Welcome to Part Two of my breakdown of Phil Coulson’s comic book appearances. You can find Part One about the Marvel Movie Tie In Comics and the Battle Scars Mini Series here.
In October 2012, Marvel relaunched some of their most popular ongoing titles into the brand Marvel NOW!. All of those titles are great jumping on points for new readers and long time readers got to see some of their favorite characters forming new teams and heading in new directions. As most of the Marvel NOW! titles exist within the 616 universe, Phil Coulson has appeared and even co-starred in some of last year’s best series with a couple new ones on the horizon.
Secret Avengers (Writer- Nick Spencer, Artist- Luke Ross)
This is all S.H.I.EL.D., all the time. Familiar faces from the movies comprised most of the cast with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Nick Fury Jr, Hawkeye, and Coulson, with comic book fan favorites Mockingbird, Daisy Johnson included in the roster as well as guest appearances by the Hulk and Iron Patriot. The book focuses on the super spy side of S.H.I.E.L.D. more than the superhero theatrics of other titles, specializing in covert missions some of the more upstanding heroes might not approve of. They contend with the dubious nature of memory wipes and A.I.M. establishing itself as a protected global power all while a power struggle inside S.H.I.E.L.D. threatens to undermine the team.
Coulson takes a back seat on most of the teams’ adventures acting as tactical support from the Helicarrier and even gets to fly one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying cars on an extraction mission. The art with muted color and heavy blacks, establishes a gritty tone within this world of spy vs spy. This series is a must get for any fan of Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D., but hurry and catch up with this storyline as a new creative team takes the reins starting in March.
Avenging Spider-Man #20 and #21 (Writer- Chris Yost, Artist- Paolo Rivera)
Phil Coulson guests in this series along with some of his Secret Avengers teammates as the Superior Spider-Man infiltrates the Helicarrier to spring the Chameleon from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cells. Anyone following the Superior Spider-Man series already knows that this Spider-Man is a decidedly different Spider-Man, so to see him in the middle of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s hornets nest is fantastic. Once things get out of hand and the Helicarrier is attacked, Coulson, Fury, Hawkeye and Widow spring into action to defend their turf. This two-issue arc featuring these four, offers up great action sequences that put Phil Coulson on the front lines of battle alongside his teammates. Chris Yost once again shows he has a knack for writing crisp dialogue for these characters, as Coulson’s back and forth with Maria Hill via the com system are priceless.
Deadpool #21 (Writer- Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, Artist- Mike Hawthorne)
Coulson’s guest appearance in the new arc in Deadpool hasn’t even fully begun and it’s already the one I’m looking forward to the most. I’m not going to lie, Deadpool is my favorite book I pick up, and has constantly been one of the funniest and strangely heartfelt books out there. This new story arc might not be something new readers can jump into without looking up a little backstory on what the deal is with Agent Emily Preston and why Deadpool might be ever so slightly irate with S.H.I.E.L.D., but there’s no time like the present to dive in especially with Coulson being added into the mix. Besides, that’s what the recap on the first page of each issue is for. And in addition to Coulson showing up, this also marks the first appearance of Lola in the 616 universe, christened by the beautiful cover by Mark Brooks.
Even from the tiny bit of dialogue we get from Coulson in this first issue, it’s clear that Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn know the character’s tone and dry humor. Deadpool #22 goes on sale this Wednesday and I can’t wait to see what this team does with Coulson from here.
Uncanny X-Men. #1, 5, 6, 9 (Writer- Brian Michael Bendis, Artist- Chris Bachalo)
Coulson acts as a back up to Maria Hill in most of his scenes, feeding her vital information as S.H.I.E.L.D. plays catch up to Scott Summers and his band of new mutants. His role isn’t as impactful as in other books, but his inclusion in the story is used in a pivotal character reveal moment in issue #9. Chris Bachalo’s artistic style and line work are a must see.
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man (Writer- Joe Caramagna, Karl Kessel, Artist- Ramon Bachs, Ty Templeton)
While not a part of the 616 universe, Ultimate Spider-Man is the comic book adaptation of the popular Disney XD animated show of the same name. Phil Coulson is the acting principle of Midtown High with most of the stories revolving around Spider-Man and his teammates with S.H.I.E.L.D. making minor guest spots sporadically. Worth picking up if you’re a fan of the show.
Sound off in the comments about your favorite Coulson comic book moments!