S.H.I.E.L.D. has been one of the most secretive and important organizations in Marvel's history, which means it has been host to some powerful players over the years. It has had people like the Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America on the roster at one time or another, which begs the question: who is the best Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Instead of ranking the members based on overall power, this list is focused on the Agents who had the biggest impact on the organization over the years. For that reason, the aforementioned members won't be found here, and there won't be a ton of superpowered folks either. These are the overall best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the comics whose work really made a difference.
10 SAM WILSON / FALCON
Throughout most of his time in the comics, Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, has been most prominently associated with either the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. He started out life as a sort of villain, but thanks to a fight with Captain America, the Red Skull's hold on him was broken, and he went on to become a good guy.
Since that time, he has been one of the most skilled fighters in S.H.I.E.L.D. history. Thanks to his wingsuit and the ability to communicate with birds, he has more than enough skills, training, and equipment to take on the agency's toughest challenges, whether they are small threats or those the Avengers might normally handle.
9 DAISY JOHNSON / QUAKE
Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, is a relatively new member of the agency, but that doesn't mean she hasn't made an impact in her short time. She first appeared in 2004's Secret War #2 as an agent working under Nick Fury. She started out as an excellent marksman, talented fighter, and she was remarkably good at espionage before becoming an Inhuman.
Her powers were activated thanks to her father's unstable DNA instead of the typical Terrigen Mist. She gained the ability to control vibrations, which could come in the form of small shakeups to massive earthquake-like tremors. Add those powers to her already impressive array of skills and her value to the organization is clear.
8 JESSICA DREW / SPIDER-WOMAN
After being injected with irradiated spider DNA, Jessica Drew gained spider-like superpowers, but those abilities are hardly what makes her an excellent Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Initially, she wasn't a member of the organization at all, having first worked for HYDRA. There, she learned much about the organization and she picked up some impressive fighting skills.
Coupled with these and her superpowers, which enable her to fly, stick to walls, shoot energy blasts, and manipulate her pheromones alongside the standard set of superhuman strength and speed, she's an asset to any organization. While she does have a complicated backstory, her skills and abilities speak for themselves.
7 SHARON CARTER / AGENT 13
Sharon Carter first appeared back in Tales of Suspense #75 in 1966, and since that time, she has moved up in the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. to become an important figure in the organization. She is the great-niece of Peggy Carter, and like her great-aunt, she has skills when it comes to strategy and hand-to-hand fighting.
Throughout the years, she has been a love interest of one Steve Rogers, otherwise known as Captain America. Though she doesn't have his superhuman abilities, she has stood beside him and fought against the likes of Armin Zola and the Red Skull, which is certainly enough to get her stacked pretty highly on a list like this one.
6 BOBBI MORSE / MOCKINGBIRD
Dr. Barbara Morse is a genius when it comes to biology, and thanks to her studies while working on her Ph.D., she found herself a part of Project: Gladiator. That's the Super Soldier project that took place in the Everglades, which turned Ted Sallis into Man-Thing. Despite being a big brain, Morse is also an incredibly dangerous and skilled combatant.
Thanks to her skills with batons and bo-staves, she has been able to take on pretty much everyone she's gone up against over the years. She eventually took the same Infinity Formula Nick Fury took to keep him young over the years, which enhanced her strength, stamina, and ability to heal.
5 CLINT BARTON / HAWKEYE
Clint Barton is one of those characters who you wouldn't think could be a member of an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Avengers due to his preference for a bow and arrow, but that would be selling him short. He's one of the best fighters in the Marvel Universe, and though he prefers a bow to a rifle, he's equally skilled in the use of every firearm and ranged weapon imaginable.
He's also skilled in the use of melee weaponry and hand-to-hand combat, which he's employed in his Ronin persona. As an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he's been sent on missions most people would have never been able to begin, much less finish.
4 NATASHA ROMANOVA / BLACK WIDOW
Natasha Romanova, aka Black Widow, began her career as a spy for the Soviet Union, but since that time, she's come over to the side of Democracy when she joined forces with S.H.I.E.L.D. In terms of espionage skills, she's possibly shadowed by Nick Fury, but only by the tiniest of fractions. She's cunning, stealthy, and absolutely deadly.
In terms of fighting abilities, she's right up there with the likes of Captain America, though she lacks the enhancements afforded him by the Super Soldier Serum. For Romanova, it's all training and skill that makes her one of the best fighters and assassins in the Marvel Universe.
3 TIMOTHY "DUM-DUM" DUGAN
On first glance, you might not think of Dum-Dum Dugan as one of the most important people in S.H.I.E.L.D. history, but that would be a dangerous assessment. Dugan has been with the agency as of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest assets. He fought alongside Fury during World War II and was killed, but that wasn't the end for the characters.
He was eventually brought back as an LMD, and as an android, he's rather deadly when coupled with his fighting skills. He's even taken on Godzilla in hand-to-hand combat, and while he had to shrink the monster down to man-size to do it, that's not a creature most people could grab by the tail and beat down.
2 MARIA HILL
Maria Hill was, at one time, the Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., where she stood as Fury's right-hand woman. She's one of the most skilled strategists in the entire agency, and after Fury disappeared, she moved up to become the ninth Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Aside from her skills gained as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., she also possesses unmatched marksmanship skills, unlike any other agent.
She has the ability to basically pick up a weapon and hit whatever she wants regardless of the type. That alone makes her an incredibly deadly agent, but her tactical and strategic way of approaching a situation makes her one of the best leaders in the organizations.
1 COLONEL NICK FURY
Colonel Nick Fury started out in the Marvel Universe back in WWII via Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 in 1968. Since that time, he's gone from the rank of Sergeant to that of Colonel, and ultimately, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Though his appearance has changed a bit over the years, he's still the same agent whose skills in the organization are unmatched.
Fury has been alive in the Marvel Universe for decades thanks to the Infinity Formula, which grants him longevity. He's an expert in the use of all weaponry, is a brilliant tactician, and one of the greatest leaders the Marvel Universe has ever known. S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't exist were it not for Fury, which is why he's the top Agent on this list!