The latest in a series of one-shots celebrating the 50th anniversary of SHIELD, The Cavalry features Agent Melinda May, one of the most popular characters from the Agents of SHIELD tv show. While other characters have problems reconciling their Marvel Comics and Cinematic Universe versions, May was created for the tv show, so she doesn’t have a long backstory to try and tiptoe around. She’s an amazing badass who is a lot of fun to watch, either onscreen or on the page.
Here, May is tasked with giving a team of recruits their final exam. It’s not exactly a multiple choice test with Number 2 pencils. The field exercise goes horribly wrong almost from the start, and May has to work out how to keep her rookies alive, and still give them enough to do to validate the test. The location of the test is someplace May has been before, in not-ideal circumstances. There are some nice flashbacks, just a different colored panel at a time, that show her last trip here and contrast it with the present. Can May keep the recruits from learning what it feels like to lose a teammate? Even she isn’t perfect, despite what her reputation, fast on its way to becoming legend, might make people think.
Plot: This was a really entertaining read. The “training exercise goes bad” story has been done many times, so it takes a bit to give it something new. Houser does. I’ll give this a 4.5 out of 5 for plot.
Art: The art is nicely done. The effect between the present and her flashbacks is nicely executed. I’ll give the art a high 3.5 out of 5.
Positives: This was a fun read with some great lines. I actually laughed out loud a few times on the dialogue, and from May’s reactions. Houser has a good feel for who May is, and it worked really well here. I enjoyed her writing a lot, and Jody Houser is a name to watch in the future, I think.
Negatives: Damn near none. There was one scene of someone who apparently broke free of handcuffs by raw strength, which isn’t humanly possible. If that isn’t what happened, it needed to be explained better. That’s a minor quibble, and all I have. This was a nicely done, well written issue.
Great story with a wonderful take on May and some great lines. I recommend this one, and am going to be watching for Houser.
50 Years of SHIELD: The Cavalry 1
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Luke Ross
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Dale Kewon