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Is Marvel Cinematic Universe gearing up for a Dark Avengers team?

With Contessa Valentina on the hunt, an anti-heroes team maybe on the rise

Raktim Das
Jul 15, 2021
cover image

Yelena Belova and John Walker

Marvel is ready to drop some bombs as it moves forward with its franchise. With many of the Avengers dead or retired, Earth needs a fresh set of saviours. Phase 4 is set to introduce quite a few big names, and lots of new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). From heroes like Ms Marvel, She Hulk, Natalie Portman as Thor and Eternals, to mega-villains like Kang the Conqueror and Galactus, the audience is in for a roller-coaster ride.

However, lurking in the shadows and with intentions not as pure, is a mysterious woman – Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Termed by many fans as anti-Phil Coulson, she made her first appearance in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, followed by a scene in the Black Widow movie. Played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she seems to be a government official who is on a recruitment drive to enlist potential candidates for undercover missions.

Valentina recruiting John Walker as US Agent in a still from Falcon and the Winter Soldier

In Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we see the disgraced John Walker suspended from the army, and removed from the position of Captain America after he brutally kills a flag smasher in public. Following his sacking, Valentina establishes contact with him and recruits him as a US Agent, where he can continue serving his country, working for her in the shadows. However, something feels off about this alliance intuitively, because this undercover work might get dirty and involve killing people, no matter what the intention.

Then, in Black Widow’s post-credits scene, Valentina shows up again, and this time it is made pretty clear that she’s already working with Yelena Belova, and has been assigning her to targets for a while now. Everything seems fine up to this point. However, in the next moment we see the shrewd recruiter passing on a picture of Hawkeye to Yelena and instructing her to extract revenge from him, as he is the one responsible for Natasha’s death, even though we all saw Hawkeye fighting tooth and nail to prevent it during Endgame.

Thus, although initially she might have appeared to be just a little suspicious, this scene clearly exposes her not-so-good motives, as she is encouraging Yelena to murder an Avenger, that too by feeding lies to her.

Valentina convincing Yelena that Hawkeye killed her sister, Natasha

The intentions and ultimate plan of Valentina is unclear at this point, but the comics offer a few clues as to the road Marvel is adopting to shape this character. In the comics, Valentina served SHIELD initially then was defected to HYDRA and even known as Madame Hydra for a spell. Finally, she even betrayed HYDRA, and revealed that she had been a Russian agent for her entire career. However, the chances of that happening are rare as the Hydra plot has been overused in Phase 2 and 3, and Shield and Hydra both have been disbanded in MCU. But the Russian connection might make sense considering her involvement with Yelena.

One thing is for certain, that Valentina is creating kind of an ‘anti-Avengers’ team to do her bidding in the shadows. From an anti-Captain America, US Agent to an anti-Black Widow, Yelena, the team is growing. The situation is very confusing as both John Walker and Yelena are good-hearted individuals at the core, but under the influence of Valentina, participating in a Dark Avengers vs. Avengers war might be possible. However, the main question lies: How many and who is she going to recruit in future?

In all probability, Marvel might be gearing up for a Dark Avengers series, but nothing of that sort has yet been announced and would probably require another year or two of Valentina recruiting people to make that work. So, forget about Kang, Valentina is here to make quite a bit of noise with her team of infamous people.

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