One of the most obscure Marvel Easter eggs in Season 2 of Jessica Jones was a hard one to catch — literally. The super-fast Marvel hero, “the Whizzer,” has an all-too-brief run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the newest season of the hit Marvel/Netflix series. And, sadly, Whizzer doesn’t get to reunite with one of his pals from the Marvel comics, Liberty Legion leader Bucky Barnes.
Minor spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 2 are ahead.
In the first episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2, streaming now on Netflix, the obscure comic book character “the Whizzer” (played by Jay Klaitz) makes his MCU debut. It’s a fitting subversion for the subversive superhero series — for once, there’s a speedster who doesn’t look quite like the lean and chiseled Barry Allen or Quicksilver.
The Whizzer’s origins go back to the Golden Age of comics when Marvel was still known as Timely Comics prior to its name change in the Sixties. The Whizzer, who resided in St. Louis, first appeared in USA Comics #1 in 1941. Two years ago, the Whizzer represented Missouri in Marvel’s U.S.Avengers covers.
His backstory is as silly as his moniker. The Whizzer, whose real name is Robert Frank, earned his powers after getting bit by a snake while on a trip to Africa with his father, Dr. Emil Frank. With a transfusion of mongoose blood, Dr. Frank saves his son but realizes he accidentally gave him superpowers. (Jessica Jones makes a small mention of Whizzer’s “pet mongoose” in a throwaway line.)
Believe it or not, the Whizzer has an insanely close history with one major Marvel Comics character: Bucky Barnes. Before he was the Winter Soldier, Bucky formed the Liberty Legion to rescue another superhero team, the Invaders, from the Red Skull. Clearly, the MCU versions of Bucky and the Whizzer don’t share this connection since Jessica Jones’s Whizzer doesn’t seem like he served in World War II.
After the Liberty Legion, the Whizzer’s career waned, and he spiraled into a depression and lived on the streets of the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan. (Though he did marry the star-spangled Miss America, whose modern incarnation is America Chavez.) Despite trying to retire, Robert Frank was dragged into more battles until he suffered a heart attack in the Eighties (in The Vision and the Scarlet Witch #2 in 1982).
Though Frank passed on, his successor James Sanders took on the mantle, but with a name like “the Whizzer,” it was a matter of time until he took on a different name. Sanders turned to a life of supervillainy, adopting the name “Speed Demon” to serve as Marvel’s analog to “the Flash” in its evil parody of the Justice League, the Squadron Sinister. Since then, Speed Demon has run amok in the Marvel Universe, occasionally running into heroes like Spider-Man and Sam Wilson.
Sadly, becoming Speed Demon isn’t in the cards for Whizzer in the MCU. As quickly as he appeared, Whizzer was mysteriously killed by the strange forces who want to keep Jessica Jones from discovering the truth behind her abilities.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.*