Nov 8, 2016

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD: Lots of Beefcake, One Fleeting Gay Character

Agents of SHIELD (2013) is a tv adaption of the Marvel comics series, produced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon.

SHIELD stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division -- rather a clumsy way of saying Homeland Security.  Except instead of ISIS, they're fighting "inhumans" (people with paranormal powers that emerge suddenly, for various reasons).

The Big Bad is Hydra, a secret society run by reptile beings, which has attempted to intervene into world history many times, from ancient Egypt through Nazi Germany (Hitler was a Hydra stooge).  Its current secret weapon is the Hive, some alien parasites merged into a single sinister being.

There's also an evil government agency that wants to kill all inhumans, regardless of whether they're on our side or not.

There are 11 agents of SHIELD, each with their own alliances, hidden agendas, and angst-ridden back stories.

1. Grand Ward (Brett Dalton, top photo), an undercover Hydra agent who is possessed by the Hive.

2. Leader Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who died at the end of The Avengers,  but who said that all of the movies, tv shows, and comics in the Marvel Universe have to have continuity?

3. Pilot Melinda May (Wing-na Wen), who has a horribly tragic backstory.

4. Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell, left), an inhuman who can manipulate electricity.  He dies.

5. Skye Johnson (Chloe Bennett), an inhuman computer hacker who joined the good guys.

6. Leo Fitz (Iain de Caestecker, left), a weapons expert who suffers from brain damage and lacks emotion.

7. Jenna Simmons (Elizabeth Hemstring), a biochemist who was trapped on the planet Malveth for six months, and emerged psychologically damaged.

8. Lance Hunter (Nick Blood, left).  Does anybody else like the actors' names more than the characters'?  Blood, Hemstring, De Caestecker vs. Hunter, Simmons, Fitz?  Anyway, he's a gruff mercenary who was married to Bobbi.

9. Bobbi Morse (Adrienne Palicki), who works undercover at Hydra.

10. Mack McKenzie (Henry Simmons, left), an evangelical Christian mechanic who dislikes people with superpowers.

11. Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), a transhuman (don't ask).

Plus a huge supporting cast of government officials, Hydra agents, college professors, college professors who are really Hydra agents, Hydra agents who are really government officials, civilian ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriends, monsters, kids, lions, tigers, and bears.

David Conrad as Ian Quinn, a billionaire industrialist who tries to sell Deathlok soldiers to the U.S. military and has gravitonium (whatever that is).

Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, the vigilante superhero Ghost Rider.

Matthew Willig as Lash, a forensic scientist who helps the SHIELD agents track newly-emerged inhumans.

Leave it to wishy-washy Joss Whedon to wait until the series has been established to gingerly introduce a gay character.  During Season Three, Joey Guttierez (Juan Pablo Raba) was introduced, an inhuman who can melt metal (and hearts).  He was adopted (and outed) by the SHIELD agents.

He even managed to go out on a date -- well, the beginning of a date, before he was called away on SHIELD business.  Then, his story arc ended, his character was dropped.

I guess we'll have to be content with straight guys taking their shirts off.

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