'Agents of SHIELD': Newest art teases Deathlok return as Skye and Ward take center stage -- EXCLUSIVE

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Image Credit: Marvel

To say that this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left our team in disarray would be an understatement. May has abandoned ship, literally, apparently on a mission to seek out Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill (with a little help from her mom). Coulson, Trip, Fitz and Simmons have returned from a mission to find their plane gone. And Skye and Ward are currently on a mission of their own, one that involves Ward’s determination to crack that hard drive once and for all.

As we speed towards the last hours of the season, it’s no secret that things are going to get even more intense. The April 29 episode “Nothing Personal” includes not only Hill’s return, but also the return of Mike Peterson’s Deathlok (J. August Richards). Aside from being significant in Skye and Ward’s journey, the Marvel villain will play a major role throughout the end of the season.

The woman behind this week’s beautiful work is Stephanie Hans, a French artist whose renderings have graced the covers of many Marvel comics including Thor, Young Avengers and the new Loki-focused series, Journey Into Mystery. The fourth piece in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Art of Level Seven places Skye and Ward at the center of the action in more ways than one — in fact, what you see depicted in the drawing is actually a notable moment from the episode itself.

But while you ponder what the nature of that moment might be (and the interpretations are endless), hear what executive producer Jeff Bell has to say, and what teases he can give about next week’s episode. As a reminder, this art — as well as all future art in the series — will be available for purchase as a limited edition high quality print exclusively through MarvelStore.com starting at 1 a.m. PST tomorrow.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Every week, I feel like I can’t get more impressed by a piece of art, and yet every week, I’m always blown away. What specifically stood out to you the first time you saw this?

JEFF BELL: I’m partial to clean graphics, and I love Skye and Ward together…I like putting her in a position of power. I mean, it’s a girl powered poster, you know? Who doesn’t love that?

I’m so glad it’s focusing on the Skye/Ward relationship, because that’s something that we’ve seen building up for so much of the season.
I love that the silhouette of Skye and Ward is kind of really one person, because they’re both wearing black. I love her Hydra hair, and then I love even that he’s in her shadow. And so from this, you don’t know whether she’s wounded him, whether she’s protecting him, whether he’s dying, or whether she broke his heart. I love that it’s all ambiguous in that way, and with Deathlok looming over but not looking directly at them. I love the graphicness of the red, and also the little flares — the little fireflies, the little specs of rain hitting the lens, whatever she [Stephanie] justified that as really gives the poster a depth and texture that makes it even richer. And then looming behind Deathlok is our poor, poor S.H.I.E.L.D.

After seeing this past week’s episode, I think this art is even more compelling. We know they’re Skye and Ward are off on a mission together, and we know that she knows his secret, but we don’t know exactly how their feelings for each other will affect them.
Right, exactly. Is she playing him? Does she also have feelings? Her feelings twisted, but can her feelings save him? Can his feelings pull her to the dark side? Is he really on the dark side? These are all really great questions that come out of this, and I think the poster does a nice job of embodying that.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the first things I noticed with the red being dominant in this piece was that it was symbolic of Hydra’s red — is it safe to assume that’s what the poster was conveying?
That certainly makes sense. That does seem to be their color, and so I don’t think you can look at an image like that in the visual language that we have and not consider that.

I also like how it’s kind of bleeding into the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo — it makes the art much more visually stunning, and it adds a nice layer of mystery in terms of how the show is playing out the whole “Shydra” storyline.
I agree. And that’s the beauty for our show, of having the Marvel comic universe, is they have really great graphic images that we can take advantage of.

The poster teases that Deathlok will play a major role in the final episodes of the season. And now that Garrett’s been revealed as “The Clairvoyant,” we know Peterson’s been working with him…
We’ve kind of broken our faction. So on the Garrett side, you’ve got Garrett, you’ve got Ward there, you’ve got Raina, you’ve got Quinn, you’ve got Deathlok…we’ve got a pretty good assortment of villains all coming together. And Mike was there at the beginning, so we have to play that out.

“Nothing Personal” airs Tuesday, April 29 at 8pm ET on ABC.

More coverage from EW on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Art of Level Seven:
‘Agents of SHIELD’ first-look art teases Clairvoyant reveal — EXCLUSIVE
‘Agents of SHIELD’: New initiative art teases team divide — EXCLUSIVE
‘Agents of SHIELD’: A cellist and a villain take center stage in latest art — EXCLUSIVE

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