The Religious Affiliation of
Agent Choi

Religion: manifestly non-religious CBR Scale: I

Name: Agent Choi

Classification: villain villain  

Publisher(s): Marvel

First Appearance: Thunderbolts (vol. 1) #137 (Dec. 2009)

Creators: Rick Remender, Mahmud A. Asrar, Rebecca Buchman

Number of Appearances: 1

Teams/Affiliations: H.A.M.M.E.R.

Enemy of: Iron Fist, Natalie

Occupation: federal agent

Worked for: Norman Osborn

Race: Asian

Gender: female

Natalie helped her boss Danny Rand (a.k.a. Iron Fist) get to an important business meeting with a potential investor named "Mr. Thompson." Unfortunately for Rand, Norman Osborn had somehow infiltrated the building and was in the meeting room instead of the expected investor. Osborn was accompanied by agents for H.A.M.M.E.R., the national security force he heads, as well as his own black ops team, the Thunderbolts. After the Thunderbolts captured Rand, it was shown that Natalie had been murdered at Osborn's behest, apparently by H.A.M.M.E.R. operative Agent Choi, an Asian woman in a standard H.A.M.M.E.R. uniform. Choi was standing next to Natalie's dead body. Osborn ordered Agent Choi to make certain the driver who brought Natalie and Rand to the building was killed, along with anybody else who talked to Rand during the last 3 hours. Osborn didn't want any "loose ends" as he and his people abducted Danny Rand because he planned to brainwash Rand in order to use Iron Fist as a deadly addition to his Thunderbolts team.

Actually, reading over this story again, it looks like the entire "investor" concept was a sham. There was no potential investor, just an elaborate H.A.M.M.E.R. operation designed to capture Danny Rand. One of the key clues that this entire meeting was a H.A.M.M.E.R. ruse is the fact that Agent Choi, who appears in standard H.A.M.M.E.R. regalia on page 12 after Rand has been captured is the same woman who appears in business attire on page 9, inviting Rand to enter a conference room to meet the "investor." H.A.M.M.E.R. agents and Thunderbolts were waiting in hiding to capture Rand not because they had infiltrated this building after learning about the meeting. They were the ones who planned the meeting in the first place. Agent Choi was a key part of the deception, posing as a receptionist or assistant for the "investor."

Agent Choi's actions in supporting Norman Osborn in this scene seem particularly despicable, but it may be difficult to fully gauge Choi's own personal morality from what was shown. Agent Choi was working as a federal agent for the legitimate national peace-keeping force H.A.M.M.E.R. Osborn, at the time, held a Cabinet-level position as the director of Homeland Security. He answered directly to President Barack Obama. Furthermore, Osborn is a master of manipulation, propaganda and media spin. Should Agent Choi have known that killing Natalie was wrong and rebelled against her boss? Perhaps. But it is entirely possible that she thought she was working for the security of the nation against dangerous potential threats to national security.

Still, killing an obviously defenseless and unarmed woman like Natalie seems difficult to justify, especially in the context of this story and the previous issue, in which stone-cold mercenaries (and even some outright villains) such as Paladin, Ghost, Ant-Man (O'Grady) and Headman risked their lives to betray Osborn in order to save the lives of far less defenseless people such as Songbird, the Black Widow, and Luke Cage. If people as arguably villainous as Headman and Ghost were willing to risk their lives rather than executing captured super-heroes such as Black Widow and Songbird (who are certainly not defenseless civilians!), could we not expect Agent Choi to know that murdering Natalie was wrong? In this context, perhaps one can assume that Agent Choi really is a mercenary at heart and is willing to "follow orders" even when those orders are obviously immoral and probably illegal.

Given the ruthlessness displayed here, we are classifying Agent Choi as a "villain" rather than using the "supporting character" classification we usually use for H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Furthermore, this singular act seems enough to classify Agent Choi as "manifestly non-religious" rather than simply religiously indeterminate, which is how minor federal agents are normally classified when denominationally-specific details are unavailable for the character.

This character is in the following story which has been indexed by this website:
Thunderbolts (vol. 1) #137 (Dec. 2009) (2-panel cameo)

Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: