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S.H.I.E.L.D. #2: Review

Aug 2011
Jonathan Hickman, Dustin Weaver

Story Name:

Fire

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 Review by (June 11, 2019)
The 1503 Leonardo scene follows the 1502 scene last issue where Forever Man told him what to do, and is followed by the 1503 scene in v1#1 where Leonardo dons his winged spacesuit and flies into the future, to arrive in 1956 in the Brotherhood's Immortal City in v1#1.

It is possible that it is the 'decoy' that uses the implanted knowledge to build the Immortal City (as described last issue) after he's gone. It must also be true that it was the robot that painted the Mona Lisa, which happened after 1503 (as seen being painted in the Tales Of The Watcher backup in Tales Of Suspense #49). It is also possible that the Leonardo apps in New Avengers v2 #26-27 are the decoy too, getting involved with an earlier visit to Earth by the Phoenix Force.

It is this lifelike double that 'died' and was buried (probably by Galileo of the Brotherhood), and that Isaac Newton saw in a tomb as he mentioned in v1#4. And it will be dug up in Secret Warriors #25 and be the prototype of the modern SHIELD Life Model Decoys.

The Mona Lisa is correctly not shown in da Vinci's workroom here, but 2 earlier paintings are visible:- Lady With An Ermine and Portrait Of A Musician (in the wrong colours). And also probably the early version of Virgin Of The Rocks.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
After last issue's explanation of the Forever Man's manipulation of events we return to pick up the story from the end of v1#6 and the last bit of last issue.

Except we start with 1 of the historical flashbacks, this time to Florence 1503. Leonardo da Vinci has built a robot replica of himself which he calls a decoy. He and the robot are linked to fantastic machinery, and all they need is lightning to perform the transference. The decoy will gain all Leonardo's knowledge and it will remain behind to live out his life after the original has left. But there's no thunderstorm due now, so the master returns to working on his winged spacesuit which will take him forward through time.

At last we get to the 'present' of 1960 in the Immortal City below Rome. Da Vinci has been here since v1#1 to oppose the immortal Isaac Newton, the current leader of the Brotherhood Of The Shield. That opposition has flared into open civil war which the Forever Man and young Leonid have tried to stop. And at the very end of last issue Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards returned from the far future with Nikola Tesla/Night Machine and his white pigeon/woman companion.

Now Leonid greets his adoptive father Tesla while Richards and Stark stare around at the ruined war zone. Leonardo welcomes them but armoured Newton attacks him with a hi-tech spear. However Stark does the reverse of his usual trick and with a gesture breaks the spear into it's component parts, claiming he didn't make it for war or murder. (So what *did* he make a spear for?)

Howard wants to know what's going on, and Newton tells him that da Vinci has fomented a rebellion against the Brotherhood's aims, but his loyal followers are resisting. But then Michelangelo questions that loyalty which is based on Newton bribing them with regular doses of the Elixir Of Life which has staved off death for centuries. But Isaac has kept secret the fact that the Well of the Elixir is nearly dry. (We see an image of the dungeon where Nostradamus was held being nearly full of the Elixir, and a continuous supply running in. But now there is only what exists in the Well in the centre and the inflow is reduced to a trickle.)

Newton protests that it was a necessary lie to keep focus on the fated end of the Earth (in 2060). But Howard and Nathaniel say that they have been to the future and the Earth still stands long after that date. A member of the Council of the Brotherhood says that the Council must be convened. But who will lead it since Newton can't be allowed to do that job. Leonardo proposes that Leonid should judge the merits of the ideas presented by himself and Newton, because they divide his 2 fathers. (Tesla, an opponent of Newton, may be Leonid's adoptive father but Newton is his biological sire.)

The meeting is held, but 1 of Newton's followers holds a sack ready for an unwelcome conclusion. Newton is challenged by a guard but declares that he is unarmed. He approaches a device in the centre of the Council Chamber with 2 protruding globes. He grasps 1 and da Vinci holds the other. Leonid sits on a throne with Night Machine and the Forever Man to his left and Richards and Stark to his right. Tesla's pigeon sits on Leonid's shoulder.

Tesla stands before 1 set of controls and the lightning from his suit charges what Nathaniel Richards calls the Spirit. Then Howard Stark does his machinery-manipulation stuff to another control panel and engages the Truth. The contestants are forced to manifest their thoughts. Leonardo's emerge as a white cloud with black writing, and Isaac's as an inky cloud with white script. Da Vinci expresses his doubts while Newton his certainty. Newton says he's killed for his cause many times (as seen in issue Infinity), including the previous leader Galileo. Da Vinci says he has faith in no-one (not even himself?) and he has sacrificed everything(?).

When it is all over Leonardo asks Leonid to judge what he has heard. Newton says that their motivations and actions are irrelevant. It only matters that his calculations prove he is *right* and his predictions are unavoidable. Leonid says he doesn't believe in fate, and he chooses da Vinci's cause of free will. And Tesla calls for Newton's execution.

Isaac's ally acts and tosses Newton a helmet from the sack. Newton throws aside his robe to reveal that he's wearing Leonardo's winged time suit. And he vanishes into the timestream. Forever Man says that's what Newton 'always' does. Leonardo suggests Isaac has gone to his predicted future, and Michelangelo says they must follow him.

Later we see Stark building the large voice-operated typewriter that we saw him dictating to in the 1st volume. He's going to leave a message in case they don't return. He begins "My name is Howard Stark and this is a record of why we war."

Meanwhile Nostradamus and the Celestial Star Child are searching Newton's office. Nostradamus is desperate for more of the Elixir Of Life (or maybe it's formula). The Star Child is just hungry for information. His thoughts are mathematical, and he comes across Newton's revolutionary Quiet Math and his proof that the world would end in 2060. Either the Math or the proof drive the Celestial mad, and the strange symbol which equates to 2060 appears on his metal brow,

And he grows huge and bursts out of the building.


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> S.H.I.E.L.D.: Book info and issue index

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Dustin Weaver
Dustin Weaver
Sonia Oback
Gerald Parel (Cover Penciler)
Gerald Parel (Cover Inker)
Gerald Parel (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Todd Klein.
Editor: Nick Lowe. Editor-in-chief: Axel Alonso.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Brotherhood Of The Shield, Forever Man (Michelangelo), Howard Stark, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Leonid, Nathaniel Richards, Night Machine (Nikola Tesla), Nostradamus, Star Child.