S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hickman and Weaver #6 // Review
Endings are hard. This is especially true when there is a lot of anticipation for that ending, and few endings are as highly anticipated as the final issue of Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver’s epic series, S.H.I.E.L.D, which finally hit the stands after 6 years. Accompanied by colorist Sonia Oback and series letterer Todd Klein, Hickman and Weaver attempt to deliver a satisfying conclusion, but can they live up to the high expectations they’ve set?
Describing the events of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 are almost impossible; there is no discernible setting for most of the issue, and it largely revolves not around the sort of epic battle that was seen last issue, but, instead, a conversation and negotiation between Leonid, Newton, and Michelangelo. The characters come to an agreement, which leads to the stunning final pages, leaving more questions than the issue answered, but also a lot of interesting pieces in play.
While few know if Jonathan Hickman’s Twitter jokes about trying to stop the release of the final issues were just jokes, he certainly set the bar especially high for this finale, and not only because of the ambitious nature of the series. Hickman’s work at Marvel has become some of the most heavily lauded stories in Marvel’s recent history and has influenced many subsequent stories. This issue will no doubt lead to more of that, but it doesn’t feel quite as satisfying as loyal readers may have hoped. The ending is heavily metaphysical, with sweeping concepts that even the most obsessive fan will have a hard time parsing through. That said, it will certainly provide readers lots of questions to pour over, including where its cast will pop up next.
On the art side, Dustin Weaver renders the issue in stunning fashion. Each panel is gorgeous, with fantastic composition and meticulous detail. Once again, Weaver shows himself to be a premiere tier artist, even if he’s not as well known as some others. He handles every curveball Hickman throws him, from the interstellar to the street-level. Additionally, the visual for how Leonid stops Newton’s antagonism is grotesque and amazing, and deserves its own mention. The color art by Sonia Oback (with Weaver) is a wonderful compliment, adding majesty and mood and really helping to sell both the cosmic sequences and the flashbacks to earlier moments in the series.
It’s hard to believe S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally over. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s hard to say if this final issue is “worth the wait,” but it definitely doesn’t skimp on the kind of big ideas the series has become known for. It’s not hard to guess where the story will continue--good money is on Dan Slott’s upcoming Iron Man and Fantastic Four--and hopefully that will lead to some further answers to lingering questions, but, for now, S.H.I.E.L.D. is complete. Only time will tell if it enters the upper echelon of what is considered great comic work, but it’s hard to say it doesn’t deserve it, even if the ending will leave readers scratching their heads and wanting more.