LOOK: Marvel comics introduces a Fil-Am hero inspired by Captain America

Published June 5, 2021, 5:32 PM

by John Legaspi

Meet Ari Agbayani, a Fil-Am college student, the newest hero of ‘The United States Of Captain American’ comic series

Ari Agbayani designed by Jodi Nishijima; and on ‘The United States Of Captain American #4’ variant cover by Peach Momoko (Photos from Marvel)

Filipino Marvel comic fans will surely be delighted by the upcoming fourth installment of “The United States Of Captain American” series as, this time, a new hero will grace its pages—and she’s half Pinoy.

Meet Ari Agbayani, a Fil-Am college student, who’s ready to spring into action for the good and for justice. She does that while donning elements of Cap’s costume, only made spunkier. You’ll know more about that later. According to Marvel, Ari starts her heroic mission on her campus “when her school turns a blind eye to fellow students behaving badly.”

Ari came to life thanks to Alyssa Wong, a half-Filipino fiction writer, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” artist Jodi Nishijima.

“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,” Alyssa tells Marvel. “There just aren’t very many of us in comics! 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.”

“Ari Agbayani is a scholarship student at a small, private university,” she continues. “When she finds out her best friend is being victimized by a wealthy legacy student, Ari is determined to make things right.”

While Ari is inspired by Captain America like the other local Caps in the series, Alyssa reveals that she also incorporated aspects of Bucky Barnes in the process of creating the character, which is reflected on the protagonist’s appearance and demeanor.

“[Bucky Barnes is] someone who hates bullies as much as Steve does, but is willing to use sneakier, shadier tactics to deal with them,” Alyssa says. “Ari’s a vigilante, and she knows that you can’t always win by playing by the rules. Bucky’s influence is reflected in her costume, designed by the incredible Jodi Nishijima.”

“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,” Jodi muses. “Her style is very much what I and my friends would feel comfortable and confident in wearing as well! 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!”

Can’t wait to see Ari Agbayani in action? “The United States Of Captain American #4” will hit the shelves in the US on Sept. 22, 2021.