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The Great Builder

June 25, 2010

The secret history of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with S.H.I.E.L.D. #2, and it seems that there’s yet another great historical figure connected with the group.  The great seer Nostradamus is somehow still alive, kept alive by some elixir that S.H.I.E.L.D. has.  He is chained, and they use him to tell them the future.  But this time, he tells them that change is now.  Leonardo da Vinci meets with Leonid, and he helps Leonid remember his earliest memory, a memory of monsters, a man who shone like the sun, a book with no words, a machine, and then his father, the Night Machine.  da Vinci explains that the door Leonid went through to get up there was really a hole, punched through space and time, and that he built the entire Immortal City.  Seems that all of the members of the order are also immortal, probably kept alive by that same elixir.  As da Vinci summons everyone, he and Leonid see Nathaniel Richards and Howard Stark continue their battle against the Night Machine.  The Night Machine claims that this place is a perversion, and Stark makes some kind of staff that projects a wide energy field.  The field cuts into the Night Machine, revealing an actual machine in his stomach.  The machine is ready to explode, and Richards jumps towards it.  There’s a large explosion, and we see many different versions of Richards all beside him, reaching out.  Elsewhere, Leonid and da Vinci descend back down into the city.  da Vinci mentions complicated things about the Human Machine and Leonid’s part in it.  They have to take a detour due to the explosion, but they end up finding the council room, where da Vinci states that the current council believes in inevitability rather than infinite human potential, and that da Vinci is here to destroy the corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D. they have made.

Well, that was a twist Jonathan Hickman’s given us.  da Vinci is actually here to destroy this old S.H.I.E.L.D.  Could it be, then, that the modern S.H.I.E.L.D. is what comes out of the ashes?  It makes sense, based on the time frame of this story.  But my goodness, is this book crazy.  From what I can tell, especially based on the stars thing, Leonid might very well really be the son of Eternity.  That says a lot for human potential.  Then who is the Night Machine?  He doesn’t seem to be a villain, since he, like da Vinci, is fighting against the corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D.  Then are Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards evil?  Or are they being used?  As with the previous issue, this one just brings up so many new questions.  But they’re questions I’m excited to see the answers to.  Now, considering the epicness of the previous issue, it’s almost impossible for a second issue to follow up on that.  Even though this second issue isn’t quite as amazing as the first one, it’s still really cool.  All this concepts are really interesting, and although I’m not always a fan of these big secret societies in control of history or whatnot, I really like seeing cool people like da Vinci involved.  And the concept of unlimited human potential is also quite interesting.  It fits in with everything humanity is experiencing in the present day of Marvel.  It brings to mind Walt Whitman’s poem, I Sing the Body Electric.  You know, I didn’t appreciate this when I was younger, but now, I do so love it when comic books are educated, and they bring stuff like this to mind.  Dustin Weaver’s work looks as great as last issue.  While I still wouldn’t call him Marvel’s new top artist, he’s definitely shown that he’s a lot better than I originally gave him credit for.  Everything in this issue looks great.  I’m not sure I liked that one prose page, especially since I wanted to see more of Dustin’s art, but it’s not that big a deal.  Anyway, it’s too bad that this book is bimonthly.  I can’t wait for the next issue, and I’m sure everyone else reading this book feels the same.  We’re all just dying for more, and the wait is going to whet our appetites.

Plot: 9.2      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.3      Overall: 9.3

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