Who Are Marvel's AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.'s [Redacted] & [Redacted]? SPOILERS

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Warning, 'Rama Readers! Here be spoilers! This article is going to discuss some stuff that will definitely, not probably, but definitely spoil tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Turn back now if you're not prepared. Don't worry. We'll wait...

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OK. Everybody that's still here knows what they're getting into, right? Good. Cause man oh man, tonight's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a doozy. By now, you've likely seen the episode, and you may have some questions about just what exactly is going on with Skye/Daisy, and her father, Cal. So for all you folks frantically Googling “Marvel Comics, Daisy” or “Marvel Comics, Cal,” we've saved you some time with this handy rundown of just who Daisy Johnson, and her father, Calvin Zabo, are, and what they mean to the Marvel Universe. Don’t worry – an explanation of the rest of the episode is coming, as soon as it ends, as well.

Daisy Johnson...
Daisy Johnson...
Credit: Marvel Comics

Let's start with Daisy Johnson. Daisy - occasionally called Quake - is one of only three S.H.I.E.L.D. agents ever to possess Level 10 security clearance, the other two being Nick Fury and Black Widow. She's also technically the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in modern day Marvel Comics, having been appointed to the position by Steve Rogers himself, though Maria Hill is Acting Director since Daisy was suspended. So, how exactly did she get to such a lofty position, and at such a young age?

Daisy, the daughter of a prostitute who gave her up for adoption as soon as she was born, manifested her earthquake-causing powers after running away from her foster parents. She was quickly confronted by Nick Fury - the elder, not his son (or one of his Life Model Decoys, who the hell knows now) - who offered her training in the use of her powers in exchange for loyalty to him, and him alone. Daisy agreed, quickly becoming one of Fury's most promising protégés.

Daisy proved herself by defeating Lucia Von Bardas during Secret War, a story that resulted in Fury defecting from S.H.I.E.L.D. in the wake of an international incident. Daisy followed Fury off the grid, resurfacing to diffuse a conflict between Magneto and the Avengers by activating a tremor in Magneto's brain, knocking him unconscious. Daisy requested membership on the team, even giving herself the codename "Quake," but the team splintered during Marvel's Civil War (soon to be a major motion picture!) before she could attain membership.

... sometimes called Quake
... sometimes called Quake
Credit: Marvel Comics

Later, when Skrulls invaded Earth disguised as superheroes and ordinary citizens, Fury and Daisy assembled a team of super-powered recruits loyal to Fury, his Secret Warriors, who all had ties to the previous generation of super-beings. Through the Secret Invasion, and into Norman Osborn's Siege of Asgard, Daisy remained loyal to Fury. After Fury met his illegitimate son, Nick Fury, Jr., and went into retirement, Steve Rogers appointed Daisy, Fury's closest confidant, as his replacement. Daisy remains director of S.H.I.E.L.D., though technically, she is indefinitely suspended following a failed attempt to assassinate the Scientist Supreme of AIM, with Maria Hill serving as Acting Director.

But what about Cal, Daisy/Skye's father, the mysterious, seemingly super-powered doctor? In the comics, Cal is actually Calvin Zabo, a mad scientist and supervillain whose experimental serum altered his DNA, allowing him to pass a mutation on to his illegitimate daughter, Daisy, in the form of her earthquake powers. He fathered Daisy with a prostitute whose company he regularly kept (that didn’t carry over to the show). As for Zabo himself, he is perhaps best known by his villainous alter-ego, Mr. Hyde.

Initially, Zabo was a brilliant physician who became convinced that he could recreate the experiment performed in Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. To fund his experiments, Zabo took a series of jobs at hospitals which he then robbed, leading him to attempt to obtain employment at the hospital of Dr. Donald Blake, better known as the human host of Thor. When Blake turned Zabo away, citing the history of theft that, while unattributed to Zabo, seemed to accompany him at his various jobs, Zabo became enraged. Finally completing his formula, he swore revenge, taking the name Mr. Hyde for his monstrous alter ego in deference to the novel that inspired him.

an early appearance of Mr. Hyde
an early appearance of Mr. Hyde
Credit: Marvel Comics

Hyde's plan for revenge on Blake brought him into conflict with Thor, a rivalry that lasts to this day. Over the years, Hyde has fought Thor numerous times, often teaming with fellow supervillain Cobra. He has also been a regular thorn in the side of Daredevil, and has served on numerous incarnations of the Masters of Evil, including the massive team that laid siege to Avengers Mansion under the direction of Baron Helmut Zemo. Most recently, Hyde was a longtime member of the Thunderbolts (think Marvel’s Suicide Squad) under the leadership of Luke Cage, in a program that aimed to rehabilitate former supervillains. Needless to say, the program failed Hyde, who later returned to his most nefarious habit, selling his super-strength serum on the streets, and experimenting on runaways and homeless people.

what Hyde looks like today
what Hyde looks like today
Credit: Marvel Comics

Now, with all that history in mind, the question remains exactly how Daisy and Cal, and their roots in Daisy Johnson and Calvin Zabo will affect the larger MCU. There are some immediate implications; for example, Daisy's switch from being either a mutant or gaining her powers through her father’s own genetic manipulation to being presumably an Inhuman lends some credence to the idea that Inhumans may take the place of mutants in the MCU - at least in terms of certain characters' origins *cough* Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch *cough*.

However Daisy and Cal's story plays out, it seems obvious that tonight's episode is setting the stage for major moves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, probably even dropping hints for many films to come. And now, you know just exactly who these characters are, and what to watch for in future episodes.

Quake vs. Hyde - talk about daddy issues
Quake vs. Hyde - talk about daddy issues
Credit: Marvel Comics
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