Damage Control and the Legacy of the Sokovia Accords in ‘Ms. Marvel’

The first episode of Ms. Marvel has been released, ushering in the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ series. Whether you like them or not, the first episode brought with it a post-credits scene that teased an interesting development for a so-far minor MCU organization. While the role of the Department of Damage Control has not been well-defined since its introduction, the Ms. Marvel post-credits scene teased an expanded—and darker—role for the group that may be a lasting consequence of Captain America: Civil War.

Damage Control was first mentioned in Iron Man, where Phil Coulson explained to Tony Stark that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team controls messes like the one left behind at the end of the film’s final battle. Following the events of The Avengers, Damage Control became a department of the United States government in a joint venture with Stark Industries, as learned in Spider-Man: Homecoming

While the DODC does clean up super messes like the Battle of New York, it also has quite a collection of technology and other items beyond the normalcy of ordinary society. Peter Parker gets stuck in the Damage Control Deep Storage Vault in Homecoming, where the department has everything from Chitauri technology to the black hole grenades from Thor: The Dark World

While Damage Control has been a background entity at best in the MCU, Spider-Man: No Way Home saw a new focus for the organization, and Ms. Marvel looks like it is going to dive deeper into that aspect of it. In No Way Home, Agent P. Cleary arrests and interrogates Parker over the death of Mysterio. The change to investigating and arresting superpowered or otherwise extraordinary individuals was new. But Ms. Marvel’s first episode post-credit scene makes it seem as though the new show will build heavily upon that new Damage Control reality.

In the brief scene, we see Agent Cleary along with Alysia Reiner’s Agent Deever. Deever shows Cleary a video of Kamala at AvengerCon using her new powers, and he says, “Ok, let’s bring her in.” So at least part of the agency is now dedicated to tracking down those with super-abilities and bringing them into custody. So far, the DODC certainly feels like an MCU-ified U.S. Homeland Security. But the agents apparently did not decide to find Kamala because of the damage she caused, but purely because she had powers. So how did Damage Control get here?

Several things have happened since we saw Damage Control in Homecoming. The Blip is the most obvious example, and it makes sense that governments would be a bit more alert to powerful beings wandering around unchecked. But something happened just before Homecoming that is almost certainly behind this. The Sokovia Accords became international law in Civil War, and they essentially outlawed superhero/superpower-related behavior if not explicitly allowed by the government. Because Avengers: Infinity War was so soon after Civil War, Phase 3 never really dealt with much of the specific aftermath of the Accords.

It looks like Ms. Marvel might be the first MCU project that actually does just that. While No Way Home definitely demonstrated that even superheroes could be held legally accountable, there was no evidence that the DODC was rounding up individuals at that point. Here, that clearly seems to be the case. The Accords have not been mentioned, but it was confirmed that they are still in effect in WandaVision. Considering Stark was on the government’s side in Civil War, the fact that Damage Control became a Stark Industries joint venture for the purpose of enforcing those laws makes sense. 

In any event, the DODC so far seems to be an adversary to Kamala rather than anything helpful. In just a short scene, the two agents we see are portrayed fairly menacingly—it certainly brings to mind the very negative views on certain governmental agencies that target immigrants or people of other cultures. Kamala could be the first hero we’ve seen who has to overcome this darker Damage Control, the Sokovia Accords, and the legacy of Civil War

The first episode of Ms. Marvel is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. 

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