While most of the Marvel one-shots have been entertaining and well crafted, I was really surprised at how much Agent Carter resonated with me. The more I learned about the miniseries currently airing on ABC, the more I excited I became.
It wasn’t until watching the first few episodes of the miniseries that I realized why.
From Captain America: The First Avenger to the ABC miniseries, we’ve seen Peggy Carter battle all types of evil: Nazis, Hydra, and Leviathan. But what truly makes this woman a heroine is seeing her do battle against the series’ greatest antagonist: misogyny.
From the daily microaggressions from work “peers” and “colleagues,” to outright harassment and discrimination, Carter and other female characters are regularly denigrated in their day-to-day.
Carter, who is by far the most skilled and capable operative in her office, is constantly undercut and sabotaged by many of her narrow-minded, sexist and inferior male bosses and co-workers.
Marvel hasn’t pulled any punches reflecting these harsh realities and as a result this series (and for that matter the one-shot) has truly shined.
Agent Carter evolved and became more than a comic book show about a female secret agent. Its poignant critique on bigotry in our culture transcended the series from entertainment or even art to a deeper form of truth.
This is when Marvel is at their best.
As they have illustrated over the years with X-Men, Young Avengers, Runaways, Blue Marvel and other series, Marvel’s best work is its allegorical tales and universal narratives.
Agent Carter isn’t a super heroine because she’s a spy. She’s a super heroine because like the X-Men, she fights to protect a world that actively treats her as a second class citizen.
While this series may take place in the 1940s, one would be foolish to believe that misogyny or bigotry in general is a thing of the past. This past year alone in geek spaces, much less the world at large, has been a sobering reminder of the hardships that women and other minorities must endure.
The world needs more Agent Carters, Ororo Munroes, Xavins, Melinda Mays to remind us all that we can be better and it’s past time for us to do so.