History

History

S.H.I.E.L.D. is an espionage and security organization that defends Earth and its people from groups that pose advanced technological—and sometimes supernatural or extraterrestrial—threats.

 

S.H.I.E.L.D. is shorthand for the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. It typically operates under United Nations’ authority and its command structure starts with an executive council of 12 people that represent national and corporate sponsors of the agency. They communicate solely with a director that they choose.

 

This appointed director leads all international operations and represents the agency to governments, other agencies, and the public. S.H.I.E.L.D. is comprised of thousands of operatives, some former CIA, Mossad, Hatut Zeraze, and MI6 agents while others come from a super human background. These operatives carry out clandestine missions to protect humans, eradicate evil, and, sometimes, root out corruption.

 

 

Earth’s Shield

 

Tony Stark, the U.S. industrialist, inventor, and Super Hero, spearheaded S.H.I.E.L.D. to combat tyranny and crime across Earth in response to World War II terrorist groups like Hydra. While the original monikers of Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division or Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate do not apply today, each still resonates with its core mission.

 

Stark, with the support of his company Stark Industries, often provided advanced weaponry and combat equipment to the agency, even bringing in mutant inventor Forge and Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic, to help design S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first Helicarrier. A massive aircraft carrier that supports thousands of personnel and sustains flight at high altitudes with its anti-gravity vortex beam, the Helicarrier can carry out its anti-terrorism goals without being detected. Hydra destroyed the very first Helicarrier, but Stark quickly replaced it. Since then, S.H.I.E.L.D. has had at least one vessel in service throughout most of its history.

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Inventors and technicians at Stark Industries have created advanced combat equipment for S.H.I.E.L.D’s forces. They supply vortex-beam based flying cars; bulletproof and flameproof uniforms as well as plainclothes; laser “laz” pistols; and a variety of monitoring equipment, spy satellites, jet-packs, teleportation technology, and Mandroid battle armor.

 

One of S.H.I.E.L.D’s most significant achievements was the invention of Life Model Decoys—life-like androids that replicate human beings. The terrorist group Hydra saw the LMDs as an opportunity to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D., so they use them to weave decoys and double agents into the fabric of the entire organizational structure.

 

As for the first Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tony Stark vouched for World War II veteran and former CIA Operative, Colonel Nicholas J. Fury, but the council chose Colonel Rick Stoner to lead instead. He trained the agency’s first operatives and sought the culprits that destroyed the first Helicarrier. In his investigation, he found Stark Industries Technician Jacob Fury, Nick Fury’s brother, to be a Hydra double agent also serving the Roxxon Oil Corporation. But before Stoner could share this information, Hydra killed him.

 

Nick Fury was then appointed as the agency’s new director, and to kick off his tenure, he brought down Hydra’s then Imperial Hydra, AKA Arnold Brown, wrongly assuming that he was the head of the group. Hydra, as well as their allied organizations A.I.M. and the Secret Empire, vexed S.H.I.E.L.D., but Fury triumphed over all three organizations when he killed Hydra’s true leader Baron Strucker and destroyed their main base, Hydra Island. Hydra, however, found a way to survive the fallout—and Fury did too, as he started taking the Infinity Formula to keep himself youthful.

 

 

In the Shadows

 

The organization typically operates under the United Nations’ authority, but is also referred to as a U.S. government-sanctioned entity. S.H.I.E.L.D. works with other government agencies, and assists groups like the Avengers, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four on various missions. While its operations are primarily clandestine, the organization is known to the public.

 

The core team leadership includes the executive council of twelve that oversees the director. Directors have included Colonel Rick Stoner, Colonel Nick Fury, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, George Washington Bridge, Sharon Carter, Maria Hill, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Norman Osborn, and Daisy Johnson.

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Field agents make up the bulk of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks and carry out most of the organization’s missions. Numerous agents have worked directly with Super Heroes throughout the years—notably including Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, and Daisy Johnson, AKA Quake.

 

 

Opposite Numbers

 

Hydra is a terrorist organization that acts as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s greatest foil and foe across the world. Throughout the years, countless wars and proxy wars have been fought both in the open and in the shadows between these two highly secretive, and highly dangerous, groups.

 

A.I.M., Advanced Ideas Mechanics, was originally a weapons division of Hydra, but now are the tech mercenaries in the S.H.I.E.L.D. world. Based out of the Caribbean on A.I.M. Island, they often work with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the U.S. government, but always conceal their real, more nefarious purpose. A.I.M. is known for creating androids called Super Adaptoids that can mimic abilities of super humans, and once recreated the Super-Soldier serum that formed Captain America.

 

H.A.M.M.E.R. once took up S.H.I.E.L.D.’s functions after the latter was dissolved following a Skrull attack on Earth. Norman Osborn took over as its director, corrupting its founding principles into a force for evil.

 

 

Associates

 

Specialized operatives of S.H.I.E.L.D. include the Elite Agents: Kid, a sharpshooter; Silicon, a cybernetic hacker; M-80, an explosives expert; Nails, a hand-to-hand combat expert; and Skul, an armed combat expert.

 

The European arm of S.H.I.E.L.D. includes S.H.A.P.E.—the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe council, which oversees Euromind under Director François Borillon. Euromind had a scientific recon team called Eurolab and combat specialists known as Task Force. Task Force was made up of super human European operatives of S.H.I.E.L.D; however, corruption within Euromind led to most of Task Force dying, and the survivors merged with Eurolab to make the squad called Euroforce.

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S.H.I.E.L.D. also created a United Kingdom arm called S.T.R.I.K.E.—the Special Tactical Response for International Key Emergencies—and an independent sister organization called S.W.O.R.D.—the Sentient Worlds Observation and Response Department. S.H.I.E.L.D. is also affiliated with A.R.M.O.R., the Alternate Reality Monitoring and Operational Response, which is an agency designed to face extradimensional threats to Earth.

 

As well as the various organizations and secret agencies that affiliate with S.H.I.E.L.D., the group’s most valuable allies are the Super Heroes of Earth. Having worked closely with the likes of the Avengers, the X-Men, and Fantastic Four for decades, the division maintains a close relationship with the super human community—though philosophical rifts between the vigilantes and the governmental group have, at times, proven to be an obstacle.

 

 

To Protect

 

Tony Stark envisioned S.H.I.E.L.D as a law-enforcement agency that would protect Earth and its people, but many threats have sought to destroy its altruistic purpose. As Stark built up the organization with advanced weaponry designed by Stark Industries, the terrorist group Hydra planted a Life Model Decoy called “the Deltite” deep within the agency. In an attempt to steal the Infinity Formula, Hydra replaced the S.H.I.E.L.D. executive council and many agents with LMDs. Hydra also brainwashed the original agents and placed them in suspended animation deep within S.H.I.E.L.D. Central.

 

These events caused constant conflict, as S.H.I.E.L.D. was not only protecting others, but also itself, due to the influx of double agents. Another turning point in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leadership was when S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first director, Colonel Rick Stoner, discovered that Nick Fury’s brother, Hydra agent Jacob Fury, destroyed the agency’s first Helicarrier. Hydra, however, killed Stoner before he could relay the information to his associates.

 

The second director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Colonel Nicholas J. Fury, was later appointed with the focus of bringing down Hydra. He thought he did so when he took out apparent Hydra leader Arnold Brown, but the effort was ultimately fruitless as Hydra had already infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.’s executive council.

 

As director, Fury brought in his wartime comrades Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, and Eric Koenig in the organization’s infancy, and oversaw training new agents, setting some as “sleepers” whose identities were kept secret even from the council. One agent was Barbara Morse, who masked herself as both the Huntress and Mockingbird to expose corruption within S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks. Moved by her commitment, Fury vowed to personally clean up the agency.

 

During Fury’s tenure, S.H.I.E.L.D. experimented with super human operatives called the Super Agents. The first team included Blue Streak, Marvel Man, Texas Twister, and Vamp, but Blue Streak and Vamp were later exposed as double agents, so the group disbanded.

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It was not until Baron Strucker revealed himself as the true leader of Hydra that Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. found their arch-nemesis, and—one could argue—their true purpose. They battled on numerous occasions, ultimately leading to Strucker’s apparent death, but Hydra would later revive him to help them in a devastating attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. Central.

 

As S.H.I.E.L.D. struggled to regain their footing, Hydra took advantage by brainwashing G.W. Bridge to create a new team of Super Agents which included Knockabout, Psi-Borg, and Violence. The Wakandan super human Ivory joined them, but was killed after she discovered that her teammates were, in fact, double agents. Psi-Borg was later killed by Network Nina in psychic combat, and Fury imprisoned Knockabout and Violence.

 

Despite setbacks with the Super Agents, Fury still encouraged open relations with Earth’s super human community, notably with his World War II ally Captain America, who has since spearheaded many S.H.I.E.L.D. operations himself. S.H.I.E.L.D. has often assisted different Super Hero groups, but circumstances occasionally pitted them against each other, as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s duty to international security sometimes outweighed personal friendships. The Super Heroes Danielle Moonstar, Hercules, Katherine Pryde, and Skids each served temporary terms as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, while Dr. Leonard Samson often provided psychiatric support to Clay Quartermain in his efforts tracking the Hulk.

 

Once Fury got word that former director Rick Stoner was still alive, he found himself tracking him down in another dimension. Due an experiment—originally a project out of A.I.M.—the Cosmic Cube was a containment device designed to hold reality-altering cosmic energy. When Fury went to recover Stoner, he left behind an LMD of himself. But the Punisher had gotten word that Fury killed his family, so he hunted him down, only to kill and bury the Life Model Decoy version instead. The real Fury was eventually retrieved from the other dimension by Sharon Carter and reinstated as director.

 

While Nick Fury served as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s director for many years as the Infinity Formula kept him young, there were some instances where he had to go into hiding and other directors joined the fold. One of these instances included when he discovered Latveria’s President Lucia von Bardas was funding criminals on U.S. soil. Once he exposed Bardas against S.H.I.E.L.D.’s authority, he was stripped of his director title and went into hiding. During this period, Maria Hill took over as director and enforced the Superhuman Registration Act which then instigated the Super Hero Civil War.

 

After Captain America’s forces were beaten in the conflict, Hill encouraged Tony Stark to take over as Director. He agreed, but during his leadership, shape-shifting aliens known as Skrulls infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and replaced Dum Dum Dugan with one of their own. The Skrulls then launched an invasion of Earth, assaulting Stark technology and leaving S.H.I.E.L.D.—and most of the planet—unguarded.

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Although Earth’s heroes ultimately thwarted the Skrulls, S.H.I.E.L.D. was crippled and viewed as a liability. The U.S. president recommended Norman Osborn as the next director, and he renamed it H.A.M.M.E.R. During his time as director, Osborn built a prototype Helicarrier known as Prometheus, but he was ultimately unmasked as the Super Villain known as the Green Goblin.

 

After his fall, Steve Rogers created two new teams unaffiliated with H.A.M.M.E.R. and S.H.I.E.L.D.—one led by himself, the other by former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill, who assembled a black ops team to manage the problems the Avengers could not publicly take on.

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S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. Earth's Watchdog organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. uses cutting-edge tech and espionage to eliminate threats before they emerge. There are no secrets from S.H.I.E.L.D., no superhuman risk too great. Check out our counterintelligence files, outlining S.H.I.E.L.D. history and current operations.
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