Is Skye's Mother Jiaying From Marvel Comics? 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' May Have Created This Amazing Character
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the excellent opportunity to mix the established Marvel Comics world with original characters and concepts, and always takes advantage of that. Sometimes, the unfamiliar becomes familiar — like the revelation that Skye is the future Avenger named Daisy Johnson or "Quake." Now that we know she had an established history after all, could Skye's mother Jiaying be a Marvel character too?
Jiaying, played by Whedon favorite Dichen Lachman, was revealed to be Skye's mom in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. flashbacks earlier this season and is slated to appear in the next three episodes. While Skye's father, Calvin Zabo, is a comics character himself and choosing to associate with an "index" of other familiar names, I'm sticking to my guns and maintaining that Jiaying is an original character. We have seen many references to Marvel films and comics on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there is no one like Jiaying.
Since her initial appearance as an ageless woman who was dissected and murdered by Hydra boss Daniel Whitehall, we have come to learn that Jiaying was an important member of the Inhumans on Earth. She greeted newly transformed Inhumans, like the eyeless trench coat enthusiast Gordon, and helped them to understand their powers. This goes against S.H.I.E.L.D.'s approach, the warning of an Asgardian visitor, and the Marvel comic book universe's version of the Inhumans as well.
Now, if we're going to be literal, Daisy Johnson does have a mother in Marvel Comics, Kim Johnson. She was a sex worker who Calvin Zabo was particularly fond of. Daisy also has an adoptive mother named Janet Sutter. However, neither of these characters seem like a match for Lachman's character.
In the comics, there are no Inhuman teachers, mentors, or guidance counselors like Jiaying. Unless they have a family connection, they are on their own. The most accessible example of this I can think of is Kamala Khan, the current Ms. Marvel in the comic book universe. Even if you haven't heard of the alien science experiment that is the Inhumans, you've surely heard of the new, totally awesome heroine. Kamala Khan got her powers when the Inhuman king Black Bolt released a Terrigen bomb that enveloped the teenager in the mist. No eyeless teleporter whisked Kamala off to a school of the gifted. No immortal woman embraced her and told her she was beautiful. All Kamala had were her friends and a few visions to guide her.
I'm a fan of what this implies about Jiaying's character, mostly because it forges a path in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is distinctly different from the comics when it comes to the Inhuman race. It sets up a much better system and hierarchy for the Inhumans that have been left on Earth. Stories like Ms. Marvel's are all well and good in an expansive comic book universe, where stories like Kamala's can stand alone. However, when we're dealing with a television and cinematic universe that depends upon interconnectivity, there needs to be a little more organization. Original characters like Jiaying will help to lay the groundwork for the eventual Inhumans film and other Marvel projects to come, which makes Skye's mom all the more important and exciting.
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