Warning: The following contains spoilers from tonight's new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you haven't watched yet, you may want to bookmark this page and return once you have. Proceed with caution.
Well, we've finally met Jason O'Mara's character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We still don't know exactly who he is, per se, but we've met him. His full identity, and how he fits into the Marvel lore dating back to the 1940s as advertised, continues to remain a mystery, but our first hour spent in the presence of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new director did offer up a handful of clues as to which Marvel Comics character he may be—and we think we've got it figured out.
But before we get to our hypotheses, let's break down what we know.
As mentioned, when O'Mara was first cast in the role this summer, the announcement teased that the character was one "whose Marvel roots go back to the 1940s." Fun fact: Marvel Comics wasn't actually know as such until 1961, so we're really talking about a Timely Publications character. Just saying.
When Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May (Ming-Na Wen) finally had their meeting with the director after he rudely kept them waiting for two hours, we got our first clue of the evening as to his identity: His first name is Jeffrey. As he trotted Coulson out like a prized pony full of S.H.I.E.L.D. knowledge to woo members of the House Appropriations committee whose budgets the agency now relies on as they've been legitimized and are on the eve of going public, it seemed like we might not learn too much more about him. Until May went crazy, that is.
Once her ghost affliction kicked into high gear and she went ballistic on Coulson and her entire tactical team, Jeffrey arrived to put a stop to things. As she wailed on him to little effect, it became clear that Jeffrey was no mere human. "I prefer the term Inhuman," he said as he picked her up and ended her rampage the only way possible: Picking her up by the neck and knocking her out against a brick wall. Inhuman? Check. Superhuman strength? Check. Impenetrability? Possibly.
And in his final scene with Coulson, we learned just a little bit more about the guy. We learned that Coulson stepped down (!!) and suggested that a powered person who the public could trust ought to be the new director. "And now that Steve Rogers went AWOL, you wanted a hero," Jeffrey said. Pay attention to the Captain America reference. It's probably important.
So, who is this guy? Well, after our exhaustive research of Timely Comics character, we've narrowed it down to two. First up is Captain Wonder, a.k.a. Professor Jeff Jordan. First appearing in Kid Komics #1 in February, 1943, Captain Wonder was a superhero with superhuman strength. As a professor, he developed a miracle drug in his lab that gave the user the strength of 12 men. After accidentally being exposed to it and gaining the strength himself, he decided to fight crime and the Nazis.
The other character O'Mara might be portraying is the Patriot, a.k.a. Jeffrey Soloman Mace. First appearing in The Human Torch #4 in Spring of 1941, the Patriot had no superpowers, but was superb at hand-to-hand combat. After seeing how Jeffrey handled May (and his admission that he is an Inhuman), we'd consider ruling this guy out, if only it weren't for this next fact.
Not only was Jeffrey Mace known as the Patriot, but in 1976, Marvel retroactively made him the third Captain America, revealing that he'd succeeded both Steve Rogers and William Naslund and carried the infamous shield for a spell. Gives a bit more meaning to that line about Steve Rogers in the episode, now doesn't it?
While we wait for someone to finally utter this guy's last name, let us know who you think Jeffrey is in terms of Marvel Comics lore in the comments below. Is it one of our two theories? A combo of the two? None of the above?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.