Thursday, September 26, 2013

Three Reasons to Love 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

The geek community is buzzing following the debut of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week, and, shockingly, we’re all more than okay with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s move to the small screen. Already, there’s rampant speculation about how the series will tie into future Marvel Studios films — namely The Avengers: Age of Ultron — and there’s even talk of a spinoff starring Steve Rogers’ World War II-era sweetheart Agent Carter.

But why are we so enraptured by Joss Whedon’s latest jaunt in Marvel Universe? Here are three reasons we’ve become True Believers after just one episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

1) It’s not Heroes
During the first few moments of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a super-powered dad saves a woman from a burning apartment building, a feat that attracts media attention and earns him the moniker of “The Hooded Hero.”

Wow! Regular people as super heroes! Cool, right? What if that happened!?

Ugh.

Fortunately, the show soon proved that it isn’t a retread of the facepalm-worthy Heroes, which gives us all the more reason to care about it for more than one season.

2) It rewards those of us who have been paying attention
Like any good comic book series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. assumes you’re caught up on the mythology, and if you aren’t, well, that’s your fault. Right off the bat, the show tosses out several references to Loki, the Chitauri, the Battle of New York and Extremis, refusing to lag behind for those of you who’ve better things to do than put Thor in your Netflix queue. Heimdall frowns on your shenanigans.

3) Agent Coulson
Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson has garnered a deserving cult fanbase since his first appearance in 2008’s Iron Man, which made his death in The Avengers one of those weird cultural touchstones for us geeks … like when Brett Ratner tried to murder the X-Men back in 2006.

The promos for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promised Coulson’s return, rallying Marvelites around the #CoulsonLives hashtag. The how and why of the situation were kinda-sorta explained in the pilot. Now, it seems, the rumors of Agent Coulson’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Or have they? The nature of this character’s apparent survival will no doubt unravel over time, giving the series a fascinating thread that will have a lasting effect on the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward. And that’s pretty damn cool.