“Quake: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary” #1 opens up in an interrogation room with Daisy “Quake” Johnson on one side of the table, snarkily holding her own, not unlike the character Chloe Bennet has brought to life on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”. Written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon, drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson, colored by Jason Keith and lettered by Cory Petit, this comic is held out to fans of the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” television show and readers who may be interested in the series.
Rosenberg and Kindlon tell the story from Quake’s perspective, introducing the readers to the “First Team” from 2010’s “Avengers” #20 through her jaded filter. The writers presume reader familiarity with the team, leaving the identifiers to Quake and never quite coming back around to complete the gestalt. Quake’s filter does provide measured caricatures of all of the characters, which lends itself to some levity in the face of adversity and keeps the issue moving at a lively pace.
This comic isn’t the second coming of “Marvels,” but it does provide an outsider’s perspective on the world of super powered beings. This is Quake’s story and she is given plenty of space to shine, but her guest stars are also afforded opportunities to make their presence known. Quake spends the issue trying to figure out how she fits, which is a point both Rosenberg and Kindlon address before wrapping up.
Daniel Warren Johnson’s art has a gritty, indie comic vibe to it. The sketchier lines and drawn-in sounds effects like “THROW” and “POINT” boost the signal, infusing the panels with extra energy and helping underscore the storytelling in an undeniable manner. Nowhere does it all come together more than in the center spread as the Avengers wade into a sprawling slobberknocker of a battle against an A.I.M. cell. Jason Keith’s unhindered colors fill the pages with reds and greens, yellows and blues and toner-draining blends of various other colors. A brilliant cerulean blue pervades the story, giving the sense of urgency through its vibrance, but providing serenity in the cool temperature it packs. The visuals are rounded out with letters from Cory Petit, who adds the occasional sound effect but truly masters the tone and timing within the word balloons, packing enough character into the dialogue to give the cross-section of readers and viewers a sense this story was written for or inspired by Bennet’s portrayal.
“Quake: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary” #1 could have been an inventory story or a tryout tale; instead, it’s a fun character study that digs into the rationale of adding Daisy “Quake” Johnson to the Avengers. This isn’t the most definitive or memorable Quake story ever, but Rosenberg, Kindlon, Johnson, Keith and Petit make it a fun adventure with just enough heart.