Tuesday, June 19, 2018

S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 2 #6 Review - Marvel Monday

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Dustin Weaver
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 13, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Review by: Dispatchdcu (read all of his awesome reviews)

Trying to decipher this issue with one read is like trying to understand how Balki Bartokomous and Larry Appleton from “Perfect Strangers” were related, how it lasted for 8 seasons and (no lie) 150 episodes!!! So, I read it four times.... maybe more... and I’ll try my best to tell you what I learned. Hickman went big, and epic, and he didn’t disappoint.... like usual. It was deep and confusing but totally interesting and far out at the same time.

The main point behind this entire run, in my humble opinion, was not only to show how long SHIELD has been around but to also give us the battle between fate and free will. This issue’s foundation was that discussion. On one side you have Sir Isaac Newton believed in fate and that he will be the one to see the end of the world as we know it. And on the other side, we have Michelangelo who believes in choice and free will. Leonid becomes Judge Judy in the middle and by the end of the issue, shows them what this tilt-a-whirl of desire we call the universe is all about. 

The issue opens with Leonid piloting the Human Machine... all 3 realities of him. He is able to see past, present, and future and it appears to all run through him at the same time. However, Michelangelo is no longer able to see the future and all of its possibilities like he once could. Personally, I feel it was because there was no future anymore and Leonid folded space and time on top of itself. This, the Human Machine stopped time itself and restarted it with Leonid inside it. 

Leonid asks Newton if we can just talk and put his infatuation with annihilation behind him. Well, Newton freaks out and literally shoots Nostradamus’ Quiet Math at Leonid trying to destroy him but he just brushes it off and demands he listen or he’ll just make him. And with powers that resemble Eternity, Leonid tears Newton apart by his skin, bone, muscle, and organs. This gets Newton's attention and he decides to listen, as would anyone who tore my body apart and had it float in the air directly in from of me. 

Both Michelangelo and Sir Isaac Newton wonder what the Human Machine did to Leonid and he tries to explain it in terms of evolution. The Human Machine evolves you to your full potential and again in Leonid’s case, he appears to have the abilities of Eternity which is immortality, time manipulation, multiverse manipulation, unaffected by the passage of time, and can create avatars as well as body possessions to communicate with lesser beings. Basically, he can do whatever the heck he wants. And to be honest, I partially wonder if he is Eternity. 

The question Leonid is discussing with two opposite sides, fate and free will, Newton and Michelangelo, is “what now?” or “what’s next?”. If you believe in free will, anything is possible and you can continue on with something new. If you believe in fate and you accomplish what you feel you were supposed to, then are you done? Is that it? The point Leonid is trying to make to both sides is that question of “what now” happens not just to individuals but entire species as well. 

So, Leonid explains why everyone is here. Technically once Leonid stepped foot in the Human Machine, that was it. That was the end of everything, except him. With his abilities, Leonid was reborn like a universe inside an exploding star. And after his recreation, he decided to answer this question with two polar opposites of the same coin; Newton (fate) and Michelangelo (free will). And he resurrected them at their most perfect state, which was right before the end of everything. 

Being ( in my opinion) Eternity, or at least representing the full potential of a human being, he feels he has a solution that will help both sides by giving them both exactly what they want. He shows both of them the universe from a God’s perspective, which is time as a single moment lasting forever. Looking at it from this perspective, choice and destiny become the same thing. He explains that time is a loop but that loop can be changed. Your destiny is written and is true but it can be altered at any moment so it’s not fixed due to free will and choice. Your fate and destiny are ever changing. Heck, we could take the Doc Brown theory and say, “It means your future hasn't been written yet, no ones has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.” Michelangelo excepts this idea and is thus rewarded. 

On the next page, we pick up right as the group left to track down Newton in issue 4 except instead of landing in three realities simultaneously, they land in the present with everything fixed and Da Vinci waiting for them. Newton was given what he wanted; a world of ash in his on reality. Alone and filled with his fate he forced on the world all along. The epilogue continues with Howard Stark leaving a message for Tony explaining to him the journeys he’s been apart of, his time in SHIELD, it’s purpose, it’s importance, and indirectly setting up the future of SHIELD to come. And I personally hope we see this information continue on to Tony because this would be amazing to see what Tony and Reed Richards could do with this information. 

This is what I think happened. The problem is we won’t get a summary page as to what happened in the last issue because this was the last issue. So, did I decipher it right? Who knows! I feel like I did but you never know. I personally loved the series in general. It was confusing but I could name for you dozens of things MORE confusing like Teletubbies, why the Kardashians were so dang popular, Burger King foot lettuce, and Furbies. And sometimes confusing can be good if it’s done well. Hickman’s intent was to ultimately use real-life characters, as well as Marvel characters, to show us what this “thing” we call life is all about. 

He wants us to all to live up to our full potentials and create our own destiny using the gift given to our species that no one else has; free will. I hope Hickman branches off with a new series about SHIELD. I would love to see more stories related to SHIELD throughout time as well as the direction Marvel goes currently with Da Vinci running the show, which he was in Invincible Ironman on Bendis’ last issue if you didn’t read that. 

If you like what you heard, love talking all types of comics, and are interested in joining a comic chat group, hit me up at dispatchdcu@gmail.com or @dispatchdcu on twitter. Catch you all later! Peace

Bits and Pieces:

The potential for great things involving SHIELD is currently out there now and I hope Hickman or anyone for that matter runs with it. If you’re a Hickman fan, get the issue. If you can wait, the hardcover comes out next month with 6 issues in it. I totally recommend a reread of the entire thing and have no doubt this hardcover will be on my bookshelf at home.


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