When Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered in 2013, it brought with it a handful of brand new Marvel characters. Though they were created for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jemma Simmons, Leo Fitz, Melinda May, and Grant Ward have all gone on to appear in Marvel Comics since.
On an ensemble series like Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., it can be difficult for every single character to get the same amount of backstory. Sometimes, comic books can fill in some of the blanks. In the case of Jemma Simmons, biochemist and the youngest graduate in S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy history, the comics exist as a separate universe. There are plenty of things that happen to her there that fans of the TV series might not realize. Likewise, those who picked up the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics in 2015 might have missed a few details from the television show.
10 Jemma Is A Deathlok
In the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, Jemma had the chance to study Deathlok technology. The comic series went a step farther.
After contracting a virus that literally ate her cells, Jemma didn’t tell anyone about her condition because she didn’t want anyone to pity her. Instead, she tried to find a cure on her own. Eventually, it caught up with her. Both Mockingbird and Deathlok had to find a way to stabilize her while she was in a coma. They settled on using the Deathlok technology to make Jemma part cyborg.
9 She Has Siblings
When the subject of her family comes up on television, Jemma Simmons usually sticks to talking about her father. Not so in the comics.
She revealed a bit more during a chat with her teammates on a mission. As it turns out, Jemma has nieces in the comics. That means she has at least one sibling, possibly more. They’re never brought up beyond that single conversation, so fans don’t get to know more about them. It remains to be seen whether she has any siblings in the television universe.
8 She Had Scoliosis
We know Jemma Simmons as a biochemist in the series today. She spends a lot of her time working on the biochemical aspects of weapons, treating injuries sustained in the field, and studying alien biology. Once upon a time though, she was interested in the stars.
As the series expanded into planets outside of Earth, Jemma revealed she used to lay in her bed outside and study the patterns of the sky. Why outside? She was bedridden as a result of surgery for scoliosis - a curvature of the spine. It was her father who used to take her bed outside so she could recuperate while still getting to do the things she was interested in.
7 Her Father Works For Roxxon
All of Jemma’s memories of her father in the television series appear to be pretty warm and fuzzy. We might even call her a daddy’s girl. In the comics, her father seems a bit edgier than his screen counterpart.
His only appearance in the comics revealed that Mr. Simmons was a high-level executive of a British branch of Roxxon. Roxxon has played a part in Agent Carter, Iron Man, and Cloak and Dagger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, just as in the MCU, they’re usually up to no good. While her father seems more like a typical executive - yelling at his assistant and speaking pleasantly with his daughter - it remains to be seen if he’s part of Roxxon’s villainous activities.
6 Jemma Once Taught Ms. Marvel
“Taught” might be too strong of a word to describe Jemma’s experience meeting the latest Ms. Marvel on the page. While undercover on a S.H.I.E.L.D. assignment in New Jersey, Jemma posed as a teacher in Kamala Khan’s biology classroom.
If she was going to teach anything, biology was a good fit for the agent. She didn’t spend much time teaching though as the case she was on involved a teenage boy wreaking havoc in the school hallway. Jemma did get to introduce her cover as Ms. Steranko, a nod to comic book legend and S.H.I.E.L.D. creator Jim Steranko.
5 She Has A Unique Cover Story
While it’s never addressed on the television series, the comic book series makes it clear that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents need a cover story to protect their families. Their families don’t get to know that they really work for a secret government group that works with superheroes.
Jemma’s cover story is particularly interesting given her love of all things science. Instead of a career in a scientific field, her family believes she’s a party planner. She told them she’s a corporate party planner, to be specific. Perhaps it’s her love of planning and attention to detail that made her family believe it.
4 Her Name Has Hebrew Origins
The character’s full name is Jemma Anne Simmons. Interestingly, all parts of her name have their roots in the Hebrew language.
Jemma means “little dove” while Anne means “gracious.” Simmons actually comes from the Hebrew surname “Shimon,” which means “to hearken.” The origins of her name could be a complete coincidence for the character. She’s never shown any inclination to speak or read Hebrew before, and the audience has never had any hints as to whether her family might be Jewish. Interestingly, the planet where she spent some time in season three, Maveth, also gets its name from Hebrew, specifically the word for “death.”
3 Her First Combat Mission Involved Saving Heimdall
Jemma’s first field mission in the series involved stopping a man whose abilities were out of his control. That was the show’s eventual version of Deathlok, Mike Peterson. The comics weren’t so different.
Jemma, as part of Phil Coulson’s team, was sent on a mission to the desert to intercept Heimdall when he was captured. The trouble was, Heimdall wasn’t acting like himself because he’d been infected with an alien substance and his abilities were out of control. The two missions were surprisingly similar as Jemma, Leo Fitz, Melinda May, and Phil Coulson were all involved in stopping their target with nonlethal means.
2 Jemma Met A Valkyrie
Asgardians have played a large role in the television series. Lady Sif paid the agents a visit twice and a professor turned out to be an Asgardian hiding out on Earth. Jemma’s also met her share in the comics.
On the same mission that saw Jemma help save Heimdall, she also met another Asgardian. Valkyrie, using the name Val, was mistaken by Fitz as the new Thor. Jemma admonished his point-blank questioning of her. Seemingly offended by the question, Val didn’t speak to either of them again until they faced Heimdall in the field.
1 Her Dynamic With Fitz Has Real-Life Inspiration
Though Fitz and Simmons were often referenced as having a sibling-like relationship early in the series by actors Iain de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, that idea quickly vanished. Their chemistry and delivery of their lines made it quick that there was more to the scientific duo.
Later interviews from showrunners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon revealed there was a larger reason for that. According to Tancharoen, pitching the characters resulted from her and Whedon, “finishing each other’s sentences,” and the dynamic evolved from there. Fitz and Simmons provide an analogy for the real-life showrunners, who are also married and writing partners.