Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ‘The Laws of Inferno Dynamics’ ahead
The Marvel Cinematic Universe's first television offshoot, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has both introduced and said goodbye to a number of characters over its initial three seasons -- with two major character deaths arriving at the end of season 3. This year, in the early episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4, the series welcomed Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) and new S.H.I.E.L.D. director Jeffrey Mace (Jason O'Mara) -- both of whom have been slowly developed over the course of the season.
In the case of Director Mace, his identity was kept secret until even after the season 4 premiere, with those close to the show only revealing he had been based on a character from classic Marvel comics. His first name was revealed in the second episode, 'Meet the New Boss', hinting that the character was based on the comic character Jeffrey Mace aka Patriot, before it was officially confirmed by Marvel. Now, though it was unclear of Mace would ever suit up as Patriot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the show's midseason finale features just that.
In 'The Laws of Inferno Dynamics', Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. winter finale episode, Mace joins his fellow team members in battle against Eli Morrow (Jose Zuniga), donning dark blue and black armor with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on his chest. Take a look:
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Of course, the costume doesn't much resemble that of the comic book character's -- there are no red tights or helmet, and the large eagle logo of Patriot is replaced by a relatively smaller image of the S.H.I.E.L.D. crest. In fact, Patriot's outfit seems to be most inspired by the suit worn by Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- which makes sense considering the comic character's costume's similarities with Captain America as well as the fact that Jeffrey Mace was retconned to have taken up the Captain America shield at one point.
That said, the differences in Patriot's live-action costume from the comic are likely due to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s tendency to ground its character's suits in realistic tactical gear, like Daisy Johnson's (Chloe Bennet) Quake outfit. Additionally, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. put a new twist on the character of Jeffrey Mace; though the comic book version of Mace was an athlete and skilled fighter, the live-action Director is an Inhuman with super-strength. This change in the character may explain why he has no need of a helmet -- especially since Mace publicly outed himself as an Inhuman earlier in season 4.
It remains to be seen whether we'll see Mace suit up as Patriot again in the back half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4. But, with Ghost Rider seemingly out of the picture, it's possible Mace may need to join missions as he tries to build a more unified S.H.I.E.L.D. team. As Director Mace says, "a team that trusts is a team that triumphs," and him joining Coulson in the field may be what the team needs to finally trust Patriot.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 returns in 2017 at 10pm on ABC.