Psycho Sunday: Badass Women in Combat Gear #4

Again with the Joss Whedon ladies. Now there’s a surprise. Number Four is Melinda May and All the Other Women on Agents of SHIELD.


Agent Melinda May is an older Asian beauty with badass combat skills and a lack of extraneous affect. The character went through some serious shit back in Bahrain and hasn’t been the same since. And although we are always wary of badass chicks with psychological baggage getting in the way of their having a normal life, we can’t not appreciate the badassery of May.

The thing is, though, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is chock full of bad ass women, from Utterly Badass to Seriously badass to Gradually Badass to Occasionally Badass to–what?–Administratively/Categorically Badass?

And the rest, in order from Utterly Badass down to Eventually Badass are:


Isabelle Hartley. When Bobbi Morse says to her, “You know I just love your whole thing, right?” you know Izzie’s Utterly Badass.



MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Fractured House” – The world turns against S.H.I.E.L.D. when Hydra impersonates them to attack The United Nations, and an unexpected enemy leads the charge to bring about their downfall, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) ADRIANNE PALICKI

Bobbi “Mockingbird” Morse. Her superpowers are sarcasm, escrima batons, and having sex with her ex-husband in the back of an SUV.


Skye. Sorry, Daisy Johnson. You will always be Skye to me.


Maria Hill. Hers is mostly an administrative badassery, but somebody has to do it. (Also, she looks so much sexier in the SHIELD uniform of Avengers than she does in the pencil skirt and four-inch heels of Avengers/Ultron. Bleh. Joss Whedon, you have disappointed me.)


Jemma Simmons. She has, as Coulson points out, “two PhDs in fields I can’t even pronounce” and a really cute wardrobe. Also, she loves Leo Fitz, who deserves to be loved by a super genius like himself.


Victoria Hand. Because how many administrators of huge national security operations can get away with red streaks in their hair?

A Ming of Beauty


Thinking about heroes and kickass women on the day before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes back to TV from its winter hiatus naturally has made me think of another unusual piece of sheer poetry, the actor Ming Na Wen, who plays Agent Melinda May, also known as The Cavalry. You might recognize Ming Na’s voice from the Mulan movies and her face from The Joy Luck Club and ER, among others. But this gorgeous 51-year-old Chinese-American actor (and martial artist) is now playing the Best Role Ever. She gets to deadpan everybody and then shred the enemies and then say something terse, like, “Wheels up in ten.” And go off to fly the super cool black spy plane that now has cloaking.

Best yet was an episode last semester in which she danced with Clark Gregg and then fought a clone of herself. I have seen some cool martial arts choreography, but this fight totally rocks. She and her stuntwoman must have been EXHAUSTED afterwards, and probably a bit bruised.

Another great fight scene was at the end of the first season, when her casual love interest, fellow SHIELD Agent Grant Ward (played by handsome Brett Dalton) turned out to be a spy for HYDRA, a Nazi-originated secret organization out for, you guessed it, world domination. Thing is, you do NOT betray the Cavalry. She. Will. Waste. You. Possibly with a nailgun, among other things. The following video is a fan tribute video of May’s badassery.

Clearly a poem. Probably free verse.