COMIC BOOKS 101: Marvel Characters That Need To Be On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. !
I’ve said time and time again that despite its merits the biggest flaws in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show has been its lack of fully developing characters from the Marvel Comic Book Universe. The show (which spiraled out from The Avengers movie) is ripe to explore and showcase some of the best characters that might just not be ready or capable of making an impact on the big screen. While some characters have found a way to appear (Deathlock, Daisy Rumble Johnson, Absorbing Man, and recently Ghost Rider) a great majority of villains have either been created specifically for the show (and suddenly now appearing in the comics) or have just been throw away characters that have very little to zero ties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Comic Book Universe. There’s some debate and speculation over the reasons for this being political in nature, with an unspoken “war” taking place between Ike Perlmutter (CEO of Marvel Entertainment, and pretty much runs the Marvel Studios TV projects-Even Jeff Loeb reports to him) and Kevin Feige (the acting studio head of Marvel Studios who reports to the Chief of Disney Studios-Alan Horn). There’s been much speculation that it was Perlmutter who was responsible for making Marvel Comics CEO Dan Buckley, begin the dismantling and removal of characters/properties that were not directly owned by Disney (Mutants/Fantastic Four-Fox, Spider-Man-SONY). So while Kevin Feige has been off producing the Marvel Movies and seemingly not giving a damn about the TV shows, it’s been Jeff Loeb who’s really helped form the successful TV adaptations of Marvel Properties. Loeb has helped usher in and produce the Netflix shows, Agents of Shield, Runaways, Legion and almost all the recent animated features. So taking Perlmutter who at this point seems more interested in actual politics, what can Jeff Loeb do to help improve Marvel’s presence on Network Television? Can SHIELD be saved (it’s at the lowest ratings ever, and that includes having Ghost Rider)? I think it can with a little restructuring and a focus on the more diverse new characters in the Marvel Universe. Here is a way to re-work Agents of SHIELD and a list of characters I think would work perfect for ABC without needing to have a strong connection to the films. (Bonus, this can serve as a way for new readers to catch up all the new characters Marvel has been putting out there!)
The basic premise of Agents of SHIELD is that there is a special little group of SHIELD agents headed up by Phil Coulson and they go on top secret missions to stop bad guys. That might be Hydra, or potential Inhuman threats, or whatever. I say, this time let’s move away from HYDRA and focus on another already established threat but still a major force in the Marvel Universe-A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Essentially the organization of mad scientist who believe morality is best left at the door, and it’s the answers that come first despite the costs. Why are they great to use? Well first off, they were already introduced in Iron Man 3 as a known entity, and secondly mad scientist are perfect for reasons why super powered beings exist (aside from dipping into cosmic related reasons). So SHIELD focuses on the Supreme Leader (the head of A.I.M.) when they uncover the organization is very much active since Iron Man 3. Some of the team will need to leave the show or take a back seat, as the new objective is recruiting super powered assets to combat the more powerful creations from A.I.M. Daisy Johnson alongside Phil Coulson will go and begin recruiting the following members to make up the new SHIELD team. I’d like to see current team members Simmons, Fitz, and Mack go away. May could stay, and potentially Holden Radcliffe.
Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel
Who is she? : Kamala is a teenage American Muslim girl from Jersey City. She’s a huge superhero fangirl (known for writing tons of fan fiction about major Marvel Characters) that ends up undergoing Terrigenesis (the metamorphosis of a human being turning into an inhuman. She develops body altering powers similar to Mr. Fantastic, and ends up taking on the Ms. Marvel name (out of homage and respect to her most favorite person, Captain Marvel-Carol Danvers).
Why should she be on the team? : Despite the obvious of adding some cultural diversity to the lineup, Kamala has proven she’s fully fleshed out interesting character. She’s full of fun little quirks, proud heritage, and all the signs of being the selfless hero someone should be. I think her constant fangirl aspect and cheery attitude would be a great way to lighten the mood at times on the show and work well with some of the more “established” names on this list. Not to mention, we’ve seen various shows use powers similar to hers in ways that seemingly aren’t breaking any budgets.
Who do I think should play her? : There are a few options and here are some names I’d throw out there on a short list- Alia Bhatt, Yara Shahidi, and Rowan Blanchard. All have some ties to Disney/ABC which could help them out in the long run.
General Robert L Maverick aka The Red Hulk (Possibly could be General Talbott as well)
Who is he? : Introduced in the comics very recently in a storyline called “Avengers Standoff” Maverick is sort of an exact replica of General Thunderbolt Ross (played by William Hurt in the movies). There isn’t a lot about the character revealed in the comics thus far, but doesn’t mean he can’t be worked (along with the Red Hulk concept) into the TV Universe. The first Red Hulk in the comics is a mysterious figure that is later revealed to be Gen. Ross who had himself turned into a version of the Hulk to finally battle his nemesis. Maverick , presumably has undergone a similar experiment transformation, except he’s been programmed to only be able to stay in Red Hulk form once every 24 hours, for 1 hour. With advancements in Hulk CGI tech since Avengers, Industrial Lights and Magic’s Jeff White (Visual Effects Supervisor for The Avengers) has stated with some work it isn’t impossible to bring the Hulk to TV-so why not Red Hulk! Even better, just bypass this character complete and let General Talbot take over the role since he’s already established in the Agents of SHIELD Universe.
Why should he be on the team? : Currently appearing in the comic book series U.S. Avengers, Gen. Maverick’s Red Hulk is a way over the top, 80’s style action star (with a badass mustache). He could easily be a liaison between SHIELD and the U.S. Military, and create some big awesome moments when he finally Hulks out. Thanks to his limitations though, it wouldn’t be super necessary for him to be Hulk in every episode, sometimes he could just be a great military strategist in his human form. He could also create some tension with Coulson, and Daisy as he might have the “I think I know better” attitude, not to mention containing the rage that comes with being a Hulk.
Who do I think should play him? : If they just go with Talbot Adrian Pasdar really is perfect. If they go with the Maverick route, I’d say Michael Cudlitz because he is Maverick.
Dr. Toni Ho aka The Iron Patriot
Who is she? : She’s the daughter of Ho Yinsen, and highly intelligent engineer (holding three doctorates). She was working most in the comics in the pages of New Avengers as part of a reformed A.I.M. (can you see how easily she can become part of the team?!!) that was now being used for good. She has a strong distaste for Tony Stark, and built her own version of the Iron Patriot armor (originally created by Norman Osborne when he was acting as the head of SHIELD and essentially trying to replace both Iron Man and Captain America). In the movies, the Iron Patriot armor was just a re-coloring of James Rhodes War Machine Armor (which in itself was just a modified version of Tony’s Iron Man Armor that Rhodes kind of stole). The effects of a super powered suit are shown constantly on CW’s DC Legends of Tomorrow, so I find it hard to believe having some CGI scenes with the Iron Patriot armor would be impossible, not to mention the production team can also cut down on “Armor Time” by having intercutting shots of a floating Toni Ho head, while she talks to her A.I. .
Why should she be on the team? : Toni would essentially be the redemption storyline of the show. She’s working with the criminal organization A.I.M. fueled by misplaced anger over the loss of her father, Stark, and the way of the world. Eventually she would realize The Supreme Leader is just insane, and wants to help stop him, doing so by creating her own version of the Iron Man armor. In theory she could help replace Fitz and Simmons (whom I think should be written off the show now as their stories have kind of come full circle) and be the resident “unknown” on the team as some distrust her, and some accept her.
Who do I think should play her? : In the movies actor Shaun Toub played Ho Yinsen, but that’s not to say his daughter still can’t be some mixed ethnicity. I’m liking Freeman Agyeman, Christel Khalil, Denyce Lawton, or if she doesn’t get Ms. Marvel Yara Shahidi.
Tony Masters aka Taskmaster
Who is he? : A long standing villain to the Avengers, and eventually recurring character for Deadpool, Tony Masters aka Taskmaster has served many roles over the years. From birth, Tony Masters had the ability to mimic any physical movements he witnessed perfectly (photographic reflexes). He was never an outright Mutant or Inhuman, simply a very gifted human being. Tony used these powers to work as both a merc for hire, and serving as a “trainer” for would be superheroes and villains. Sometimes he was even deployed to pretend to be certain characters as he could imitate them perfectly. Later on the characters history was slightly reworked to include the fact he was actually a SHIELD agent sent deep undercover, but it seems the more information he stored in his brain regarding various physical movements, the less he would remember of his past or who he was. Soon he fully became Taskmaster and less Tony Masters. The character could easily fit into Agents of SHIELD considering the re-worked background, and still be out there deep undercover unaware of Nick Fury no longer running the program or completely unaware of who he is.
Why should he be on the team? : One he’s awesome. It’s super easy to get a very athletic actor to come in and perform some great action scenes, and it would take some of the heavy lifting off May (and potentially Gen. Maverick). He’s got the moves and the abilities to be stealth and lethal so he sort of covers what Mockingbird and Lance Hunter provided. His abilities are super easy to showcase on screen as well. A fun storyline for him would be recovering his memories and trying to learn more about who he is and where his place should be in the world now.
Who do I think should play him: Pedro Pascal. The dude can kick ass, has a real cool suave style about him, and would work really well with this cast.
Aaron Stack aka Machine Man (X-51)
Who is he? : The history to Aaron Stack in the comics is one of the very long winded convoluted; multiple re-works type of deal that’s a bit much to get into. Bottom line he’s a highly advanced A.I. (think the current show’s LMDs to turned up to 11) but with a real condescending attitude. The important part is he was created and given sentience/self-awareness, and raised in seclusion by his scientist “father” Dr. Abel Stack. The same concept can work here except make him an A.I.M. experiment to replicate The Vision, using alien tech that isn’t quite understood. He’s kind of like an inspector gadget where all sorts of gizmos can be formed from his body, along with housing a ton of useful information. With the introduction of LMDs perhaps the SHIELD team could find the powered down body of Aaron Stack while raiding A.I.M. He’d be great to help with any technology jams the team gets involved in, and offer a unique perspective on various problems along with the whole concept of “what is living?”.
Who should play him: I’d like this Aaron Stack to appear younger, someone who is still learning what it means to be an adult, a human being, and all the trials and tribulations that come with it while handling the fact they are a machine. I’d like Jordan Gavaris (from Orphan Black).
A big feature of this cast and show would be the team having to stop the Supreme Leader of A.I.M. and various villain characters such as M.O.D.O.K., The Wrecking Crew, Thundra, The Leader, Grey Gargoyle, The Super-Adaptoid, I’d love one of the “big bads” to be The High Evolutionary. Having these known, but far from likely to be used in the Film Verse characters could go a long way! I wouldn’t even hate a return of Batrock the Leaper (like GSP is doing anything else these days) for an episode!
Do you readers think a team like this can help the show? Is there anyone that should definitely be on the team? What changes could be made to get you watching the show? Sound off in the comments below.