Mockingbird: I Can Explain and Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda

Monday, June 19, 2017


Mockingbird: I Can Explain and Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda
Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, 2016, 2017

Premise: Bobbi Morse is a lot of things. She's a spy, a superhero, a scientist. She's an ex-wife and a SHIELD agent and an Avenger. And she is done taking anybody's shit. Collects Mockingbird #1-5, Mockingbird SHIELD 50th anniversary #1, Mockingbird #6-8, and see below.

Like too many people, I only heard about this series when it met its untimely cancellation. I picked up the first trade almost immediately but didn't get a chance to read it until recently.

It is a metric ton of fun.

A few different aspects contribute to the brilliance of this book. One is the balance of superheroic and mundane. Bobbi's life is punctuated by crazy escapades, but she also deals with annoying medical check-ups and clothing stains and relationship drama.

Another is the fun meta-stuff that I love. Tons of little jokes in the background art or the intro pages for each issue or comic pages that include diagrams or flowcharts. (FYI, I have the first volume in both hard copy and digital, and the digital is better because it includes more of the intros, letter pages, etc.) I felt that the inclusion of minor geek celebrities as minor characters in the final arc was a bit silly, but I didn't hate it, and I'm sure plenty of people were tickled.

Also, there's the unapologetic feminism. There are a few moments when you could argue that it's a bit too on-the-nose, but I loved it. Bobbi is loud and proud of her opinions.

It also stays entirely with her. No matter whether or not she's being stubborn, judgemental, or unreservedly kickass, this is her story, and she is at the center.

Related to this, the art is awesome. There's a touch of amusing fan service in two separate male characters running around secret bases wearing very little, but there is no male gaze to be found here. It reminded me of something I read in some reviews of the new Wonder Woman movie - that as a viewer, I didn't realize how much I was used to that male-centric style until it was gone.

Connected to that - the second half of the second book was a big old DNF for me. It reprints a couple issues of New Avengers from before this series started to fill out the page count. As I paged through the beginning, skimming, I was struck by - Bobbi in a coma, men contorting their faces with pain and making important medical delicious for her, and lots of lovingly shadowed boobs. Screw that. I refuse to sully how awesome the Mockingbird issues were by reading that useless page filler. The contrast made me realize how much I have come to hate certain "traditional" comic styles that are used so often in superhero comics.

Anyway, Mockingbird is awesome, and Marvel was dumb for canceling it.

Mockingbird #1-8 - 5 Stars - An Awesome Book
New Avengers - :p

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