This year will mark the five year anniversary of Marvel’s adventures on the small screen. After premiering in September 2013, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had its ups and downs, but through it all, die-hard fans keep the show alive with their outspoken passion for Marvel’s longest running small-screen serial to date. Marvel may not have had much luck with its spin-off ventures in recent years, but without Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there would be no Defenders universe on Netflix, and without the Defenders, we would have no Runaways.
For all its hiccups, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains a vital part of the expanded Marvel universe. We’ve followed them through Agent Coulson’s resurrection and the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., all the way into a far-flung future where the very existence of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself is in jeopardy. We may not know just yet what the true fate of the agents will be, but to celebrate five thrilling seasons of out-of-this-world adventures in the Marvel universe, CBR has collected 15 of the best and brightest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. memes to get you through this dark and trying time.
15 MOTIVATIONAL MAY
Motivational posters are perhaps one of the most classic memes of all, and nobody is better suited for this than the Calvary herself, Agent Melinda May. Simple but effective, when you’re as skilled, smart, and snarky as Agent May, all other weapons are optional. She’s been through it all -- working undercover for Fury, discovering the truth about T.A.H.I.T.I., surviving a stint in virtual reality -- and she’s remained a S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalist through and through (well, when it exists and isn’t infiltrated by HYDRA agents).
May can do it all, too: she’s an ace pilot, top notch intelligence agent, and one of just a few Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have more black belts than the notorious Black Widow (a close personal friend of Agent May’s, just an FYI). Coulson and the team are lucky to have her around. Maybe when they’re out of the hands of the Kree, they should hang a few of these posters up around the office to help keep them in line.
14 NOT SO SECRET AGENTS
For a top secret government agency, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sure do leave a lot of footprints. S.H.I.E.L.D. has some top notch branding, but as this popular meme shows, they don’t exactly have a strong grasp on subtlety. Do you really need your logo printed on all your vehicles? And the water bottles -- that isn’t even environmentally friendly! A standard issue, BPA-free, plain black water bottle would save S.H.I.E.L.D. an awful lot of trouble.
They’d cut down on waste, and cut down on the likelihood that some rogue recycling plant employee (they do recycle, right?) is going to steal some of their top secret corporate refreshments and launch the next hot YouTube expose. The logo may be extremely cool, but assuming this branding trend extends to every item in S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, we here at CBR shudder to think of how many S.H.I.E.L.D. logo ballpoint pens have been lost in the field.
13 AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. STARRING ALL YOUR MARVEL FAVES
The lure of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in its early days was the promise that we might tune in and get to see anyone from the MCU pop up for a little visit every once in a while. While we have gotten cameo appearances from the likes of Director Fury and the fantastic Lady Sif (before she turned up in Times Square with no memory), most of the cameo appearances have come in the form of Agent Coulson regaling us with tales of his encounters with the Avengers.
This meme lampoons the days of name-dropping Tony Stark and Captain America, long before the Captain America: Winter Soldier crossover event. These days Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has enough mythology of its own to not need to rely on namedropping the MCU quite so heavily -- which is probably for the best, since it doesn’t look like we’ll get another real crossover any time soon.
12 NOT A HAIR OUT OF PLACE
Another oldie but a goodie: this popular meme takes aim at Quake’s impeccable style when she was living the nomad’s life as Rising Tide during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s debut season. For a hacker living her life on the run, Daisy sure did have access to some pretty impressive resources. When you’re linked up with a group as notorious as the Rising Tide it seems like anything is possible.
Of course, Daisy isn’t the only offender here, nor is this a goofy gaff unique to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It does raise some fun questions, though, especially about Daisy’s incredible high tech set-up in that van of hers. Maybe some well-placed solar panels did the trick? These days, AOS fans have bigger questions to worry about, though. Traveling through time sure does make Daisy’s Rising Tide days look like small potatoes!
11 AGENT SHERBATSKY
We haven’t gotten to see enough of Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. We know she’s a staunch friend and defender of Fury and a S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalist through and through, but what about her history? What made her want to join up with Fury in the first place? What if it was … secret HYDRA agent Barney Stinson?
This meme mashes up Smulders’ role on the hit show How I Met Your Mother to create a world where Barney takes a dark turn and prompts Robin to take not just a new name but a new job: agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., protector of America, and friend to the Avengers. The HIMYM spin-off series never panned out, but wouldn’t it be cool if CBS and ABC could reach a deal to turn this into a spin-off series instead?
10 THE WARD CONSPIRACY
Grant Ward’s been dead and gone for a while on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but is he really gone forever? This meme teases a fan conspiracy theory that bridges the gap between Netflix and ABC, hinting that perhaps everyone’s favorite double agent lives on in the form of the villainous Ward Meachum of Iron Fist. Brett Dalton and and Tom Pelphrey do bear a very passing resemblance to one another, and Meachum does share some of Ward’s more devious traits -- his fierce, if misplaced loyalty, his drive, and his underhandedness.
This meme may be pretty far-fetched, but it’s a fun way to keep the small-screen siblings of the Marvel Universe tied together. Fans may not necessarily be clamoring for the return of Brett Dalton to the MCU these days, but if Marvel is really looking for a crossover opportunity, surely Melinda May could pay a visit to Danny and show off a few of those black belts?
9 CARDS AGAINST GRANT WARD
This mash-up meme combines the smash-hit game Cards Against Humanity and Grant Ward’s darker days under the control of Hive. "I get by with a little help from my poor life choices" sure does define Ward to a tee, doesn’t it?
From the day he devoted himself to HYDRA leader John Garrett, Ward made one bad choice after another. He betrayed Coulson, betrayed the team, and hurt Daisy over and over again, not even out of any real commitment to HYDRA but just a desperate devotion to Garrett himself. Make no mistake though, a troubled childhood doesn’t exactly make up for Ward’s bad habit of palling around with Nazi stand-ins. He’s a bad dude who made made some bad choices in his life. This meme’s got it exactly right. It’s too bad Grant Ward couldn’t totally turn it around in the end, but he proved you can survive an awful long time on spite alone.
8 BARGAIN BASEMENT SELF-ESTEEM
Poor Leopold Fitz! The resident tech expert of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been put through the ringer on since day one. He’s faced down death and even fought his way back from the brink of it, surviving a drowning attempt, brainwashing, and a very long trip to the future all in the name of protecting his friends and family. It certainly doesn’t help that Fitz always seems to find himself making friends with the people most likely to betray him (yet another one of Grant Ward’s poor life choices).
Fitz has come a long way since his reluctant field agent days, but he’s still lacking a little in the self-confidence department. Text post mash-ups are a difficult art to master, but this combination is a succinct summation of Fitz’s deep-seated anxieties. Now that he’s got his friends back, not to mention Jemma, maybe this season will finally be the one Fitz accepts he’s a badass and a genius after all!
7 LEAVE FITZSIMMONS ALONE
This Office Space mash-up will certainly hit a nerve with FitzSimmons shippers around the world. Lumbergh’s dry delivery almost doesn’t do the reality of this meme justice. Over the last five years, Fitz and Simmons have circled around each other, leaving fans wondering “will they, won’t they” through a series of increasingly dramatic -- and dangerous -- plot twists and turns. It seems like we’ve known since the very first episode that Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons were meant for each other, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to love playing with our emotions.
Haven’t these two lovebirds suffered enough? They’re best friends who have constantly driven each other to grow, change, and become better S.H.I.E.L.D. agents than either of them could have thought possible. Now, five seasons later, Leo and Jemma finally seem destined for their happily ever after. These two are definitely endgame, but can Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. resist the urge to tear them apart yet again?
6 IT WAS DISGUSTING
This is another quality text post meme, this time featuring Melinda May making a fatal mistake: showing weakness. The famously stoic agent is known for her dry humor and even temper, and early in the series made it clear that she thought maintaining emotional distance was the key to her continued success as an agent. Even in the moments where she seemed to warm up to the rest of the crew, like playing a prank on Fitz, she still did her best to maintain her cool exterior.
Thankfully, May in later seasons doesn’t seem to think quite so lowly of team-building. Over the last few years she’s opened up to Daisy and Bobbi, rekindled her friendship (among other things at times, it seems) with Phil Coulson, and proven time and again that even if she’s a little rough on the outside, when it comes to the rest of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team, she’s really a softie at heart. Mess with her family, and she’ll cut you down in a heartbeat.
5 BOBBI’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST
A more familiar version of this meme across fandoms features the phrase, "I am feel uncomfortable when we are not about me?" from the popular Twitter account Birds Rights Activist. Everybody’s favorite avian activist has a number of iconic tweets, though none of them is more fitting for the dangerous and beautiful Mockingbird than this important question.
Bobbi Morse may be gone from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for now, but Adrianne Palicki’s spot-on portrayal of her will never be forgotten. Palicki perfectly captured Mockingbird’s wit, strength, and most importantly, her confidence and casual disregard for other people’s foolishness. Nobody could stand a chance against Bobbi Morse’s charms, not even her long-suffering ex-husband Lance Hunter. We may not have gotten the Most Wanted spin-off, but wherever she is, we at CBR hope Bobbi is proudly driving over the beauty limit every single day.
4 BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Speaking of Marvel’s most unwanted spin-off, Lance Hunter clocks in for his first appearance in this list for a spot-on representation of his smarm and only slightly inflated sense of self-importance. You might not agree with this meme’s assessment of where Bobbi Morse would land on the cuteness scale (personally, we think she edges Lance out just a little bit) but it certainly reflects the roguish attitude he brought to the team when he first appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Lance’s sour attitude about his marriage to Bobbi sweetened up over the course of their run together on the show, culminating in him saving her life. They may not have had the chance to run off into the sunset together, chasing after the most notorious villains and mystical items of the Marvel universe, but Lance brought his much improved spirits back to save the day yet again in season five.
3 BRUCE WAYNE, DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has featured a number of superhero series veterans, perhaps none more famous than series four regular Jason O’Mara. Though he joined the series as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Jeffrey Mace (otherwise known as the superpowered Patriot), fans may know him best for his work as another iconic superhero: DC’s Batman.
O’Mara has starred as Gotham’s favorite caped crusader in more than half a dozen DC animated films, including Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Son of Batman, and Justice League Dark. O’Mara has often received high praise as Bruce Wayne, but was also hailed as a standout in his season-long stint as the complicated and sometimes secretive Jeffrey Mace. We may not have a chance to see the Patriot in action again on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. again any time soon, but we’ll always remember him fondly. With any luck, we’ll at least get to see him under the cowl again (in a sense) sooner rather than later!
2 A MAN OF HONOR
Agent Coulson has been the moral center of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since before there was an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. His forthrightness and devotion to the agency’s cause has gotten him into more trouble than one person really deserves, from his apparent death at the hands of Loki in The Avengers to his long, slow road to understanding what truly happened during his Tahiti vacation, to his disappearance into a HYDRA virtual reality and winding up in a far-flung future with no S.H.I.E.L.D. to lead.
No one has been more committed to the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and protecting Earth from superhuman forces than Coulson -- which is precisely what makes this meme such a perfect fit. Coulson is steadfast almost to the point of goofiness on occasion, and this light-hearted text post meme lampoons him perfectly. At the end of a long day, Phil Coulson has every right to look into the distance and describe exactly what he probably did do that day: the right thing.
1 WHAT ABOUT NOW?
Okay, this meme may go a little over the top, but the passion of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fanbase is what’s managed to keep it going for five seasons. It even managed to survive ABC’s seemingly cursed Tuesday timeslot before getting moved to a sci-fi focused Friday lineup with Once Upon A Time. Thanks to a devoted and outspoken fanbase, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone from the little crossover show that could to a powerhouse among Marvel’s small-screen endeavors.
Whether you stick around as a FitzSimmons loyalist or because you’ve been a diehard Coulsonite since his very first appearance in the MCU, or because you can’t get enough of seeing Ming-Na Wen kicking butt from week to week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a little something for everyone. It may not have been strong enough to launch Inhumans or Marvel’s Most Wanted to spin-off success, but thanks to AOS, the Inhumans and Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider will live on as part of MCU canon forever. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has given Marvel fans five seasons and almost five full years of incredible storylines and exciting cameos. We think their fans have every right to be proud!