Agent Carter: The Best Show You’re Not Watching

Despite having been a key player in the creation of a covert government agency that easily recruits an all star superhero roster, there are no superheroes in the eight episode mid-season series Agent Carter because SHE is the superhero.

my baby shot me dead

Taking place a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and following the Iron-Man 3 one shot, ABC’s Agent Carter follows Peggy as she navigates a post World War II work force, continuing her work with the SSR but at a smaller capacity.

Like getting lunch orders.

She’s a really athletically gifted coffee girl.

Taking a page from the world built by Mad Men (predating it by a decade) this world explores how difficult it has been for women to have given their all in the war effort only to be asked to return to their proper stations as homemakers. Peggy, in continuing her work, challenges the leadership at every turn, cracking cases before her fellow agents can even open up a notepad to jot a few leads down. Episode one has her contacted by Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father. Yes. Iron-Man’s dad) to assist with getting to the bottom of a mysterious grand theft of some of his dangerous inventions. Peggy hesitantly agrees to help, seeing as she’s pretty much over being ignored in the work place and she becomes a double agent.

It’s been nearly ten years since the last female led spy series aired on ABC (Alias) and about two years since the last episode of the Maggie Q lead spy series reboot Nikita (which also starred Lyndsy Fonseca currently playing Angie Martinelli) and while shows like Scandal and The Good Wife give us kick ass, cerebral women, it also bogs them down with the trappings of romance as a plot device. The leads are buried by their romantic triangle of the season more often than the crime of the week. For example, in one episode of Scandal Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope will have traded more barbs with an ex faster than she would trade blows; she verbosely batters her foes with whip smart dialogue, you immediately wish you’d paid more attention in English class. It’s wonderful, really, but sometimes viewers just want a girl who’ll happily bludgeon you with her heel instead of speaking to you because you’re stupid. A character like Pope can work in a world like Peggy’s easily; honestly, I WANT them to have some insane crossover where Olivia uncovers old SSR documents and…wait…back off, that’s my script.

Hey girl, you’re strong and powerful up until a dude charms you a little bit by saying he’s not intimated by how powerful you are.

 

While it’s great to have smart, sexually confident women on television, it’s much better to have a woman who isn’t trapped within the confines of a relationship that potentially defines her almost every week. Watching someone like Peggy punch a man into unconsciousness is pleasing. Watching her use objects around her for the same effect is also pleasing. This show is pleasing. Hayley Atwell is pleasing.

Bye Felipe

 

Atwell shines as the title character, dropping dudes as easily as she drops one-liners. Debuting in the aforementioned Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter was that girl; the one  you immediately wanted to be friends with, the one who took no shit and the one with flawless lipstick game. Peggy, despite the smaller piece of the larger puzzle, has a knack for seeing the things that ultimately shape her destiny. She saw the potential for Steve Rodgers’ candidacy before the rest of the scientists did; she saw in him something, because of her gender, made him a bigger asset than she was to the cause. Just imagine if the team saw in her what everyone saw in Steve and she became a super soldier. HEY GET AWAY FROM MY SCRIPT.

While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (that’s a pain in the ass to type) struggled in the first half of the series to establish characters worth caring about (I care mightily for Agent May and Agent Coulson) and to find it’s footing as it launched in the wake of The Avengers and Captain America, Agent Carter immediately gave viewers a reason for investment; it was the backstory TO AoS that was designed to use Carter and her Amanda Waller type of influence in the creation of the Marvelverse as a whole.

If Marvel does this right, Agent Peggy Carter could be the backdrop introduction (albeit limited considering) to the early negotiations for more Vibranium with Wakanda (Black Panther) the research into cosmic defense with Dr. Steven Strange, ultimately recruiting a young Natasha Romanov  from the KGB once the Cold War is over. Peggy makes up for over 70 years of easy to cover story lines to bridge the comics, movies, Netflix series….she’s the Highlander. The One. Her work could be the nexus for everything in the Marvelspace and when you step back and look at the bigger picture, Marvel and ABC has to have the one nerd screaming in the halls about this very concept. We see her in The Winter Soldier and there are things said, things that make you have feelings.

Operation S.I.N, a mini series launched by Marvel January this year follows the further adventuring hijinks of Peggy Carter and science bro Howard Stark set in Europe. There are aliens.

And a bear getting punched.

What it looks like in my head all the time

 

Peggy, for the Marvelverse, is who Wonder Woman SHOULD be for DC. The nexus for good, a beacon of hope and the absolute measure by which the women who wind up in the various organizations hold themselves up to. Imagine young Jean Grey (I’m thinking silver age Marvel here but it also works for the Ultimate X-Men and various reboots etc) finding an old article about Peggy Carter while cleaning out a space in Xavier’s mansion. America Chavez (Young Avengers) wanting to be every bit the hero Peggy would’ve been had she been Captain America. I’m picturing Maria Hill’s goal in life was to helm a team as prolific as the Howling Commandos. Before she met lousy Ted Mosby.

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Kids, in the summer of 2012 I met your mother

Mockingbird on AoS

Mockingbird on AoS

Agent May on AoS

 

There’s a world of female heroes that can trace their ability to work in the comic book world back to Agent Carter.

Or Lady Sif.

Because you can’t pretend Sif wasn’t first.

Lady Sif in Thor: The Dark World

 

 

It’s also important to note that Agent Thirteen, Sharon Carter is……I can’t tell you that.

 

Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

As the show closed out it’s first season run, there was a bit of a glimmer of hope for it’s fate. With any good Marvel title, there is always that closing credits scene and (SPOILER KIDS)

 

 

Dr. Zola welcomes Dr. Faust to a jailhouse Hydra party.

 

 

SO.

 

My theory and hope is that Season 2 will revolve around Peggy’s growing ability to be taken seriously in the office (I mean, as serious as someone will take a woman in the office who punches like thunder) and the discovery of the Winter Soldier program. Consider that Peggy’s era for change would be at the height of the Cold War, during which time the shocking discovery of Bucky Barnes’ MIA status being upgraded to that of WE HAVE BUCKY WE’RE GONNA TURN HIM INTO A SUPER SOLDIER HAHAHA would more than likely be at the forefront of any engaging story. You can easily introduce a cadre of scientists that have actively shaped the Marvelverse being thwarted by Peggy, or even causing waves in other properties linked to their respective histories. I can see Peggy rolling her eyes at Dr. Strange all the while, hoping he can protect their current dimension. I can see Peggy watching the space program develop (completely, unfortunately, ignoring the Fantastic Four because..yeah…) but still being mindful of the ramifications of space exploration; she could have an entire research division that ultimately taps into Rhodes and Danvers’ space pilot program….

If given the chance to grow, Agent Carter could be one of the few shows on television with the foresight (and money) to successfully mine from their comic book resources, connect the MCU to the books and vice versa; Peggy as the earliest Director of SHIELD essentially creates the world we love now.

Don’t you see kids?!

Peggy motherfuckin Carter is comic books badass grandma.

I’m sorry Aunt May…

 

Nobody fresher than my clique

 

 

 

Thor is A Woman and That’s Fucking Fantastic

There is a major shake up happening in Marvel.

Starting in October, Thor, The Might Asgardian Norse god of Thunder would be…Thor, the Mighty Asgardian Norse goddess of Thunder.

The statement released on Marvel.com:

Marvel is excited to announce an all-new era for the God of Thunder in brand new series, THORwritten by Jason Aaron complimented with art from Russell Dauterman.

This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of the “big three” of Captain American, Iron Man and Thor. No longer is the classic Thunder God able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, and a brand new female hero will emerge worthy of the name THOR.

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/comics/2014/7/15/22875/marvel_proudly_presents_thor#ixzz37Z7NQyO0

Speculation is wild about the origins of the new wielder of Mjölnir, and the only hint that the lucky lady is someone who Thor himself saved. She’s built herself off of his mighty blondness and as of October, we’ll find out just who she is and how Thor lost his mojo.

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Throg

Beta Ray Bill

The hammer chooses the wielder, just like Hogwarts Sorting Hat decides that your weak ass is a Hufflepuff and worthy to wield the hammer. (I’m kidding, I don’t know if Hufflepuff is weak, I’ve always been sorted into Gryffindor) Everyone can be worthy to carry the hammer, which is the great appeal of the entire mythos behind the Cosmic Marvel universe.

In 1978, issue 10 of Thor, The Watcher speculated what would have happened if Jane Foster found the Hammer.

what if i did enough squats to git this outfit?

So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the ownership to pass from Thor Odinson to someone else. It has happened before. Especially when you consider that Throg was an actual plot point.

Thor is a name, not a title.

Naturally, the nerd hordes had a temper tantrum regarding the sex change because nerd rage.

Essentially, comic book purists can accept Throg, vaguely recall The Watcher’s one shot story about Jane and Mjölnir but for her to actually happening during a current run is a problem. The statement includes (paraphrase) a nod to the neglected female comic book fan, which makes it seem like a bit of a cash grab but it also acknowledges that female fronted titles are in demand and Marvel suits aren’t stupid. Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers has been having an amazing run under Kelly Sue DeConnick which has spawned into a great Ms. Marvel title. X-Men founding member Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is getting her first lead title despite having been in comics for longer than the recently decreased Wolverine who’s had multiple runs as a lead character. Marvel has been leading the charge in comic book diversity where DC is struggling to keep up. Both companies have the luxury of celebrating 50 years in the business and Marvel seems to be the first out of the old guard to truly embrace that the world is in fact very different today than it was upon some of their classic titles first printing.

 

Yesterday it was announced that John Constantine in the upcoming NBC paranormal horror series Constantine would not be bisexual as is cannon with the comic book. That’s a whole other argument but the nerd rage was interesting. They were dismayed at having this part of the character be downplayed when it was essential to who he is. The show runners also discussed that he will not be smoking as much as he does in his Hellblazer title.

At the heart of the hero is still the heart of who they are.

What does it mean that Thor is being replaced by a woman?

Nothing.

What it means is that readers will be treated to a richer experience in storytelling because you have to make your character someone to care about. As a woman, you’re invested in a character that isn’t another run of the mill damsel in distress and as a male reader, you’re still reading a comic book with a ass kicking lead with a legacy. When Miles Morales, the famously biracial kid from Queens, became the new Spider-man, the world almost imploded. From the nerd purists to the racists, Miles becoming the new Spider-man was the prime example for why comics need to change, why diversity is important and why everyone should feel welcome and represented in the great big world of comics and fantasy. They are escape routes and lessons in being a better person packed into bright pages. People of color and women should be included in this world that essentially doesn’t know the same politics as this one does.

The truth is, Marvel should be working on creating a new female lead, fresh origins, fresh stories, fresh everything. They may still be a long way off considering the success of their legacy titles but the seeds are being planted now. They’ve started that with the introduction of Kamala Khan as the aforementioned Ms. Marvel but there are established rules with that power because of the years of the hero having been male. She still needs to be a hero with an old credo in a modern world that may not welcome her.  By introducing new faces in old roles however, you demonstrate that anyone can and will be worthy of the title of hero.

The rage comes from the boat of comfort being rocked and people who don’t like change being toss out of the boat. We don’t know who the new Thor is and won’t until the title rolls out in October. We don’t know the conditions to which Thor loses his ability just as we don’t know how long she’ll be Thor. For all we know, Sif is the new Mjölnir wielder and the ‘other woman’ is Loki in disguise. That’s what makes the speculation so exciting. Taking someone and putting them into an extraordinary circumstance, like becoming something more is a universal experience. It’s a journey that everyone will go through as they discover who they are. Why should an extraordinary experience like becoming a superhero, a guardian, a crusader be only limited to men, or white men? Why should we continue to tell the other that they will remain that way because comic books say so? We are at an age of discovery, where someone somewhere at every second will discover who they are, who they are meant to be and what greater allegory is there than the superhero comic book title? Image Comics, Top Cow and Dark Horse are fantastic when it comes to the idea of diversity in storytelling but they aren’t the MAJORS like DC and Marvel are, plus, their titles tend to lean more maturely than Marvel and DC do.

I get that people are upset that this is happening to their beloved character but it doesn’t change who that character is at the core of their principles. The wild thing is that when Loki has swapped genders, it’s so totally Loki that it’s accepted. Some of it is ridiculed because people are five and have problems with things that challenge their personal belief systems and that’s cool but their distaste is tainting a very simple thing. Sure, Loki is evil and evil people do lousy things but there was no real uproar once Loki went back to being a boy. Maybe women aren’t allowed to be evil? Even if they’re the god of mischief.

After Ragnarök, Loki returned in a female body working with Doctor Doom so Thor would unwittingly resurrect his Asgardian enemies[40] and manipulated Balder to make him the new successor to the throne of Asgard.[41] In reality, Loki retained his male form after Ragnarok but hid himself inside Thor’s reborn lover Sif. During this period, Hela and Loki used magic to send Loki to the past to cause the events that led to his younger self being adopted by Odin as a means to eliminate Bor, Thor’s grandfather.

You can deal with spectral cosmic forces, space and time travel but a chick in charge, burn down the world.

Bae material either gender

What will be interesting is if the new Thor sticks around, what threat does she pose when it comes to warrior woman iconography? Gender Swapped Starbuck was the space warrior of our dreams but that didn’t come with controversy. We’re years away from Xena who was years removed from Wonder Woman who grand mothered Buffy the Vampire Slayer.. Could the new Thor be the new power character we’ve been looking for in the comic book universe? Can she become the next mainstream hero to stand with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Black Cat, Melinda May, She-Hulk and Elektra? Of course she can, the real question is, come October, will you be willing to go on that adventure?

Personally, I’m looking forward to covers that aren’t spandex and ass shots. I mean c’mon. I’m badass, but don’t pay attention to my ass, just watch yours while it’s getting kicked.

With San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, one can only speculate that Marvel has succeeded in dominating the show floor and panels with this announcement as well as the media tour for the upcoming Guardians of The Galaxy, which features the daughter of Thanos and master assassin Gamora. Details will probably start surfacing once the con kicks off and we may get an idea of what’s in store for Thor and the new wielder of Mjölnir, so everyone who is butthurt now will be placated later on. Odds are, the answer will be so decent, that whatever controversy that may arise will be quelled by just how stupid they had been in the first place.What we do know is that Marvel is continuing the trend of understanding that readers, good solid committed, readers will always seek, find and buy the titles that interest them because that’s the business they’ve gotten themselves into.

What we want to see is a character that gives new life to an old name, that makes you discover comic books for the first time or rediscover them all over again.

FOUND OUT WHO IT IS:

DC had better step it’s game up.