ABC’s Agent Carter celebrated its return to television this Tuesday with two back-to-back episodes — “Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark.” Among the usual spy and espionage stuff found in the two episodes, we also got a good healthy dose of science fiction. We were introduced to Zero Matter — seen as a nefarious shapeless black substance that warps and whips around while seemingly vacuuming things up into some type of singularity. Yeah, that’s my technical explanation. I guess you’ll just have to watch the episode to see it in action.
Zero Matter, on Agent Carter, was the result of atomic experiments performed by Isodyne Energy. So how does something that should be in the realm of science fiction even tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s move into the mystical? The answer is Darkforce and its extra-dimensional properties. Darkforce is negative energy that’s created near the Darkforce dimension. It really has no shape or form. Various individuals in the Marvel Universe have accessed it and used it to their advantage.
One of the uses of the Darkforce dimension has been teleportation — entering the dimension and then exiting it at different location. The dimension has no known inhabitants and absorbs all light and heat. The Dark Matter that it emits, of which the characters on Agent Carter call “Zero Matter”, exhibits similar properties — coldness and the absorption of all heat and light. The individuals who do have the ability to wield Darkforce are usually controlling Dark Matter.
Because the MCU, up till now, has been in the realm of science fiction (even Thor who’s a god is explained as being part of an advanced powerful alien race), it would be hard for audiences to accept a move into magic and fantasy. With the introduction of a substance or plot device that turns everything upside down, Marvel now has the ability to move into more fantastic territories. Not sold yet? Maybe Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, showrunners for Agent Carter, will convince you, as they’ve told Comic Book Resources that Agent Carter does tie into Doctor Strange:
Basically, Isodyne is a company that we invented based in part on real life companies like Radiodyne or General Atomic or the beginnings of the Jet Propulsion Lab — all of which were in L.A. in the ’40s, and were developing the space program and were developing nukes … That’s what Isodyne is, and what you’ll learn is they were involved in the nuclear testing out in the desert when they were testing the, at the time they were calling it the atom bomb — and one of these tests didn’t go as expected. You’ll learn more about that in Season 2, but they stumble upon what people in the Marvel Universe will know as Darkforce, but because they’ve never seen it before they just name it Zero Matter. That’s our tie-in to the ‘Doctor Strange’ universe, and also to ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ because you’ve seen it in ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ as well.
What’s interesting to note is that this isn’t the first mention of the Darkforce dimension in the MCU. Marcus Daniels, a.k.a. Blackout, appeared in Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a lab assistant who was part of a research team attempting to harness Darkforce. Due to his exposure, he gained the ability to absorb all forms of energy. He’s later killed by Phil Coulson and his agents when they overload his body with gamma radiation.
And it seems that the opening episodes of Agent Carter Season 2 have also introduced a new supervillain of their own — Madame Masque, or a 1940s version of her. After trying to steal the Zero Matter from Jason Wilkes and causing an accident with the substance, we see that Whitney Frost has some Zero Matter goo embedded in her forehead. Seems like the beginnings of a big-bad for Peggy this season.
To get more details on the first two episodes of Agent Carter Season 2, visit Bam Smack Pow where writer Christina Roberts has you covered with some great recaps of “Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark.”