There are some pretty badass Black women in comics, and Agent 355 is at the top of my list of favorites. Created by one of my favorite comics writers Brian K. Vaughan in his epic series Y: The Last Man, she was a secret agent for of the Culper Ring, a secret spy ring that grew out of the American Revolutionary War and conducts all sorts of shady covert ops.
After the world goes haywire and almost every single male on the planet dies suddenly Agent 355, sometimes referred to as “Three-Fifty” is charged with finding and protecting the world’s last man Yorick Brown, a twenty-something kid obsessed with magic tricks. 355’s training in the Culper Rings makes her highly skilled at hand-to-hand combat, stealth, and the use of various firearms and weapons. She was recruited to the Culper Ring at a very young age, and her first code name was 86. But after she killed her mentor (the original 355), who was plotting an assassination of the President, she took on the name 355. Her real name was never revealed. I’m guessing her codename was inspired by the mysterious Agent 355, who was possibly the first female undercover operative in the real-life Culper Ring.
355 protects Yorick throughout many adventures in the post-apocalayptic world, while Yorick mostly bumbles about pining for his lost girlfriend and generally getting them into serious ish with the rogue lady bullies trying to survive in the post-male-apocalypse. Eventually 355 finds a female scientist Dr. Allison Mann, who might have the solution to the plague that killed all of the men. Dr. Mann is pretty bad ass herself, displaying some pretty decent fighting skills and basically taking no shit, ever. She’s half-Chinese, half-Japanese, and has had to deal with her crazy warring parents. Dr. Mann is also attracted to women, and has the hots for Agent 355, with whom she shares a brief romance.
The team, including Yorick’s friendly monkey Ampersand, go on the hunt for Yorick’s girlfriend. But throughout their travels Yorick and 355 become close and develop romantic feelings towards one another. Naturally, of course, Yorick is too dense to realize this until the very last minute…
The best part of this series isn’t just the multi-culti crew, or the cadre of generally ass-kicking women (and there’s a lot of both of these), but the fact that Agent 355 is really the series’s hero. Yorick might be the only guy, but he doesn’t necessarily take center stage. In fact, his role is best described as damsel in distress. Kiinda great. Also, I just want to hug Brian K. Vaughan, and point other writers from every entertainment field ever to this example with a very sarcastic, ” Holy shit! Who knew a Black woman and a white dude could actually be sexually attracted to each other, without f*ck*d up over-sexualization, weird exoticism, or skin-whitener?? Crazy sauce.” Not to mention, being the only dude in the world, Yorick literally had his pick of the ladies. Good choice, Yorick. 355, I woulda stuck with Dr. Mann if I were you.
Anyway, if you haven’t read it, do. If you have, read it again, I’m gonna. Apparently there are clues to 355’s real name, and I bet my mind will only be blown again (double brain explosion) by all the stuff I didn’t pick up the first time around.