Dear Jim Steranko, Please Stop Reviewing Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

Yes, I know you created the incarnation that we all recognize today. You’re the reason Nick Fury is such a bad ass, etc.

I found your reviews while searching the internet for my Comic-con fix. At first I was excited. Then I read them.

I was disappointed, Jim. Because I was hoping you would do in-depth analysis of characters, pacing, plot, the importance or unimportance of staying true to the source material. I was hoping for your thoughts on villians, heroes, and the Rising Tide plot that fizzled out.

Instead, you whine, on and on, in post after post, how this show isn’t big enough for you. How real action heroes should be Nick Fury. How there should be all the big name superheros all the time. Why the show never explodes stuff enough.

What insults me the most is your constant haranguing of Clark Gregg as Agent Coulsen. He’s not believable as an action hero. Why? You mention the suit and tie, but seem totally down with Ward’s use of it in later episodes. Maybe it’s because you feel Gregg doesn’t have enough presence to play the leader of a S.H.E.I.L.D. team. You want someone who looks like an action hero. Like every other show on television, action movie, or comic ever made.

Yeah, I hate to tell you this, but the reason I, and probably some other people, watch this show is because it’s NOT The Avengers, or any of those other generic shoot, bang films that are as ubiquitous in Hollywood. I don’t want to watch a show starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I don’t want to watch a show starring Sean Connery-era Bond clones. That’s really boring.

We already have a bunch of superhero stories told the same way about the same things… but wait… that’s because somebody decided comics should be written for twelve-year-old boys by men who were mentally twelve-year-old boys. Hence, my confusion with your Nick Fury obsession. While I am impressed by the acting chops of Mr. Jackson, the whole point of Fury is to just be intimidating, and one can only watch that for so long. (It’s why the Paton documentary is so painful.)

Thus, Agent Coulsen should act like a real man, and Skye should stop being adorable- although from what I’ve seen, Skye manages to pull some genuine feeling out of every nerdy guy’s favorite stereotype: the hot street smart hacker. (See also: Fitz’s Skye crush.) Furthermore, every time this show attempts to reach out beyond flat beat-em-up stereotypes, you blame it for being too sensitive.

Have you ever seen anything else by Josh Whedon? Like ever? Buffy, Firefly… at some point those shows are all about their characters and their emotions. The First was the scariest bad guy in the Buffyverse not because of its physical heft (not that it really had any), but rather by the way it could worm itself into people’s heads. That shit was scary.

In summary, if you’re going to harp on why Agents of Shield isn’t a one-dimensional, trite piece of action television fluff, you really should not be reviewing it. Yes, a show about people fighting powered people may never be Dostoyevsky, but that doesn’t stop it from being well written, or expanding beyond the tiny space people tend to put comics and science fiction in. You wrote comics for a long time. Don’t limit your own genre.



[P.S. Can you really not understand what Fitz and Simmons are saying? Seriously? Maybe that’s why I like their dialogue so much, as a person who understands science. Because it’s actually a little scientific, instead of the bull people generally invent for this kind of thing.]

[P.P.S. Yes, you are sexist for saying that the show about emotions was written by women, which you seem to imply makes it awful. On the other hand, basically all of your reviews stink to high heaven of misogyny, so no surprises there.]


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