Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Angelina Jolie, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I was in McNally Robinson today and spent some time browsing through the comic collections. One of the ones I thumbed through was the trade paperback of Marvel's Secret War, not to be confused with Secret Wars, Marvel's 1980s crossover miniseries that introduced Spider Man's black symbiote costume that eventually joined with some other guy and became Venom.(If you're not a comic book fan that last bit likely has you shaking your head.) One of the characters introduced in this series is Daisy Johnson, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who can create earthquakes, and just happens to be the daughter of long running Marvel villain Mr. Hyde.(Long running indeed, since Hyde first appeared way back in 1963.)

And she looks like Angelina Jolie. Quite literally. If you didn't pick up on this instantly you've probably been living in a cave for the last 10 years. In one way I'm surprised they'd do that in our litigious age. Jolie might object to her likeness being used without her permission in a continuing character, since the character has appeared post Secret War. On the other hand this isn't the first time Marvel has done something like this. Justin Hammer, a long running foe of Iron Man's, was all but certainly modeled physically after Peter Cushing, the veteran British actor who appeared in numerous Hammer horror films and as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. For that matter the Marvel version of Hercules, who first appeared in the 1960s, was probably based on Steve Reeves' portrayal of the character.

As for the series itself the art is cool, but I found the actual story a little blah. In it Nick Fury recruits several Marvel heroes for a secret mission into Latveria when the US government refuses to take action against a terrorist plot being planned by Latveria's Prime Minister.(See what happens when you don't read comics? I had no idea that Dr. Doom had been deposed, yet again, as despot of Latveria.) Unfortunately his actions come back to bite him in the rear, as is often the case in covert ops. As this takes place in the regular Marvel Universe this story features the classic white dude WW2 vet with an eye patch Nick Fury, versus the Nick Fury in Marvel's Ultimate line who is a black dude.

With an eyepatch.

On the same eye no less. Geez, why not at least switch eyes?

Included are excerpts from Fury's personal computer files, and I had to smile at the entry for Jimmy Woo. It subtly acknowledges the fact that Woo is no spring chicken, something no doubt intended to make older Marvel fans smile. After all Woo first appeared the late 1950s as an opponent of the Yellow Claw, and apparently current Marvel continuity has him being around in that era. Jasper Stilwell also appears, another nice surprise for long suffering Marvel fans.

While we're talking about Angelina Jolie and comics, here's a suggestion for the braintrust at Marvel's movie division if they stumble across this post. Angelina Jolie as the Black Widow. Seriously, I could imagine her as Natasha Romanov.

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