Since Hale is putting together a team, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. begs a certain question: What comic book team inspired the show to form its own team of super individuals? Seeing as the two characters included so far have a villainous edge to them, it would seem that the series is building towards the Thunderbolts, a team typically comprised of reformed supervillains. Absorbing Man certainly fits this bill, since he started out on the show as a Hydra villain and became a body guard for none other than Brigadier General Glenn Talbot. Ruby too has some villain aspects to her, since she attempted to kill Coulson and his team on her mother’s orders and showed no remorse for cutting Yo-Yo’s arms off.
Taking this a step further, this Thunderbolts team could very well be a part of H.A.M.M.E.R. In the comics, H.A.M.M.E.R. replaced S.H.I.E.L.D. after the Skrulls infiltrated the organization in Secret Invasion and they lost the public’s trust. Run by Norman Osborn of Spider-Man fame, H.A.M.M.E.R. wasn’t exactly squeaky clean, with Osborne replaced the Avengers with villainous Thunderbolts characters like Venom, Ares, Bullseye and Wolverine’s son Daken.
Surprisingly enough, H.A.M.M.E.R. has already been established on the show, if only fleetingly. The agency was referenced in “The Hub,” the seventh episode of Season 1. During a visit to said Hub, Fitz and Simmons walk by a map that lists H.A.M.M.E.R. as one of the facility’s agencies. As such, the show could certainly be capitalizing on this Easter egg in Season 5.
If the show adapts the Thunderbolts and H.A.M.M.E.R., as it seems to be doing, they probably won’t have anything to do with the Avengers. Since the ABC series is a S.H.I.E.L.D.-based show, they would be dark mirrors of the core cast of characters we’ve come to know and love. General Hale is likely assembling her own H.A.M.M.E.R. team in the vein of S.H.I.E.L.D., which — in the eyes of the public — has gone rogue and sent Talbot into a coma.
Airing Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Ian De Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley and Elizabeth Henstridge.
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