Legendary ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Creator Jim Steranko Takes Aim At New TV Series

by Brett White

Fans of comic book legend Jim Steranko’s endlessly entertaining Twitter feed will be delighted to know that he’s been enlisted by The Hollywood Reporter to review every episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the new TV series loosely based on the series he spearheaded in the late ’60s.

It’s not everyday that you get in-depth reviews of comic adaptations from their classic creators, so this new weekly feature is kind of fascinating, especially when you consider that an iconic figure like Steranko has no real reason to play nice with big companies or censor his opinions (his uncensored thoughts are one of the major draws of his Twitter feed). With The Hollywood Reporter providing a platform, the 74-year-old writer and artist voiced his highly critical take on Tuesday’s pilot in a lengthy review.

His first major critique is one that makes a lot of sense.

“One of the pitfalls of multicharacter epics with multiple storylines is juggling each to dramatic satisfaction, and Whedon has been successful at it,” wrote Steranko. “But AoS’s four major focuses—the Coulson story, the Agent Grant Ward story, the Skye story, the Hooded Hero story—result in a lack of unified focus that seriously undercuts the series’ opener. Any of them could have shouldered the hour effectively, yet, in this case, giving each equal gravitas serves only to diffuse viewer involvement. (Who in hell am I supposed to root for?) Certainly, the storylines all converge at the climax (in standard Edgar Rice Burroughs style), but, by that time, viewer involvement may be too minimal to matter.”

Steranko then makes a dangerous move for someone as deep into Twitter as he is: he speaks ill of Coulson, the hero that Twitter kinda resurrected through the #CoulsonLives tag. He compared apparently-everyone-but-Steranko’s favorite leading S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, saying that he was no match for Nick Fury.

And while Steranko also felt that the pilot required the audience to remember too many details from “Marvel’s the Avengers,” saying that “recalling the details of last year’s favorite may be too much to expect above the fanboy level,” Steranko admitted he would have loved to have seen even deeper reference to Marvel continuity.

“Hell, I would have bought everybody drinks for a quickie Paste-Pot Pete appearance or even a walk-on by Stan Lee,” said Steranko.

Whether or not you agree with Steranko’s critique, his review comes from a much more personal context than literally any other piece you could read. Steranko’s creativity and knack for over-the-top gadgets/ideas/sci-fi lives on in every iteration of the superspy organization, so his opinion of the show as it progresses will be one to keep an eye on.

What did you think of Steranko’s review? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!