Throughout its existence, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been most prominently led by Nick Fury, with Maria Hill succeeding him in mid-2000s stories. She voluntarily stepped down in a 2007 story, becoming deputy director to Tony Stark. Other historically prominent members, who have appeared from the earliest stories to the modern-day, include Thaddeus "Dum Dum" Dugan and Gabriel "Gabe" Jones, both veterans of Fury's World War II Howling Commandos, though their youthful longevity has not, unlike Fury's, been explained in Marvel continuity; Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine; Clay Quartermain (Agent 9); Jasper Sitwell (Agent 12); and Sharon Carter (Agent 13), all introduced in the 1960s; and Jimmy Woo, introduced in the 1950s comic Yellow Claw and reintroduced in the ' 60s.
Prior to the events of the Civil War, Captain America estimated there to be 3,000 agents on active duty.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is a fictional espionage, special law enforcement, and counter-terrorism agency appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the agency first appeared in Strange Tales #135 (August 1965). It often deals with paranormal and superhuman threats to international security.
The acronym originally stood for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage and Law-Enforcement Division. It was changed in 1991 to Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate. Within the various films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as multiple animated and live-action television series, the backronym stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
The organization has heavily appeared in media adaptations as well as films and shows that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s introduction in the Strange Tales featuring "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." occurred 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., which Stan Lee stated in a 2014 interview, was the basis for him to create the organization. Colonel Fury (initially the lead character of Marvel Comics' World War II series Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos) was reimagined as a slightly older character with an eyepatch (which he lacked in his wartime adventures) and appointed head of the organization. Some characters from the Sgt. Fury series reappeared as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., most notably Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan, Fury's bowler hat-wearing aide-de-camp.
Its most persistent enemy is Hydra, a criminal organization founded (after some retcon) by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker.
FICTIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
Usually led by Nick Fury as executive director (although he reports to a twelve-member council, whose identities even he does not know), this organization often operates as much as a covert agency as a quasi-military one, initially depicted as affiliated with the United States government. Later, S.H.I.E.L.D. was depicted as under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, with vast technological resources at its disposal, with U.N. General Assembly Resolutions and legislation passed in signatory nations aiding many of their operations. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been inconsistently portrayed as under U.S., rather than U.N., control - for instance, in Astonishing X-Men (vol. 3) #3, Nick Fury explains S.H.I.E.L.D.'s inaction during an incident of genocide by stating that it did not occur on American soil.
S.H.I.E.L.D. started off as a top-secret international organization (Fury was unaware of them when he was in the CIA) with a Supreme International Council made up of top officials and minds from across the world, including Tony Stark. Its first director was Rick Stoner, former head of the
CIA, but he was quickly assassinated by Hydra, and the President of the United States recommended Nick Fury take the role. Later on, the ultimate authority of S.H.I.E.L.D. is revealed to be a cabal of 12 mysterious men and women who give Fury his orders and operational structure, leaving Fury to manage the actual implementation of these orders and stratagems.
One of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s unique technological innovations, the LMD (Life Model Decoy) — an extremely lifelike android used to replace people in imminent danger of being killed — was the basis for two major upheavals. First, the supervillain Scorpio stole the technology and used it to create the second team of villains called the Zodiac. Later, some LMDs known as the Deltites achieved sentience and infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra both, replacing key members until Fury defeated them. This led to the disbanding of the original organization and its replacement by a new task force with the same acronym under the control of the U.N. ("Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate") The new S.H.I.E.L.D. was meant to be more streamlined so Fury could personally oversee it, but would soon become a large organization again.
In the wake of a disastrous unauthorized mission in Latveria, Fury effectively resigned as executive director, with international warrants out for his arrest. His first successor was not one of his closer associates but a relatively unknown newcomer to the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy, Maria Hill. A transcript of a conversation between Hill and the President of the United States revealed she was chosen for the post by
United Nations consensus to keep Fury loyalists out of the job and to keep relations with the superhero community to a minimum. The President also expected Hill — an American — to be loyal first to the U.S., despite S.H.I.E.L.D. being a U.N.-chartered organization.
The passage of the United States Superhuman Registration Act and the subsequent superhero "Civil War" created an additional political and ethical irritant between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the superhuman community, with S.H.I.E.L.D. tasked to lead enforcement and to take on registered superheroes as operatives.
Toward the end of the conflict, Hill concluded she had been made director with the intent that she fails at the job, and she proposes to Tony Stark that he assume the post himself, with her as deputy. Stark accepts the appointment as director upon the conclusion of the superhuman Civil War and undertakes a series of initiatives, including the construction of a new gold-and-red Helicarrier in the motif of his Iron Man armor designs, the introduction of a daycare center in the Helicarrier, and an employee suggestion-box. While accused of treating S.H.I.E.L.D. as a Stark Industries subsidiary, he succeeded in streamlining the organization and raising morale. S.H.I.E.L.D. fought a wave of global superhuman terrorism and was manipulated into two international incidents that almost saw Director Stark arrested until they revealed the Mandarin to be behind it and stopped him from committing genocide with an Extremis pathogen.
At the start of the Secret Invasion by the extraterrestrial shape-shifting race the Skrulls, the Helicarrier is disabled by a Skrull virus and left floating and disabled in the Bermuda Triangle. The Skrulls by this point have already replaced a large number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including the high-ranking Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan. After the invasion is repelled, the President of the United States decides to dissolve S.H.I.E.L.D., and has it, the Fifty State Initiative, and the Avengers replaced by the Thunderbolts Initiative, which is placed under the supervision of Norman Osborn.
Osborn uses the opportunity to transform S.H.I.E.L.D. into a new organization called "H.A.M.M.E.R.", formed by loyal agents of the Thunderbolts Initiative as well as former agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra. The Thunderbolts are officially disbanded in the process as well and turned into a black-ops force that answers only to Osborn. Meanwhile, H.A.M.M.E.R. also operates alongside the newest, and only government-sponsored Avengers team, the Dark Avengers.
After the Invasion, Fury discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. itself had been under the control of the terrorist organization Hydra ostensibly from its very beginning.
After the conclusion of the Secret Warriors ongoing series, S.H.I.E.L.D. was reformed with Fury leaving it under the control of its new director, Daisy Johnson. The new S.H.I.E.L.D. subsequently saved US Army Ranger Marcus Johnson from mercenaries hired by the Leviathan. When he discovered he was the son of Nick Fury, Marcus (whose birth name was Nick Fury Jr.) and his army friend Phil Coulson joined S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. later formed their incarnation of the Secret Avengers.
During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, S.H.I.E.L.D. establishes a gated community called Pleasant Hills to serve as a supervillain prison. Using technology derived from the Cosmic Cube called Kobik, S.H.I.E.L.D. converts the inmates into the mild-mannered residents of Pleasant Hills.
Following the "Avengers: Standoff" storyline, the organization is given broad new powers under the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act, including a clause that allows the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. to gain control of the United States in the event of an emergency. Soon after Steve Rogers is appointed the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., however during the Secret Empire story line we learn that Steve Rogers was replaced with a Hydra sleeper agent who uses the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act to become dictator of the United States. After he is defeated, S.H.I.E.L.D. is once again disbanded.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has remained out of action since its disbandment, though individual members have been active. Its assets were divided among various U.S. government agencies such as a War Machine armor given to the Air Force and later stolen by Nick Fury Jr. and Frank Castle.
BRITISH EQUIVALENT S.T.R.I.K.E.
S.T.R.I.K.E. (Special Tactical Response for International Key Emergencies) was a British agency, unrelated to but run along similar lines to S.H.I.E.L.D. Disbanded after being infiltrated and taken over by a criminal organization, one of its members was the future X-Man Psylocke. It was introduced in Marvel UK's Captain Britain #17 (February 2, 1977).
BRITISH SUPER HEROES - A TO Z
Knight, Dane Whitman (British, American, Ebony Blade Cursed Sword
Blade, Eric Brooks (Vampire Hunter Born Soho, London MI-13* [Wesley Snipes] British SuperHero,
Captain Avalon, Brian Braddock (Protects mystical Omniverse, Britain Corps,
'Rambling' Sid Ridley (British Army Super Soldier Program MI-13*)
Angel, Shevaun Haldane (Psylocke, British Superhero Darkmoor, England,
Dr Druid, Anthony Ludgate (Raised England, studied magic Harvard Medical Degree,
Dr. Faiza Hussain (England, London - Sword Of Arthur
Excalibur Stone [Marvel Disney])
Bloodstone, Monster Hunter (Marvel Comics)
Elizabeth 'Betsy' Braddock (Super heroine Captain Britain, mutant Psylocke Amulet of Right
Storm - Storm Force, ex army captain, soldier turned mercenary with
cybernetic arm 1987 Eagle comics
Lord Kevin Plunder (British Royal Heritage England [Tarzan] Raised By Mutant Sabretooth Tiger
Motormouth and Killpower Harley Davis & Julius Mullarkey, Marvel UK Stories British Super Heroes
Pete Wisdom (British Secret Agent Mutant Mi-13*
Excalibur X-Force S.T.R.I.K.E.)
Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew (London, England - Avengers Hydra
Spitfire, Lady Jacqueline Falsworth Crichton (Vampiric Speedster Marvel Comics,
Union Jack, Joseph 'Joey' Chapman (Patriotic Legacy Hero World War One [Liverpool, England] Marvel)
COMICS US SUPERHEROES - A TO Z
RECORDED HISTORICAL KNIGHTS
Guiscard - 'The Crafty' (c. 1015-1085 CE) [Norman]
Díaz de Vivar - 'El Cid' (1043-1099 CE)
of Bouillon (circa 1060-1100)
Sir William Marshal - 'The Greatest Knight that Ever Lived' (c. 1146-1219
Richard I - 'The Lionhearted' (1157-1199 CE) King of England from 1189 to
Sir William Wallace (c. 1270-1305 CE)
Sir James Douglas - 'The Black Douglas' (c. 1286-1330 CE)
Bertrand du Guesclin - 'The Eagle of Brittany' (c. 1320-1380 CE)
of Woodstock - 'The Black Prince [of Wales]' (1330-1376 CE)
Henry Percy - 'Hotspur' (1364-1403 CE)
Storm is a hybrid character. A new breed of modern Knight, fighting to protect the
natural world and the archaeology that defines man's development, from
Tanzania, to the Moon and beyond. Storm's ace in the hole is the Elizabeth
Swann, the onboard
AI, Hal, and his enhanced performance via a brain implant and genetic
modification. Thus, just about keeping pace with what the market expects in
a modern world: A technological super secret agent. In this case, for Blue
Shield & UNESCO.
Storm is a new breed of British super hero, a modern Knight. Seen here with Dan Hawk, at the helm of the Elizabeth
Swann. The formidable high tech duo discover they have
no way to make it in the book or film world, but discover that they make
excellent comic characters, ideal for publication as graphic novels. George
Franks, mentor, is held to be a descendant of King Arthur, a knight of the
fabled Round Table. The Swann's onboard weapons early warning and targeting system
is called: Merlin. The laser cannon: Excalibur. And the tazer anti-piracy
boarding system: Pendragon.