S.H.I.E.L.D. Has Company – A Look at Other Acronymous Organizations in the Marvel Universe

     April 26, 2014


With an extremely important role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and their own television show, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the fictional Marvel organization has been making the rounds as of late.  Though they are the “top cops” in the world of Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man, they do have some company that you may not have heard of yet.  Though, with the events of Cap 2 still rippling through our collective consciousness, now may be the perfect time for new organizations to begin springing up throughout the Marvel movieverse.  We’ve heard of S.H.I.E.L.D., we’ve heard of Hydra, now hear about the rest that you may be seeing on the silver screen.  Hit the Jump to read on.


marvel-sword-organizationS.W.O.R.D. stands for “Sentient World Observation and Response Department” and is essentially exactly like S.H.I.E.L.D., only it’s focus isn’t on anything happening on Earth, rather, it monitors everything happening in space.  This organization prides itself on protecting earth from extraterrestrial threats and is a mish mash of humans, aliens, and mutants, all working toward the betterment of mankind through the stars.  Led by Abigail Brand, a green haired, human/alien hybrid, S.W.O.R.D. made its debut in, ironically enough, Joss Whedon’s run on the X-Men comic book (titled Astonishing X-Men).  In it, the secretive celestial organization infiltrated the X-Men to stop one of their own from destroying another world, thus setting off an intergalactic war between earth and countless worlds.

I began the article with S.W.O.R.D. mostly in part to the fact that I believe this, of all the organizations mentioned in this article, is the one that has the best chance of making an appearance onto the big screen.  Marvel Studios has made it no secret that they’re beginning to explore the outer reaches of their universe with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, taking place almost entirely in space which is this group’s bread and butter.  Also, considering this was originally the pet project of Joss Whedon, who directed a little known movie called Avengers, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw mentions of S.W.O.R.D. moving forward with each passing Marvel Studios movie.


The “Altered-Reality Monitoring and Operational marvel-armor-organizationResponse” proves that not only is Marvel good with acronyms, but they’re good at coming up with reasons for organizations within their universe to exist.  In a similar fashion to how S.W.O.R.D. monitors the stars, A.R.M.O.R. monitors any potential threats from alternate realities.  Zombie Spiderman hopping realities, chomping on innocent bystanders?  Evil Avengers planning total domination of our world?  A giant train made up of body parts from a dead Galactus steamrolling towards you?  A.R.M.O.R.’s the organization to call!

A.R.M.O.R. originally debuted in the comic book series, “Marvel Zombies”, that followed a world wherein a virus turned our favorite heroes into flesh-obsessed zombies, who could still think and use logic, but were consumed by their need to feed!  The shadowy organization stepped in when this threat loomed over the main Marvel U. and stopped the potential virus from consuming our earth, as it had the previous one.  We haven’t yet seen any alternate realities show up in the Marvel movieverse proper for A.R.M.O.R. to be introduced, but Marvel has its slate planned through 2028, and the Marvel Zombies series was vastly popular, so who knows?


marvel hammerH.A.M.M.E.R. doesn’t stand for anything!  Both figuratively and literally!  This organization was created when the Spider-Man villain, Norman Osborn, aka Green Goblin, was put in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. after eliminating an alien threat.  Yes, he may have been an insane psychopath hurling pumpkin bombs at people and tossing blonde haired women off bridges but we can all change right (the answer is no in Norman’s case)?  The first thing Norman did when becoming America’s “top cop” was change the name of S.H.I.E.L.D. to H.A.M.M.E.R. but unfortunately could not come up with an acronym to fit the letters.   This acted as the perfect acronym to Norman’s time in office, which eventually crumbled allowing the heroes to take power once again and re-establish S.H.I.E.L.D.

The time of H.A.M.M.E.R. was one of the more interesting times in the Marvel Universe, as it essentially put the villains in charge, and were then backed by the government to hunt heroes.  Norman even made his own version of the Avengers which were actually super villains parading as heroes.  The storyline was entitled “Dark Reign” and as for if we’ll see the organization at some point in the future of the moviescape, that’s a tough question to answer.  Victoria Hand, played by Saffron Burrows on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., acted as Norman’s right hand, assisting him in running the overall organization and sometimes going on field missions with the “Dark Avengers”.  Of course, Norman’s film appearances are currently owned by Sony Pictures as part of the Spider-Man movie deal, but it’s entirely possible to see H.A.M.M.E.R. appear at some point in the future sans Osborn, considering Hand has already made several appearances.


marvel hateH.A.T.E.! The HIGHEST Anti-Terrorism Effort.  H.A.T.E. originally appeared in comic creator, Warren Ellis’ Marvel series, Nextwave.  Led by Dirk Anger, an insane commander who spends his days smoking 30 cigars, drinking bottles of gin, and hunting deer for breakfast with his bare hand, the organization is absolutely bonkers.  To fight its enemies, it will deploy weaponized “drop bears” (Koala bears dropped from an airplane to bite their victims), Elvis M.O.D.O.K.’s, and apes with the power of the X-Men.  I’m mostly adding H.A.T.E. in here because they have to be seen to be believed and their appearance is one of the focal points in one of the funniest series Marvel has put out to date in Nextwave.

Who knows if H.A.T.E. will ever appear in a Marvel film or not, as they may be too insane for any director to truly capture their essence on screen, but I sure wouldn’t mind seeing the Avengers fight a few “Drop Bears”.


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