The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, known as S.H.I.E.L.D., is a government agency specializing in military, scientific research and application and espionage with a mandate to protect the world from threats beyond the capabilities of standard national security agencies. Formed from the remnants of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) S.H.I.E.L.D. is made up of personnel from three categories: Operations, Science/Technology and Communications.
Operations, is the tactical and armed security division, for security over teams, projects and personnel and deployed to respond to situations that require military action. The Science and Technology division provides scientific research and medical support, expanding the scientific knowledge of the world and applying such knowledge into both conventional and defensive means. Communications focuses on data analysis and network security.
World War IIEdit
Back in the days of World War II, the Strategic Scientific Reserve, or SSR, worked with the Allied nations to bring an end to the regimes of the Axis powers. As a result of seeing that the Axis powers, notably Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, were surpassing them in technological advancement, scientific research and application, the Allied nations employed the SSR to develop ways to combat these scientific nations by rapidly advancing in technology. Examples of this include the work of Dr. Abraham Erskine, who developed the super-soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America.
After the death of Erskine and left only with Rogers as a super-soldier, Rogers was used as a propaganda tool and later rescued a group of captured soldiers from a HYDRA base, establishing himself as a soldier. After a string of ambushes on HYDRA bases, Rogers eventually went off against Schmidt himself. After Schmidt's death, Rogers tried to steer the explosive plane he was on off course, but couldn't as the auto-pilot was destroyed. Forced to manually pilot the plane, Rogers crashed the plane in the Arctic, placing himself in suspended animation.
Captain America was later revived in 2011, and was forced to adjust to the new reality he lived in.
In the 1950s, the SSR acquired a partial Kree corpse and held it in a top-secret facility now known only as the Guest House. From the alien, the SSR extracted bodily fluids and synthesized them into three mysterious serums, most notably GH-325, which have extraordinary healing capabilities
Towards the middle of the 20th century, the world powers opted to expand the SSR's scope of focus in the post-war environment and tasked Howard Stark, a core member of the SSR, with forming S.H.I.E.L.D. He quickly pulled people such as Margaret Carter in with him to command S.H.I.E.L.D's field agents. This marked the end of the SSR and the birth of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the following years, S.H.I.E.L.D. enlisted scientists from HYDRA's former project, Operation Paperclip, among these being Arnim Zola, who had worked personally with Johan Schmidt during WWII. In doing this, S.H.I.E.L.D. opened its doors to elements of HYDRA, and would unknowingly be influenced by the terrorist organization for years to come.
For decades, S.H.I.E.L.D. maintained a clandestine, secretive watch over the world, until the twenty-first century when they were suddenly confronted with a new age of superhuman individuals and were forced to come to the public eye.
The first encounter of such an individual was in Tony Stark, son of Howard Stark. Stark had escaped captivity in Afghanistan via a makeshift suit of powered armor, eventually taking to that image and becoming the superhero known as "Iron Man". After a public battle across California with former friend Obadiah Stane, S.H.I.E.L.D. was forced to come forward and deal with the situation. The following year, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff watched over Stark.
Bruce Banner/The HulkEdit
The World Security Council ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to send an agent to ask General Ross, who had been using S.H.I.E.L.D.'s databases and resources to hunt for Bruce Banner, to release Emil Blonsky into their custody. They saw him as a war hero and a perfect addition to Director Fury’s "Avenger Initiative", and blamed the fight in New York City against "the Hulk" on Banner. At Jasper Sitwell's urging, Coulson reluctantly sent the Tony Stark to annoy Ross so that Blonsky would remain in prison.
After Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, crashed to Earth, a large group of civilians made a community game in trying to dislodge it from the crater. S.H.I.E.L.D. later contained the discovery of Mjolnir. When Thor broke into the S.H.I.E.L.D. compound to recover his hammer, he was found unworthy and the hammer refused to obey him, with Thor then being captured and interrogated.
After releasing the Thor to Erik Selvig, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents investigated a pattern of arcane rings carved into the earth not far from the compound. They were interrupted from their investigation by the arrival of the Destroyer, sent by Loki to eliminate Thor. The Destroyer, having swept the S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel aside effortlessly, was soon beaten by Thor. Thor then informed S.H.I.E.L.D. that they could count him as an ally.
Dr. Selvig was later taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, where he met Nick Fury. Fury asked Selvig to study the recently discovered Tesseract, an object of limitless power. Selvig agreed while Loki watched.
When Loki stole the Tesseract, Director Fury reactivated the Avengers Initiative to counter the threat. Agent Romanoff was sent to bring in Dr. Banner, Agent Coulson was sent to retrieve Tony Stark, and Fury himself approached Steve Rogers, all in the hope that together these individuals might combine their respective talents to help with the problem of Loki and the missing Tesseract.
S.H.I.E.L.D. assisted Rogers in his capture of Loki, and then provided a prison on the Helicarrier once Loki had been apprehended. Revealing that he intended to be captured, Loki escaped after fatally stabbing Coulson in the heart.
During the Battle of New York, the World Security Council ordered the deployment of a nuclear missile to the city in the hope of stopping the invasion. Unable to prevent the missile from being fired, Stark was able to prevent the missile from detonating over New York City. After the Avengers' victory and departure, S.H.I.E.L.D. continued its normal military activities.
Following the formation of Coulson's team, they began to chase a mysterious figure known only as the Clairvoyant. Throughout their missions, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were opposed by agents of the Clairvoyant, including Raina and Ian Quinn. At one point, Coulson is kidnapped by Raina and interrogated for information on his resurrection by Director Fury, which the Clairvoyant did not know.
After discovering that the Clairvoyant is not, in fact, a psychic but is actually a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Coulson and his team are targeted by Agent Victoria Hand, who believed Coulson to be the traitor. After accidentally revealing himself to be the real Clairvoyant, Agent Garrett is apprehended by Coulson and taken to the Fridge by Agents Hand and Ward. Ward then turned on Hand, killing her and rescuing Garrett, revealing himself to be a HYDRA agent.
The Winter Soldier
At the same time as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the U.S. government granted S.H.I.E.L.D. more funds to invest in homeland security, such as Project Insight. Project Insight was a security network formed by three heavily-armed Helicarriers to protect Earth and it's population. However, HYDRA's agents that had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to use the project to kill millions of people they deemed threats to HYDRA. Discovering the truth of S.H.I.E.L.D. being compromised, Fury was targeted for assassination. Forced to fake his death, Fury later made his way to Europe to hunt down any other HYRDA assets.
After Rogers and Romanoff prevented Project Insight being used to kill the HYDRA threats, HYDRA's secrets were made public, and S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded to prevent any other abuse of its power by HYDRA.
- Alexander Pierce - Adminstrator (apparent level 10, as he was able to change Fury's access). Proved to be the active head of HYDRA when Project Insight was unveiled as what it truly was.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are segregated mainly by two categories: clearance levels and fields of expertise. Clearance levels 1-6 are widely known within the organization, with the existence of Levels 7 and above being revealed only to the agents within that particular clearance level. Level 10 is reserved for leaders of the agency, and have access to all S.H.I.E.L.D. files.
- Nick Fury - Combat & Espionage Specialist, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Level 10
- Maria Hill - Agent, Assistant Director, Level 9
- Victoria Hand - Agent/Mission controller, Level 8
- Phillip Coulson - Field Agent, Level 8
- Steve Rogers - Combat & Espionage Specialist, Super-Soldier, Level 8 (apparently)
- Jasper Sitwell (deceased) - Agent Level 7
- Melinda May - Administrator / Pilot / Combat Specialist, Level 7
- Grant Ward (defected to HYDRA) - Combat & Espionage Specialist, Level 7
- Felix Blake - Agent, Level 7
- John Garrett (defected to HYDRA) - Agent, Combat Specialist, Level 7
- Natasha Romanoff - Combat & Espionage Specialist, Level 6
- Clint Barton - Archer / Sniper, Level 6
- Antoine Triplett - Agent, Combat Specialist, Level 6
- Leo Fitz - Engineer, Level 5
- Jemma Simmons - Scientist (Biochemist), Level 5
- Shaw (first name unknown) - Agent (possibly Espionage), clearance level unknown, (as a solo operative presumably at least level 5)
- Skye (legal identity unknown) - Pattern recognition, data analysis, decryption, Level 1
- Kwan Chen (deceased) - Index Case Agent, clearance level unknown
- Tyler (first name unknown) - Agent, clearance level unknown
- Mack (first name unknown) - Asset Logistics Agent, clearance level unknown
- Akela Amador - former Field Agent, clearance level unknown
S.H.I.E.L.D. occasionally utilizes the services of civilian experts as Consultants. This may be on a part-time, full-time or project basis. There are only two known S.H.I.E.L.D. Consultants: Tony Stark and Skye. Since Skye is now an official S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but it's unknown if she is still considered a consultant. Dr. Erik Selvig might have also been hired in this capacity for Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., but this has not been explicitly mentioned.
During the events of The Avengers, Dr. Jane Foster was offered a consulting job with S.H.I.E.L.D. as a way to move her covertly to Norway after Loki brainwashed and absconded with her colleague and friend, Eric Selvig. As this "hire" was mostly for her protection (due to her shared knowledge in astrophysics with Selvig), and it is unknown what she was asked to consult for at the Norwegian observatory, S.H.I.E.L.D. might consider this as a protection detail rather than an official consultation.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has a select group of high-level scientists designated as "Assets", whom are given protection around the clock, and constantly moved around covertly so potential enemies cannot extract them from S.H.I.E.L.D. protection and exploit their talents. They occasionally serve as advisers at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. One such asset was Dr. Franklin Hall, who researched a new element called Gravitonium, an element discovered by Hall that distorts the force of gravity. After the events in Ian Quinn's Malta compound, Hall's work on Garvitonium have been discontinued. Unbeknownst to S.H.I.E.L.D., Hall still lives within the Gravitonium in their storage facility known as the Fridge.
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- "The Consultant"
- "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer"
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Avengers
- "Item 47"
- Iron Man 3 (mentioned)
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier