Over the past four seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken a number of concepts from the comics and translated them into live-action for the MCU. With the growing number of films and TV series under the banner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s a good chance that many fans have seen their favorite characters, groups, locations, and plots introduced. And if they haven’t appeared yet, they may soon arrive as Marvel isn’t slowing down its output. Still, there’s only so much these films and show can adapt, especially given their particular themes and stories.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s place in Marvel Studios is similar to the role the titular group plays in the comics. They can not only flit in and out of plots established elsewhere, but also have a broader palette of comic book elements that they can pull from in order to tell their stories. As such, the show has been able to introduce tons of different characters from the comics that may never have seen the light of day without the presence of SHIELD in the MCU.
We’ve previously taken a look at how the show’s supervillains compare to their comic book counterparts. Now, here’s How 15 SHIELD Heroes Compare to the Comics.
15 Ghost Rider / Robbie Reyes
Robbie Reyes and his version of the Ghost Rider are two of the newest additions to Marvel Comics. In All-New Ghost Rider #1 by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore from 2014, readers were introduced to Robbie as a young kid living in East LA and supporting his wheelchair-bound brother. By day, he’s a student, and at night he races cars. He also doles out vigilante justice as an updated version of the Ghost Rider.
It’s not just his look and vehicle that are different, but his origin. Unlike Johnny Blaze and the other Ghost Riders, Robbie isn’t powered by the spirit of vengeance. Instead, it’s the ghost of his serial killer uncle that ignites him. The show switched this up a bit, having Robbie follow the more traditional path and keeping Eli around as a living villain. Though a good bit of quantum physics has been added to his origin, his connection to the mystical Darkhold still keeps things in the supernatural realm.
For his look, his skull is more traditional than in the comics, but his signature jacket and Charger are carried over to TV.
14 Slingshot / Yo-Yo Rodriguez
In the comics, Elena is simply known as Yo-Yo Rodriguez, with the new first name seemingly made up for the TV series. Her codename "Slingshot" and her speed powers remain, however, as does the nice quirk of her bouncing back to where she originated. Created by Brian Michael Bendis,Yo-Yo premiered in 2008’s Mighty Avengers before having a prominent role in Jonathan Hickman’s stellar Secret Warriors.
She sadly hasn’t appeared much in the comics since, but she remains a fan favorite. The show added some background shading to her, as not much is known about her past on the page. We’ve also yet to see her lose both her arms and get cybernetic replacements; a key event from the comics.
All in all, SHIELD has managed to take a minor but interesting character from the comics and give her a more fleshed out role on TV.
13 Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie
Even more than Yo-Yo, Agent Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie is a blip on the Marvel Comics radar. Since debuting in Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 in 1988, he’s popped up here and there in Fury's stories. Starting work with the CIA, he jumped to SHIELD before heading back to the CIA when his relationship with Contessa Valentina Allegra di Fontaine put him at odds with Fury. She’d eventually go on to become Madame Hydra at one point, while Mackenzie faded into obscurity.
SHIELD has long taken somewhat obscure names from the comics and given them new life. Mack is hardly the only agent to get this sort of treatment, essentially serving as a loose thread connecting the show to the comics. Thanks to the layers that have been added to the character, however, there’s a good chance we could see new life breathed into him on the page.
12 Glenn Talbot
Glenn Talbot has risen in the ranks of both the Marvel Comics and MCU military over the years. In his heart, however, he’s a leader and a soldier, and has always had an issue with the enhanced community. In the comics, Talbot has deep ties to the Hulk thanks to his early days as the second-in-command for General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross.
Talbot debuted in Tales to Astonish #61 in 1964, and would go on to aid in the war against Hulk for decades. Adding insult to injury, he even married Betty Ross at one point. Ultimately, he died in a battle with the Hulk during 1981’s Incredible Hulk #260.
On SHIELD, Talbot seems to have no connection to the Hulk or the Ross family, but he’s certainly a military hardliner and looks quite similar to his counterpart in the comics.
11 The Patriot / Jeffrey Mace
Though there have been a few to hold the mantle of the Patriot in the comics, the first was Jeffrey Mace. Introduced way back in 1941’s Human Torch Comics #4, Mace was inspired by fellow Brooklynite Captain America to put on a star-spangled costume and fight the forces of evil. While he lacked any souped-up abilities, he was a superb fighter and athlete and had a number of adventures over the decades. He even took over for Cap for a time, fulfilling his original dream. Tragically, he lost his battle to cancer in 1983’s Captain America #285, but had Cap by his side when he passed.
Though SHIELD hinted at some Cap connections and even made Mace a version of the Patriot, he’s pretty different in the MCU than he was in the comics. From his made-up backstory to his use of a super-serum, the character only loosely resembles his counterpart from the page.
Still, he’s able to serve a similar function, operating in the background while striving to live up to the example others have set. In the end, he even gets to die a hero of sorts.
10 Lady Sif
Lady Sif isn’t solely a SHIELD character, which is a shame. Though she’s had a moment or two on the big screen in the Thor franchise, she’s received far more shading and screen time in her two appearances on SHIELD. Those episodes better featured her skills as a warrior, showed off her fish-out-of-water comedic talents while on Earth, and provided more context for the MCU with the addition of the Kree and Asgardian sorcerer Lorelei.
In the comics, she’s relatively similar. Though her costume is a bit more fantastical, she’s an elite Asgardian fighter, occasional love interest for Thor, and companion to the God of Thunder and his Warriors Three. Thanks to the likes of writer Jason Aaron, she’s also had a number of thrilling side adventures that would make for great film or TV.
While Jaimie Alexander is busy with her hit series Blindspot, it would be amazing to see her show up and lend a hand on SHIELD again as the Thor franchise seems to have cast her aside.
9 Victoria Hand
Victoria Hand was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Matt Fraction as a SHIELD accountant who held the firm belief that Nick Fury wasn’t hard enough on terrorism. She debuted in 2009’s Invincible Iron Man #8 and rose through the ranks following the Skrull Invasion that saw Norman Osborn become the world’s top cop. When he turned SHIELD into HAMMER, he personally chose Hand for her hardline beliefs. This would later put her at odds with the Avengers unit she was assigned to, as her colleagues all viewed her with suspicion following her time with Osborn.
On SHIELD, much of her comic history was obviously erased, but she kept her bullish nature and status as a higher-up. Even more remarkable, her portrayal by Saffron Burrows is almost identical to her look in the comics. Rather than getting fleshed out like a number of other agents, however, she didn’t make it out of season one alive thanks to Ward and his activation by Hydra.
8 Eric Koenig
Eric Koenig was a bizarre choice for Marvel to retool as a comedic Patton Oswalt role and early LMD candidate. On the show, seasons were spent playing up whether Eric and his brothers were more than they seemed before it was finally revealed that they’re just quadruplets. Rather than being LMDs, the Koenigs helped develop the early program that Radcliffe based AIDA upon and Eric has long been one of Coulson’s most trusted allies inside the agency.
In the comics, Koenig not only looks different, but has a long history. Debuting in 1966’s Howling Commandos #27, Koenig has actually been around since World War II. Rather than fight with the allies, he was a member of the Hitler Youth before switching sides. Over the years, he’s served a variety of functions within the Commandos, SHIELD, and other groups, before ultimately dying in 2010’s Secret Warriors #10 alongside fellow Commando Gabe Jones.
7 Phil Coulson
As a nice inverse of a number of entries on this list, Phil Coulson began life as a low-level SHIELD agent in the MCU before becoming a bigger character in the comics. Of course, he’s become a pretty big deal in the MCU too, at least on the TV side. While Phil has yet to make the jump back to the movies, the comics see him regularly mix it up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Following his turns in the various Iron Man movies, Coulson was introduced to the comics in 2012’s Battle Scars #1 that also introduced the new version of Nick Fury. On the page, he’s got a military background with his friend Nick Fury, Jr. and is a good deal less everyman than in the MCU.
Still, he retains his fanboy attributes, with his detailed files on various heroes even playing into a dark arc recently where his knowledge was used to target and kill superheroes.
6 New Additions: May, Fitz, Simmons, Ward
Since Coulson’s jump to the page, his stories have increasingly begun looking more and more like the TV side of things. While the versions of the characters he interacts with are different, he’s been joined by May, Fitz, Simmons, and even a double-crossing Ward in the comics. He also has a team featuring Quake, Mockingbird, and Deathlok, making the show comparisons even stronger.
May, Fitz, and Simmons all made their debuts in S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 in 2015, with Ward coming in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 the next year. Ward’s backstory is different, but his betrayal mirrors the show. Simmons and May remain fairly similar, though the former eventually gets some Deathlok upgrades to save her life. Fitz, meanwhile, is a huge jerk and a bit of creep on the page, but maintains his skills from the show. Also, he has a pet monkey— referencing an recurring gag from early in the show's run.
Though they’re altered some, the comic versions of the characters provide fun ways for fans to continue enjoying the various agents for years to come.
On the show, Deathlok has had an interesting mash-up origin. We first meet Mike Peterson in the pilot and soon learn he’s being controlled and modified by Project Centipede. Based on AIM’s Extremis virus from Iron Man 3, Peterson has enhanced strength and resilience. Eventually, he even gets a number of cybernetic upgrades and becomes the MCU’s version of Deathlok.
In the comics, there have been a number of different Deathloks, but no Mike Peterson. The first Deathlok was Luther Manning, who premiered in 1974’s Astonishing Tales #25. The story involves all sorts of future timelines, but ultimately he’s a former soldier who was brought back to life using advanced tech. This trend has continued over the years, with a number of characters receiving some version of the technology and gaining weapons and strength that help them fight evil.
4 Lance Hunter
Lancelot "Lance" Hunter first debuted in 1977’s Captain Britain Weekly #19. Like Mack, he was never a major player in the comics. Still, he’s had a number of adventures over the years thanks to his role with S.T.R.I.K.E., the UK version of SHIELD. He’s usually on the sidelines, but has still mixed it up with Captains America and Britain. More recently, he’s even become a boy-toy for Bobbi Morse in her newer adventures.
On the show, the loose idea of Hunter as a British spy was used for the more roguish character played by Nick Blood. His whole relationship with Mockingbird was fabricated for the show as well, with Hunter taking the place of the similar Hawkeye from the comics. Luckily, Blood proved to be more like Clint Barton than Jeremy Renner, and fans adored his relationship with Adrianne Palicki’s character.
3 Mockingbird / Barbara “Bobbi” Morse
Barbara Morse first debuted as an unnamed character in 1971’s Astonishing Tales #6 before getting a name and a backstory a year later in issue #12. Years before becoming a superhero, Bobbi was a gifted SHIELD agent and biologist with ties to the Super Soldier Serum and Man-Thing. In 1976’s Marvel Super Action #1, she became the Huntress, before 1980’s Marvel Team-Up #95 finally turned her into Mockingbird.
Like on the show, she’s a super-spy who prefers fighting with batons. Over the years, she’s had an on-and-off relationship with Hawkeye (including a marriage), gained powers from an experimental formula, and even has a new gliding suit thanks to Spider-Man.
On the TV side, her history was condensed quite a bit, but much of her personality and background remain intact. She’s one of SHIELD’s best agents and fighters, and also a former biologist. While we’re still waiting for a mention of her time with Hawkeye on the show, her relationship with Hunter serves a similar purpose.
Sadly, she’s been AWOL for some time now, but we’d love to see Mockingbird given a bigger future in the MCU.
2 Maria Hill
As crucial as Maria Hill is to SHIELD in the comics, she’s a relatively new character. Created, unsurprisingly, by Bendis, Hill debuted in 2005’s New Avengers #4 as a SHIELD agent and has long-served as the director of the organization since Fury bowed out of the job. In the comics, she’s incredibly gifted in both espionage and strategy, but is a tough person to get along with and takes an extreme line on terrorism and the actions of superheroes and mutants.
In the MCU, she’s best known for her small appearances in various Avengers and Captain America movies, but she’s had equal time to shine in a few episodes of SHIELD. Like Sif, she’s a character who could easily spend more time on the TV side than the movies, especially as the films don’t seem too interested in exploring her character. While she’s similar enough to her comic counterpart, she’s far more amiable than the Maria Hill on the page.
With Fury stepping down from SHIELD in the MCU, we could even see Hill lead the organization someday, though their status is unknown on the film side and is in question on TV as well.
1 Quake / Daisy “Skye” Johnson
Both the Quake of the comics and the MCU have evolved a lot of the years, and those changes have helped to bring the characters more inline with one another. Daisy Johnson first appeared in Secret War #4 in 2004. Created by Brian Michael Bendis, she’d go on to serve a pivotal role as the leader of Fury’s Secret Warriors, which included Yo-Yo, Hellfire, and the son of Absorbing Man. As a teenager in the comics, she’d go on to take over as the director of SHIELD, though her tenure was short-lived and marred by controversy. Like in the MCU, she’s the daughter of the villainous Mr. Hyde and can control all manner of vibrations.
On TV, Daisy first appeared on the show as the hacker Skye. Eventually, her mysterious past was revealed and she was unveiled as the MCU version of Daisy. Still, a few key elements from her TV backstory were eventually worked into the comics, to bring it all full circle. Her Inhuman genes, nickname of Skye, and Chinese heritage have all been made canon on the page, making both versions of Quake nearly identical.
Which changes from the comics to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. do you like the best? Which ones don't work for you? Let us know in the comments.
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