Earlier this week, Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ premiered on ABC to generally positive reviews, including one from us. Elsewhere on the web, I’ve been seeing a ton of fairly lukewarm reactions to the show, but no one has slammed it as hard as comic book legend Jim Steranko. The man known for his work with ‘Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, in the 1960s was tapped to recap the series for The Hollywood Reporter and his review of the pilot was just scathing.
In his Heat Vision blog post, Steranko said that the Whedons’ latest series “needs to be much tougher, much stranger, much edgier to reach it’s potential.” The legend goes on to say that there might be too much fan service in the first episode:
“The pilot assumes the audience is cognizant of the Marvel Universe as it regales viewers with a salvo of references established previously in big-screen efforts. Granted, ‘The Avengers’ may be the third-highest-grossing flick of all time, but recalling the details of last year’s favorite may be too much to expect above the fanboy level.”
He then addresses the show creators’ approach to spotlight the ordinary people in the Marvel Universe rather than to feature the bigger names like Captain America, Iron Man, or even Nick Fury, whose appearance would have “immensely benefitted” the episode according to Steranko:
“The show’s creators have gone on record to point out the series is about ordinary people, somewhat echoing the Hitchcock approach (ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances). Perhaps, in this case, ordinary may not be enough to warrant audience interest and loyalty.”
Finally, he picked apart a number of other things about the new series as well:
“Could anyone understand the dialogue delivered by the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab team? Did anyone feel punted into P.C.-ville by the Hooded Hero being black? And did we really need the rampant, dueling ideologies at the pilot’s denouement? We all understand melodrama has its conveniences, contrivances and coincidences, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect a certain transcendence with the kind of creative talent behind the series.”
While I have the utmost respect for the living legend, I feel like Mr. Steranko was being a bit too nitpicky about things. To be fair, he basically (and literally) wrote the book on S.H.I.E.L.D., so his word holds so much weight, but in my opinion, he could go a little easier on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’. After all, we’re only one episode in. Things could pick up as we go throughout the season.
What do you think about Jim Steranko’s comments on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? Do you agree or disagree with him? Sound off in the comments.
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 8:00pm on ABC.