Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) up through and including Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Season 1 and Secret Invasion Season 1.

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Maria Hill 

Fast Facts

Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) in Secret Invasion.

Photos: Marvel Studios.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) was first introduced in The Avengers (2012). As a hyper-competent Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hill works alongside Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to keep Earth safe from myriad threats. In The Avengers, these threats take the form of a Chitauri invasion spearheaded by none other than Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Fortunately, S.H.I.E.L.D. is up to the task, thanks in no small part to the vital part played by Hill.

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Hill also played a key role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This movie revealed the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. organization had been infiltrated by the evil fascist group HYRDA. However, both Fury and Hill are uncompromised. As a result, they can continue the good work of S.H.I.E.L.D. despite its corruption. In addition, Hill appeared in multiple episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.DPlus, in Spider-Man: Far From Home, a Skrull who had adopted the form of Hill’s doppelgänger appeared throughout the movie. This demonstrates how Hill’s image has become inextricable from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s authority.

Agent Hill Action

Hill also appeared in the first episode of Secret Invasion. Unfortunately, she was murdered at the conclusion of the season’s first episode by Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), who had Skrull-shifted into the form of Fury. In several subsequent episodes of the season, the video of “Fury” shooting Hill was used to provide motivation for Fury’s character. Insult was added to injury when Fury didn’t even pause to remember his fallen friend in the season finale.

Casey (Libe Barer), Moon Girl (Diamond White), and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) in a S.H.I.E.L.D. elevator on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Season 1, “OMG Issue #1.”

But fortunately, there are other worlds than these. Agent Hill also recently appeared in an episode of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Season 1, “OMG Issue #1.” In this episode, she continues to serve as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. “OMG Issue #1” also allows Hill to interact with Lunella Lafayette (Diamond White). Since Lafayette is a fledging superhero and the smartest human on Earth, this means this Hill Variant gets the chance to work with one of the most promising superheroes of the next generation. This is a befitting legacy for such a distinguished S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

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The Real Deal:

Hill is the real deal. Despite being born into a world where some people are gifted with huge amounts of power thanks to their superhuman abilities, Hill stands on her own. In part, this is thanks to her role as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., which gives her access to the organization’s vast resources.

However, when S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised by HYDRA, these resources are no longer available to Hill. Nevertheless, both she and Fury maintain their integrity and continue to act in support of Earth’s social justice warriors (like the superheroes of the Avengers roster). Furthermore, after both were blipped during the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Fury withdrew to an off-world retreat. But as revealed in the season premiere of Secret Invasion, “Resurrection,” Hill took it upon herself to step up and maintain order in Fury’s absence.

Why She Matters:

Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) talk over a bar table in Secret Invasion.

Secret Invasion season 1 episode 1, “Resurrection.”

Why does Hill matter? Her intense competence and professionalism demonstrate how determination can help a person attain professional respect, even in the face of staggeringly overwhelming situations. By playing the role of agent to the utmost of her abilities, Hill is a key element in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ongoing protection of Earth.

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Plus, while her story may have come to an unsatisfactory conclusion in the main MCU narrative, the nature of the multiverse means the character can continue to make a difference in the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur timeline. This demonstrates how evolution to a different perspective of oneself can sometimes be necessary for continued growth.

So, be like Hill. Don’t allow yourself or your work to be defined by a high-profile man’s reputation. Never forget that you can hold your own, including in an arena populated by legendary heroes like Thor, God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), super spies like Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) or extremely heavy hitters like Captain America (Chris Evans; Anthony Mackie). And even when the worst comes to pass, remember: death has never kept a good Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. down.

You can stream the Marvel movies and shows on Disney+.

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