50 Years of SHIELD Mockingbird Special #1

Marvel’s celebrating 50 years of the biggest spy agency in comics, S.H.I.E.L.D. With this special one-shot, Marvel shows some love to Bobbi Morse (AKA Mockingbird), one of the agency’s finest.

For fans who’ve never heard of Mockingbird, writer Chelsea Cain has the history lesson covered. Bobbi’s (often neglected) scientific background is preserved thoroughly through this special issue involving the murder of the biochemist that mentored her, Wilma Calvin. A brief SHIELD file on page 1 summarizes her accomplishments from being a spy to a superhero, an agent to an avenger. Her powers that were only recently acquired after being brought back to life by a super soldier formula cocktail are vital to the story.

The issue starts out with some humor at the expense of Bobbi’s current love interest, Lance Hunter. References to Bobbi’s ex-husband, Clint Barton (AKA Hawkeye), make Hunter feel comically (though realistically) defensive. Shortly after this, it’s time to solve a murder. Cain does well to write Bobbi in casual and serious contexts within this issue. She shows that Bobbi can be flirty and confident, cold and calculating, brave and vulnerable. Secret agents need to be all of these and Cain definitely understands why Bobbi’s one of the best.

The artwork by Joelle Jones is fantastic. Posing and expressions augment the writing of each character and help develop who’s who and what’s what. In particular, when our titular character’s sense of perception takes a turn for the worse, the art helps the reader feel the loss of control without any real headaches. It’s unfortunate that we’re only getting this pair of storytellers for a single issue. An ongoing series with a modern style that isn’t infantilized (the way some readers perceive recent comics) would be a phenomenal experience deserving of the character.

In case Mockingbird wasn’t enough spy action for you, the issue also comes with a backup story featuring Black Widow and some teasing of her new counterpart, the Red Widow. While fans of the medium might be begging for the awesome Red Widow character design to grace more pages in the coming weeks, they’ll have to settle for Margaret Stohl’s upcoming novel Black Widow: Forever Red.

Pros:
Stylish, serious and self-contained
Bobbi’s development kept in mind
Art and writing harmony
Bonus feature comic
Lance and Clint in flag underwear

Cons:
Mockingbird deserves an ongoing

Final Judgement: 9

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