Movies and TV
10 Golden-Age Marvel Allies We Could Meet in Agent Carter

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 31 Dec 2014 16:00
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We don't yet know just who will make an appearance in Agent Carter, but we can speculate.

Next week will see the debut of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s prequel/sister-series, Agent Carter. The series follows the exploits of Haley Atwell's Peggy Carter as she moves on from the "death" (as far as she knows) of Captain America and grapples with the less-than-equal treatment of women in postwar America, while also aiding Howard Stark and his butler Jarvis (the original human incarnation of Iron Man's personal A.I. buddy) keep stolen super-technology out of enemy hands.

It's an exciting series conceptually, as it involves yet another Marvel character that might never have been considered leading material getting a prime-time shot thanks to their reception in the Cinematic Universe -- in this case, an entire series built on the enormously positive reception for Haley Atwell's turn as Peggy in Captain America: The First Avenger. But it also promises to explore a fascinating, often-overlooked moment in American history: where homefront women who had seen their social and workforce standing rise rapidly during World War II saw their newfound positions yanked away as The Men came back from fighting. The anger at (and resistance to) this "back to the kitchen" mentality among many women is often cited as the spark that led to the 50s and 60s "Women's Liberation" movement.

But it also looks primed to delve deeper into a slice of Marvel continuity that the Cinematic Universe has thus far only touched on in First Avenger: The so-called "Golden Age" of comics, roughly encompassing the 1930s to the 1950s but particularly the original height of the superhero genre during WWII. Marvel has an unusual relationship to the era, in that they weren't Marvel at the time (they were called "Timely Comics") and apart from Captain America and Namor their books generally ranked well behind DC's pantheon of heavy-hitters and Fawcett's then-dominant Captain Marvel ("Shazam") franchise. Timely/Marvel's stable included a vast array of largely obscure costumed-adventurers, mostly-forgotten today save for instances where modern Marvel writers have brought them back or tied them into the history of modern heroes (see also: Books like "The Invaders" or "Sgt. Fury's Howling Commandos," which were set in WWII/Timely continuity but written in the 60s and 70s).

These mostly-forgotten Marvel icons can probably never hope to get movies or series of their own, but could they turn up in the world of Agent Carter, which is taking place right in the middle of their career peaks? Maybe -- especially if the miniseries is successful enough to inspire production of more Peggy-centric adventures. Here's a quick rundown of characters who could conceivably turn up should Marvel deem it possible:

Struck by lightning while hanging around her scientist father's lighthouse laboratory, Madeline Joyce was imbued with... well, Superman's power-set, basically. Donning the mantle of Miss America, she flew to the battlefields of WWII to aid fellow heroes like Captain America against the Axis threat. Given Carter's early-feminist ass-kicker setup, if she's going to meet superheroes it'd make sense for one of them to be women.

Of note: At various points in modern Marvel continuity, she's been described as a possible mutant whose latent abilities were "activated" by the lightning, which isn't how mutation works in current canon but is similar to the way Inhumans have discovered their powers in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She was also the first person identified as the biological mother of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch before their parentage was retconned to Magneto and a Romani woman in 1983 -- a change that has recently been undone.

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