Marvel has announced that the fourth new hero set to be introduced this summer as a ‘regional’ Captain America, will be newly created hero Ari Agbayani, a Filipino-American college student.
Created by Overwatch and Doctor Aphra writer Alyssa Wong, Ari is set to debut in The United States of Captain America #4, crossing paths with Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and John Walker as the four Star-Spangled Avengers travel the United States in pursuit of a thief who has stolen Captain America’s shield.
Described as “a local Captain America-inspired hero who seeks justice on her college campus”, Ari will discover that “her school turns a blind eye to fellow students behaving badly”, prompting the woman who is “not afraid to fight dirty” to spring into action.
Speaking to Ari’s creation, Wong told Marvel.com, “When editor Alanna Smith approached me about creating a new, local Captain America for this series, I immediately knew I wanted to write a Filipino-American girl.”
“There just aren’t very many of us in comics!,” she continued. “I grew up without a Filipino-American community for the most part, so every time I see a Filipino character, I get excited. And getting to create one—a Captain America, even!—feels incredibly special.”
Wong added, “Ari Agbayani is a scholarship student at a small, private university When she finds out her best friend is being victimized by a wealthy legacy student, Ari is determined to make things right.”
“But what can she do when her college is only concerned with keeping its donors happy, and half the buildings on campus are named after her best friend’s abuser?” She continued. “In order to take him down, she’ll have to get creative.”
As for the role of the Star-Spangled Avenger in Ari’s hero career, Wong noted. “Like the other Caps, Ari has a strong sense of justice and admires the ideals Captain America embodies. But the Captain America she’s inspired by isn’t Steve Rogers–it’s Bucky Barnes. Someone who hates bullies as much as Steve does, but is willing to use sneakier, shadier tactics to deal with them.”
“Ari’s a vigilante, and she knows that you can’t always win by playing by the rules,” explained Wong. “Bucky’s influence is reflected in her costume, designed by the incredible Jodi Nishijima.”
Wong concluded, “Jodi has done such a great job bringing Ari to life. Her art is so playful, charming, and fun. It’s been an honor to co-create Ari with her!”
Nishijima added, “I’m honored that my debut at Marvel could coincide with such an important and unique project.”
“To be able to lend my thoughts and experiences to a property and concept I greatly admire, as well as work alongside such talented and diverse creators, brings me an excitement that cannot be understated,” said Nishijima.
She further explained, “Ari’s design was inspired by all the girls I’ve known in my life who in their day to day appear very sweet and empathetic, but when challenged can be terribly fierce.”
“Her style is very much what I and my friends would feel comfortable and confident in wearing as well!,” she concluded. “I hope that her youthful design is well communicated and relatable, but no matter what I’m so glad that I could help bring her to life!”
Unfortunately for Marvel, Ari’s reveal was not without controversy, as many Filipino fans have noted that the new hero’s first name can translate to ‘male genitalia’ in Tagalog, the native language of The Philippines.
Are you excited to see Agbayan in action? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!