There are two Jemma Simmons out there in the Marvel universe: the TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jemma and the comic book, S.H.I.E.L.D., Jemma.
The comic book was inspired by the TV show, but there are differences between the two of them. The first being Skye is not part of the team, and while I greatly miss Skye I found the first issues enjoyable. One of the main reasons why I found them enjoyable is the way Jemma has been portrayed in the comics.
In the first issue Jemma is going on her first field mission as an operative. She still has her mad science skills, but Melinda May has also been training her in combat. As soon as I saw these pages, I greedily ate them up. This is what I have been wanting from the show. I don’t necessarily need May to be the one who trains her, but I firmly believe Jemma already needs to start training as an operative. She has already gone undercover with Hydra, and has handled a gun a few times on the show.
The problem is no one has been teaching her. While the show has been taking the time to train Skye, they have not taken the same time to train Jemma or Fitz in the basics. The pilot made a point to mention both Jemma and Fitz were not ready to go into the field, but nothing has been changed about this situation. I do not think Jemma and Fitz should always be in the field, but the two of them cannot always stay in the lab. They need basic training to defend themselves. Someone needs to teach Jemma how to properly aim a gun. If she is going to be carrying one to protect herself, someone needs to train her. May approved of Jemma shooting Raina, but the fact remains Jemma missed keeping Raina down. May did not mention anything about Jemma needing to practice. Jemma does not need to be with guns blazing, but she does need to be properly trained.
One of my hopes is Bobbi Morse will teach her. Of course with the two different S.H.I.E.L.D.s it may be a pipe dream, but Bobbi has already befriended Jemma. I welcome scenes between the two of them because Jemma doesn’t have a mentor on the show.
Another wish fulfilled I got by reading the comics is getting a glimpse of comic Jemma’s background. They reveal who her father is and part of her personal life. This Jemma has a family. She has a father, mother, sister, and brother. We learn how hard it is for her to keep her S.H.I.E.L.D. life a secret, but she has a sense of who she is.
Season one gave us a Jemma like this, and we did find out early in the series she does have parents. However, Jemma changed when Hydra came out of hiding. After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., we have seen a lost Jemma, one who is not sure of what her real purpose is anymore. It is one of the reasons why she went undercover with Hydra because it did give her a purpose. Protecting the ones she loves gave her a purpose, but the mid season finale has again highlighted a lost Jemma. Trip was her responsibility after the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., and she wasn’t there to protect him. Jemma has always had this instinct to protect the ones around her first with jumping out of the bus, and then by jumping on the supposed grenade on the train in season one.
Now she is at a loss, she doesn’t know how to protect the team. When she does, she goes about it the wrong way leading Fitz and Skye keeping secrets from her. The impact the mid-season finale has caused a fracture which needs to be mended. The whole team is suffering, Jemma included.
The rest of the season will probably remain with the dark tone it has taken especially when Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out. However, it should not be an excuse not to build on Jemma’s character. For the most part we have mainly seen Jemma’s reactions to what is happening to those around her. The stories have been great where the rest of the characters have been concerned, but it feels like Jemma is suffering where the rest have been strengthening.
While I may be in love with what the first two issues of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done with Jemma, I know the reason why I love it so much is because of my love for Agent Jemma Simmons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Without Elizabeth Henstridge’s portrayal of Jemma Simmons, I would not be so deeply invested in the comic character.