Thomas Gloucester

Thomas GloucesterWhen we first met the Circle of Nine in Agent Carter, it soon became clear that it was the show’s version of the comics’ notorious Secret Empire, but apparently none of the original members had made it to the small screen…until the last episode, Smoke & Mirrors, gave us the full name of Tom, one of the most prominent members of the Council, portrayed by Casey Sander. He’s the one who convinces Calvin Chadwick to renounce to his studies on the Zero Matter, and prompts him to focus on his campaign; he also claims to have orchestrated the Crash of 1929 to help his friend Hugh Jones increase his personal wealth…and his full name is finally revealed to be Thomas Gloucester, certainly not a famous villain in the comics, but an old acquaintance nevertheless. Let’s see together who this éminence grise is originally…but do not expect much, he’s quite a secondary character.

Actually, not much is known about Thomas Gloucester’s past. He was the heir of a once-noble family, and his ancestors, during the Revolutionary War, proudly served in the English Army, trying to stop George Washington and his rebels. Thomas grew up hearing stories about the family’s lost fortune and pride, and learnt to hate the United States of America in their modern form, firmly believing in a world divided in two kinds of people: the superior ones, born with sacred blood in their veins, and the inferior ones, most of the population, commoners who had no right whatsoever. Growing nostalgic over the lost power of the blue blood families, Gloucester lived in the regret of the past centuries’ glory…until he was contacted by a man, William Taurey, who offered him a much more practical and effective way to celebrate the old days: to make them live again. Taurey was one of the founding members of The Elite, a group that reunited rich and influent people who, just like Gloucester, thomasgloucestercomics1believed in a pre-democratical world, and wanted to bring the United States back to a class system able to ensure the blue bloods the respect and power they deserved by birthright. In order to accomplish their ambitious goal, The Elite needed an army, and they found it in what they called the Royalist Forces of America, a brigade of brainwashed “commoners” blindly loyal to their “superiors”, chosen through deadly gladiatorial games that also served to entertain the high-ranking members of The Elite. Together, Gloucester, Taurey and the others devised a plan to conquer the United States and to bring it back to its “perfect” social structure: they had in fact kidnapped Carol Harding, daughter of the famous scientist Mason Harding, and forced him to work for them, engineering the so-called Mad-Bombs, sonic devices that made people go completely insane, prey of a violent outburst. The States would have been engulfed in a bloody frenzy, the government would have collapsed, and The Elite would have stepped into the light to take the reins of the newborn country.

The first Mad-Bomb in New York City, however, was destroyed by Captain America; the bomb was just a test to see if Big Daddy, the true (and by far the biggest) one would have been effective, once activated during the Bicentennial Celebration of the Declaration of Independence. Just to be safe, however, the Royalist Forces were sent to kidnap Captain America and his partner, Falcon, and two members of The Elite, Hesperus and Cheer Chadwick, forced them to fight in the usual gladiatorial game. Cap obviously won, but he refused to kill his opponents as it was costume. It soon turned out, however, that the Captain hadn’t been captured for purely practical reasons, as Taurey had a personal feud with the hero’s family running back to the Revolutionary War; Gloucester and the others realised it too late, and William’s obsession to kill Captain America ended up ruining their entire plan. The two heroes freed Carol Harding, and her father helped S.H.I.E.L.D. locate and disarm the Mad-Bombs; while thomasgloucestercomics2Falcon deactivated Big Daddy in Philadelphia, Captain America led the US Army to The Elite’s lair, vanquishing the Royalist Forces. Thomas Gloucester, witnessing the defeat of his group, managed to escape before being arrested, as well as most of The Elite’s leaders. It took quite some years before The Elite could reorganise itself, and this time the Royalist Forces were replaced by the Imperial Forces, a new army of superhuman individuals, brainwashed and loyal as the previous one but much more powerful. The Imperial Forces, nicknamed Brute Force, proved to be a formidable asset for The Elite, so much that the organization gained the attention of other secret groups, such as the Secret Empire. Recognizing a certain affinity between The Elite’s goals and the Secret Empire’s ones, the two organizations affiliated, and Gloucester himself accepted to become part of the Secret Empire, albeit mantaining all the privileges he had earned (?) as one of the leaders of The Elite. Unfortunately, Brute Force didn’t survive their baptism of fire against Hawkeye‘s Thunderbolts…but The Elite and the Secret Empire were now together, and the world would have soon learnt to fear this new union.

Thomas Gloucester is a proud and spoiled man, who firmly believes to be the heir of a “superior kind of human” for being born in a once-noble family. His nostalgia is not limited to a pure intellectual level, as he is ready to impose with the strength of the weapons a new world order to restore the values of the old class system. Cunning and pitiless, with a considerable wealth to back him and his partners from The Elite up, Thomas Gloucester is a man who lives in the past…and who makes his worst to make that past come back to life.

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