This story contains spoilers for Marvel’s Avengers.
Marvel’s Avengers plot has proven to be one of the game’s biggest surprises so far. While the title’s beta suggested that it would be a Destiny-like live service experience that relies largely on vaguely connected content, it turns out that Marvel’s Avengers features a surprisingly compelling storyline that focuses on Kamala Khan as she navigates the aftermath of the A-Day event.
Yet, one strange, seemingly simple element of the game’s plot that has caught many people’s attention is the name “Jessica Yi.”
While there’s quite a lot to break down regarding Marvel’s Avengers compelling take on the Marvel Comics universe, we’re going to focus on Jessica Yi for a minute in order to explore who she is, why she is so compelling, how she potentially fits into the grander Marvel universe, and what she could mean for the rest of the game. While we will be discussing spoilers, most of this information is focused on the early part of the game.
Who is Jessica Yi?
We see Jessica Yi during an early conversation between Monica and Dr. Tarleton (who we will later learn is MODOK). Monica is telling Tarleton about some of the “Inhumans” that they’ve discovered in the wake of the A-Day explosion. In this context, “Inhumans” is the term they use for people who were affected by the A-Day event and acquired powers as a result of the fallout.
Jessica is first described as “Subject 1102,” which simply seems to be Monica and Tarleton’s method of classifying discovered Inhumans. However, the screen soon displays Subject 1102’s real name as Monica and Tarleton break down Jessica’s ability to create an almost perfect clone of herself. According to Monica, the clone’s only distinguishing feature is her different eye color. Tarleton theorizes that this is because her cells are “splitting down the middle” and essentially creating two human beings. He compares the effect to the abilities of the “planarian flatworm.”
Jessica Yi isn’t the only Inhuman that the pair view during this sequence, but she is the only one who is named. The scene is presented in such a way that implies Jessica Yi is an especially important discovery. Tarleton even seems shocked to learn about the specifics of her abilities. The focus on Yi has led some to wonder whether or not Jessica Yi is actually someone else from the Marvel universe.
Is Jessica Yi Based on a Marvel Comics Character?
From what we can tell (and we welcome any input from long-time Marvel fans who have more information on this subject), Jessica Yi does not seem to be directly based on a Marvel Comics character. At least that is to say that there doesn’t seem to be another notable Marvel Comics character that shares her name and abilities.
The closest comparison we can find is Jamie Madrox (a.k.a. Multiple Man). While Multiple Man’s created clones are often described as perfect replicas, it’s also been noted that they’re capable of living their own lives and thinking and acting independently. That aspect sounds similar to how Monica describes Yi’s ability, but it’s not clear if Jessica Yi is meant to somehow be a replacement for that character.
For what it’s worth, though, Monica also notes that they’ve found several Inhumans that can utilize fire-based abilities, so it’s certainly not impossible that multiple characters in the game will eventually utilize that cloning power. We’ve also heard rumors of “mirror” characters being added to Marvel’s Avengers, which, if they’re true, would certainly suggest that the team isn’t too concerned with even major characters having entirely unique abilities.
What Else Do We Know About Jessica Yi?
The brief, honest answer to this question is “Not much, yet” but the Jessica Yi character has certainly fueled speculation about the role that the Inhumans will play in Marvel’s Avengers as the game enters its post-launch phase.
For those who don’t know, Marvel started making an effort a few years ago to apparently start softly “replacing” the X-Men in comics with the Inhumans. It was believed that they were trying to essentially “push” the Inhumans and raise their value in the minds of fans in an effort to also potentially increase their value as MCU additions should Marvel never be able to add X-Men to MCU films due to 20th Century Fox’s control of the X-Men TV and film rights.
We know now that the X-Men are still around in Marvel Comics (and Disney has since acquired 20th Century Fox), but the implications of those intentions are interesting. While the Marvel’s Avengers team has stated that their Marvel license “extends to all of the 80-year history” of the company, it’s worth noting that Kamala Khan’s story in the game is similar to how she acquired her powers in the Inhumans storyline that was a big part of Marvel’s attempt to push the Inhumans brand (seemingly, at times, at the X-Men’s expense).
So are Jessica Yi’s abilities and their similarities to Multiple Man an indication that Inhumans in Marvel’s Avengers will end up being “mutant replacements?” We wouldn’t go that far yet, but it will be interesting to see if something similar happens as the game evolves and other famous Marvel heroes are added as playable characters.