Sunday, 10 April 2016

Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 - Marvel Comics

HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. No. 1, December 2015
Consisting of “the mightiest monsters in Marveldom” this rather tongue-in-cheek title’s narrative rarely pauses for breath during its debut publication courtesy of Frank J. Barbiere literally throwing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “newest subsidiary to contain supernatural threats” into the thick of the action, as they’re deployed to secure the Earth Idol of Golthana from the hold of a tanker ship. Indeed the Brooklyn-based writer doesn’t even concern himself with providing his 44,532 strong audience with any meaningful introduction and simply has this comic’s opening start with a picture of an old-fashioned typewriter, upon which a short summary of long-time agent “Dum Dum” Dugan’s formation of the S.T.A.K.E. strike team is written. This extremely direct plot device is then immediately followed by the harrowing experience of “Captain Anderson of the S.S. Chaney” as the hard-hatted sailor is first attacked by former First Mate Scully and then saved by a heavily-armed monkey who blows the plant-infected crewman away.

Just as no-nonsense as the preamble to Issue One of “Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is Maria Hill’s pulse-pounding insertion of the Man-Thing, Teen Abomination, Vampire by Night, Hit-Monkey, Manphibian, and a zombified Jasper Sitwell elsewhere upon the stricken vessel. For no sooner has the reader recovered from witnessing a gun-toting small-sized simian in the distinctive dark blue uniform of a law-enforcement operative, than the rest of the chimp’s team-mates are introduced completely surrounded by the walking undead on-board the boat’s main deck, their automatic weapons blazing, powerfully-huge fists flying and razor-sharp claws disembowelling.

Admittedly there are times when the American author is forced to momentarily step away from the fourteen-page long frantic battle sequence in order to provide at least a little exposition as to why Duggan is now “an advanced Life-Model Decoy” and just how Warwolf happens to be the handler of Stan Lee’s bowler hat wearing co-creation. But these “earlier” scenes, sedentarily set at S.T.A.K.E. Command. Area 13, are equally as to the point as the rest of Barbiere’s penmanship for “Earth Idol”. Though just why “Dum Dum” arms his squad’s resident living brainless cadaver with a rocket launcher is however never adequately explained, even if Jasper blowing up his new field commander with a projectile later in the story is a potential ‘laugh out loud’ moment; “Wait, It’s me! Dum Dum! &%*$.”

Somewhat disappointing though is Brent Schoonover’s decidedly dynamic yet occasionally inconsistent pencilling. The American’s illustrator’s technique undoubtedly appears as similarly Late Seventies in style as this comic’s script does, and his renderings of Man-Thing, Manphibian and the gigantic Orrgo are outstanding. Yet “The Astonishing Ant-Man” artist’s panels depicting Commander Hill’s “bad Juju” briefing to Doctor Kraye and Reyna appear rather awkwardly wooden, as frustratingly does the majority of his “mindless humanoid plant creatures.”
The regular cover art of "HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." No. 1 by Brent Schoonover & Nick Filardi


  1. This sounds cool. I do like this aspect of the Cap origin movie they did.

    1. Thanks Simon. This is beyond doubt one of my fave reads of the year so far and I'm certainly hoping to cover its entire run - as sadly it seems the current creative team are moving on and "Marvel Worldwide" haven't announced a new one.