In pursuit of realism and relatability, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced a number of shady government organizations via its plentitude of television and film releases.
While many of these aren’t realistic at all, the occasional government shade is welcome among fans. We’ve seen plenty of distasteful government shenanigans in the real world, and echoing these in the MCU helps to keep releases relevant and, in some cases, even poignant. The latest MCU organization to gain attention isn’t a new addition to the franchise, but its reemergence in the Disney Plus series Ms. Marvel has fans asking questions.
The mid-credits scene from the very first episode of Marvel’s latest superhero series saw the reintroduction of the DODC, or Department of Damage Control. The organization has been around since before Spider-Man: Homecoming, but hasn’t cropped up much in the years since the 2017 film released. Its presence in Ms. Marvel indicates that the MCU intends to delve deeper into this potentially shady sect of the U.S. government, an idea that is enticing to fans.
The DODC first appeared in the opening scenes of Spider-Man: Homecoming, during the introduction of Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton) and his crew. Toomes and his men were hired, following the Battle of New York from 2012’s Avengers, to clear up rubble and salvage alien artifacts. They are hard at work with this task when they are interrupted by the DODC, a gang of sharply-dressed government agents who relieve them of their task by employing “Executive Order 396-B.” The executive order, according to a terse woman who appears to be in charge, taps the DODC with “battle cleanup operations.” When pressed by Toomes, who’s sunk the majority of his savings into his crew’s lucrative new job, she explains that the government organization will be in charge of all cleanup and salvage operations in the future.
The DODC is the result of a joint venture between Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the U.S. federal government. It aims to repair various cities following the MCU’s many epic battles, and ensure that alien artifacts don’t fall into the wrong hands. Of course, in Homecoming, that’s exactly what happens, but largely as a result of the DODC’s own actions.
The lineup of DODC agents that appear in the mid-credits scene of Ms. Marvel’s first episode aren’t the same as those that appear in Homecoming, but that makes sense. The Homecoming agents were tasked with the strenuous cleanup of potentially dangerous artifacts, while the agents that appear in Ms. Marvel appear to be closer to detectives. They are more likely tasked with keeping track of, and if necessary, dealing with individuals with super powers.
The brief scene from Ms. Marvel‘s final moments shows as a pair of agents discuss Kamala (Iman Vellani) and her newly discovered powers. They share a quick perusal of footage from AvengersCon before one agent confirms that the organization should “bring her in”. The only real indication that the agents are from the DODC appears on the female agent’s phone, which has a small, blurry “DODC” on the lower left corner of its screen.
When it was first formed, the DODC was a subsidiary of S.H.I.E.L.D, but in the years following its inception the organization branched off. By the time Ms. Marvel comes around in 2024, the DODC has transformed into a federal agency with it’s sights set on the rapidly expanding ranks of super-powered individuals. More and more people like Kamala are discovering abilities of their own, and the DODC are tasked with maintaining order and rounding up these enhanced individuals.
The DODC has cropped up a number of times since, consistently sticking their fingers into the lives and livelihoods of MCU heroes. Agents, led by P. Cleary (Arian Moayed), questioned Peter Parker and his close acquaintances in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and they’ve gotten at least a mention in several other films, on top of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D series. It is Cleary who makes the call to bring Kamala in during Ms. Marvel‘s mid-credits scene, and the woman he’s speaking to appears to be Sadie Deever (Alysia Reiner), a brand-new character that fans believe is an agent of another secret government organization called N.I.C.E.
In Marvel comics, the DODC is tied up with one Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin, who’s recent reemergence in MCU canon has fans excited. The intimidating character was flawlessly portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio in Netflix’s Daredevil series, and recently reared his head once again in Disney Plus series Hawkeye. If the MCU has plans to maintain his ties to the DODC, this organization is about to get far more interesting.
The investigation into Kamala may well yield more details about what the MCU intends from the DODC, as this will likely be the agency’s largest role in an MCU release thus far. Unless it follows the trend of previous releases and disappears after a brief mention. We won’t know until Ms. Marvel polishes off its first season on July 13.