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Marvel is back in the business of monster comics with Howling Commandos of SHIELD #1.  In this series a life model decoy of Dum Dum Dugan, one of Nick Fury’s original howling commandos, leads a group of misfit monsters on a mission to recover the Earth Idol.  One thing that has been consistent through most of the issues of these All-New All-Different Marvel titles is that they’re telling backstory while simultaneously detailing what’s currently happening.  Marvel has chosen to have all of their new number 1’s take place eight months after the conclusion of Secret Wars, so there is nearly a year in these characters lives that has been paved over.  That leaves the writers a lot of leeway to tell some interesting narratives as to how the characters got to this point.

Author Frank Barbiere takes writing duties on this series and he hits the ground running with a mission on a freight ship in the Atlantic Ocean.  I really like the concept that Barbiere introduces in the story, but I do feel like it could have been executed a little better.  The cast is so large, and there are so many characters that he has to introduce that the story almost feels rushed.  No one character, with the exception of Dugan, gets more that a page or two of story time, so we don’t really get to know them very well at all in this first issue.  I’m sure it’s something that will be rectified in future issues, but this being the introduction issue, it seems a little odd not to get more of an introduction.

Brent Schoonover handles the art here and does a really great job.  He does well with the extremely varied cast of characters, from zombies to vampires to Man-things to… whatever Orrgo is, Schoonover draws them all in great detail and all with their own individual characteristics.  Larger scenes seem to lose a little bit of detail, but it’s nothing that noticeable or distracting.  A series like this would require a really good artist and it certainly seems like Schoonover is up to the task.

Overall, I did enjoy the issue, even though it did feel kind of rushed in certain spots.  I look forward to learning more about the characters and watching them interact over the course of the series.  I will definitely be keeping up with this one, and if you’re at all interested in monsters and things that are a little bit different, you probably should too.

The Verdict for Howling Commandos of SHIELD #1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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