In one commercial preview for the upcoming AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., a very familiar-to-fans Agent says that it's too dangerous for nations to have superheroes - and that's why SHIELD exists.
And that's a very noble argument - that superheroes need to transcend national borders. Just like how Superman doesn't just defend America - he protects the Earth...same with this.
But it's a very dangerous proposition.
...because it almost doesn't matter how many noble-hearted good-natured people like Peggy Carter and Maya Hansen you have at the founding of the supernational organization. All you need is an Aldrich Killian or an Obadiah Stane, and suddenly the organization can pretty much control the world. (or, worse, instead of Killian or Stane, you get that Senator from Captain America, and the superheroes are frittered away on "trivial things" as the heroes might consider them, until, worst case, the superheroes either turn on everyone...or leave)
So, can an organization like SHIELD be the world-protector they claim to be, and not get involved with the lives of nations? Or are they just as manipulative as HYDRA, and just have better PR?
...and the answer to that depends on two primary factors: 1) how centralized/decentralized is the organization? If they're decentralized, then it depends on the personality of the regional commanders - e.g., SHIELD North America may take the attitude of "let the enemy fire the first shot, make the first move", while SHIELD Australia is more proactive. If they're centralized, then everything depends on the mind of the supreme commander - Director Fury, at present; his successor may prefer to take the fight to the enemy offworld, or to increase SHIELD's numbers faster than Fury did.
The 2nd factor is how much independence each agent gets. And this is where the new tv series will tell us a lot - though we may have to take it with a grain of salt, given that these are the heroes, and may be no more representative of SHIELD agents than, say, Clint Barton is of archers, or Steve Rogers is of WW2 vets. And if they get a lot of leeway, that again could be massively good or hugely bad - imagine, for instance, that a SHIELD agent had shot Thor and not with a taser while he was mortal in New Mexico... even after surviving and recovering from that, it's unlikely to be something Thor would forget or forgive in future interactions with SHIELD's representatives. (just as likely, an independent agent might get a peace treaty as a result of their efforts - not for shooting Thor, mind)
...similarly, how much independence do the superheroes get? (are the Avengers the norm, or the exception?)
So the new series will be very interesting, particularly with this in mind. (and entertaining without it in mind) :)
And on the gripping hand...I'll wait. :)