‘Agents of SHIELD’: The Darkhold
In a not unsurprising fashion, SHIELD is once again the tie-in to an upcoming big-screen Movie Adaptation (namely Doctor Strange). The second episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a foothold into the supernatural in more ways than one. First, we have Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes who told Daisy that he sold his soul to the devil. The secondary plot involves a bunch of ghostly people that induce dementia to those they come in contact with. At first, the force that caused their current state involved some device and what they called the Darkhold. Though Marvel tried to keep it under wraps, the new director’s identity has been revealed. EW can officially confirm that Jason O’Mara is playing Jeffrey Mace, otherwise known in the comics as the Patriot.
Like the Necronomicon in the Evil Dead series, the Darkhold is a powerful ancient book in the Marvel universe. It’s also known as the Book of Sins and was penned by the demonic Elder God Chthon. A creature at the level of Mephisto (Satan), The Dread Dormammu (arch-nemesis of Doctor Strange) and the Earth Goddess Gaea (Mother Nature, and Thor’s real mother in comic lore), the Darkhold contains all of Chthon’s magical knowledge and also serves as his link to the earthly plane before all the Elder Gods (except Gaea) were banished to their respective dimensions. Anyone, not powerful enough to use the book itself, becomes a thrall of Chthon. Robbie Reyes says he has some link to what’s going on in the lab and might have come across a page or two, giving him the means to summon ‘the devil.’ It doesn’t work the same way in the comics, but you know the MCU.
Now while the whole tie-in thing was amazing and awesome in series one & in some ways took everyone completely by surprise with the grand reveal of Ward as an agent of HYDRA, having it so prevalent and so early on in this season is a bit annoying. I loved Ghost Rider and his overall look/feel but I’m almost annoyed with the fact that the authors seem to think their show is nothing more than an extended sales vehicle and lead into the overarching MCU. I really feel that SHIELD has enough to stand on its own and doesn’t need to be used so.
On a positive note, however – the new Director was quite interesting for me. While his initial goodie-two-shoes’ness was a bit bland, his later reveal as an Inhuman – by the way, this is actually contrary to comic book lore as Jeffrey Mace (the Patriot) from the comics was not a super-powered individual but was simply an admirer of Cap & in fact, took on his role – was really good and unexpected. As the show tends to do, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has put a twist on the character by infusing him with powers and turning the Patriot into an Inhuman. That’s exactly why he got the top job at S.H.I.E.L.D., because Coulson (Clark Gregg) suggested that the new director should be a powered person the public could trust, especially in the wake of Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, going AWOL.