Representation in the superhero universe has been a long time coming, especially within the Asian community. Amongst the endless sea of superheroes hitting screens over the last decade, Quake unknowingly paved the way as the first Asian superhero in the Marvel mainstream universe.
In 2013, the mainstream superhero world opened the doors to Asian representation, as Quake (played by Asian-American, Chloe Bennett) appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television spinoff, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” – Supported by a stellar cast and fellow Asian-American, Ming-Na Wen (who famously voiced animated bad-ass Mulan). The show welcomes representation from the top-down having a multifaceted, female Asian-American co-creator, showrunner, executive producer, and writer Maurissa Tancharoen. This woman showcased her talent by creating in-depth character storylines, character growth, and consistency since working on the show from day one.
This superhero was first introduced as a passionate self-named computer hacktivist called ‘Skye’. However, after connecting with her biological family and her original roots, she whole-heartedly embraces her given name, ‘Daisy Johnson’. It was only later on that she came to adopt her super persona, known as ‘Quake’. As the seasons go by, Daisy grows to learn stealth and agent-like tactics, as well as adopting hand-to-hand combat fighting skills. She then later utilizes such skills to ward off baddies such as secret double Hydra agents and intergalactic Kree aliens. Later on, we discover that it is through her alien DNA that we are made aware of a world of superheroes with ‘inhuman’ characteristics, living among the small percentage of Earth’s population. Quake possesses the power to control vibrations, giving her the ability to manipulate all matter (as everything vibrates at specific frequencies).
Whilst exploring the supernatural aspect of this particular world, the tv series still manages to authentically discuss and convey the importance of finding and understanding what it means to be family and fighting for those most important to you. The show explores how the struggles, losses, and celebrations one goes through, can further strengthen family bonds. Isn’t that what we’re all striving to achieve? Isn’t that what keeps us up at night, yet also the reason we get out of bed everyday? The series and the character comes to an epic conclusion that family doesn’t have to be reliant on blood, but can be built through the many experiences spent together. Quake is the most powerful and underrated superhero in the Marvel Universe because she is a reflection of us. A true representation of the show’s many asian viewers.
Chloe Bennett, who plays Quake, is also an advocate for Asian representation in mass media. She entails her experience with ET magazine and notably comments, “I didn’t get cast as an Asian character, but once they knew I was Asian, they played into that and all it did was bring a depth and a richness to the character into the storyline. […] And so, the power of diversity is important, but it’s also important to make it normal.”
Sadly, after seven epic series and even after a saved fan renewal after series five the show came to a legendary conclusion in August 2020. However, what this Asian superhero gave us and represented, is something that will forever persist. The question now is whether or not the Marvel Cinematic Universe is ready to embrace the strongest of the Marvel superheroes, and finally give long-time fans and the Asian community a strong, confident Asian female superhero to look up to.
Which Marvel Asian superhero would you like to see grace our screens next?
Written by Rochelle Gomez
Edited by Minh Anh Vu