Earlier this month Mockingbird #1 was released and quickly gobbled up by the current Marvel fandom. Only what many may not realize is that this is not a character tie in to the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the upcoming rumored show Marvel’s Most Wanted. The character of Mockingbird aka Bobbi Morse has actually been around since June of 1971. In her earliest appearances she was paired with Marvel stand bys, Ka-Zar and the Man-Thing. Known as Barbara Morse at this time, she was working in the Florida Everglades on a project to replicate the super soldier serum that created Captain America.
In Astonishing Tales #15, Dec. 1972, Barbara becomes Bobbi Morse, Scientist and agent 19 of S.H.I.E.L.D. She is partnered with and becomes a part time love interest of Ka-Zar but loses her position when Shanna the She-Devil joins in. Bobbi then moves on from S.H.I.E.L.D. to become the superhero known as the Huntress. We pretty much lose sight of Bobbi for the next eight years until she returns to S.H.I.E.L.D and dons the persona we will come to call Mockingbird. She is brought back by Nick Fury to root out corruption in the organization.
Mockingbird would go on to join the West Coast Avengers and marry Hawkeye. She remains in a supporting cast role for the next decade and it is only in the early 1990s that Bobbi impacts the Marvel universe at all. She saves Hawkeye from the evil Mephisto. An act that causes her death.
Mockingbird returns to the Marvel Universe in 2009 as comic book characters are apt to do but still remains in the background. A mainstay in tales that involve Hawkeye but never really earning her own billing. Then came Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D and the Marvel Universe is rediscovering Bobbi Morse. But why does this comic matter.
Because its going to be that damn good.
One of the major reasons why is that Bobbi Morse, as a character, was always bigger than her position in the comic book world. She established something of a cult following and was never by fandom, accepted as just a love interest with some fight skills. She was never Hawkeye’s wife and then ex-wife. Hell, she was always far more interesting than old Clint anyway. She was, for lack of a better analogy, an American Black Widow. Only she never really got the opportunity to show what she could do. That she could hold onto her own share of the market, create a following and sell some damn books.
The other reason, and this is the big one, Chelsea Cain.
Cain is an establish mystery writer with a penchant for creating powerful female characters that kill ass, give no excuses and will literary gut you for looking at them the wrong way. If you like to read a book without pictures, pick up her series with Detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer, Gretchen Lowell. Gretchen Lowell will freak you out so bad you will run to Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter for a hug.
In Chelsea Cain’s hands we have a grown up, strong Bobbie Morse who feels the world she is in is somehow slipping out of her control.
“…Remember at the beginning, when I kicked in a door…and threw a chair…revealing a hoard of reanimated dead old people? For the record, this totally proves my hypothesis. I don’t have powers. I have symptoms. They were trying to cure me and I don’t think its working…”
The storytelling of Chelsea Cain and the cover art of the awesome Joelle Jones make Mockingbird #1 a book not to be missed.