this time. But where is he heading now that he found the new Aqualad?

Not to be missed in this issue is the return of the Black Lantern Firestorm aka Deathstorm. This guy knows the ABCs of villainy as he taunts Ronnie and Jason (the real Firestorm). Incidentally, Deathstorm gave me the biggest reason to like this comic book as he utters the words – “Let me tell you the secret of the universe. There is no good or evil. Only life and death”.

‘Nuff said.

American Vampire #7

American Vampire #7I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I hate vampires. Not because they suck blood from their victims, but because they have become too commercialized nowadays. But once again, I’ll make an exception. American Vampire is one of the best comic book series to come out in recent times and a big reason for that is the American history highlights sprinkled in each issue. Now on its seventh installment and on its second story arc, we see more characters being developed.

Unlike the first six comic book issues, there is not much action and gore in American Vampire #7. However, I’m just thrilled about the idea of vampires running around Sin City. Here, we see our beloved bloodsucker Skinner Sweet, who now owns a brothel and wears a coat and tie. But don’t let his looks fool you, he’s still that savage we have come to know and love. The only difference now is that a new character, Chief McCogan, may finally get the chance to snip the fangs off our hero, or villain (depends on which side you’re on.).

Batman Confidential #49

Batman Confidential #49If you’re a fan of Night Shift Supervisor Dr. Gil Grissom, Detective Mac Taylor, and Lieutenant Horatio Caine, then you’ll definitely love this Batman comic book. Bruce Wayne’s detective skills are finally put to the test. You heard that right, it’s Bruce Wayne. This issue is apparently set before the Final Crisis. Hence, the one wearing the cowl is still Bruce and not Dick Grayson.

For the most part of the book, we get inside Bruce’s brain as he monologues his way to solve a crime. Here, we see why Batman is the greatest detective of them all. His detection skills truly are amazing. And that makes this thriller of an issue all the more fantastic.

Batman Hidden Treasures #1

Batman Hidden Treasures #1If you’ve been a loyal Dark Knight fan ever since you were a kid, you’d definitely heard of the legendary Batman tales illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Well, those are exactly what you get in this comic one-shot. The first part of the issue, written by Ron Marz, is a never-been-released story starring Batman and Solomon Grundy. It has puzzled legions of fans why this story was left for 13 years to gather dust in some office drawer. But all that indiscretion is now under the bridge as the story finally gets to see the light of day.

The second part, entitled Night of the Bat, is another Batman story drawn by Bernie Wrightson and written by Len Wein. This story first appeared in Swamp Thing #7 and here we see the Dark Knight trading punches with the Swamp Thing. All in all, in this comic book we see that there are other characters—horrible as they may seem at first glance—who have a more straightforward sense of justice compared to Batman, if you know what I mean.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4Let me get this straight. Reading this comic book series can give you some headaches. It’s just damn hard to comprehend. Imagine Isaac Newton being a despotic supreme ruler of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Leonardo da Vinci as the righteous former leader who’s now returned to help prevent the world from being totally f*cked up. Think of Newton and da Vinci as two great generals on a showdown for control. Not to be missed is da Vinci’s flight to the sun, using only what would seem to be a 15th century space suit—with wings! Oh, and did you know that Nostradamus is still alive? Thanks to the infinity serum injected by Newton, the world’s greatest clairvoyant has been imprisoned in some dungeon for the last 500 years.

iZombie #6

iZombie #6In this issue, we focus on Spot. As a matter fact, this installment has been re-titled I, Were-Terrier. So, if you include iZombie #6 in your buy comic book list for the week hoping to see Gwen eat some dead guy’s brains, you’ll be a bit disappointed. But hey, a one-off story about Scott (or Spot, for when he turns into a were-terrier) is not at all that bad. If you’re a geek, you could even relate to this fellow’s story. A glimpse on unassuming Scott’s hobbies and favorite activities would make any fanboy geek nostalgic. By the way, the paper they used for this issue would make you reminisce about the good old days of non-glossy comics pages.