The Next Chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Delivers On All Promises

By Corsair's Closet's Liz Carlie, 'the Mad Woman with a Box'

Set in a post-Avengers world, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. follows Phil Coulson and his new team as they pick up where the superheroes leave off.

For months, it’s been hyped and heralded as the next big thing in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tonight, the hype became reality as Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered on ABC. The series marks Joss Whedon’s first return to network television since the cancellation of FOX’s short-lived DOLLHOUSE, and his second endeavor under the Marvel banner. Most importantly, however, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. marks the return of the man that fans of the behemoth movie franchise have been eagerly waiting for: Agent Phil Coulson.

As a passionate devotee of the MCU, I was, to be frank, ridiculously excited. My love affair with Tony Stark is well known, and the IRON MAN films are just the tip of the iceberg in the multi-faceted, wholly unique media franchise that is the MCU. Beginning with the 2008 release of the blockbuster that made Robert Downey, Jr. a household name once again, Marvel Studios has delivered one gem after another with six blockbuster films, countless best selling comic books and a series of short films known as the Marvel One Shots that all delve into the complex mythology of a single world. Along with its mythos comes a keen attention to continuity that not only boggles the mind, but lends itself nicely to deeper inspection, and new stories to be told.

Enter AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Beginning with a glimpse at the aftermath of THE AVENGERS, the premiere started out with some faces both familiar and unfamiliar. I was thrilled to see many of Joss’s favorite go-to actors on screen, all before I got re-acquainted with familiar faces of a different sort: Agents Maria Hill and later, Phil Coulson. The explanation for his survival seemed simple enough, and played in a fashion that was palatable, but as with all things in the world of Whedon, and Marvel, nothing is ever that simple. The breadcrumbs fell, and I, for one, will follow where they lead with joy…and trepidation.

The story was simple, and in its own way the cast of characters was a little formulaic. However, formulas exist for a reason: they work, and this one was flawless. As Coulson pulls together his new team to investigate the strange goings-on in this brand new world of superheroes and monsters, we meet a cast of characters with an incredible chemistry that endeared me to them almost immediately. Already, I find myself drawn to the stoic and sometimes brutish Agent Ward, the team’s somewhat antisocial man of action. Ming-Na Wen was understated and dazzling as Melinda May, a no-nonsense agent with a storied past I’m looking forward to hearing more about. Add to that the mysterious and enigmatic rogue Skye, the quirky and brilliant team of Agents Fitz and Simmons, known jointly as Fitzsimmons, and you have a formula for success.

I will admit: as a rabid fangirl, I was heavily biased about this show. That said, the premiere was a thrill ride that stood on its own merit. With some lovely and surprising tie-ins to recent MCU media, it was a thrill ride of an episode, and the writing was flawless. I felt that Whedon’s usual humor was a little more understated this time around, though visibly present at every turn. It was a perfect compliment to the tone of the rest of the MCU, and surprisingly it felt like it dialed back a little from the rollicking banter of THE AVENGERS. It struck a nice balance, and I found myself drawn into the show not merely because of my fannish interest, but because it did what any good pilot should do: it made me want to know more.

What does the future hold for AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.? Time will tell, but if each week delivers what we saw in just the premiere episode, I’m looking forward to a long, healthy run of this stunning effort. MCU fans will love the movie easter eggs littered throughout, Whedon fans will love the writing, and action adventure fans will have plenty of thrills to sink their teeth into.

So sleep well, America. Coulson lives…and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are ready to follow him into battle.

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Corsair’s Chronicles features articles and fandom news coverage from Elizabeth Carlie as the Mad Woman With A Box and Kristine Cherry as the Time Siren. The pair co-host Krypton Radio’s wacky and high-energy Doctor Who-themed cosplay show, The Corsair’s Closet, where they get their geek on by squeeing about Doctor Who, cosplay and pop culture fan creativity.

The Corsair’s Closet airs with a new episode each Wednesday at 4PM, and repeats Friday at 5PM.