Calvin Zabo (Mister Hyde)

Calvin ZaboThis week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite a breath-taking mid-season finale. We didn’t meet any new character in What They Become (apart from a mysterious, still unnamed guy at the very end), but two of the old ones finally got a name…and both of them are pretty familiar. Let’s start with the bad guy (not so bad, actually, just a little bit crazy): for the entire season, the mysterious Doctor portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan has been after Phil Coulson‘s team, with the only intention of reuniting with his long-lost daughter, Skye. He’s been portrayed as a little bit bipolar, sometimes cool-minded and reflexive, others driven by pure rage…and in this cases he even showed superhuman strength, enough to kill two Hydra agents with a briefcase or to lift Coulson with a single hand. Well, now everything fits, since his name is revealed to be Calvin Zabo, a pretty well-established character in the comics. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in TrentonNew Jersey, Calvin Zabo became a brilliant and skilled medical researcher, specialized in hormones. He was fascinated by the effect that hormones had on both human mind and body, and wanted to experiment them to their full potentiality; since he was a child, he loved Robert Louis Stevenson‘s masterpiece The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and was intrigued by the idea behind it. Instead of wanting to free himself from the worst part of his soul like Jekyll in the book, however, Zabo wanted to bring out the worst, possibly in a superhuman hormone-powered form, so that he could have become rich easily and fast. mrhydecomics1Employed by many hospitals and companies, Zabo systematically robbed each employer, financing his secret research; smart and deceiving, he never left clues, and nobody was able to link him to the robberies, but he got a bad reputation in the researchers’ community nevertheless (it couldn’t be just by chance that every firm employing him got robbed…). The first one denying him a job in his hospital was Dr. Donald Blake, who Zabo swore revenge to…despite he did want to rob his hospital. Eventually, Zabo managed to complete his research, and to synthesize a compound he named Hyde Formula: upon drinking it, Zabo turned into a huge humanoid, with vast superhuman strength and durability; his skin didn’t follow the sudden growth of bones and muscles, so Zabo’s face was constantly frozen in a grimace, and even his firgerprints got deformed. As a personal homage to Stevenson, Calvin Zabo named this new form of his Mister Hyde, not exactly an embodiment of Zabo’s soul’s worst part, rather a pretext for him to do everything he had always wanted to but lacked the power to do it. As Mister Hyde, there was nothing Calvin Zabo couldn’t accomplish.

First of all, Mister Hyde seeked vengeance on Donald Blake: he reached him in his hospital, and effortlessy threw him out of a window; the doctor, however, transformed into Thor and saved himself (with Thor later declaring he had saved Blake: his identity was still a secret at the time). Enraged, Mister Hyde targeted Thor instead: he framed him by robbing a bank disguised as the hero, using his superhuman strength to mimic Thor’s one. Then, he kidnapped Don Blake and Jane Foster, using them as hostages to defend himself from the God of Thunder and tying them close to a bomb only he could defuse. Hyde was later confronted by the hero when he tried to steal a mrhydecomics2nuclear submarine and to sail at sea as a pirate: during the fight, Thor proved his innocence for the bank robbery and had all the accusations fall on to Zabo, but he wasn’t able to capture him, since Jane had hidden Mjolnir believing that, if Thor had captured Mister Hyde, the latter would have not defused the bomb still threatening Blake’s life (pretty ironic, actually). His grudge against Thor attracted the attention of Loki, who contacted both him and another criminal, Cobra: he doubled their power, and told them where Thor’s girlfriend, Jane Foster, was, in order to get revenge on the God of Thunder. During the following fight, Jane got almost killed in an eplosion, but eventually Thor defeated both Hyde and Cobra. Sick and tired of getting his butt kicked by Thor, Mister Hyde decided to let him be…unfortunately, when he and Cobra managed to escape from prison they got defeated by yet another superhero, Daredevil, and Hyde developed a grudge against him as well. He teamed up with Cobra and Jester to fight Daredevil, and when Hyde got defeated by Captain America and Falcon, he teamed up with Viper to get revenge on them as well. The Hyde Formula had gotten the better of Zabo: his great intelligence got duller and duller, and he had become a creature driven purely by impulses, being greed or thirst for revenge.

Calvin Zabo is an intelligent yet amoral man, a brilliant medical researcher who uses his skills only for his personal interest. Greedy and mean, Zabo wastes his great talent with petty crimes, unable to give thought to someone else but himself. As Mister Hyde, he possesses great superhuman strength, stamina and durability, and with the perfectioning of the Hyde Formula he managed to further increase them; he also possesses a limited healing factor that allows him to heal even from mortal wounds quickly. Zabo has to assume his formula regularly to remain Hyde, so he built a wrist-mounted mechanism that inject the formula directly into his bloodstream, so that he can transform at will. Unfortunately, when he’s Mister Hyde Calvin Zabo loses his intelligence, and reverts to a savage brute who acts following basic instinct, with an obsession with personal property and with revenge. Even at such a price, however, Zabo has no hesitation in turning into his monstrous alter-ego…

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12 Comments

  1. […] episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we’ve seen in the trailer, the only woman in the group Calvin Zabo gathers to destroy Phil Coulson. In One of Us, Drea de Matteo will portray Karla Faye Gideon, […]

  2. […] be portrayed by Jeff Daniel Phillips. In the episode One of Us, Angar will be found by Calvin Zabo through S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Index (a list of people with metahuman abilities), and recruited in […]

  3. […] in What They Become, the authors tell us who Skye is: she’s Daisy Johnson, daughter of Calvin Zabo. In the show, she’s the daughter of an Inhuman woman kidnapped by Daniel Whitehall to be […]

  4. […] for the woman, and, when she got severly wounded during a battle between Thor, Cobra and Mr. Hyde, he ordered her to be saved. Despite having his good eye on Jane, he wasn’t disposed to allow […]

  5. […] to Team White, led by Daisy Johnson herself, who was in turn the superhuman Quake, daughter of Mr. Hyde; along with them, there were J.T. “Hellfire” James, a descendant of Phantom […]

  6. […] with Falcon, and he proved to be essential in defeating villains such as Absorbing Man or Mr. Hyde, and even in exposing Senator Dell Rusk as a Red Skull under disguise. In one occasion, Redwing […]

  7. […] Shark, Grey Gargoyle, Whirlwind, the Wrecking Crew, Moonstone, Screaming Mimi, Goliath, Mister Hyde, Blackout, Black Mamba and Fixer, an impressive deployment of resources that surpassed any […]

  8. […] the car was a stolen one; second, hidden in the trunk there was quite a unique booty, the formula Mister Hyde used to power himself up; third, the car itself was haunted by a ghost. Oblivious to all these […]

  9. […] know anything about his brother’s death and resurrection, or about his urban war against Mister Hyde and his henchmen: he only knew that a morning he found his wheelchair besides his bed, as Robbie […]

  10. […] had entered a war involving the local gang leader Grumpy and the international supervillain Mister Hyde, and the car itself was full with a particular kind of booty, Hyde’s formula…but Canelo […]

  11. […] of violent crimes. The car was used in a gang war, and even in a theft against super criminal Mister Hyde…and it eventually arrived to a mechanic’s workshop, Canelo’s Auto and Body, […]

  12. […] short work of him. Scorpion fought Cap once again when Mr. Kline hired him and Mister Hyde in a campaign against S.H.I.E.L.D., but again the hero, helped by Falcon, defeated and imprisoned […]


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