Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ambush at Manitowoc

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"What do you want?"
"We want S.H.I.E.L.D. exposed for its barbaric crimes against exceptional humanity. We want everyone to know what you do to people like us. And we want you to stop before you do it to her."
Phil Coulson and Calvin Zabo[src]

The Ambush at Manitowoc was a trap set by Calvin Zabo to lure Phil Coulson to the city where he was born, in an attempt to make S.H.I.E.L.D. pay for what they had done to Zabo and other gifted individuals in the past, especially for, as Zabo believed, taking his daughter from him.


Robert Coulson, with his wife and son, lived in Manitowoc, Wisconsin as a school teacher and high school football coach.[1]

Robert's son Phil Coulson would ultimately work for S.H.I.E.L.D.,[2] lead his own team, and recruit a young woman named Skye. [3] Phil would grow close to Skye, to the point that she viewed him as a father figure in her life.[4]

The true father of Skye, Calvin Zabo, hated S.H.I.E.L.D. after HYDRA operatives, using the organization's name, kidnapped and killed his wife[5] and abducted his daughter.[6] Zabo observed that Coulson and Skye were close and grew jealous, [4] but, when Coulson kept Zabo from exacting his revenge on Daniel Whitehall by killing him himself, [7] Zabo's hatred for Coulson became personal. He desired to humiliate him.

Skye was an Inhuman and recently developed her powers of earthquake-generation.[7] However, as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, she needed to be placed on the Index and given a psychological profile. Andrew Garner was recruited to give the profile. Since Skye did not have full control over her powers, she stayed on the Bus.[1]

Zabo knew that S.H.I.E.L.D. would place Skye on the Index and viewed it as discriminatory.[8] He began gathering individuals from the Index that he felt were treated unfairly by S.H.I.E.L.D. These people included Wendell Levi, Francis Noche, and Karla Faye Gideon.

Meanwhile, Bobbi Morse and Director Coulson were investigating a breakout at Brynmore Psychiatric Facility, a facility that held two Index candidates, one being David Angar.[1]

Gordon, an Inhuman with teleportation powers, was commissioned to find the newly-transformed to teach them how to use their powers.[7]


Phil Coulson and Bobbi Morse arrived at the football field of the Manitowoc Outlaws, after Coulson realized that Zabo wanted to humiliate him in his hometown. As they entered, they saw dead birds killed by David Angar's sonic scream.

Calvin Zabo, who was in a transmission box, knew that Coulson arrived; he started to mock him as if the battle was an actual football game. As a result, Zabo ended calling his team the Slicing Talons. As Zabo continued, Coulson told Morse that Zabo was making a statement, and realized that they were outnumbered and needed to wait for Melinda May. However, Zabo convinced Coulson to enter the field by telling him that there were civilians inside.


Coulson entered, asking Zabo to let the civilians leave, and, as he stopped talking, Wendell Levi turned on the lights of the field, revealing the Slicing Talons in different parts of the field with Karla Faye Gideon near some unconscious civilians. Coulson asked Zabo what he had done to them; Zabo stated that they took their potential and "contained" it. Zabo then told Angar to check Coulson for weapons as a precaution. Angar then found a gun without knowing that Morse was watching from some terraces.

Coulson had previously called May for support. She piloted the Bus to Manitowoc, ignoring the fact that Skye and Andrew Garner were onboard conducting her psychological profile. When they brought their presence to her attention, May became convinced ultimately that Skye's presence could be used advantageously.

Zabo confronted Coulson, but May arrived with Skye at gunpoint. This caused Zabo to hesitate on attacking Coulson and he started to talk to his daughter about her change and how S.H.I.E.L.D. treated powered people, but May kept telling him not to talk to Skye but to her. Zabo then stated that they would not kill Skye, but that they were capable of it and that was what he was trying to prove to the town. He then passed the microphone to Angar so that he could use his scream to knock out most of the town, but he was interrupted by Gordon, who teleported to the field to take Zabo away.


When Gordon teleported away with Zabo, Gideon told Angar to end it, but before he could grab the microphone Coulson knocked him unconscious. Then Andrew Garner grabbed Skye to escort her away and was given a gun by May. She then started to fight against Francis Noche, but Skye stopped at the goalpost to watch the fight. Before Gideon could leave the field, Morse pursued Gideon to the locker rooms where they fought and Morse knocked Gideon out with a table. Levi tried to escape with his equipment but was stopped by Coulson who knocked him out as Levi begged him not to. As Skye kept watching the fight, she started to lose control of her powers, making everything to shake, but she restrained it. This caused hairline fractures in her arms and she fainted.[1]


Andrew Garner recommended that Skye should be removed from active duty.[1] Skye was sent to the Retreat, so that her arms could heal and for her to train without harming the other agents.[9]

Zabo was taken to Afterlife, but kept in a windowless, doorless room until Jiaying chose to see him.[10]


The Slicing Talons were all apprehended.[1]


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