With the upcoming debut of the television series, Agents of SHEILD, maybe we should take a look at this Marvel group.
- Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement
- Division (original)
- Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate (1991)
- Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division
1st appearance Strange Tales #165
S.H.E.I.L.D. is a fictional intelligence agency in the Marvel Universe. First introduced in 1965 in Strange Tales, Nick Fury Agent of S.H.E.I.L.D. made his debut. S.H.E.I.L.D. was Marvels attempt to stay competitive. Secret fictional intelligence agencies were popular on television and in the movies, Marvel wanted to make sure that they also had something to offer. For the last 48 years, S.H.E.I.L.D. has made appearances in the Marvel universe. They have had their ups and downs; executive directors have come and gone. Agents have joined, quit, and died but it has never been dull.
S.H.E.I.L.D. was the brainchild of Nick Fury. As WW2 came to a close an idea was born to form a secret organization that would protect the world from terrorism and superhuman threats. A draft was formulated but Fury decided that the US government would not approve that type of a clandestine group. He locked his draft away and that was that. Or so he thought, the UN had different ideas. When HYDRA came calling the UN implemented Fury’s’ plan and S.H.E.I.L.D. was born. Fury had no idea this was happening. Colonel Rick Stoner was the first executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D. but his tenure was short lived. When HYDRA assassinated Stoner, Colonel Nick Fury was recruited to become the second executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D. While Fury was the executive director of S.H.E.I.L.D., he actually reports to a mysterious 12 member board that gives him his orders. It is up to Fury how those orders are implemented.
S.H.E.I.L.D. eventually grows into the world’s most powerful covert organization. Able to work covertly with governments and superhero’s and still maintain deniability. While at inception this was suppose to walk on the right/moral side of things and for a time it was. All good things come to an end and it was discovered that S.H.E.I.L.D. and HYDRA had fallen into the hands of the LMD.
So now a small detour into the LMD. Life Model Decoy, LMD, was designed by S.H.E.I.L.D. LMD are extremely lifelike androids that take the place of a person. Developed to protect people that were in imminent danger. That person can speak thru, see thru and completely control the LMD. If you have seen the movie Surrogates, that is pretty much it except, somewhere along the line they became sentient. The group of sentient LMD’s became known as Deltites.
S.H.E.I.L.D. is taken over by the Deltites and hunt Fury. Eventually, it is shown that many of the agents had been replaced by Deltites, but the damage was done. S.H.E.I.L.D. infrastructure and personnel were destroyed and as a result Fury disbanded it. Fury felt in its current configuration it was too easy to subvert from within its own ranks. Fury did rebuild S.H.E.I.L.D., but as a smaller more manageable, streamline agency. After overcoming several skirmishes, included his death, or more specifically the death of his LMD, at the hands of Punisher. Fury was able to rebuild his alliances with the super hero community. Together they launch a covert assault on Latveria. Latveria reciprocates by attacking back which results in Fury’s removal as director of S.H.E.I.L.D. Since Fury uses the Infinity Serum, he still has ties to S.H.E.I.L.D. and currently is the only “33rd degree” S.H.E.I.L.D. officer. In other words, he knows more than everyone put together has forgotten or will ever know.
Maria Hill takes over S.H.E.I.L.D. after Fury is removed. This was done for two reasons. First to keep people loyal to Fury out of power since Hill was not close to Fury. Second, since Hill was American, she would be loyal to USA even though S.H.E.I.L.D. is a UN entity. It was later revealed that she was only chosen so she could fail. This is also the time of the passage of the Superhuman Registration Act and subsequent Civil War. Not only was S.H.E.I.L.D. the enforcer of the Act, they were also tasked with accepting registered super humans as operatives. As Civil War ends, Tony Stark becomes director.
This pretty much brings us to where we need to be as S.H.E.I.L.D. relates to the movies and ultimately to the TV series.
There have been 9 directors of S.H.E.I.L.D.
- Colonel Rick Stoner
- Colonel Nick Fury
- Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan
- G. W. Bridge
- Sharon Carter (Agent 13)
- Maria Hill
- Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark (Iron Man)
- Norman Osborn
- Captain Steve Rogers
As you can see by the directors of S.H.E.I.L.D., the majority of S.H.E.I.L.D. agents are human. That is not to say that S.H.E.I.L.D. does not use or included super humans in their ranks. There have been a few attempts to form teams of superhuman agents. They did not meet with great success. S.H.E.I.L.D. does have a team of Psi-Division, that uses telepathic agents to deal with the psi threats they encounter. S.H.E.I.L.D. is very closely tied to the super hero community.
Originally S.H.E.I.L.D. was organized in an eight tiered structure:
- field agent
- regional officer
- special officer
- regional director
- special director
- executive director
Currently S.H.E.I.L.D. is organized into Level One to Level Ten. However, that really isn’t the whole thing, there are special people that may have a special designation of Champion Status. This allows them the right to assemble a team to carry out any mission they believe necessary.
S.H.E.I.L.D. is headquartered in a Helicarrier. A massive flying aircraft carrier that is kept airborne at all times. A flying city that functions both as a home and a headquarters.
How Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. will fit into the S.H.E.I.L.D. universe is anyone’s guess. The series centers around a group of human agents that deal with superhuman issues. There are none of the staple super heroes in the show, although it does tie into “The Avengers.” So it seems this will be a new branch on the S.H.E.I.L.D. tree. Only time will tell how good or bad the series will be and how many artistic licenses are used. That Agent Coulson is still alive after being killed off by Loki leads one to believe that nothing is off limits.