Thursday, 8 December 2016

Mockingbird, Volume 1: I Can Explain Review (Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk)

Mock - yeah! Ing - yeah! Bird - yeah! YEAH! - yeah...

Bobbi Morse is Mockingbird, an Agent of SHIELD Barbie doll who does superhero stuff while having perfect hair. Honestly, I don’t know who this character is. I don’t read the SHIELD comic, I don’t watch the Agents of SHIELD TV show, maybe she’s in one of those, whatever. I has likes and dislikes about her character from what I’ve read in Chelsea Cain’s pretty decent comic but I would’ve liked a primer on Bobbi for readers like me who know nothing about her. There are references to her dying and coming back to life and some dude called Lance - I don’t know about any of that. 

I’m getting pretty sick of every other Marvel character being a super genius scientist. I mean, really guys, can you at least attempt some originality for once? Bobbi is a super genius scientist who’s also psychic, has super strength (in one scene anyway), is a martial arts master, and can fly thanks to a pair of glowing wings that I’m guessing she made because she’s a super genius scientist/engineer? And she’s a knockout beauty. I know all of that junk is par for the course with superhero comics, but still, it’s fucking stupid that we seem to always get flawless protagonists. Gimme a break. 

But I liked how Cain wrote Bobbi with a strong sense of humour which was similar to Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. And speaking of Clint Barton (who’s Bobbi’s ex-hubby) he appears in the strongest issue as the two team up to fight underwater scientists. That issue was so funny with the flashbacks to Clint/Bobbi’s couples’ therapy, and the two characters have such great chemistry - kudos to Cain for the stellar dialogue. 

There’s no real story to this volume though and the structure is unnecessarily complicated. The first issue is followed by three issues which are all prequels to the first issue, and then the fifth issue connects up to the first issue - I don’t know why it’s done like that or how it benefits the book. 

And, besides the Hawkeye issue, I wasn’t wowed by the other stories: Bobbi having an S&M adventure at the London chapter of the Hellfire Club, saving some teen with powers in NYC, and fighting zombies. That last one is the wraparound story - SHIELD injected Bobbi’s DNA into corpses for some reason; the fuck was that supposed to accomplish!? It just seems like some people at SHIELD are just fucking around for shits and gigs! 

Kate Niemczyk’s art was wunnerful, very cool-looking and creative, very clean lines. If you’re a fan of DC’s Grayson series, you might want to check out Mockingbird as there are a number of shredded guys walking around in just tight-fitting shorts for you to sploosh over! Joelle Jones’ covers and the special she drew were also excellent. 

The art, the Hawkeye issue, and the overall characterisation of Bobbi were the highlights for me but the majority of stories were disappointingly weak. Mockingbird, Volume 1: I Can Explain isn’t an amazing book but for a relatively unknown character it was unexpectedly fun at times. It’s definitely not among the majority of crap that Marvel are publishing at the moment either - fans of Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye run (and presumably the various SHIELD stuff out there) might especially enjoy this.

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