How do you solve a problem like Maria (Hill)?

Current Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Maria Hill has become a true force to be reckoned with in the Marvel Universe.  But she’s building up very hostile relationships with some of the key players in the super-hero world – from the Avengers, to the X-Men, to the Fantastic Four. But with the X-Men, she might be in real trouble…

Stern and forthright, Maria was reportedly a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Madripoor for a while, before being appointed interim Director after Nick Fury went a step too far.  The New Avengers never trusted her, with Tony Stark being of the view she’d been promoted beyond her ability.  She badly mismanaged the events of ‘Civil War’, ignoring the advice of Sharon Carter in how she pitched things to Captain America – with inevitable results.

Style
Cap always did know how to leave a party in style!

Little wonder that Maria became Deputy Director to Tony Stark, then, and was heavily implicated in his unsuccessful career.  While on the run from Norman Osborn, she and Stark briefly became lovers.  Still, when S.H.I.E.L.D. were reformed, it was only a matter of time before Maria became Directory once again.

The problem is, Maria simply doesn’t get on well with the super-hero world – and, from her point of view, for very good reasons.  The current run of ‘Fantastic Four’ has shone the spotlight on Marvel’s first family, exposing the nastiness that the world had long overlooked; and Bruce Banner’s brain damage led to her hiding him from the Avengers, damaging her already strained relationship with that team.  Still, the worst is with the X-Men.

Under Maria’s watch, the Dark Beast successfully infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and began a production run of Sentinels.  Seriously, the woman’s been flying around in helicarriers bursting with anti-mutant tech and not noticed.

Sentinels in the woodwork
I’ve heard of the phrase ‘asleep on the job’, but seriously…

It all came to a head when the Dark Beast took control of S.H.I.E.L.D. forces to launch an all-out attack on the Jean Grey School.  Still, there are still Sentinel plants run by S.H.I.E.L.D. out there…

Sentinels again
In one of my favourite moments, Cyclops and Wolverine infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. Sentinel plant!

Maria’s attempt to recruit a mutant affairs liaison went worse than could ever be expected; Dazzler, who was Maria’s choice, was actually replaced by the shapeshifter Mystique, who manipulated S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attention away from Madripoor.  I think the fact that Mystique and Sabretooth quietly took charge of Maria Hill’s old assigned territory is something Maria really should be taking personally.

Now, let’s get one thing straight: Maria’s not anti-mutant.  She actually recruited Exodus to head her psi-division.  No, Maria’s discomfort with the X-Men is based on very good reasons (and not just on her having a dream where the X-Men blew up the moon).  She has particular distrust of the Beast, who she sees as willing to break the laws of reality to do whatever he wants, no matter the consequences to causality.  She considers the X-Men to be fractious and ungovernable, constantly turning on one another and utterly unpredictable.  Entertainingly enough, incidentally, she apparently quietly has a crush on Cyclops…

In Maria's mind
Oh, I just love telepaths…

In the current ‘Uncanny X-Men’ run, Maria’s facing her worst nightmare: Matthew Malloy, a mutant with unknowable power levels, who’s already cost her an(other) helicarrier.  Malloy has, quite frankly, proved her point; Charles Xavier had, for decades, kept secret the existence of a mutant whose power-manifestations have just blown up a town.

Malloy goes boom
The man is DANGEROUS.

Given that the last time that kind of thing happened it led to ‘Civil War’, I’m kind of concerned about what role Maria is going to be forced to play in the X-Men’s future.

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