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Back Issues: ‘WandaVision’s’ supporting cast

Along with excellent performances by leads Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) and fantastic use of the conventions of sitcoms from throughout the decades, one of the best things about “WandaVision” is its rich supporting cast of characters.

Monica Rambeau was introduced in 2019’s “Captain Marvel” as the daughter of the title character’s best friend. But she was actually Captain Marvel herself when I started reading comics.

Introduced in 1982’s “Amazing Spider-Man” Annual #16, Monica was a New Orleans harbor patrol officer who gained the ability to transform into energy after being exposed to an experimental device. The media gave her the name Captain Marvel, which hadn’t been used since the Kree adventurer Mar-Vell died. (Carol Danvers didn’t adopt it until much later.)

She joined the Avengers and served as leader of the team, but retired after suffering a power-depleting injury in battle. Although her powers returned, she gave the Captain Marvel title to the original’s son, Genis-Vell, and took on the name Photon (her mother’s call sign in the “Captain Marvel” movie).

Genis later started calling himself Photon, and Monica switched her codename again to Pulsar. She just went by Monica on the bizarre Nextwave team and called herself Spectrum when joining another incarnation of the Avengers. Her powers greatly increased after her life was saved by new teammate Blue Marvel.

Jimmy Woo returned from “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” bringing along more laughs but also displaying an edge we hadn’t seen in his movie appearance. His name was also dropped in an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

In comics, Jimmy debuted in the ’50s in a title bearing the name of a stereotypical Asian villain with a name that is no longer used today (according to Marvel.com, he’s now called “Master Plan”). Jimmy battled his foe as an FBI agent and formed a team of super-powered individuals — Gorilla-Man, the Human Robot, Marvel Boy and Venus — known as the G-Men. Woo later joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and became part of their anti-Godzilla squad.

Gravely wounded while investigating the mysterious Atlas Foundation, an aged Woo was restored to his youth by Marvel Boy’s technology. He learned he was descended from Genghis Khan and his enmity with Master Plan was part of, well, a plan to build Jimmy’s reputation to eventually take charge of Atlas. Jimmy accepted, determined to use the power of the organization for good.

Alas, Darcy Lewis is a creation of the movies, though I would welcome her inclusion in the comics. I’m not sure how they can do a second season of “WandaVision,” so I propose an “Agents of Atlas” spinoff starring Jimmy and Darcy.

One character fans had been speculating would show up was revealed in episode seven (spoiler warnings if you’re behind).

Agatha Harkness was introduced in “Fantastic Four” #94, becoming the governess to Franklin Richards, the son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. An actual witch who’d been around since before Atlantis sunk and during the Salem witch trials, Agatha assisted the team multiple times, including against her own son, the villain Nicholas Scratch.

She became the Scarlet Witch’s tutor in magic, but Wanda later killed her during a mental breakdown. Though she’s dabbled in villainous pursuits, she’s been more good than bad and recently returned to life.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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Recommended Reading

* “Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau” — A collection of adventures including the character’s first appearance and team-ups with various characters.

* “Agents of Atlas,” Vol. 1 — Introduces Jimmy Woo to a new generation of readers, alongside the bizarre team of Gorilla-Man, Human Robot, Marvel Boy and Venus.

* “S.W.O.R.D.” Vol. 1 – A brief series focusing on S.W.O.R.D. — Sentient Worlds Observation and Response Department — which is a bit different in the comics than the show, with closer ties to the X-Men. Think S.H.I.E.L.D., but in space.

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