Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has aired four episodes now, and one of the major complaints about the series has been the lack of Marvel Universe characters that have been used in the show so far. To be fair, Marvel Studios are limited in what and who they can use for the series. The big league Marvel villains will, of course, be saved for the Avengers features, and many of the best baddies are tied up rights-wise with the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four at other studios. But Marvel Comics has hundreds (if not thousands) of characters, many who aren’t qualified for the big screen treatment, but who are perfect for the small screen, C-list villains about whom no one will care if the best elements are kept from the characters and the rest discarded. In the third episode of the show, Marvel gave us a version of Marvel Universe villain Graviton, and a similar approach could be take with the following ten bad guys. Keep what works and get rid of the rest.
David Cannon, better known as Whirlwind, was one of the rare mutant characters that wasn’t part of the X-Men’s universe, so therefore might fall under the purview of Marvel Studios. If so, they’ll have to not call him by the “M Word” and use the term “registered gifted” instead, as mutant is a word Fox has a stranglehold on due to their X-Men rights. Whirlwind first appeared in 1963, and is a genuine Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation, although arguably not one of their most memorable collaborations. He possessed the ability to rotate his body around its lengthwise axis at great speeds, without impairing his ability to see or speak. His armor looks silly, and the idea of rotating his body to make cyclones would look awfully silly in live-action as well. Having said that, altering his powers ever so slightly as to make him a villain who can maybe mentally create supersonic whirlwinds can be a genuine threat to SHIELD if certain changes are made. OK… maybe a lot of changes. ‘Cause that helmet thing has gots to go.
9. Doctor Demonicus
Here is why Doctor Demonicus is too lame to appear in any future Marvel Studios film: his official Marvel bio has him not born on the Kree homeworld, or Latveria, or even New York City. No, Doctor Demonicus is from (drum roll….) Culver City, California. Also adding to his overall lameness is the fact that Demonicus made his first appearance in an issue of Marvel’s seventies Godzilla comic, which wasn’t even an official Marvel Universe title, at least not in the strictest sense. Demonicus obtained an alien artifact called the Lifestone that allowed him to create immense monsters mutated from animals (which is how Godzilla comes into the picture). So a scientist who creates giant monsters might be a wee bit outside ABC Television’s budget, but the idea of a mad scientist who derives his abilities, and is eventually driven mad, from an alien artifact is something with which the producers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could probably work. Granted, that’s a pretty generic bad guy description, but he’s way too lame to ever be used in the movies, and therefore Whedon and company might be able to pull off a miracle and make him into something cool. It’s not like they could make him lamer than he already is.
8. Baron Blood
So far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has kept things more or less strictly sci-fi in nature; even the Gods of Asgard in Thor are portrayed as being so advanced scientifically so as to essentially just appear as magic. But the Marvel U has truly magical beings in it, and we know that is an aspect of the comics that Marvel Studios wants to keep, as they’ve made it evident that Doctor Strange is a property they want to tackle, and soon.
So what better way to introduce magic in the MCU than on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? And one of the ways they could do so would be to introduce classic Marvel villain Baron Blood to the series. Originally appearing in the seventies Invaders series battling Captain America, Namor, and others during WWII, British aristocrat John Flasworth was actually a vampire who aided the Nazi party. Certain aspects of Baron Blood’s comic book persona would have to go (his costume is really goofy), but introducing a Nazi Vampire would introduce a supernatural element to the series (and the universe) that has so far been missing. Besides, everyone hates Nazis. And after Twilight, everyone kinda hates vampires too.
No, not Metallo, that’s the Superman villain with the kryptonite heart. Wrong studio. Mentallo is not quite as well known, but might just be a perfect fit for this series. In the comics, Marvin Flumm was a mutant telepath of somewhat questionable ability, not anywhere near on the level of the likes of the X-Men’s Charles Xavier or Jean Grey, who used technology to boost his own powers. Mentallo was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. as a candidate for their ESP Division. However, he later made an attempt to take over S.H.I.E.L.D, and then eventually became a leader in the terrorist organization Hydra. All of this sounds like a full season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., if done properly.
6. The Corrupter
Jackson Day was an ordinary pharmaceutical factory worker; he was exposed to psychoactive chemicals from a fire. Rescued by Thor, he discovered his touch could lower anyone’s inhibitions and render them his slaves. The Corrupter’s sweat glands exude psychoactive drugs which enable him to, by touch, subvert the will of any individual. His touch releases his victim’s inhibitions, so that, if not given specific instructions, the victim will revert to uncontrollable behavior. In short, he should have been called The Roofie and not the Corrupter. In the comics, Corrupter fought the likes of Nova, Thor and the Avengers. While the character is way too much of a small fry level bad guy to ever fight the movie Avengers, I could see a version of this guy being a legitimate threat to S.H.I.E.L.D. And if he ditches the purple cape, then his comic book look of dark blue skin, red eyes, and white hair could look actually creepy, if done right by the makeup artists on the show.
5. Grey Gargoyle
Although technically a Thor villain, I’d say it’s a fair assumption that the Thor movies will never bother using him (or most of Thor’s more Earth-bound, non Asgardian bad guys, I’d bet.) Grey Gargoyle is actually Paul Pierre Duval, and is introduced as a chemist from France, who thanks to an unfortunate chemical accident gains the ability to turn anything to stone by touching it. After turning his own body to stone, the newly named Grey Gargoyle decided he wanted to steal Thor’s hammer. Almost none of that would work, except for the whole “chemist can make his body living stone” thing. I could see the guys behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. turning him into a villain that’s worthy of at least an episode or two though.
4. The Super-Adaptoid
You might need to change his silly name, but the core concept behind the Super-Adaptoid is pretty much a gift-wrapped present to Whedon and company for a character on the show. The Super-Adaptoid originally debuted in an issue of Tales of Suspense, being created by the evil scientific organization A.I.M. The Adaptoid is an android containing a shard of the Cosmic Cube, better known as the Tessaract in the Avengers movie. Right there is your obvious connection to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Super-Adaptoid was programmed to defeat the Avengers by copying their powers, much like the Justice League villain Amazo (also an android). Although the Super-Adaptoid wouldn’t likely be able to have all the Avengers’ powers, he could maybe have absorbed the abilities of various villians who had appeared on the show, making him an ultimate threat to Coulson’s group of agents somewhere down the line for the show.
3. The High Evolutionary
The High Evolutionary actually has the maybe the most potential to be a true “big bad” for the series, to use Joss Whedon’s own Buffy the Vampire Slayer vernacular. Originally debuting in an issue of Thor, the High Evolutionary eventually went on to battle most of the main Marvel Universe heroes, from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four to the Defenders to you name it. A classic mad scientist in the Dr. Frankenstein mold, Herbert Edgar Wyndham was a British geneticist who dabbled in evolving animals into higher life forms. While the cow- people and bull-people of the comics might be a tad too out there for television, or at least too out there to pull off on a television budget, the notion of a scientist trying to evolve lower life forms into some kind of weapons should be too good of an opportunity for the producers to pass up if it comes their way.
2. Count Nefaria
Although he was one of the earliest villains the Avengers ever faced, debuting in issue #15 in 1965, Count Luchino Nefaria just never achieved Marvel major league villain status to the general public. At first, you might think he just isn’t lethal enough to pose a real threat to the movie version of the team, which is why the films would never use him. But it isn’t that really, because in the comics, he is actually pretty damn powerful. It’s not because his powers are lame that he never become part of the big leagues – having super speed, stamina, strength, and flight is pretty much describing Superman after all. But his motivations, simply to rule the world and be a big shot in the Italian Maggia, kept him from ever attaining Dr. Doom or Magneto style pathos. Plus he wears a monocle, and those are just cheestastic. Nevertheless, A version of a wealthy and powerful mafioso who uses his wealth to gain actual super-powers could be something juicy for the creators of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to sink their teeth into, assuming they did it correctly. But they need to lose that monocle.
1. The Taskmaster
If there was ever a Marvel villain tailor made for the small screen, and for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in particular, it would almost certainly be the Taskmaster. First introduced in an issue of the Avengers in 1980, the Taskmaster was a skull-masked mercenary who was often hired as a training instructor by various criminal organizations in the Marvel Universe like Hydra and AIM (someone has to train all those similarly costumed disposable goons). One of the bigger twists to the character came a few years back, when it was revealed that Taskmaster was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. sleeper agent, planted by none other than Nick Fury to gather intelligence in the criminal underworld. If this isn’t the perfect fodder for a storyline on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then I don’t know what is.
Image: ABC/Marvel Studios