I usually give fairly positive reviews. Be forewarned, this is not one of them. Also be forewarned that there may be some spoilers.
My whole family loved the Agent Carter mini-series on ABC this past year. She vaulted to the top to be one of our favorite women of Marvel. We are passionate about our new leading lady.
I picked up a new trade paperback from Marvel this past week called Agent Carter: Operation S.I.N. It had a photo cover of Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter with her signature red hat. It even had a cover blurb “Watch the TV Series. ABC.” I thought, “Cool, we’ll see Hayley’s Agent Carter in the Marvel 616 universe with all the other heroes.”
Inside, I’m confronted with a blonde American agent living on a quiet street in a single family home with a white picket fence around it. The setting is 1952, not the 1946 setting for the TV show.
I don’t understand Marvel Comics publishing decisions. Their MCU has brought in more than $4B and each movie is the water cooler talk of the country. On comic sites, all I hear about is the decline in the comic reading public…
“Kids are more interested in video games and movies than reading a comic…”
“Young people don’t read anymore” (though Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games might have a different opinion).
Why don’t they have gateway books for the movie-going public? If a fan of Agent Carter happened to find a comic retail shop or rack and happened to see this book, they are obviously trying to get cross-over appeal with the photo cover, but the interior has *nothing* to do with the show, except for the presence of Howard Stark. The product info on Amazon says “…is a tie-in to ABC’s hit TV show, Marvel’s Agent Carter!”
She doesn’t look like her, she doesn’t sound like her, she barely acts like her.
I know, I know, Agent Carter is a well-established character. Her first official appearance was in Tales of Suspense 75 and 77 in 1966 in a flashback story to late WWII where she was a freedom fighter in Europe that Cap fell in love with. She later died in an explosion, leaving Cap heartbroken. In the 1973, she was brought back as having survived the explosion and is the older sister of Sharon Carter, Cap’s new love interest. In 2007, she was retconned as Sharon’s older aunt (Captain America vol 5, #25).
It’s odd that they decide to preserve continuity with such a relatively minor character in the face of all the continuity flushing that Marvel Now and All-New, All-Different has done or is announcing they’ll do.
Okay, so the original limited series came out days after the TV mini-series debuted. To me, that’s more of a reason to create a tie-in. Couldn’t they give Kathryn and Glen access to the TV material? Hayley was already lauded for her role in First Avenger and Winter Soldier, before this series even started. The TV series was being discussed as far back as July 2013. If they wanted to pay homage to both, have her wear a wig while she’s in the Soviet Union. I would’ve been happier with that.
Anyhow, that’s a bit longer of a rant than I originally intended. For those of you still reading, let’s talk about the collection. This trade collects Operation S.I.N. Agent Carter 1-5 and Captain America and the First Thirteen #1. Extras include variant covers by Skottie Young and Gabriel Hardman & Jordan Boyd. There are also very nice pages showing the art development process: layout, pencil and inks for #1 page 1, page 2, page 5 and page 6 (which are erroneously labeled as page 1 on each). Pages 5 and 6 also have revised layouts. These were a great treat. The same development page for #2 page 18 is also included.
The First Thirteen was a great one-shot. Even though she didn’t look like Hayley either, she at least acted a bit more like what I was expecting. Ramon Perez did the complete art chores on the one-shot and did a fantastic job.
The characters that Kathryn Immonen introduced were mostly interesting in their own regard. If this was the story of a random female agent in 1952 that worked with Howard Stark, I might have enjoyed it. Still, Peggy’s character seemed to be the focus of the first issue and afterwards, she took a back seat to the rest of the cast.
Given that this story takes place before the birth of the Fantastic Four, and I don’t recall Peggy ever crossing paths with the Marvels of the age, it seems odd that they weren’t more amazed by the bear shape-shifter, the aliens with glowing rays out of their eyes and hands, a crystalline spaceship, a death-ray from the sky, a cosmic portal and a twenty-foot tall creature made from dark star matter.
On the Operation S.I.N. tie-in, I don’t really know how well it meshed with the cross-over. I admit that the logo design for Operation S.I.N. is very eye-catching. I also admit that I haven’t read another single monthly comic or collected edition that ties into the cross-over, so please frame this review with that reference in mind.
The idea of Nick Fury murdering a Watcher is just unbelievably stupid. I can’t bring myself to read a single issue. I’m quite bored of these company-wide cross-overs anyhow. I usually cancel any monthly titles I’m subscribed to while the current storylines take a hiatus to participate in an editorially mandated cross-over anyhow. Many times, I don’t go back.
I was seduced by the promise of that Hayley photo cover into reading this trade. I regret it. I’ll wait patiently for Marvel to get their act together, develop some business sense and create a book that actually caters to the rabid fan base that their TV series engendered.