A common fan complaint regarding Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that it hasn’t delivered the deluge of Marvel Universe character-appearances many assumed would be part of its reason to exist. I’m not 100% sure that’s the problem with the show (currently in a monthlong hiatus because of The Olympics) but it’s also something that couldn’t really hurt. With that in mind, here’s 10 Marvel characters who’d probably make for a good guest spot:

image

TASKMASTER

This guy has probably one of the most useful special abilities in comic-book history: “Photographic Reflexes.” Basically, his muscle/eye coordination is inhumanly well-tuned, and any human skill he observes (excluding mutant powers, augmented abilities, magic, etc) he can mimic flawlessly. He’s a master hacker, safe-cracker, gymnast etc simply by having watched the various skills being performed, he’s mastered hundreds of complex martial-arts techniques, he can even pull-off Captain America’s shield-fighting moves (in the comics, something only a handful of humans can do.) He uses these skills primarily as a criminal and mercenary, but has occasionally been drafted by S.H.I.E.L.D and other government bodies as a trainer. One minor snag to his usefulness: His typical costume of blue, orange and white medieval garb, hooded-cloak, skull-mask, sword and shield (when created, he was supposed to look like an evil hodgepodge of then-current Avengers) probably wouldn’t fly on TV outside of specific circumstances.

image

SPIDER-WOMAN

A lot of people currently think this will turn out to be the (eventual) secret identity of Agent Skye. I don’t know about that, but she’d be a well-placed character and a fun poke in the eye to Sony by Marvel Studios, since she’s a “spider” heroine with no actual connection to Spider-Man. Basically a ninja with superhuman stamina and pheromone powers (really), she was originally created by Marvel to prevent their TV producer partners from scooping a trademark. (See also…)

image

JENNIFER WALTERS (aka THE SHE-HULK)

Once upon a time, Marvel had a TV deal that would grant their television partners copyright to original characters created for series like The Incredible Hulk. When The Bionic Woman became a hit, Marvel worried said partners might try to create and claim a female Hulk-spinoff and rushed to beat them to the punch: Walters is a lawyer who’s injured and needs a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, the nearest known donor is her cousin, Bruce Banner… so, yeah. She-Hulk. Unlike her cousin, Walters doesn’t experience any psychological or personality changes when she transforms, and since her hulk-form only makes her really tall and in perfect physical condition (for a female bodybuilder, at least) she mostly doesn’t bother to change back most of the time. She also continues to work as a lawyer, because “smokin’ hot green Amazon dressed like The Good Wife” is a funny visual and, really, Daredevil can’t represent everybody. Honestly, it’d be fun to see her turn up even Pre-“Shulkie,” since the Agents are bound to end up in a courtroom sooner or later…

image

MOON KNIGHT

Here’s the kind of meta-joke premise you can build a TV episode around: “What if Bruce Wayne was a master of disguise, and Batman was only one of multiple secret-identities?” That’s Moon Knight in a nutshell – a Rabbi’s son, boxer and soldier of fortune who wields the power of an Egyptian demigod to fight crime and also masquerades as a billionaire art-collector and a blue-collar cab driver.

image

THE SENTRY

Speaking of one-joke characters: Why doesn’t Marvel have a Superman analog? Because Marvel heroes have “issues” equivalent to their powers, so a “Marvel Superman” would be a complete psychological wreck. Hence Robert Reynolds – “Golden Guardian of Good” – a square-jawed Boy Scout do-gooder with “The Power of a Million Exploding Suns” but also depression so crippling he can barely leave the house most days – so you’d really only have to spend FX on him for a few climactic moments. In the comics he was conceived as an elaborate prank, wherein Marvel pretended to “rediscover” a 60s Stan Lee character they (and readers) had mysteriously forgotten ever publishing; with the reveal being that Sentry had erased all memory of himself from both the comic and comic-reading universes in order to contain The Void, a sentient manifestation of his own dark side. (And hey, isn’t a big element of this series false/unreliable memories?)

image

U.S.AGENT

It’s kind of hard to avoid engaging in politics when you’ve got a character who wears an American Flag, so every now and then a Marvel writer assigned to Captain America gets mad enough about U.S. government policy that we get a “Steve Rogers quits as Cap” story-arc, as happened in the Reagan/Bush era under decade-defining Cap-scribe Mark Gruenwald. Short version: When Rogers refuses a government order, The Pentagon takes the Captain America title away from him and drafts one John F. Walker – formerly a Cap nemesis as the paramilitary domestic terrorist “Super-Patriot” (subtle!) – as his replacement, effectively inventing the “replace hero with dark counterpart” storyline later appropriated for Knightfall and Reign of the Supermen. It doesn’t go well, and eventually the well-meaning but inept (and unstable) Walker learns he’s been the pawn in what’s all just a Red Skull scheme. Rogers dons a new black uniform as “The Captain” during this period, but once its been settled and he has his name/costume back the black suit gets passed to Walker; who rechristens himself “U.S.Agent” to continue serving as the government-obedient version of Cap. He’s fun because he’s a send-up of what people often assume the real Captain America to be – i.e. a nationalistic “America first” jerkwad, and it’d be fun to see what Coulson especially would make of him.

image

BARON WOLFGANG VON STRUCKER

Von Strucker is a B-list recurring Captain America (and Nick Fury) enemy, yet another a life-prolonged Nazi underboss making trouble in the Marvel Universe. He’s slated to appear (in some capacity – many are guessing his superpowered twin children from the comics will be reworked as new movie-friendly origins for Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) in Avengers: Age of Ultron in the person of actor Thomas Kretschmen, and while unconfirmed smart money says he could pop up somewhere in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well. He fits the profile of characters Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. likes to rope in re: Brand-X answers to more expensive/established villains (in this case The Red Skull) and they’ve already got an actor, so…

image

BLADE

Y’know what’s a fun thing to do on TV shows? Halloween episodes with some kind of “classic” monster figuring into the plot. Like vampires, for example. Y’know what’d be a fun (and not terribly difficult) thing to do on a tie-in Marvel Universe TV show during a Halloween/vampire/etc story? A guest-starring turn by “Daywalker” Eric Brooks, aka Blade. Hell, you could probably even get Wesley Snipes again if you wanted to – he ain’t that busy and he could probably use the money.

image

SILVER SABLE

“Black Widow, but she wears silver instead.” That’s pretty-much it. Silver (her actual first name) Sablinova is the scion of the ruling family of Symkaria, a small nation that shares a border with Doctor Doom’s Latveria (the Marvel Universe basically treats Eastern Europe like a plus-sized pocket dimension) and whose entire economy is supported by the earnings of Sable’s self-led mercenary outfit, “The Wild Pack.” So… yeah, I guess she’s kind of silly. On the other hand, it’d be another hot chick in a vinyl catsuit to scrap with Ming-Na Wen; so there’d be that at least.

image

THE PUNISHER

Marvel has tried three times to give this guy a movie. Two of them were terrible. One of them is an underappreciated masterpiece. All three of them were dead-on-arrival at the box-office. Maybe The Punisher (aka Frank Castle, a former soldier who turns urban vigilante when his family dies in a gang-war crossfire) would be better as a TV show? Maybe he could get a backdoor-pilot via an appearance on what, despite fan and critic misgivings is still ABC’s second most-watched show? In fact, let me pitch something: Punisher’s initial “thing” was killing mobsters, but he moved on to supervillains because a realistic vigilante who just kills bad guys is an interesting counterpoint to Spider-Man etc. If you switch-out the origin story slightly – say, maybe his family dies during Loki’s attack on NYC or because of idiots messing with Chitauri weapons like in “ITEM 47” and he decides to start running down and murdering the kind of super-criminals The Agents try to apprehend, that’s a whole episode (maybe a couple of them) right there.

Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.

Blackwell Epiphany Concludes Adventure Series This April

Previous article

The Games Industry Is Its Own Citizen Kane

Next article

Comments

Leave a reply

You may also like