By Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Rachelle Rosenberg, Joe Caramagna, and Joelle Jones.
Mockingbird #1 is here and it smashes away expectations with the first page and enters a whirlwind of events that leave you dizzy, but good lord this comic is so much fun! Marvel newcomer Chelsea Cain does a fantastic job weaving a story that jumps back and forth through time, has a ton of famous guest appearances, and does not make any sense at all in absolutely a good way. It is such a fun ride you do not even realize you have no idea what is happening to Bobbi Morse. So, this five issue series is going to follow Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (aka Mockingbird aka Agent 19 aka the former Mrs. Barton) as she experiences life after being exposed to the Super Soldier Serum and the Infinity Formula. Yes that’s right, she married Hawkeye before Matt Fraction made him cool. This issue shows that Bobbi Morse is much more than a side character or just another S.H.I.E.L.D. operative; she has a personality, a sense of humor, and is probably always smarter than everyone else.
Cain paints a beautiful picture over the course of the first issue that leaves you wondering what the hell is happening and eager for the next issue. Bobbi is introduced as potentially crazy, paranoid, and even possibly displaying some latent super powers. All of this is thrown into question once you the reader are shown that her sanity and viewpoint may be a little skewed. Cain uses flashbacks and flash-forwards to show Bobbi’s adventures and how all of it leads to a certain moment. Cain leaves many questions unanswered and she leaves a lot of yarns hanging down throughout the first issue we can only hope to see unraveled in the coming four issues.
If there is any fault to be found in this first issue it could be the physical depiction of Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird. Do we need another tall, beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed super hero? Bobbi is drawn to be impossibly beautiful and Marvel has tried to desexualize their heroines and one could say the creative team is going backwards with their depiction of Mockingbird. In every panel she is shown looking absolutely put together, hair done, makeup, and there is even a scene with her wearing a quasi-dominatrix outfit. Maybe this is an attempt to show an attractive, confident woman and her depiction handling some impossibly confusing circumstances that get thrown at her. However, is it necessary to have her in the dominatrix outfit or do the Mockingbird and S.H.I.E.L.D. outfits have to fit so tight around her breasts? Either way, new female led titles from Marvel (like Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) have opened up comics to a new demographic who are going to their local comic shops and perusing titles every week. This depiction may detract some potential readers from picking up the book.
With that aside, artist Niemczyk does a good job with incredible attention to detail like giving Bobbi knee-high rainbow socks while she is wearing a hospital gown and having a certain Casanova Marvel gentleman reading about a certain sexually transmitted disease while waiting to see a Doctor. Her conventional art does complement the fast paced storytelling and her background details, adding different wallpapers to different rooms, just gives this book a cozy feel. Her art is greatly complemented with colors from Rosenberg, the use of bright primary colors and warm and cool tones to show emotion are great. The art team did in general knock it out of the park with their shadowing and strong line to create a really stylized look that grabs your attention.
This book is a fun read, it surprises you with the complexity and nuances presented to Bobbi Morse that shows she is going to be a multifaceted character. Cain’s first Marvel book is a well-written first issue that definitely leaves readers wanting to put this title on their monthly pull list. The story telling is so strong in this first issue of Mockingbird #1 that it can forgive the sexualized depiction of the main character.