Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda (2016)

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Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda, the trade, contains five issues. Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda, the storyline, is three issues. The last two issues are filler because the series got cancelled because comic book readers are awful. Before those last two issues is an afterword on the series from writer Chelsea Cain. Why would anyone want to read filler after finding out this wonderful comic is now gone. Especially since it’s nothing like Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk’s Mockingbird.

So what is Bobbi doing in My Feminist Agenda? Playing some Dungeons & Dragons, doing some light cosplay, taking a cruise, fretting over ex-husband Hawkeye’s murder trial. Oh, and she’s embroiled in a noirish mystery where she’s the detective and the beefcake spy partner Lance Hunter is Ursula Andrews. It’s awesome.

As usual, Cain paces it all out beautifully. The first issue isn’t just Bobbi getting on the boat, but it’s also the entirety of her purpose for getting on the boat. A mysterious Brony has information to help Clint Barton. There’s lots of intrigue, lots of humor, but also quite a bit of melancholy. Times are weighing heavy on Bobbi, regardless of her ludicrous setting or that Lance Hunter is onboard not as a super-spy, but because he’s at a Corgi convention. Not the toy cars, the adorable dogs.

Bobbi starts her getaway trip with Hawkeye on her mind. Or Lance just looks like a brunette Clint.

That first issue gets a lot done, especially for readers coming in without any idea what’s going on with Hawkeye in the greater Marvel Universe. The absurd situation–Hawkeye kills the Hulk–gets positively melancholic by the end of the second issue. The rest of the second issue is a fairly serious, albeit with humorous asides, procedural. Bobbi is investigating a crime with onboard the ship of the cosplay damned. Oh, and there’s a Bermuda Triangle connection. Mostly for fun, though occasionally to let Cain get away with some stuff. Mockingbird is exceptionally precise. Niemczyk is carefully presenting all this information, which includes her own guest appearance as a convention goer and possible suspect.

Cain doesn’t draw any attention to it, it’s just fun detail. Turns out My Feminist Agenda is going to get a little heavier in the final issue of the story arc than Cain forecasted. It also stays fun, because the whole point of Mockingbird is Bobbi Morse’s awesome. Cain and Niemczyk are constantly making absurdities work out. No spoilers, but the tone changes from page to page in the last issue, with Bobbi juggling a lot while still fulfilling her duties as cruise ship detective. Mockingbird presents this fantastic protagonist, who’s sympathetic and relatable, but who’s also smarter than the reader and the story itself. Cain writes My Feminist Agenda, at least as far as how it works as a mystery, with Bobbi as a somewhat unreliable narrator. Some things the reader should be paying more attention about. Other things Cain’s keeping facedown to play later.

Mockingbird and the New Avengers. And corgi-enthusiast Lance Hunter.

And it all wraps up beautifully. Equal parts sweet, spicy, and surreal. Then comes Cain’s afterword–her farewell to Mockingbird and she and Niemczyk’s Bobbi Morse. So thank goodness for the trades, because Cain and Niemczyk’s Mockingbird is one of those cancelled too soon superhero books to be mentioned in hushed reverence.

CREDITS

Writer, Chelsea Cain; penciller, Kate Niemczyk; inker, Sean P. Parsons; colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Christinia Harrington and Katie Kubert; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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