For some strange reason, DC and Marvel have decided that the best use for their monster characters is grouping them together as a secret agent team. Marvel kicked off this trend in 2005 with Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos, then DC picked it up with Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. in 2011, and now Marvel is back at it with Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D., which combines elements of those past two series. It’s a fun book with a weird cast of characters pulled from various eras of Marvel history, including Orrgo the giant orange space god, swamp creature Man-Thing, and the assassin Hit-Monkey, but the title’s absence from this week’s May Marvel solicitations suggests that the series is ending after six issues (just like 2005’s Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos).
Released in a glut of Secret Wars tie-ins and “All-New, All-Different Marvel” debuts, it’s not surprising that Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has drifted into the background. But readers that check it out will find an engaging, action-packed story from Frank Barbiere and dynamic, expressive artwork from Brent Schoonover and colorist Nick Filardi. These preview pages of this week’s Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 highlight those strengths as all hell breaks loose in the Grandview Museum, and hell’s name is Hit-Monkey, unleashing his deadly skills to take out the undead goons of the villainous Sphinx. It’s both silly and intense, delivering the thrills audiences expect from superhero comics while still having a sense of humor about its far-fetched concept.