S.H.I.E.L.D.

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(Redirected from SHIELD)

S.H.I.E.L.D. (originally an acronym for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law Enforcement Division, subsequently changed to Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) is a fictional counterterrorism and intelligence agency in the Marvel Universe that often deals with superhuman threats.

Usually led by Nick Fury as Executive Director, this organization often operates as much as a covert agency as a quasi-military one, initially depicted as affiliated with the United States government, and in later years under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, with vast technological resources at their disposal. Most famously as their headquarters for a long period, was the Helicarrier, a massive flying aircraft carrier that was kept airborne at all times and among other things, contained a squadron of jet fighters and also housed an ICBM. In addition, they maintain strong ties to the superhero community and often call upon their aid for particular missions, especially Captain America and the Avengers as well as the Fantastic Four.

S.H.I.E.L.D. was introduced in Strange Tales #135 (August 1965), in which Colonel Fury (formerly the lead character of Marvel Comics' World War II series Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandoes) was appointed head of the organisation. Several characters from the Sgt. Fury series reappeared as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., most notably Thaddeus "Dum-Dum" Dugan, Fury's bowler hat-wearing aide-de-camp. Their most persistent enemy is HYDRA, a criminal organization founded (after some retconning) by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. Its name is taken from the mythical monster to symbolize its ability to grow stronger the more it is wounded.

Strange Tales #135 came out during a trend for action series about secret international intelligence agencies with catchy acronyms, such as television's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and James Bond's S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Conception

S.H.I.E.L.D. was created by Nicholas Joseph Fury after the end of World War II, but Fury abandoned the idea and left the draft he created for the agency locked up in a safe for years. He felt the U.S. government wouldn't approve the formation of such an agency, when there was no need.

It would be years later, when Fury was in a secret meeting with some members of the former super hero team, the First Line, that Fury saw the need for an agency like S.H.I.E.L.D. to exist, after they suffered an attack by Kro and a band of Deviants.

Known Members

Prominent members of S.H.I.E.L.D. include:

  • Nick Fury, creator and executive director
  • Contessa Valentina Allegra di Fontaine
  • G. W. Bridge
  • Sharon Carter (Agent 13)
  • Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman)
  • Thaddeus "Dum-Dum" Dugan
  • Natasha Romanova (Black Widow)
  • Clay Quartermain
  • Jimmy Woo
  • Jasper Sitwell
  • Alexei Vashin
  • Ali Morales
  • Gabriel "Gabe" Jones

S.W.O.R.D.

Astonishing X-Men v3 #6 (December 2004) by Joss Whedon introduced an organization called S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department). S.W.O.R.D. is a governmental organization that works with S.H.I.E.L.D. In contrast to S.H.I.E.L.D., which deals with terrestrial threats, S.W.O.R.D. now deals with extraterrestrial threats. It is as yet unclear whether S.W.O.R.D. is a branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. or a true sister agency, as dialogue in the stories depicting both organizations has been ambiguous on the subject.

Interestingly, Agent Abigail Brand, the S.W.O.R.D. agent the X-Men encountered, has green hair, a trait typical of agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s archenemy, HYDRA. This unusual characteristic did not go unremarked; Wolverine referred to her as "Hydra-Hair" in Astonishing X-Men v3 #6.Template:Marvel-Comics-stub

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