Fast Learner: The Secrets of Marvel’s Slingshot Web Series

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Marvel has unleashed its newest superhero show on the web, but who is Slingshot? What’s her connection to SHIELD? And what was that device she was after?! Time to unearth the facts!

By the way, regular readers know I have been recapping every Agents of SHIELD episode since the second one (and I went back and did the first later), and while I missed a few episodes here and there, this has been my longest hiatus. I’ve been a bit busy lately working on some freelance stuff, and y’know, trying to pay the bills (this blog isn’t a paid one). I’ll get back on it though!

Anyway, Marvel put the new Marvel’s Slingshot web-series up as a bridge between the first (“Ghost Rider”) half of this season’s SHIELD, and the second (“LMD”) half of the show. Not a bad idea, and it had plenty of nods to the comics and other Marvel properties!

On a side note: This series featured the directorial work of Joe Quesada, a man who established himself in comics as an artist, then writer, and who was the longest-serving Editor-in-Chief of Marvel comics since Stan Lee. Kinda nice to see personal involvement from the comic pros in Marvel’s live-action ventures.

Now, one with the recap.

Who is Slingshot?

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The original character sketches by Stefano Caselli!

Elena Rodriguez, called “Yo-Yo” by her friend and romantic interest Alphonse “Mack” Mackenzie, is an Inhuman the ability to “slingshot” back and forth in the blink of an eye. Initially she seemed only to go and return to where she began, she has developed her powers to the point that she can run forward and stay there. She was born in Colombia, and gained her powers after Terrigen was spilled into the ocean, eventually reach people around the world, turning latent Inhumans into actual Inhmans. She initially worked with Coulson’s SHIELD team, then aided them when SHIELD was forced to go underground.

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For a while, Yo-Yo’s dad was used as a horse by Namor. No, really.

In the comics, Yo Yo “Slingshot” Rodriguez is the daughter of the criminal Griffin. Griffin worked for the Secret Empire (who appeared as predecessors of Hydra on Agent Carter), but when he asked for superpowers, they gave him some of the stupidest powers ever, genetically altering him to have paw-like hands, a bestial musculature, and wings sprouting from his back. At some point, he fathered Yo Yo, but the two have had no contact over the years. Yo Yo grew up in Puerto Rico, and was as surprised as anyone else when her powers surfaced. She’s an expert fighter and prefers to use a bo staff in combat.

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She has a type.

It should be noted that she does not love Mack in the comics – the two have never met and Mack is very different in the comics – but she does love another big strong bald guy: Stonewall, son of the Absorbing Man (who was a SHIELD villain in season two, and had a cameo last season).

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Because comics!

Eventually she goes bald herself and gains robot arms – but that’s a story for another day.

Secrets of “Vendetta”

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Let’s make a teenager director of the largest and most powerful spy agency in the world!

The story opens within a day of the mid-season finale which found Daisy back in the SHIELD fold. Coulson intimated that he wanted Daisy as the Inhuman director of SHIELD, not Jeff Mace, but Daisy laughed the thought off as what might happen to the “comic book version” of her. Of course, that is what happened to the comic book version of her, when she became the youngest director of the spy agency. Anywhozits, Yo-Yo and Daisy catch up, and reference an event from their past that few others know about. And that leads us to our story.

Daisy mentions “meet and greets,” as Mace made sure to tell the press Daisy was SHIELD’s top agent, and all of her terrorism as “Quake” was part of a charade. In the comics, Daisy was active for a long time before she finally accepted the nom de guerre of “Quake.”

Flashback to months earlier, at some point between the end of last season when Lincoln died and this season when the team found Quake again. Yo-Yo initially tries using her badge to access some computer files, as previously lanyards were good enough to do that if you had a high enough clearance, but is befuddled by the new color-based leveling system. The lanyards were championed by Agent Koenig, but a throw-away line last episode implied something bad has happened to him. In real life, actor Patton Oswalt experienced a major personal loss, but hopefully his character will be back.

Coulson moves his stuff out of his old director’s office and into the Zephyr plane (which seems to be what the comics would call a Quincarrier, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet). This includes his “good luck charm” – the axe Mack used to cut off Coulson’s forearm when it was infected by Terrigen. Yeesh.

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That dude is everywhere.

Also in Coulson’s box? A picture of Stan Lee. Because Stan Lee, that’s why.

Yo-Yo talks about signing the Sokovia Accords, which Coulson previously protected her from. Despite his anti-registration stance towards the end of last season, the prospect of SHIELD going public again convinced him to convince his people to accept the law. The Sakovia Accords were established in Captain America: Civil War following destruction in the fictional country of Sokovia in Avengers: The Age of Ultron, and are based very much on the Superhero Registration Act, which has a loooooong history in Marvel Comics.

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Yo-Yo always seemed to be on the edge of team shots, never really getting the spotlight.

The agreement was begrudgingly accepted by Yo-Yo, who previously thought the whole point of helping Coulson was to join the “Secret Warriors.” In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Secret Warriors was part of Coulson’s Caterpillar program, and was intended to be a team of Inhumans run by Daisy, but it never really got off the ground, what with the shutting down of SHIELD and subsequent SHIELD in-fighting following Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the comics, the Secret Warriors were the main team of Nick Fury’s private Caterpillar program, in which he recruited and trained superhumans off-the-books to be deployed in case of emergency. Yo-Yo was on the team, field led by Daisy.

slingshot-badge
Hope this becomes a plot device later.

Coulson gives Yo-Yo an old SHIELD badge – specifically, it was the badge given to Agent Carter when SHIELD was officially founded. Dang but that’s an important heirloom. Between Peggy’s appearances in Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War, and numerous mentions in Agents of SHIELD, this just serves as further twisting of the screws as fans have been told there won’t be a new Agent Carter season anytime soon. Someday. Someday.

As Coulson leaves to find “her” (remember, this is when he was actively looking for Quake), Yo-Yo wonders how she’ll find Col. Victor Ramon, the crooked Colombian agent who killed her cousin Francisco in her first appearance.

Ramon, meanwhile, has some mysterious glowing box.

Secrets of “John Hancock”

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Quicksilver, drawn by director Joe Quesada!

We pick up with Yo-Yo looking at a clock. There’s a tradition amongst speedsters that they are a really impatient bunch, and who can blame them? To them, we’re just standing still. This is further driving home when Jeff Mace arrives attempting Spanish (which was the only language Yo-Yo knew on her first appearance), then mentions that she’s a “fast learner,” explaining her strong grasp of English less than a year later.

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Let’s put hundreds of the strongest supervillains in New York Harbor! What could go wrong!?

Mace reminds Yo-Yo that if she doesn’t sign the Accord, Sec. Ross will throw her into the Raft. The Raft was the floating prison spotted in Civil War, but it’s also a major superhuman containment center in the Marvel Universe, on an island in New York Harbor.

He asks for her “John Handcock,” but of course, learning a language doesn’t mean automatically knowing the idioms. Even Archer knows that.

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More of this!

When Yo-Yo asks about going after Ramon, Mace gives her the lowdown on all of the bureaucratic red tape SHIELD has to go through – especially if it involves a superhuman. So she decides to just take Mace’s security card for herself, before leaving with Mace’s bodyguard Cecilio to see Fitz-Simmons. Y’know, one wonders what Cecilio can do, now that we know Mace is a superhumanly strong and durable Inhuman.

Secrets of “Progress”

While SHIELD agents now have various color levels of privileges (with secondary colors outranking certain primary colors and so one), we learn that Mace is “Platinum” level, outranking everyone else. Yo-Yo uses his card to find info on Ramon while overhearing Fitz-Simmons bicker about “Bridget,” the 80-inch TV Fitz wants for their SHIELD room.

To distract them while the computer runs its search, Yo-Yo suggests they get an apartment off-base somewhere, much to Fitz’s consternation. Simmons thinks a moment, then decides she needs a breakfast nook. This info comes in handy later (or rather, earlier this season) when Daisy uses it to lure Simmons to her at an innocuous apartment (that has a breakfast nook).

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What is it with speedsters and saying “picosecond”?

While Simmons checks Yo-Yo’s vitals, Fitz gives her a new asset-tracking watch that can keep track of her velocity “down to the picosecond” and that will alert SHIELD if anything happens to it (as we find out later/earlier in the season when J. T. James took off his watch).

Yo-Yo learns Ramon is in Baltimore, but before she can pursue him, she bumps into Mack who says he’ll be her new case manager so they can have an excuse to see each other more often. That… seems like a really bad idea. Mack is usually very by-the-book, and being the handler for an asset he has romantic feelings for sets off all kinds of red flags. But whatever. Anywho, Mack also confirms he once sang in choir.

She once again calls him “Turtleman. In case you didn’t already know, “Turtle Man” is one of the Flash’s lamer enemies over at the Distinguished Competition, although he did get a cool update in the Flash TV series on CW.

And then May shows up.

Secrets of “Reunion”

May knows what Yo-Yo’s been up to, and she’s more annoyed that Yo-Yo was so sloppy about her secret mission than the fact that Yo-Yo went behind the director’s back. May explains that only she, Anderson, and Burrows have been near Mace today, which is what tipped her off (although what does that say about Cecilio? Is he chopped liver?). Regardless, May puts her on a flight to Baltimore, which is apparently “minutes” away from SHIELD’s Playground base, as opposed to “hours” away as LA is (which gives another clue as to the Playground’s location).

Yo-Yo quickly finds Ramon, but he seems as insulted at her finding him as she is upset to see him. See, from her point of view, he was illegally taking the law into his own (corrupt) hands, but from his point of view, she’s taking the law into her own (vengeful) hands. Irony!

Secrets of “Deal Breaker”

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“He’s jumping!” “No really, Bob?” “Get him! Get him!” “That’s what we’re trying to do, Bob.”

Ramon is making a deal with the Watchdogs. These guys began as a low-rent homegrown terrorist organization, but over the past year they have grown in scope and size to become a full-fledged (if confusingly organized) superhuman-hating threat. In the comics, they were a one-time threat to Captain America.

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This device has become progressively easier to use.

The Watchdogs are after Ramon’s item, though they don’t know what it is yet, and he offers to show them by using it on the by-this-point captive Yo-Yo. Hey! That thing looks familiar! It’s the eponymous 0-8-4 from the episode of the same name! This is a device made by Hydra (though at the time Coulson believed it was made by former Hydra scientists) that uses residual Tesseract (re: Space Gem) energy to charge a ridiculously powerful energy beam. This was from the second episode of SHIELD’s first season (and the first time I did a SHIELD episode review), and it was last seen when Coulson used it to blast Agent Garrett to smithereens.

Quake arrives, helps Yo-Yo, and together they fight the Watchdogs, but this chapter ends as the last did: should Yo-Yo kill for justice, or is that just murder? (Timely! This question is being asked currently about the president of the Philippines.)

Secrets of “Justicia”

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When a hero KNOWS a ruthless, remorseless villain will return, SHOULD the villain be saved?

After a brief moral debate, a nameless Watchdog goon fires the weapon (y’know, considering how hard it was for Fitz to figure out the weapon the first time, it’s amazing that both Ramon and this guy figured out how to use it). Yo-Yo dodges and takes the device, but isn’t able to (or chooses not to) save Ramon from the disintegrating blast.

Yo-Yo and Quake leave just as SHIELD arrives. Did they leave the device for SHIELD to find? Did they take it with them? Time will tell. Also, Yo-Yo left that one Watchdog alive (and let him go), so someone out there knows what Quake and Yo-Yo did.

Daisy says she’ll reach out to Yo-Yo if she needs her, and we know that she later does (from earlier this season), when Daisy had Yo-Yo secretly stealing super-healing pills from SHIELD (though why SHIELD is hoarding these miracle drugs is anybody’s guess).

Back in the present: Daisy and Yo-Yo are in Mace’s office as Daisy wipes the records of Yo-Yo’s little jaunt from months before. Yo-Yo repeats the belief that she didn’t kill Ramon, then hands Daisy the badge that Coulson gave her. Ah, full circle.

In Conclusion

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To the after party!

That was a neat little diversion. It’s too bad Marvel shelved the Marvel One-Shot concept, as those were great short films, and it was fun having Agent Carter while that short-seasoned series lasted. It would have been nice if Marvel’s Most Wanted was picked up for a mid-season show this year, but this web-based series idea seems like a nice alternative.

Hope to see more of these in the future!

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