Why S.H.E.I.L.D. will either make or break the Avengers franchise
You’ve probably heard that Agent Coulson will be starring in the S.H.E.I.L.D TV show helmed by Joss Whedon and Jed Whedon. This was troubling news to me. Don’t get me wrong I love Phil as much as the next guy – his death was among the most emotional moments in Avengers.
Upon hearing the news I immediately asked the question any rational person would ask, why is Coulson alive?
The way in which they decide to treat Agent Coulson’s return will ultimate decide for better or worse the fate of the entire franchise Marvel has tried and succeeded at building over the past 6 years.
Forget for a moment that ABC is betting on this show, probably giving it one of the largest budgets on network TV. Forget for a moment that every Marvel movie since Iron Man has been a big success. Forget for a moment that Joss is a god among men who created such wonderful characters as Mal, Wesley, and of course Buffy. Forget that TV is where Joss is most comfortable.
S.H.E.I.L.D. is too big to fail in a way. And it won’t. No matter what happens S.H.E.I.L.D. will be a success. There is no way in my mind that it can’t be. But it could mark the beginning of the end if Marvel isn’t careful.
If you look back at comic reviews I have done in the past you will not see many if any super hero books at all. But I love superhero’s as much as the next guy who is willing to put the words geek in the name of their website. And I do read superhero comics(they do occupy a sizable majority of the medium after all), but I prefer smaller titles that aren’t connected to the universe at large – stuff like Invincible, Starman(90’s), Hellboy, Iron Fist and anything else that can remove itself from all the bullshit surrounding the big two(Marvel and DC).
That bullshit if you are not familiar include but are not limited to the following(I won’t even try to list all the shit that is messed up with the way they do things. There are more knowledgeable people to look to for that):
retcons, and character death.
Retcons are, or should be the bane of any sane person’s psyche. However in practice retcons are used more often than we would like to admit. They can be used well, for instance Buffy’s return from death can be viewed as a retcon as season five was going to be the last season. The difference between what Buffy did and what comics do is the care, and volume by which they dole out retcons like bandaids to fix boo-boo’s.
a) sparingly used retcons
b) did not use retcons flippantly and without cause. When Buffy came back in season 6 things were not all back to normal, Buffy was a changed person. Can anyone tell me that Batman is a changed character because of his death?
I hold that the reason comics are not a growing industry(besides marketing and an attached stigma) is the plain stupid way that they advertise character deaths MONTHS ahead of when it’s happening in a hope to boost sales, and the way that they continually kill off characters only to bring them back twelve months later.
I once heard someone say that there are only a few people sacred in the comic book world. Among them Uncle Ben. In other words there are only a few characters that the companies care enough about not to completely discredit by using them for marketing gimmicks and stupid events.
People dying aren’t the only examples of retcons in comic books but they’re certainly the most glaring. Of course that is up for debate as most hate One More Day, in which Peter Parker and Mary Jane become divorced, and his secret identity re-secrified… WITH MAGIC.
Enough about comic books though. My point here is that even the biggest comic fans agree the industry is royally fucked up.
So what does any of this have to do with Agent Coulson? Everything in fact.
If Phil is the first he will open up a floodgate. We might not see it immediately, but somewhere down the road they will kill a character and then a few movies down the road say, “whoops…can we bring that guy back? Ya the guy with the big purple hat.”
Then the films and by extension any more spin off TV shows/web series will have all of the same baggage as the comics. This is an eventuality I hope can be avoided.
Of course the other option is that S.H.E.I.L.D. is a prequel. This is ultimately the best direction they can take, but at the same time it puts limitations on where the show can go. I’m not saying they couldn’t make it good, but I can’t help feeling that some great stories of a post-Avengers S.H.E.I.L.D. would be lost.
Either way they do it, and I’m not seeing a third option here, something is compromised.
Again I’m not doubting S.H.E.I.L.D. will be a great TV show.
No in fact I’m sure I will love it. I just wish I could be happy that I am able to see one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite films back on screen… However I can’t help but feel that Phil and his Captain America trading cards should have been left behind.