Saturday, October 27, 2012

SHIELD: Architects of Forever HC

Hardcover is definitely the preferred format for this series. I tried to read an issue in floppy, and I just wasn’t hooked. But when I got the collection from the library and all the pieces of Jonathan Hickman’s story fit so snugly together? This is a darn entertaining story.

My problem with reading issue 1 was that Leonid, our point of view character, is a bit of a cipher. There’s nothing there. He’s an impressionable kid led around in a big world of mad ideas where nothing makes sense. Unfortunately, the lack of sense led to a lack of drama and interest in my case. That’s how I was able to pass up the rest of the book. But when you can jump directly into the next issue, it becomes clear that while Leonid is important, he’s not the star.

No, this is a series taking the greatest philosophers and inventors of the past and making them into super-heroes. It’s a laughable concept until you see how well Hickman does in turning Leonardo Da Vinci into an ancient Iron Man or Isaac Newton into a scheming plotter. Basically, every famous man in history is tied to the Shield, a secret organization out to protect mankind. (Which is a problem, I think there is only one female in this whole book!) Famous people from the real past and the Marvel past (like Apocalypse in ancient Egypt) team up to take on classic Marvel baddies like Galactus and the Celestials. It’s a fun concept.

There are still some confusing things going on here. Hickman’s tendency to hop around in time makes for a confusing plot. I understand why he’s doing it; we are dealing with time travel after all. His pacing is insane, with Leonardo and Isaac’s war brewing in the span of a couple pages.

As for the art, Dustin Weaver deserves the accolades he’s received for this book. The character design is top notch. Newton’s villain-garb is fantastic; complete with a swooping helmet and aged-looking robe. Nostradamus has the look of a madman, but the transition from wise man to maniac on the page is tremendously effective and sad. The thought that went in to the Night Machine design is impressive too; with each detail thought out and planned (the slight bonus material expands on this nicely).

This book makes Hickman’s Avengers even more of a sure thing for me.


No comments: