|For alternate versions of Calvin Zabo, see Calvin Zabo's Character Hub|
Doctor Calvin L. Johnson, M.D., known as Calvin "Cal" Zabo, is a physician of ambiguous morality who was a former member of Doctors Without Borders. Having been violently separated from his wife, Jiaying, who was butchered to death by Daniel Whitehall, Johnson had then also witnessed his beloved infant daughter Daisy being taken by HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D.. In the wake of this, Johnson changed his name to Zabo as he began a quest to avenge his wife's death and find his daughter, while also committing numerous crimes that have caused him to be considered a monster. During this time, Zabo also developed his formula that gave him enhanced strength, so that he could match the powers of the Inhumans. However, the side effects of the unstable formula gave Zabo an erratic personality, and severe issues controlling his emotions, particularly anger.
Having discovered his daughter's location, Zabo had made a temporary alliance with Daniel Whitehall so he could take his daughter into the ancient Kree City where she could undergo her own Terrigenesis. Zabo's many criminal actions, including forming the Slicing Talons, had attracted the attention of the Inhumans, who brought him to Afterlife where he was reunited with Jiaying. Zabo and his wife developed the plan to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. once and for all: However, Phil Coulson had then convinced Zabo to fight his wife to protect his own daughter, resulting in Zabo killing Jiaying. In the aftermath of the battle, Zabo's mind was wiped by the remaining resources of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and he had lived a new life as a veterinarian named Doctor Winslow, while being secretly visited by his daughter.
Doctors Without Borders
Calvin Johnson had a medical practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when he decided to work with Doctors Without Borders and moved to China to work there for two weeks as a young adult. During his time there, Johnson worked in a clinic in China, where he met Jiaying, an Inhuman who would eventually become his wife.
- "I worked in a clinic. People liked me. I liked myself."
- ―Calvin Zabo[src]
During their relationship, Johnson came to learn of the Inhumans and their history. As Johnson could not understand Chinese, Jiaying helped him with translations. After a while, the two of them had a daughter, whom Johnson delivered himself at their home, and they named her Daisy. Men claiming to be S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but who were in fact members of HYDRA, raided the village and came to their clinic, demanding that Jiaying is handed over. Johnson and Jiaying resisted, but their efforts were in vain, as she was kidnapped nonetheless. He then left Daisy among people he trusted, and set off to search for his beloved wife.
He later found her remains in Austria, apparently died as a result of vivisection performed by Daniel Whitehall. When Johnson discovered her body, he refused to allow his beloved wife to die and using his medical skills, stitched her body back together until her Inhuman powers allowed her to recover and return to life.  Understanding, however, that he would be unable to defeat Whitehall in his current form, Johnson began to try and make himself stronger by dabbling in chemistry. Eventually, he concocted a formula which made him stronger, but also much more volatile.
Search for Daisy
Losing a Wife and Daughter
He and Jiaying later returned to their village, only to find that Daisy was being searched for by HYDRA. Jiaying ordered her husband to kill everyone, and so he did, butchering the entire population of the village, the HYDRA agents and the S.H.I.E.L.D. teams who came to investigate the massacre. A second S.H.I.E.L.D. team, composed of Linda Avery and Richard Lumley, extracted Daisy. However, when they landed, all members of the team, including Avery, were killed by Johnson himself.
Lumley managed to get Daisy to safety and arranged to disappear from S.H.I.E.L.D. circulation. Johnson then set off to find his daughter. In his attempts to do so, Johnson came across another gifted individual, Wendell Levi. With Levi, Johnson was able to look at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Index, but could not find Daisy in it. When Johnson told Jiaying that he had lost their daughter, she was heartbroken and divorced him. Johnson swore that he would reunite their family one day. He later changed his last name to Zabo.
Becoming the Monster
- "I wasn't strong. I couldn't protect the people I loved. So I tried to change, improve myself, with chemistry. Results were... inconsistent. Some volatility issues. But I keep working on a formula. Always tweaking..."
- ―Calvin Zabo[src]
Zabo found Raina living on the streets as a beggar, holding onto stories that her grandmother had told her. He sheltered her and her friends and raised their self-esteem. Meanwhile, he revealed to Raina that, if she could reunite him with his daughter, he could prove that her grandmother's stories about the Kree and the Inhumans were, in fact, true. Years later, Zabo was visited by Raina, who had discovered his daughter, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, going by the name of Skye, and presented him with a picture of her.
Finding the Diviner
As ordered by Zabo, Raina successfully retrieved what he desired, the Diviner, and in order to test its authenticity, instructed Raina to hold it. Instead of turning into stone, the Obelisk glowed orange with the Words of Creation, confirming Raina was an Inhuman. He was pleased by the Obelisk's reaction. Raina begged Zabo for more information about the Obelisk, but in order to explain to her its significance, he required his daughter. He ordered Raina to bring him his daughter, and he would show the both of them.
A few days later Zabo was performing an illegal surgery on a gang member Brick, who had been injured in a fight. As the bullet was removed, Brick's ally Deacon drew a gun, saying he planned on killing the man who injured his friend. Zabo politely asked the gang member to put the gun away, which the man did, since Zabo asked politely. As they were speaking Raina appeared, much to Deacon and Zabo's annoyance. Raina explained that her life had been threatened by HYDRA leader Daniel Whitehall and begged Zabo to give her the Obelisk.
Without any sympathy, Zabo refused, saying that Raina has still had not brought him Skye. As Raina compared Zabo to Whitehall, Zabo lost his temper and grabbed Raina's throat, he asked her if she feared Whitehall more than him. Raina told him he was losing control and needed her to help him with his rage. Loosening his grip, he refused to give up the Obelisk and told her to plead to Whitehall for her life. Once Raina had left the building Zabo returned to the surgery. When the unnerved Deacon told him to calm down, Zabo did not react well to the comment and murdered both of the gang members with his bare hands in a fit of furious rage.
Later, Phil Coulson's team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents reached his hideout, after following Raina, only to discover it was deserted. A picture of him was left on the ground which Skye found, leaving her in a state of shock having finally seen her father's face. Meanwhile, Zabo was hiding in his car outside and watched the team's searching his hideout through a secret camera. After seeing the two corpses of the two gang members he had killed, Skye called him a monster. In response he angrily smashed his tablet, throwing it out of the window before driving away from the scene in a fit of grief.
Work at HYDRA
The New Alliance
Seeking a new alliance, Zabo then went to HYDRA Laboratories to meet Daniel Whitehall; as he arrived, he commented on the fact that they seemed to be moving locations. When the guards tried to stop him, he promptly killed them both before apologizing for making a mess on Whitehall's table with their blood. He then offered Whitehall not only to teach him how to control the power of the Diviner but how to survive it.
With Whitehall and Sunil Bakshi now both interested in what Zabo was offering, Whitehall asked what his motivation was, Zabo said that they both shared a common enemy; Phil Coulson and together they could kill him and everybody else. With his knowledge of the Diviner, Zabo was able to help Whitehall and Toshiro Mori to design a new deadly weapon that became known as the Splinter Bomb, which HYDRA quickly used to assassinate various world leaders from the United Nations.
Working with Daniel Whitehall
As Daniel Whitehall's scientists struggled to understand the Diviner, Zabo was brought in and immediately insulted Whitehall's efforts. Whitehall explained that he knew that only a select few could touch the Diviner without dying. Zabo explained that it only killed those unworthy of unlocking its true power. He told him that if the Diviner was taken to a special place it would do something much cooler than killing.
As Zabo and Whitehall continued their discussions about the Diviner's power, Whitehall told him that he had come to believe that the Kree Empire had come to conquer the Earth with the Diviner, but Zabo explained that they had come to end all life on Earth, apart from those the Diviner deemed worthy, not going into detail about how it would only select Inhumans to undergo Terrigenesis for the Kree's army. Zabo promised Whitehall that he would be able to take a team into the city to use the Diviner to its potential.
When Whitehall accused Zabo of planning to steal the Diviner's power for himself, Zabo assured him that he was not worthy of its power. Whitehall questioned why Zabo was willing to help him in his quest; Zabo explained that it was because he had nothing to lose and he wished to kill those who took his life away from him. As Whitehall questioned this answer, Zabo claimed that he had lost his family and would be reunited with them in the Afterlife, which further intrigued Whitehall but Zabo offered no further explanation.
Meeting Phil Coulson
Zabo was given a team of operatives to take to Australia to find the city matching the Words of Creation. When S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived on the scene, also looking for the city, Zabo disguised himself as a hostage. When Antoine Triplett was shot during a firefight there, Zabo stepped forward and volunteered to assist in saving his life, in order to talk face-to-face with Phil Coulson while operating on Triplett's wound.
When he accidentally revealed his identity to Coulson during their conversation, Zabo was forced to cut Triplett's brachial artery and told Coulson he would only save him from bleeding to death if he was allowed to escape. As Coulson demanded answers, Zabo explained that the Diviner had something within it, but when Coulson asked if it's power was equal to the Tesseract, Zabo admitted that he had no clue of the comparison. Zabo then escaped, leaving the medical care of Triplett in Coulson and Leo Fitz's hands.
Upon Zabo's return to HYDRA, Daniel Whitehall introduced him to Grant Ward, who had been a member of Coulson's Team and worked closely with Skye. Whitehall explained that Ward had been allowed to rejoin HYDRA after murdering his brother, Christian Ward. Whitehall believed that, as a team, they would be able to achieve many great things for HYDRA. Ward asked him how his meeting with Phil Coulson had gone, as Coulson was a difficult man to deal with. However, Zabo said that it was worthwhile, as it was always worth looking your enemy right in the eye. Saying this, he looked at Whitehall.
- "You're a monster, a murderer, a trail of death wherever you go."
"Those are all true. But you need to understand, my little girl was... you... were taken from me. My world fell apart. It was the worst day of my life losing you, but I didn't lose you, I wasn't careless. I didn't forget you were stolen from me!"
- ―Skye and Calvin Zabo[src]
While Daniel Whitehall began to enact his plan, Zabo sat patiently in a room and waited until Grant Ward returned and brought Skye to him inside the Ponce de León Theater, a temporary base which HYDRA had established in San Juan. Zabo told Skye how he had waited so long to be reunited with her. Though she was repulsed by him, calling him a monster, she listened as he told her of how he met Jiaying.
Zabo went on to tell Skye about the concept of Terrigenesis and how her mother had this gift which had been passed down to her if she went to the Kree City as he planned for her so she could receive her gifts. Skye corrected Zabo's story when he said that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including Linda Avery, took her to Austria to kill her, revealing that it was HYDRA that was responsible for the massacre. Zabo informed her that he had known all along that it had been Whitehall who had butchered his wife and that he was using the HYDRA leader to reunite them; and once they were together, he planned to rip Whitehall apart in revenge, calling it the best day ever.
Trapped by Daniel Whitehall
Zabo and Skye attended a meeting held by Daniel Whitehall, where he expressed his gratitude to Zabo for helping him locate the Kree City and giving him an understanding of the Diviner. He then explained that he wished to know if Skye would survive to touch the Diviner. When Skye picked it up, she attacked a HYDRA operative with it as Zabo killed his guard, leading to a stand-off. Whitehall explained he remembered who Zabo was and told him that he would not get his revenge.
Zabo was then knocked unconscious by one of the guards. When he awoke he found that Skye and Grant Ward had been tied to chairs while Agent 33 stood guard with various other armed HYDRA agents. As Zabo got to his feet, he checked that Skye had not been harmed before discovering that his own hands were not tied and therefore attempted to kill Whitehall again, but was stopped when Whitehall activated a remote Control Device that paralyzed him, forcing him to fall helplessly to the ground in considerable pain.
As Zabo lay on the ground, unable to move for the amount of pain he was in, he was forced to listen as Whitehall continued to mock Zabo, before moving over to Skye. As Zabo listened, Whitehall told Skye about Jiaying's gift to never age which he had taken from her the day he had torn her body to pieces. Whitehall once again reminded Zabo of his failure to gain revenge before telling him he wanted Zabo to watch as he tortured Skye to death during his experiments to find her Inhuman gifts before he would kill him as well.
Once Daniel Whitehall and Agent 33 had left the room to investigate the gunfire that was heard once S.H.I.E.L.D. had arrived to stop Whitehall's plans, Zabo used the opportunity that Ward gave him by distracting their guard to remove the Control Device on his neck and kill the guard by snapping his neck. Despite their requests for help, Zabo explained that he did not free Ward or Skye from their binds because he did not want her to see him rip Whitehall to pieces and refused Ward's polite offer to assist him.
As he moved through the Ponce de León Theater, Zabo eventually found Daniel Whitehall giving orders to Agent 33 and his other HYDRA soldiers to fight and kill all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were attacking their base. Zabo waited until Whitehall was standing alone and prepared to finally exact his revenge on the man who robbed him of his life, smiling to himself at the concept of finally fulfilling his promise to Jiaying and his life's goal since losing his family decades before.
While Zabo moved forward with his hands ready to rip apart his greatest enemy, Whitehall spotted him and raised his gun, preparing to shoot Zabo. However, before Whitehall could fire a single bullet, Phil Coulson shot him from behind. Zabo watched in shock as his enemy dropped to the ground dead in front of his eyes before he could get his long-planned revenge. Mortified Zabo roared at Coulson and demanded to know why he had done this while Coulson looked on in confusion with his gun raised.
Furious that he had not been allowed to exact his revenge upon his greatest enemy, Zabo took his rage out on Coulson as they dodged fire from Agent 33 who had arrived too late to save Whitehall. Zabo began attacking and beating Coulson, fueled by his incredible rage. Coulson fought back for a while, but Zabo chased him down and eventually got the upper hand due to his far superior strength and beat Coulson into submission, desiring nothing more than to kill him with his fists alone as he continued hitting him.
However, before Zabo could crush Coulson's skull, Skye found the two struggling, Coulson having nearly been beaten to death. At gunpoint, Skye ordered her father to step away from Coulson and leave and never see her again. Zabo agreed to leave but promised that she would eventually come to him for comfort, because no one other than him would understand her struggle after her Terrigenesis. He then revealed her birth name to her: Daisy, before turning around and walking away completely devastated.
Revenge Against S.H.I.E.L.D.
Threatened by Raina
- "I dreamt of the perfect reunion with my baby girl, revenge for my wife. Coulson rained all over my parades. But you say she's done it, she's changed. Oh! That's fantastic news. Oh, she's gonna be so mixed up now, oh, terribly afraid. She didn't have your mental preparation. She probably ran right back to Coulson's arms."
- ―Calvin Zabo to Raina[src]
Zabo went into hiding following his confrontation with S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, intending to leave Puerto Rico inside one of the container units of a cargo ship. Raina, who had traveled with Zabo using that method many times before, went to the cargo ship to confront him, having been transformed into her Inhuman form, which she considered monstrous. She demanded to know what had happened to her, but Zabo told her this was what she wanted and there was no way back.
Raina then revealed that Skye had gone through Terrigenesis. Zabo danced with glee and swore he would have to help her through her confusion the same way Jiaying helped others. However, his glee turned to horror as he remembered that Skye would go back to Phil Coulson's arms, who would put her on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Index. Raina retorted that it would never happen, though he ignored her. He then decided to contact other powered people he knew from the Index so he could exact his revenge. When Raina told him that she could not live looking as she did, Zabo dismissed her and left.
- "Don't you think it's time everyone learn how S.H.I.E.L.D. treats people like us? We're gonna teach them a lesson, and we want you to join us. I know. I sound bat-guano crazy. Except S.H.I.E.L.D.... Nah. Not so mighty anymore. A handful of agents. Director is a door-to-door salesman of a man."
- ―Calvin Zabo to Karla Faye Gideon[src]
Seeking to build a team of enhanced individuals of the fight against his enemies, Zabo quickly reconnected with Wendell Levi to assemble a group of people from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Index to help him destroy Phil Coulson. Zabo removed the microchip in Levi's arm that kept him from accessing technology and Levi hacked into the Index to find potential members that Zabo felt was wronged by the organization. Zabo also recruited Francis Noche who had been locked up for three years after being gifted with superhuman strength from experimental steroids.
The three then went to Coney Island, finding the home of Karla Faye Gideon, who questioned if they were with S.H.I.E.L.D. with Zabo denied. Zabo explained his and his friend's situation and offered her the chance to be free from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s restrictions. Although Gideon was initially reluctant to take the risk, she soon changed her mind and Zabo convinced her to join them, allowing Levi to free her of her restraints and unleash her deadly clawed fingertips at long last. Gideon then agreed to join Zabo's crusade of revenge.
Together, the team worked out a plan to break into the Brynmore Psychiatric Facility and recruit the other enhanced individuals who had been locked away there after they had located them from the Index's list. While Zabo distracted the guard by claiming that he had gotten lost while driving an RV, Karla Faye Gideon approached and sliced his throat open while Wendell Levi disabled the security systems. Before the power was shut off, Zabo took the opportunity to smile and wave at the security camera as a mocking message to Phil Coulson who was undoubtedly tracking their movements.
Once Francis Noche had given them access by ripping open the gates, Zabo and his team freed the Facility's prisoners, including John Bruno and David Angar. Bruno was left behind to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents when they came to investigate while the rest of the Slicing Talons escaped, but not before Zabo left a message on the wall calling for a fight on between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Talons, written in blood. As they drove to Manitowoc, Wisconsin to exact their revenge, Zabo assured Gideon that they did not need to go to S.H.I.E.L.D. directly as Coulson would undoubtedly come to them.
Along the way, the team stopped at a diner to eat some dinner. Zabo commented about Wendell Levi not eating at all and Levi claimed not to enjoy the food. Zabo was able to gain the sympathy of his compatriots by explaining to them how S.H.I.E.L.D. had stolen his daughter from him after his wife had been murdered, and how Coulson had killed Daniel Whitehall, despite his desire to do so himself. He explained to the group how he gained his strength after experimenting with body enhancing chemicals. The group all desired to teach Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. a lesson and show the world the crimes that had been committed against them and many others with powers.
Arriving at a high school in Manitowoc, Zabo had David Angar's muzzle was removed by Wendell Levi and Karla Faye Gideon, but before he could speak his first work in several years, Zabo advised him to make it count his first sound count. Zabo watched, smiling, as Angar stepped into the middle of a football field filled with athletes and cheerleaders before screaming at the top of his voice, causing them all to lose consciousness. Zabo laughed as he watched the incident unfold.
Zabo's team then awaited Phil Coulson's arrival on the pitch to stop them. When Coulson finally arrived along with Bobbi Morse, Zabo spoke through a sound system, announcing his team as the Slicing Talons and that they wanted revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. for wrongs against gifted individuals. He reminded Coulson that he wanted his own revenge for Coulson taking away his chance of finally killing Daniel Whitehall after twenty-five years of planning and then called upon Coulson to save the lives of all the innocent high schoolers knocked out by Angar's sonic voice.
Once he had been disarmed by Angar, Zabo approached Coulson with his teammates, except for Gideon, who was in the bleachers with a group of unconscious students. Zabo explained that he wanted the world to know what he believed to be the truth about S.H.I.E.L.D. and to stop their actions before they did it to anyone else. As Zabo was mid-speech, Melinda May arrived with Skye at gunpoint. This made Zabo hesitant as May threatened that now Skye was on the Index they could decide if she had to die in order to protect others from her dangerous powers while Zabo watched furiously.
Zabo insisted to Skye that S.H.I.E.L.D. was afraid of her Terrigenesis and that he was the only one would help her understand it. Trying to reason with his daughter, Zabo claimed that Coulson had brainwashed her into threatening her and promised that he forgave her. He then passed the microphone to Angar, intending for him to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents once Skye was safe. Before Zabo could kill Coulson, Gordon suddenly teleported onto the football field and warped Zabo away, taking him back to Afterlife while everyone else looked on in both shock and amazement.
Reunion with the Inhumans
Captured by Gordon
Having been locked inside a cold dark cell within Afterlife for several hours, Zabo threw a tantrum and destroyed the furniture in the room in which he was placed. Once he eventually calmed down at sat on the floor surrounded by the wreckage, Gordon entered and asked if Zabo was finished. Zabo demanded to know why Gordon had teleported him away to Afterlife instead of the more deserving Skye, as she desperately needed help to understand her newfound and potentially harmful gifts after undergoing Terrigenesis.
Gordon explained that Zabo was creating too much attention towards the Inhumans with his violent actions and, since he was not one of them, it was not appreciated. Zabo, however, insisted that him creating the Slicing Talons was his way of preparing them for war against S.H.I.E.L.D., although Gordon reminded him that he was not an Inhuman and did not speak for them. Gordon then motioned Zabo to the door to see the one who would decide his fate. Zabo adjusted his attire to be more presentable and walked slowly out the door preparing for what was to come.
Reuniting with Jiaying
Ultimately, Zabo found himself in a room with no exit, neither windows or doors; he pounded and rampaged to no avail, causing his hands a great deal of painful damage as he punched the walls and pleaded for his freedom. Days later, Gordon teleported into the room. Zabo demanded to be released, claiming that after all he had done for the Inhumans he deserved better treatment than being kept like an unruly animal.
Gordon showed no emotion to him and claimed he was lucky to be alive, Zabo soon realized that, after days without a visitor, Gordon was there because Skye was in Afterlife and demanded to see her, although Gordon refused to claim that Zabo had no self-control. Mortified by his treatment and these insults, Zabo then attacked him, but Gordon used his strength and teleportation to strike and evade Cal, who eventually relented because he had hurt his already sore hands, Gordon told him he may never leave Afterlife because of his actions that had put everything at risk.
Hours later, while Zabo was still suffering from the pain in his hands, Jiaying and Gordon appeared in the room. She thanked and hugged him for keeping his promise to reunite her with their daughter Skye and help her to fulfill her destiny in becoming an Inhuman. However, when he asked her if he could see her, Jiaying told him he could not. Knowing that it was due to his uncontrollable anger, Zabo reluctantly agreed, although he wished to stay in Afterlife on the off-chance Jiaying or Daisy might change their minds.
Zabo was informed by Jiaying that he would have an opportunity to have dinner with her and Skye as she had built up her confidence by training her to understand her Terrigenesis and felt that Zabo had earned a reward for fulfilling his promise to her. Zabo prepared for the meal by collecting daisies and wearing a suit. When Skye and Jiaying arrived, Zabo handed Skye the flowers and greeted her warmly, thanking them both for giving him a second chance to be with his family.
Jiaying mentioned that Skye did not know when her birthday was, and Zabo immediately told her that it was July 2nd, going on to happily tell the story of her birth in detail, describing how he had struggled to get a car to take Jiaying to the hospital due to his poor Chinese. Zabo then revealed that Skye was born in 1988, not 1989 as Skye had originally believed and the family group shared a laugh over the misunderstanding before raising a toast to one another. Zabo then continued his story while Skye listened on happily.
Still delighting in the success of the previous night's dinner, Zabo spoke to Jiaying and claimed that it was almost exactly how he had imagined it. Zabo acknowledged that Skye was still afraid of him, noting that he wished Skye could have known him when he and Jiaying were married and his mind was calmer, but Zabo remained delighted none the less. Zabo was told that he could leave Afterlife to pick up some of his belongings from his home, but Zabo was uninformed that Gordon would simply leave him behind so he could never return to Afterlife and never see his family again.
While lying on his bed in his room, Skye knocked on Zabo's door and asked if she could come in before asking him where he was going. Zabo happily told her he was going to retrieve his belongings, but when Skye asked if he was going to China, Zabo told her he had a practice in Milwaukee, and that was where he was going and offered to bring her back a gift which Skye politely declined. Zabo told Skye a brief bit of history of how he had met Jiaying before Skye asked if she could go with him to Milwaukee, Zabo happily agreed to, telling her that it would be the best day ever for them both.
- "Oh, it was gonna be perfect. I was gonna drop you off every morning and pick you up, help you with your science-fair project – the volcano, because who doesn't love a volcano, right? We'd go to the father-daughter dances together, get ice cream. Ah, the life we could have had. Should have had."
- ―Calvin Zabo to Skye[src]
The next morning, Gordon dropped off Zabo and Skye in Milwaukee as he had promised. Once they arrived Zabo rudely told Gordon to leave them alone, getting a disapproving look from Skye as a result. As Gordon prepared to leave he told them that he would pick them up when they were ready before allowing the pair to walk down the street together.
Zabo tried to show his daughter all the old places he knew, but they had all closed down in the years since he had been there. Zabo remained nervous, often asking if Skye was bored spending time with him, but she assured him that he was a lot of things but boring was not one of them. Skye bumped into a stranger, Zabo began to lose his temper, demanding the stranger apologize to Skye, but she managed to calm him down and asked him instead to see if a local corner shop had ice cream instead.
Eventually, he took her to his old office, where all his things were left untouched, revealing to her that he, in fact, owned the entire building. Skye noted that Zabo's original surname was Johnson, but told her that he had changed it when he went on the run. He showed Skye his grandfather's operating kit he had used to sew Jiaying back together. His enthusiasm was spoiled when Skye told him that he was holding on to the idea of raising a family, a thought that would never come true and she told him it was time to move on. Skye let it slip that Zabo was not to return to Afterlife.
The two were interrupted by a noise in the building. When they went to investigate, with Zabo grabbing a pair of scissors to defends them, they found it was Lincoln Campbell, who had been sent by Jiaying to watch over Skye, annoying Zabo at not being trusted. Zabo suddenly realized that Jiaying and Skye were intending to leave him behind and in his anger, Zabo threw Campbell against a wall and demanded that he call her by the name Daisy, causing a great deal of noise in the struggle.
As Zabo reacted in a rage of the betrayal, Campbell tried to calm him down, only angering him further. Before a fight could break out, Zabo was interrupted by HYDRA agents sent by Sunil Bakshi, and he told Campbell to get Skye to safety. He walked towards the agents, and attacked them, using a blade and his own strength to kill them. As Zabo won the fight, he witnessed Gordon come back to retrieve Skye and return her to Afterlife, Zabo leaped at him and just managed to reach him as Gordon teleported away.
Return to Afterlife
Zabo and Skye were taken from the HYDRA battle to Afterlife by Gordon, leaving Lincoln Campbell behind to be captured by Sunil Bakshi. Once they arrived, the enraged Zabo immediately began arguing with Jiaying about how she had planned to leave him behind like an unwanted dog in order to keep him away from their daughter. She tried to calm him down, but Zabo continued to shout at the top of his voice so everyone could hear, she eventually convinced him to wait in his room and calm his rage, telling him she would visit him later.
Although he was unhappy, he knew Jiaying was often right in these situations and so did as he was instructed, leaving Jiaying to deal with the current situation. Having spent a few hours locked away in his room pacing up and down trying to calm his rage and frustration down, Zabo was eventually visited by Jiaying. Despite seeing his wife who had so cruelly betrayed him, Zabo managed to keep his temper under control while Jiaying teased him for predictably pacing up and down the room before inviting him to talk calmly.
She took him outside for a walk and Zabo tried to defend himself that he had come back too hot and had not had time to calm down, which is why he lost his temper. Zabo tried to learn why Jiaying had attempted to send him away, she tried to explain it was too dangerous to have him in Afterlife. She told him he could stay for the time being, which delighted him as the idea of spending time with his family made him incredibly happy. Jiaying then asked Zabo about Raina and he told her that they had spent a lot of time together and she had proven to him several times that she was not to be trusted.
Raina and Gordon were sent on a mission to locate the Monolith; Zabo was called into Jiaying's office once again to discuss Raina and whether or not this was a danger to Inhumans. Zabo threatened to rip out Raina's heart if she ever hurt his family, but quickly calmed down and told Jiaying how he had met her when she was a homeless orphan, and how he witnessed her go from resourceful to manipulative and selfish. He told her that he had never known Raina to not want something, so Jiaying asked what she wanted now.
Raina and Gordon returned to Afterlife having located the Monolith in onboard the Iliad, Zabo was invited to the meeting to discuss their next step. Although Gordon argued that Zabo should not be involved, Zabo argued that Skye was currently at S.H.I.E.L.D.. Raina attempted to calm Zabo down but only succeeded in annoying him further. Zabo accused Raina of making up her visions to control the Inhumans to create chaos while Gordon mocked Zabo for being nothing without his formula. Jiaying calmed down the situation assuring them that they would not allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to bring down their civilization.
Jiaying later informed Zabo that S.H.I.E.L.D. was coming to Afterlife to meet her. The idea enraged Zabo and he smashed a table with his bare hands, although he immediately apologized. Jiaying asked him if he believed she could trust S.H.I.E.L.D., although Zabo made it clear he despised S.H.I.E.L.D. and especially Coulson, he knew that Coulson did care greatly for their daughter. When she asked Zabo about the Index, Zabo appeared horrified at the idea, telling her that S.H.I.E.L.D. would brand them and take away her power.
He suggested that she should use her power to fight against S.H.I.E.L.D., but she insisted that that was not what Skye would want. Jiaying said that her people would never follow her blindly into a war, but Zabo insisted that he would. Hearing this, she told Zabo that even though he had aged, he was still the same man with whom she fell in love, and the two shared a tender moment. Seeing no choice, Zabo suggested that she hand him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. as a gesture of good faith, allowing him to protect his family.
Returned to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Zabo was present when Robert Gonzales arrived in Jiaying's office for a meeting. When Gonzales asked why Zabo was present, Jiaying explained that she was willing to hand him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. as they had willingly handed Skye and Lincoln Campbell back to them. When Gonzales mentioned that Zabo had killed his agents, Zabo insisted that he had not, although he admitted to having killed many other people whom he had deemed to have deserved killing. Jiaying then ordered Skye to deliver Zabo to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, while she began her peace meeting with Gonzales.
As they walked through Afterlife towards the Quinjet, Zabo told Skye about how excited he had been to meet her, even before she was born. He expressed his gratitude for having been able to meet and spend time with her, telling her that she had proven herself to be an even more remarkable young wound than he could have ever imagined. She told him she was grateful that she got to know him as well before she was forced to hand Zabo over to Melinda May to be put into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s custody for questioning.
May contacted Phil Coulson back at the Playground to inform him about the Inhumans actions of handing him over to their custody while Zabo was handcuffed and put onto the Quinjet, his pockets were then searched by the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents aboard. One of the agents found the vials of his formula in his pockets, empty after he had injected himself earlier as per Jiaying's order, when Anne Weaver asked him about it he denied all knowledge of what they were. As they were put away and the search continued, Zabo watched the agents with a strange and confident smile on his face.
As his formula began to take hold, Zabo struggled to keep his sanity and began singing children's songs to himself while tied down and wearing noise-cancelling headphones to ensure he could not hear what the S.H.I.E.L.D.'s agents were discussing. Although he could not hear anything, Zabo knew that Jiaying's plan was going successfully underway, as many of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents appeared distressed and Melinda May was returned unconscious to the Quinjet before they took off and left Afterlife.
Questioned by Phil Coulson
Zabo flown back to the Playground onboard the Quinjet where he was greeted by Phil Coulson. Coulson demanded to know why Zabo was really there, as he found it nearly impossible to believe that the Inhumans would have so willingly handed him over just before the mysterious death of Robert Gonzales, but Zabo insisted that he was simply a peace offering sent by his family. As Zabo continued to make jokes, Coulson put his headphones back on and had Zabo locked in Vault D.
Zabo, still suffering from the effects of overdosing on his formula, found himself feeling extreme cold and extreme heat in quick periods. Phil Coulson arrived to begin questioning Zabo, who complained of the intense cold he was feeling and demanded that Coulson turn up the heating or bring him another blanket to keep warm. When Coulson asked why Zabo had surrendered so easily to them, he responded by explaining that Coulson, not being a father, could never understand what a father would do for his child.
Coulson once again insisted that it was Daniel Whitehall's team of HYDRA agents who had taken Skye from him, not S.H.I.E.L.D. as Zabo continued to claim as he described the pain of losing his daughter. Changing the subject, Coulson began asking about how Zabo had managed to kill an entire village of people single-handedly in revenge for losing her in the first place, Zabo took pleasure in the memory and simply told Coulson that he had done it with style, refusing to go into any further detail than that.
True Intentions Revealed
When Phil Coulson returned to Vault D to continue the questioning, Zabo was now suffering was intense heat and requested a glass of water. Coulson gave Zabo the water, which he poured over himself before requesting another glass to drink, to which Coulson told him it depended on his cooperation. Zabo explained that the Inhumans only wanted to live in peace in Afterlife. Coulson revealed that Jiaying had assassinated Robert Gonzales with the intention of starting a war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans, but Zabo refused to believe him.
Coulson asked if Jiaying had forced Zabo to inject himself with his formula as part of the distraction, noting that the formula was clearly killing him. Zabo divulged to Coulson that it was a formula of his own invention, designed to enhance his strength in order to protect his family. When Zabo went on to explain that Coulson's assumption was incorrect as he had taken it of his own free will and viewed it well worth the risk to help Jiaying. Zabo then proudly revealed that his intention was to kill as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as he could.
During their discussion, Coulson causally referred to Skye as Daisy, which threw Zabo into a rage as he felt only her family should call her Daisy. Coulson attempted to reason with Zabo, pointing out that everything he had done, including wiping out the village and taking the vials of his formula, was all on Jiaying's behalf as she had made him believe that he was a monster that he never was before, but Zabo insisted that he had killed the villagers because they had attempted to hide his daughter from him which had driven him to violence.
Zabo refused to believe he was being manipulated by his wife, claiming that she was not a monster like him, while Coulson argued that she was much worse as she had forced him to do her dirty work for her and now she did not care if he lived or died as long as he completed his violent task to wipe out all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents located at the Playground. As he grew more and more angry at Coulson's accusations and desperately tried to defend his wife's barbaric actions, Zabo's heart gave out as he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed in his cell, struggling to breathe.
With his heart no longer beating, Zabo was quickly rushed to the medical unit, where Jemma Simmons attempted to restart his heart. When the defibrillator failed to bring him back, Simmons was forced to use adrenaline to start his heart again and save his life, as despite his threats to kill them all they felt a need to try and save Skye's father.
By chance, the adrenaline Simmons injected Zabo with happened to be the missing component the serum needed to work, and Zabo went into a seizure as a result of having the needle puncture his skin and fell off the table. The final dosage resulted in Zabo undergoing a physical transformation, causing his skin, veins, and fingernails to grow to repulsive sizes and giving him the enhanced strength he had always desired as he stood up to face his enemies, calling himself the monster that they had been referring to earlier during his interrogation while also delighting in his new found power.
Phil Coulson, Simmons and Leo Fitz tried subduing Zabo by locking him in the medical pod, but while Zabo tested out his new found strength, he overturned the bed before smashing his way through the enhanced glass with little effort, claiming that he was perfectly calm while smiling at their fear of him. As the furious Zabo moved forward to kill his targets, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents then attempted to stop him by shooting I.C.E.R.s at him, but they failed to slow him down, with Zabo claiming they caused him to lose feeling in his legs while keeping a big grin on his now hideously disfigured face.
While Coulson ordered Fitz and Simmons to run for their own safety as Zabo clearly was not going to stop before he had massacred them all, he tried to calm Zabo down by reminding him this was Jiaying's plan not his. Zabo, however, argued that he did not care as he had spent much of his life doing whatever Jiaying asked of him as it not only made him happy but made Jiaying love him. Coulson's attempts for peace soon failed and he was forced to flee as Zabo attacked him by launching a large canister at his head but just missing before he began his rampage through the base, destroying everything.
Accepting the Truth
Zabo pursued the agents, wreaking havoc in the Playground until he spotted Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons running to the main hanger. When Zabo gave chance, Phil Coulson was able to pin him against a wall with the S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV, reinforced with an Electronic Battering Ram. As the furious Zabo tried to free himself and vowed to rip him apart, Coulson managed to talk Zabo down, expressing his opinion that Zabo was not the monster he had been made to believe he was but a good man, acknowledging that everything he had done was out of Zabo's love for his family and a desire to bring them back together.
Zabo agreed with Coulson, admitting that Jiaying was the one who had convinced him to kill dozens of people for her as he has only wanted her to love him again so his family could be back together after Daniel Whitehall had torn them apart. As Coulson continued to provoke Zabo by promising that he would do everything he could to stop Jiaying's plan, Zabo used all his strength and managed to free himself from his entrapment before grabbing Coulson by his jacket. However, rather than attacking his once greatest enemy, he agreed to work with Coulson to protect Skye and bring her home.
Zabo was placed under armed guard, while Simmons helped counteract the effects of his formula, resulting in the reversal of his physical changes. While he continued his treatment, Zabo overheard Fitz informing Coulson that Jiaying and a team of Inhumans had successfully taken over the Iliad. It was decided that Zabo should join Coulson and his team on the mission to stop Jiaying, as he had inside knowledge of the Inhumans which could prove highly beneficial and if need be he could be a highly dangerous weapon for S.H.I.E.L.D. to unleash upon their enemy and defeat Jiaying.
As they approached the Iliad while onboard the Quinjet, Zabo realized that Jiaying's plan was to use deadly Terrigen Crystals to kill all the humans on board, although Melinda May continued to question while Zabo had been brought on the mission. Zabo then assured Phil Coulson that he would deal with Jiaying, as it was a family matter. He told Coulson to ensure the crystals were safe while he dealt with Jiaying.
Zabo soon found Jiaying attempting to escape with a case of Crystals alongside her small army of Inhumans. Zabo tried to reason with her but Jiaying was mortified that Zabo had seemingly betrayed her and her people by joining with S.H.I.E.L.D. in combating the Inhumans. While Jiaying insisted that she was trying to save her people from the cruelty of S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, Zabo attempted to stop her and make her reconsider her plans for a mass genocide of the human race by telling her to think of their daughter and how she would feel about the massacre of her friends and allies.
Jiaying refused to listen and ordered Zabo to move out of her way, noting that she planned to give all Inhumans the chance to undergo Terrigenesis and live peacefully on the planet without being hunted by the humans who wished to enslave them all by putting them on the Index. When Zabo refused to move aside and continued to insist that she stop what she was doing, Jiaying had Gordon teleport Zabo into a locked room, trapping him before walking away as Zabo banged on the glass and demanded to know where Skye was.
An Impossible Choice
Zabo soon escaped from his entrapment and found Jiaying and Skye outside the Iliad, both using their powers to try and kill each other as Skye had destroyed the Terrigen Crystals by knocking them into the sea. Zabo begged them to stop before telling Skye she did not have to live with the pain of killing someone she loved. Seeing there was no way to stop Jiaying, he pulled her away from Skye and broke her nerve endings.
As Jiaying looked up in horror at her husband's actions against her, she asked him why he had done this to her, and he replied that he did it to keep his promise to her of protecting their daughter. Zabo then lifted Jiaying high in the air and crushed her spine with just his own strength, killing her. As Jiaying died, Zabo held the body of his beloved wife in his arms and cried as he took the pain of her death and suffered it, knowing that he had saved Skye from the same agony that he would have to live with from this point onwards.
Farewell to Memories
With the Inhuman threat at an end, Zabo left the Playground. As he was leaving, he was walked out by Skye. In their last few moments together, Zabo told her that she was better than he ever imagined, although he had imagined her perfect. Assuming that he was going to be incarcerated for the rest of his life for his crimes, Zabo requested that Skye come and visit him, and she promised that she would, joking it would be the best day ever. Zabo told her he had only had one best day, the day she was born.
Zabo's mind was erased by S.H.I.E.L.D. at Skye's request, using the remaining resources from Project T.A.H.I.T.I., and he was allowed to begin a new and happy life as Doctor Winslow. He began work as a veterinarian with his own office. As Winslow worked another day at his new building, welcoming new animals to his practice with a smile, he was visited by a young woman, who showed an interest in his business. Winslow greeted the woman warmly and she introduced herself as Daisy. Winslow noted that it was a lovely name before continuing his life as a happy and peaceful man.
Since experiencing the trauma of discovering the brutally murdered corpse of his wife and experimenting on himself, Zabo has demonstrated a highly unstable personality, easily prone to outbursts of rage, driven by a desperate motivation to restore the family he feels he had lost while seeking revenge on his transgressors. Under normal conditions, Zabo maintains a calm demeanor, expressing high intelligence and a sensible, level-headed personality, but at times he may still express mild anger or annoyance in a more tactful manner.
Although Zabo was mentally unstable, he was also very caring. This was put forward by Phil Coulson who went on to say that he wore his heart on his sleeve. He ultimately only wished to fulfill his promise to Jiaying, which was to protect their daughter, which he made sure to follow to the point where he even killed Jiaying herself because she attempted to murder Skye. This promise, however, made Zabo go to desperate lengths experimenting on himself and murdering an entire village of people.
Zabo's true self, however, was a much more caring and admirable man, a positive side of himself which most people who meet him find hard to believe, including his own daughter, who persistently called him a monster since their first meeting. As Calvin Johnson, he was a responsible and dedicated physician and worked for Doctors Without Borders. And were it not for their family tragedy, he would have been a wonderful father and husband as well. When Zabo showed his daughter around Milwaukee, he would continuously talk about how he planned on giving his family a normal and peaceful life, having already chosen a school for Daisy, and taking her to school and to dances. All in all, Calvin was a good man, who just suffered great losses that drove him to desperate measures to rectify all the wrongs that had been done to him and his family.
After undergoing the T.A.H.I.T.I Protocol and having his memories wiped, he is now living happily as a veterinarian. As Dr. Winslow, he is very social and hospitable to others and kind to animals. It can be assumed that Zabo has been restored to the good man he once was, albeit without the family he no longer realizes that he lost.
Powers and Abilities
- Transformation: Thanks to his formula, Zabo can partially transform himself into a mostly huge humanoid, extremely resilient to physical damage: In this form, non-lethal weapons such as the I.C.E.R.s have absolutely no effect on him, and even lethal force barely slows him down. Also, his strength increases remarkably, as he is able to toss around extremely heavy lab equipment with no effort, and was able to break Jiaying's neck with a simple twist of his wrist.
- Enhanced Strength: Calvin Zabo shows physical strength that exceeds that of an average man, being capable of easily killing a man with his bare hands and breaking a HYDRA operative's neck by lifting him and tossing him on the floor. Derived from experiments Zabo performed on himself, hoping to protect his daughter after her mother's death, his strength allowed him to toss a now transformed Raina to the ground, even though she had him by the throat, once he got enraged when she insulted his daughter.
- Enhanced Durability: He has shown himself to be extremely durable to injuries, when transformed. Even lethal weapons only slowed him down, and being hit with a car, did not cause any injuries.
- "I can help. I'm a doctor."
- ―Calvin Zabo[src]
- Master Physician: Zabo has extensive medical training, having worked in a clinic in his youth, and having performed underground surgeries in his recent years. He possesses extensive medical knowledge regarding human physiology, which in turn makes him effective at saving lives, or killing others whenever he loses his composure. He has used his medical knowledge to create a chemical formula that enhanced his physiology and improved his strength, though he was not entirely successful with it, as it gave him a more violent personality.
- Tactician: To be added
- Combatant: Zabo is an adept combatant, being able to kill multiple HYDRA operatives with relative ease. However, he often uses his enhanced strength to his advantage, rather than using the actual skill as shown when he took on Phil Coulson.
- Bilingualism: Zabo is fluent in his native English. He started to learn Chinese upon moving to China, though he confessed on having a poor understading for the language and needed Jiaying to translate for him.
- "That little concoction is my own special formula. I took it of my own free will. You see, when my Daisy was stolen, I wasn't strong enough to protect her, so I started experimenting. If I wasn't born with Inhuman powers, then I would make my own. Best-laid plans. C'est la vie. I never got it quite right... Always missing something. Highly unstable. Made me a little moody. Could it kill me? Sure. But it was worth the risk."
- ―Calvin Zabo to Phil Coulson[src]
- Calvin Zabo's Formula: In response to having his family torn apart, Zabo began experimenting and created his own Formula which gave him superhuman strength. This formula proved to be highly unstable and caused him to have dramatic mood swings which often resulted in violent outbursts. It was only when Jemma Simmons injected Zabo with adrenaline that the formula caused Zabo to gain the maximum strength his body could take while also mutating him into a monstrous version of himself hell bent on ripping his enemies apart.
- Diviner: Raina retrieved a Diviner for Zabo, and used it to negotiate a meeting with HYDRA in exchange for information about it.
- Hapag-Lloyd: Zabo boarded the Hapag-Lloyd after being confronted by Raina and took it back to the United States of America from Puerto Rico.
- Quinjet: Zabo was put in handcuffs and brought to the Playground on the Quinjet. S.H.I.E.L.D. also brought Zabo to the Iliad in a Quinjet to help them fight Jiaying.
- Calvin Zabo's Building: Zabo owned a building where his medical practice was. He brought Skye to the building, and was followed there by Lincoln Campbell. HYDRA attacked the building, and Zabo killed all of the agents and left with Gordon and Skye.
- Calvin Zabo's Clandestine Clinic: Zabo performed underground surgeries at a clinic and met with Raina there. He performed a surgery on Brick, when Raina came and asked for the Obelisk. S.H.I.E.L.D. raided the facility, but Zabo left before they could find him.
- HYDRA Laboratories: Zabo went to HYDRA's laboratory and made an arrangement to help study the Obelisk in exchange for Phil Coulson's death. Zabo provided HYDRA with information about the object.
- Ponce de León Theater: Zabo reunited with Skye in the Ponce de León Theater, and betrayed HYDRA to defend his daughter. Zabo was captured by HYDRA and tortured by Daniel Whitehall. S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltrated the theater and Grant Ward freed Zabo, who got upset when Coulson killed Whitehall before Zabo could. Zabo fought Coulson, but was stopped by Skye, causing him leave.
- Afterlife: Zabo was brought to Afterlife by Gordon, and kept in a cell, where he reunited with Jiaying and had a family dinner with Skye. He was allowed a father-daughter day with Skye, and returned despite Jiaying's intention for him to stay. He was then given to S.H.I.E.L.D., who took him out of Afterlife.
- Winslow's Veterinary Clinic: Zabo had his mind erased and was given new memories, in which he operated a veterinary clinic. He held adoption days on Saturday and gave free spaying and neutering at the clinic.
- Playground: Zabo was held at the Playground and questioned by Phil Coulson, while his formula slowly killed him. The formula caused him to nearly die, until Jemma Simmons injected him with adrenaline, completing the formula and turning him into a monster. However, Coulson trapped him and calmed him down, convincing him to help stop Jiaying.
|Appearances for Calvin Zabo|
In the alternate timeline:
- In the comics, Calvin Zabo is best known as the super-villain Mister Hyde, a recurring enemy of Thor and Daredevil, and father of S.H.I.E.L.D. director Daisy Johnson.
- Zabo has a miniature hula girl on his desk, much like the one Skye had in her van.
Behind the Scenes
- The character's full name was never revealed in the series, though it was confirmed by Maurissa Tancharoen that it was Calvin Zabo.
- Kyle MacLachlan did not play Calvin Zabo in the character's first appearance, Beginning of the End; the character was instead portrayed by a stand-in.
- The actors of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the staff responsible for the marketing of the TV series, suggested in social media that the character's alter ego is the same as in the comics. For example, promotional art using the word "Hyde" instead of "hide," also promoted by Kyle MacLachlan with the description "You can run but you can't Hyde!", paraphrasing a statement attributed to American boxer Joe Louis.
- Solomon Brende and Jefferson Cox were stunt doubles for Kyle MacLachlan in the role of Calvin Zabo.
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