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Penultimate 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Art of Evolution sets the stage for an intense finale

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Two worlds. Two opposing sides. It’s all been leading up to this.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s second season has introduced us to new faces, new sections of government, and new characters with powerful abilities. Next week, it all comes together in an explosive, intense and high-energy two hour season finale—and to commemorate the episode, Marvel is proud to bring you two separate pieces in the final installments of this season’s The Art of Evolution.

Artist Ryan Sook brings some of the show’s most beloved characters to life in the poster for part one of “S.O.S.,” which will deal with the inevitable aftermath of Jiaying’s ominous “we are at war” declaration from the end of this week’s episode. Sook has done a variety of work at Marvel, most notably covers for X-Factor. Additionally, he’s well known for the work he’s done at DC Comics, where his projects include Hawkman, Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, Justice League and The Spectre.

We preview the FitzSimmons centric art with series EP Jeff Bell, and share some teases from next week’s double header.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I think this is such a smart poster. I love the style, but I also love the double juxtaposition of the wording: “mad science” given FitzSimmons’ background, especially as it relates to powered people. And then of course the “Hyde” reference for Cal, who is known in the comics as “Mr. Hyde.”

JEFF BELL: It’s really fun, and we pitched a couple of different ideas. And I think the thing was that we hadn’t really featured FitzSimmons…they’ve been small, but they hadn’t really gotten their moment. So putting them together like that, sort of helping to illustrate their evolution over the past few seasons—from sort of afraid of everything in the dark to people who can take care of themselves—it’s a nice way to honor them here. I love the old school look with the five faces up in the corner.

This week, I felt we got kind of a lead-up to Fitz and Simmons in terms of how they might figure into the events of the finale…especially with Simmons’ line about killing Ward, which seems almost like foreshadowing of Simmons crossing a certain line.

I think they each get something that’s a big piece of the puzzle. It’s hard when you have so many characters you love, and you’re trying to tie them all together and bring people together. And then you have different versions of S.H.I.E.L.D., and now they’re starting to come back together, so I can’t wait to see what people think.

Looking back on this run, what I really love about all these art pieces is the way they’ve dropped hints not just for the specific episode that they’re focusing on, but also for the overarching storylines.

Right. And because they come out before the episodes, we have to be a little coy with it. You can’t just go “Jiaying’s a monster in episode 20.” [laughs] You can’t go too far.

And we saw Cal give himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D., in an attempt to save his family. But with the way he’s depicted here, I’d imagine he might not be as innocent as we’ve been led to believe…

That seems reasonable. [laughs]

Given that all hell is going to break loose in this hour, what can you tease about the first part of the finale?

Episodes 20, 21 and 22 almost work as a three-parter. I think because we were doing the full two hours on the final night, we really decided to just lead into that. We left episode 20 with Jiaying saying “this is war,” and Skye assuming that Gonzales shot her and attacked her, so we have S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans and all our different threads finally coming together. And Skye is really torn between these two factions, between her surrogate family and her real family. Where will she go with that? And we’ve been promising Inhumans and some fun powered stuff, and hopefully we can make good on that promise as well.

“S.O.S.”, the first part of the season two finale, airs Tuesday, May 12 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to check EW tomorrow morning to see the exclusive reveal of the final art piece for episode 22. The art for “S.O.S.” part one will go on sale on Friday, May 8 at www.marvelshop.com/agentsofshield as a $49.99 print (limited to 100 copies) at 12:30 a.m. PT.

More coverage from EW on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Art of Evolution: