Jason Wilkes

The second (and last) character portrayed in the new posters from Agent Carter season 2 is one of the good guys (maybe…): Jason Wilkes, portrayed by Reggie Austin. In the show, Wilkes will be an American scientist who comes across Peggy Carter‘s investigations in Los Angeles…and apparently he’ll also be the new love interest of the war veteran, with all the problems that an interracial couple could cause in the 1950s. To the ones hoping to see in Wilkes the man who takes Peggy to the altar, don’t hold your breath: if the comics counterpart has any value in the character’s portrayal, Jason will not exactly be the knight in shining armor he seems to be. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Jason Wilkes’ past: he lived in a small American town, and grew up along with his sister, who became the only companion of his life. Wilkes never got married, as he dedicated himself completely to science: he became a renowned physicist, specialised in optics, and despite never moving from his hometown, he gained an international reputation for his research on the visible spectrum. His sister never married either, and the two Wilkes lived together in their family house for all their life. In his work, Wilkes stated that, continuing his research, he would have been able to modify an object’s refraction in order to make it slip in and outside the visible spectrum, that is, to turn it visible and invisible. Of course, his bold announcement was met with skepticism by many experts in his sector, but it also attracted the attention of interested third parties. In 1961, Jason Wilkes received a letter from an anonymous sender, a note that told him to go to an abandoned mansion at 9:30 p.m. that same night if he wanted to become a rich man. Jason’s sister tried to peep, but the scientist angrily sent her away, telling her to jasonwilkescomics1mind her own business: if the offer was real, he didn’t want to share his wealth with her. Greedy and curious, the scientist went to the appointment, obviously without telling anything to his sister: in the mansion, he met a man who claimed to be a spy from an unspecified country from behind the Iron Curtain. The spy told him that his country knew about his work, and he offered him 1 milion dollars in exchange of a technology able to turn people invisible, thus granting the Communists the ultimate spies…and later, the ultimate army to conquer any nation. With no loyalty whatsoever, and smitten with the money, Wilkes accepted the spy’s offer. The very next day, he announced to his sister that he would have gone on vacation in South America, and immediately moved to the abandoned mansion, starting to work for the Communists.

After months of work, Jason Wilkes managed to build two projectors, an invisibility ray to make things disappear, and an antidote ray to make them visible again. He first experimented them both on a bowl, and it was a success. He then tested the rays on some living animals, such as canarys and goldfish, and the creatures went invisible and visible again with no apparent arm. Absolutely confident over his work, Wilkes decided to make the final test on himself, ready to sell his invention to his mysterious contractors. The scientist activated the first ray, and then stepped in front of it, letting himself being engulfed by his experimental laser: the test was a success, and Wilkes disappeared from sight, becoming completely invisible. It was time to rejoice, and the scientist already anticipated the enormous wealth the spy would have rewarded him with: he only had to activate the antidote ray and contact his benefactor…but, unfortunately, there was a side-effect of his machine that he hadn’t been able to examine while testing it on objects and animals. He was, indeed, invisible, but his body had lost substance, and he was now also immaterial, completely intangible. He tried to turn the antidote ray on, but he simply phased through the machine. Desperate, he tried to draw the attention of the jasonwilkescomics2people nearby, first the Commies, then his sister as well, but also his vocal cords were immaterial, and he couldn’t emit a single sound. The spies, finding two machines they didn’t understand the operating principles of, and not finding Wilkes anywhere, assumed that the scientist had failed his task, and had escaped in order to avoid punishment: his work was destroyed, along with all evidence of cooperation between Wilkes and the foreign power. Now, Jason Wilkes was doomed to live his entire life (and maybe even more: the absence of matter carried unforeseeable effects on his physiology) as an invisible and intangible ghost, unable to make contact with anybody, or to interact with the world in any way…a severe punishment for the traitor he was.

Jason Wilkes is a scientific genius, a brilliant man totally devoted to science…but he is also a greedy and miserable person, motivated by money only, with no other value than self-preservation. After his far-too-succesful experiment, he is both invisible and intangible, the parody of a presence, a body without substance wandering around desperately trying to be noticed, knowing far too well that nobody will ever be able to see him, to hear him or to feel him. Now Wilkes physically is what he has always been: an empty man.

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