agents of s.h.i.e.l.d. coulson season 4

Fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. very nearly got to watch that particular world open up through the spinoff Marvel's Most Wanted, but the project failed to secure a series order after two attempts. And as much fun as it would have been to follow Bobbi, Lance and Delroy Lindo on the run, Marvel has revealed its newest comic series, U.S.Avengers, which should now be the only concept anyone considers for a S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff in the future for a few very obvious reasons.

Who are the U.S.Avengers, you ask? Well, the Marvel Universe's latest and greatest defenders of this great nation of ours, since S.H.I.E.L.D. has...had some problems, to keep things brief. Robert Da Costa, a Brazilian mutant billionaire, rebranded the formerly evil organization Advanced Idea Mechanics as American Intelligence Mechanics, and he brought together an intriguing super-squad to fully win back American citizens' trust. They include the X-Men vet Cannonball, the super-rodent-friendly Squirrel Girl, the once villainous Red Hulk (a.k.a. Thunderbolt Ross) and an all-new Iron Patriot (super-scientist Toni Ho), the supersuit-bonded Pod and a Captain America from the future, whose surprising secret identity is Danielle Cage, the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Just that lineup is enough for a comic book fan to drool over, and the pipe dream of seeing them all in live-action is admittedly too lovely to probably ever be true, but one inarguable reason that U.S.Avengers should get a TV show is Marvel has yet to give the small screen anything that feels like classic comic book fare. For as much as I love Daredevil and Jessica Jones, they serve as the dark and gritty side of the universe, while S.H.I.E.L.D. and the still-cancelled Agent Carter both have stories tethered to spies and governments. (Though the former is getting weirder as it expands.) Why should the movies get almost all of the snazzy costumes and super-heroics? Imagine how great it would be to see this group on primetime.

u.s.avenges issue #1

Marvel makes U.S.Avengers sound like a total blast, too, saying the team's mission is to keep the U.S. safe form "the most outlandish threats imaginable," and to have fun at the same time. The press release also states that Team A.I.M. will face all sorts of awesome dangers to "defend freedom, democracy, apple pie, bald eagles and the electric guitar!" Lots of exclamation points in that press release, really. Writer Al Ewing is known for his work on Judge Dredd and other genre comics, so you know that he's got a grasp on over-the-top storytelling. (The artist for this series is Paco Medina, whose Marvel career includes work on series such as Deadpool and New Mutants.)

And while there are absolutely moments during Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that will make viewers chuckle or provide them some feelings of mirth, nothing in Marvel's current TV offerings can be described as "a fun romp." But with the exception of Arrow, DC shows are generally known for being optimism-fueled adventures that sometimes go dark. Gotham is in its own baffling world on that front, but it also inexplicably reaches levels of surreal gaiety at times. Marvel does have two comedy series in development, but I'd prefer something more akin to Ant-Man or the first Avengers film where the tone was very much like classic comic books. Because how else can you possibly give the world Red Hulk with a Tom Selleck mustache?

usavengers red hulk

Okay, so budget issues would probably cause some trouble, and ABC was probably too spooked by Agent Carter's low ratings to bring Marvel's Most Wanted to fruition. That combination doesn't bode well for future spinoffs, but I think that offering TV audiences some legit comic book action and adventure would glue them to their sets every week, so long as there are smart people behind it. (I'm asking a lot, no?) And just because I'm envisioning it here as a spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't mean that it couldn't show up on a different network or streaming service.

Hell, Netflix is putting The Defenders in action relatively soon, and that will serve as a crossover for all four of the company's Marvel standalone projects, so it wouldn't be a leap to suggest that Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' offspring would be welcomed on the outlet that made those characters binge-worthy heroes. Marvel, with all of the attention it pays to connecting its movies together, should possibly continue to focus more on building up connections on the TV side of things outside of Netflix, considering how well The CW has allowed its series to flow into each other. I guess a Cage/Jones future Captain America isn't a character ideal for universal crossover appeal, although her story could unlock future movies. But Squirrel Girl, amirite? Everywhere has squirrels. Plus, two of these guys are mutants, so there's your X-Men through-line. It can happen.

I know the TV and comic universes aren't beholden to one another, but there will come a day when live-action S.H.I.E.L.D. begins imploding, and it's then when ABC should kick the brainstorming into high gear, with every mind landing on U.S.Avengers as the no-brainer next TV project to get behind. Even if it never happens, though, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return for Season 4 on ABC on Tuesday, September 20 at 10:00 p.m. ET. U.S.Avengers will hit retailers later this year.

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