Agents of SHIELD Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian

Illustration for article titled iAgents of SHIELD/i Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian

Agents of SHIELD has been a bit on even during all those scenes when Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider and his art deco flaming skull haven’t been on screen. But now things could pick up, as it finally revealed how it’s going to brush up with the upcoming Doctor Strange movie—courtesy of an ancient, evil book called the Darkhold.

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Illustration for article titled iAgents of SHIELD/i Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian

The Darkhold was briefly mentioned back in episode two, but the reference became a lot more overt when Robbie Reyes’ uncle Eli explained how the book helped his employer Momentum Labs make a quantum particle generator, which blew up, and turned its researcher into the vengeful and very silly-looking ghosts that have been moping around AoS this season. Coulson refers to it as “a book of sins, a book of spells, [with] infinite knowledge,” which is presumably why an ancient book has instructions on how to assemble quantum particle generator.

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Illustration for article titled iAgents of SHIELD/i Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian

The Darkhold is of course part of the Marvel comics universe, with a fascinating history that does indeed link it to Doctor Strange. The book is one of the oldest tomes in the world of Marvel mysticism—written by an Elder God named Chthon way back in the past, as a repository of literally every evil spell he knew. In terms of the comics, it first appeared in 1972, in Marvel Spotlight #4, and a copy of it eventually found its way into the hands of Doctor Strange, who’s had to call on its dark powers several times over the years.

Surprisingly Doctor Strange isn’t the Marvel character with the most history with the book. As it turns out, Chthon originally wrote down the Darkhold as a series of scrolls, each containing powerful dark magics—scrolls which played major roles in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja series in the ‘70s, as well as several other of Marvel’s horror comics. They were eventually were retconned into a single grimoire—conveniently with a big letter “D” written on the front, collected from Chthon’s scribblings by Morgan Le Fay, a sinister sorceress from King Arthur’s era who has fought Strange, the Avengers, Spider-Woman, and more.

Illustration for article titled iAgents of SHIELD/i Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian
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Perhaps most importantly, the Darkhold is responsible for the creation of vampires in the Marvel universe. Spells from it were used to raise Varnae (who was a member of the Darkholder Cult, a society dedicated to using the Darkhold for nefarious purposes), the first vampire, from the dead, whom Conan and Red Sonja battled. The Darkhold also managed to create werewolves in the Marvel comics-verse. At one point, the book even got its own ongoing comic in the ‘90s, Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sin, which saw a demonic entity named Dwarf sell pages of it to desperate members of the public, at the cost of their souls.

While it currently resides in Strange’s collection of magical books—in the comics, who knows where it currently resides in the MCU—the Darkhold has been used by other Marvel characters over the years, like Blade and Doctor Doom, searching for power magic and cures for supernatural afflictions.

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Illustration for article titled iAgents of SHIELD/i Has Its Connection to Doctor Strange... and Conan the Barbarian

It’s one of the most powerful items in the Marvel universe, and it’s cool that it’s made its way to Agents of SHIELD, although it loses a bit of its sinister power when the only villain chasing after it seems to be a grumpy ghost. But at least this opens the door for Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course this will never ever ever happen, but... it technically could, and that’s enough to make me happy.

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DISCUSSION

Cool_Breeze
Cool_Breeze

Last night’s episode was awesome!

I thought I had it all figured out, I did. I thought I was smart enough to figure it out. Instead, Marvel went and threw a little rouge on us, and I don’t know what’s yet to come. Seriously, I’m lost this season. Think about it: Every time we get a hold on something, a tweak or a change is thrown our way, making everything a possibility.

I don’t know what to think. When we first learned we would be getting Ghost Rider, no one expected it to be Robbie until they announced the casting. Then, we figured he’d be the bad guy to a point, because in the comics, he’s possessed by the spirit of Eli, a serial killer. Surprise! Instead, Robbie is possessed by a Spirit - possibly a Spirit of Vengeance - but not Eli! Because Eli is chillin’ in Southridge Penitentiary and isn’t such a bad dude. He’s actually in jail for putting a beat down on a guy who probably deserved it.

Coming in to this week, I thought Robbie was possessed by Eli, who would be revealed as one of many Spirits of Vengeance, which would leave the door open for a Johnny Blaze or Ketch appearance. But then they went and faced Robbie against Hellfire and Robbie wrangled him with a fucking flaming chain.

So I don’t know. I want to say that this spirit is a Spirit of Vengeance, related somehow to Blaze and Ketch, and is not the same Spirit. But after this week, I don’t know what to think any more. SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!

But believe you me, I am not complaining. Usually, before watching something, I read as much as I can about it for context and spoilers, so I can look for the smaller, more obscure things. But right now, Marvel is keeping me on my toes, and it’s tough to keep up. I like it.

So here is what we know: Robbie sold his soul to the devil. It’s debatable as to which devil he is talking about. I don’t think it’s Mephisto, the one that gave Blaze his Spirit of Vengeance, or Dormammu, a guy who is heavy in the Dr. Strange mythology. Right now my money is on Chthon, the Elder God of Darkness and Chaos, who happened to write the Darkhold, which is now being hunted by Lucille Ghost and SHIELD alike. But, Dr. Strange does come out in like three weeks, so dropping Dormammu could be the next Inhuman reference, a few years before their maybe eventual movie. Maybe Dormammu is revealed now and ends up being the big bad guy for 2 Dr. 2 Strange in Phase 4.

However, If they stick with Chthon and his connection to the Darkhold, I still maintain that Robbie’s Spirit came from Chthon, and that its selfish goal is to kill those that would abuse the Darkhold. Remember: Mephisto gave Blaze his Spirit of Vengeance for selfish reasons. Here, Robbie’s Spirit is hunting, but his unique Vengeance power isn’t the Penance Stare, but rather he can tell if someone deserves to die or not. Look at what he said to Budget Wolverine: “Time to pay for your sins.” Compare that to what he’s been saying all season long so far. Quake doesn’t deserve to die. That’s his power. Now it’s all up to Robbie to get more control while the Spirit is driving.

But seriously, I can’t tell right now. I’ll figure it out by next week, though.

I think.

1. I literally squealed when Coulson introduced himself to Eli Morrow and actually spelled out the true name of SHIELD. They’re making a comeback! Hopefully SHIELD gets a bigger presence in the movies going forward (hell, I’m cool with it being after Phase 3 if that’s what it takes.)

2. May knows. May has to know that AIDA isn’t human. She’s just playing it cool, May style, until the time is right. When she asked AIDA how she knew Chinese, AIDA said that most of her was Chinese, right before Fitz jumped in and saved her life. Then, at the end, when Coulson remarked about her hands and she said Dr. Potter gave her them and that she had been born like that, Coulson might have missed it, but May sure didn’t.

She’s going to give Fitz a DiNozo slap very soon. You watch. May’s reaction when she heard that she was killed? YOU DID WHAT? Yeah, Imagine how she’ll feel about AIDA. She barely trusts Coulson and they’ve been working together for decades. This android is going to have some problems. Hell, Simmons figured it out right away, too. Too bad she has a lie detector test TOMORROW to cram for. Simmons made it in Hydra. I think she’ll do fine against the Director’s tests.

3. I’ve always talked about how some of the best team-ups in this show included Coulson and Mack or Hunter and (anyone) and Fitz and Mack. But we got to see a team up that doesn’t happen too often in this show, but that highlighted how deep this show’s bench really is. Quake and Simmons trying to solve the problem with the Trump Supporters getting inside info from SHIELD was absolutely great. Simmons held her own not only against Budget Wolverine and those Yuge Cheetos, but with Quake as well. Quake walked away from Mack and Fitz with no problem. Simmons? NO. You pulled a gun on me. THIS IS MY TEAM NOW, KEMOSABE.

Here are more words. I love this damn show!