Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 Review
- Published on Sunday, 08 August 2010 09:14
- Written by Rokk
- Hits: 4623
Hawkeye and Mockingbird has been a pleasant surprise. This new title has been the best thing to come out of Marvel in a while. This is exactly the type of title that I was hoping we would get in this new “Heroic Age.” The title focuses on fun, adventure and classic super hero action. Hawkeye and Mockingbird is a perfect example of how a title can be generally fun and positive while still having a serious story and some darker elements.
I have loved the first two issues of this title. Therefore, I decided it was high time that we did a review for Hawkeye and Mockingbird. This title certainly has been getting plenty of praise from various sources. The cover for Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 has a quote on it from a review site that says “It keeps up with the high standards already set by Avengers and Secret Avengers.” I totally disagree with that statement. Hawkeye and Mockingbird is a far superior read than either Avengers or Secret Avengers.
Those aforementioned Avengers titles are enjoying the benefit of a loyal Avengers fan base and the help of the mighty Marvel Hype Machine. Hawkeye and Mockingbird is not enjoying that same support from the Mighty Marvel Hype Machine and is simply garnering praise by being an excellently crafted story that is highly entertaining. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3.
Writer: Jim McCann
Pencils: David Lopez
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Hawkeye and Mockingbird investigating the scene of the shooting of Mockingbird’s mother. We learn that Mockingbird’s mother is not dead, but is seriously wounded. Luckily, Crossfire missed the kill shot.
We cut to The Cage (W.C.A. Headquarters) where Mockingbird is angrily spitting out orders to the team. Mockingbird believes that Jaime Slade (Phantom Rider) is involved with Crossfire. Mockingbird admits to having had visions of the Phantom Rider lately. Mockingbird then blames Hawkeye for getting her mother involved in all of this and for her mother getting shot. Hawkeye defends his actions by stating that he had no idea about the extensive lies between Mockingbird and her family.
Mockingbird and Hawkeye go down to the armory where they meet Dominic Fortune. Hawkeye is stunned at all the weapons that the W.C.A. have confiscated from their enemies. Hawkeye is also stunned that the extra weapons that are confiscated are then sold to “friendlies.” Mockingbird tells Hawkeye that all agencies engage in this pattern of conduct. That it is simply the way things are done and Hawkeye can either accept that or leave. Our heroes then weapon up for their mission.
We shift to Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Dominic Fortune arriving at a warehouse where Crossfire is hiding. Our heroes engage some of Crossfire’s mercenaries. During the fight, Mockingbird whips a blade out of her staff and is about to stab and kill one of the mercenaries. Hawkeye knocks Mockingbird to the side and tells her to stop. Mockingbird says that they are at war and Crossfire drew first blood. While the couple is arguing, the soldier stands up and is about to shoot them. Suddenly, Dominic Fortune shoots the soldier.
Hawkeye calls Fortune a murderer and punches him. Mockingbird breaks up the fight and tells Hawkeye that Fortune is using non-lethal rounds. Mockingbird tells Hawkeye that she is calling the shots and that he can deal with it or quit. Our heroes then attacked by a bunch of weaponized robots. Hawkeye goes all cowboy and starts taking out the robots like a madman.
Hawkeye and Fortune charge ahead to the main room where Crossfire and Phantom Rider are hiding. Mockingbird gets lightheaded and collapses. An image of Phantom Rider appears in front of her and tells her to come forward. That she is so close. Mockingbird chases after Hawkeye and Fortune and yells that it is a trap.
Mockingbird enters the main room and we see Crossfire and Phantom Rider standing there. Hawkeye and Fortune are standing there frozen. Crossfire says that the two men are under the control of their machines that controls their brain activity. Phantom Rider then uses her phantom gun and shoots Mockingbird in the head. The ghost bullet causes Mockingbird to be frozen and immobile.
Phantom Rider says that she is both the spirit of the original Phantom Rider and the heir. Both united in vengeance. Phantom Rider says that Mockinbgbird can now watch Hawkeye and Fortune kill each other. The two men then shoot each other. Both collapse to the ground.
Crossfire then activates a bunch of bombs placed around the warehouse and leaves. Hawkeye is still alive and whispers that Mockingbird is strong enough to break free. Mockingbird says that she is trying but cannot.
We cut to outside of the warehouse with Phantom Rider and Crossbones walking away as the warehouse blows up in a huge explosion behind them. End of issue.
The Good: Hawkeye and Mockingbird perfectly embodies Marvel’s new Heroic Age: Action, adventure, excitement and pure super hero fun. McCann delivers a high-energy action/adventure super hero story that separates Hawkeye and Mockingbird from the other super hero titles on the market. Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 offers up some wonderful escapism. The reader is quickly pulled into the story as McCann captivates the reader’s attention until the final page.
When Marvel announced their new Heroic Age, Hawkeye and Mockingbird was exactly the type of title that I hoped we would get. The other Heroic Age titles have been a miss with me. However, McCann nails it with this title. Does Hawkeye and Mockingbird have violence, death and some serious plotlines? Yes. But, those elements are more than balanced with a generally positive vibe to the title.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird are heroic characters. The general tone of the title is a positive one. McCann focuses on classic super hero adventure stories. This is what separates this title from the grim, dark and un-heroic tone of Marvel’s titles ever since House of M. The biggest difference is that Hawkeye and Mockingbird is a fun title. And “fun” has definitely been the missing ingredient in Marvel’s titles ever since House of M.
McCann impresses with his technical skills. Hawkeye and Mockingbird is a tightly written story. This issue is carefully crafted and all the pieces fit together in a seamless fashion. It is clear that McCann has taken his time and put in the hard work in carefully constructing this story.
The plotting is excellent. McCann delivers plenty of plot progression in this issue. The story moves forward in a logical fashion. McCann is juggling several plotlines that are beginning to dovetail together in a pleasant fashion. And talk about a fantastic hook ending! McCann brought me to the edge of my seat and wanting to read the next issue immediately. This is how you hook a reader into eagerly anticipating the next issue.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 was a perfectly paced read. The story had a wonderful flow to it. The story moves with a clear purpose in mind. McCann never meanders or gets sidetracked. The story actually has a good sense of urgency that steadily increases as the issue proceeds before building to a crescendo with the final scene.
McCann dials up an excellent blend of action and drama. This is important. While this issue certainly has tons of action and the basic story is an adventure story that does not mean that this story is shallow. In fact, McCann brings plenty of depth to the story due to his strong dialogue and excellent character work.
The dialogue was well constructed. The balanced dialogue fit each scene perfectly. The dialogue is natural and has a great flow without it de-evolving into television dialogue. McCann knows when to throw in some banter and when to dial it back. McCann whipped out some snappy banter when appropriate only and it was never overdone. McCann has a good feel for when the right time it is for a classic action movie one-liner.
Each character has a unique external voice. I particularly enjoyed Hawkeye’s inner narration that McCann uses to frame the start of the opening scene. It reminded me of the narration on “Burn Notice” where the main character explains the techniques that are employed in the spy business. It immediately grabs the reader’s attention and pulls them into the story.
McCann whips up some fantastic character work. All of the characters are fleshed out and have their own distinct personalities. The chemistry on this title is excellent. Whether it is the volatile relationship between Mockingbird and Hawkeye, the friction between Hawkeye and Fortune or the sexual tension between Mockingbird and Dominic Fortune. This strong chemistry helps to power the story and make all the different characters that much more interesting.
Now, I will openly admit that I gave Hawkeye and Mockingbird a chance because I am a big Hawkeye fan. I have always been neutral on Mockingbird’s character. However, since Mockingbird’s return in Secret Invasion, my neutrality on her character has turned to downright dislike. I find Mockingbird to be a completely unlikeable and annoying character.
Now, I have to stress that Mockingbird is not poorly written. She simply is not the type of character that appeals to me. And McCann’s writing is so good that I still love this story. Now, I do have to admit that I enjoy Mockingbird when she has to deal with Dominic Fortune.
Now, of course, I like Hawkeye. McCann could probably stand to give Hawkeye a bit more testosterone, as Mockingbird seems manlier than Clint in many of the scenes. Still, McCann has a good feel for Hawkeye’s character. Clint acts like the reckless and impulsive cowboy that he is when they attack Crossfire’s warehouse. Clint is also properly emotional as he often leads with his heart and his fists instead of with his brain and his words.
I also liked how McCann had Hawkeye whip out his swords during the brawl scene with the robots. That was a nice nod to Clint’s stint as Ronin and how Hawkeye is the type of character that will use whatever weapon is the best for the given situation. It is also a neat homage to Clint’s mentor, the Swordsman, who trained him.
This is a smart move by McCann that helps to move Hawkeye away from being merely a trick archer to more of a weapons master whose aim never misses. This is similar to the Ultimate version of Hawkeye. It serves to make Hawkeye’s character more interesting and formidable.
Of course, my favorite character in this title is Dominic Fortune. McCann absolutely nails Fortune character. Fortune (David Fortunov) was created by Howard Chaykin and first appeared in Marvel Preview #2 in 1975. The original Fortune operated in the 1930’s. David had a son named Jerry Fortunov who assumed the mantle of Dominic Fortune after he thought his father had been killed. Jerry died in Iron Man #213 in 1986.
Now, I have no idea who this version of Dominic Fortune is or how he may or may not relate to David and Jerry Fortunov. However, I am definitely curious to learn more about Fortune’s past. Hopefully, McCann is going to visit this mystery at some point.
At any rate, McCann’s Fortune is extremely entertaining. Fortune steals any scene that he appears in. Fortune is a complete rogue and is quite good at what he does. Fortune’s lecherous view of Mockingbird and his ability to get under Hawkeye’s skin makes for some great scenes. The more Dominic Fortune we get the better the story becomes. I am glad that McCann realizes that a good comic book demands strong and interesting supporting characters. McCann certainly succeeds in that area with the use of Fortune.
I am also incredibly impressed with McCann’s research and his attention to detail. McCann clearly did his research in constructing this opening story arc for this title. McCann looks back to Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s pasts and plucks two villains that have close ties with our two heroes.
McCann looks to Mockingbird’s greatest nemesis in the Phantom Rider. The Phantom Rider was originally Carter Slade. After he died, many of his descendents have taken up the mantle of the Phantom Rider. The Phantom Rider referenced in Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 is Lincoln Slade. Lincoln was the third Phantom Rider. As the Phantom Rider, Lincoln Slade was driven mad.
Lincoln Slade ended up using a potion to control Mockingbird’s mind in order to make her want to be with him. So, in effect, Slade raped Mockingbird. In West Coast Avengers #23 back in 1987, Mockingbird broke free of Slade’s control and ended up letting Lincoln Slade fall to his death.
After Lincoln Slade died, Hamilton Slade became possessed by Carter Slade and became the new Phantom Rider. The Phantom Rider in Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 is Jamie Slade, the daughter of Hamilton Slade.
Crossfire was the main villain from Hawkeye’s first mini-series back in 1983. This was also the same mini-series where Hawkeye and Mockingbird first met each other. Crossfire and Phantom Rider are two long-time villains for both Hawkeye and Mockingbird and make for a nice way to look back at Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s past while beginning this journey chronicling their future.
McCann is able to bring back these characters to add a bit of history to the story without making this story seem recycled or unoriginal. This is a problem that plagues writers on some other titles. McCann demonstrates a nice blueprint on how to use history to create a new direction and spin on the various characters. McCann takes older characters and is able to make use of continuity to grow and evolve the characters in the present story. Hawkeye and Mockingbird has been a great example of strong use of continuity with an eye to building something new and different.
In the end, the highest compliment that I can give McCann is by stating that his work on Hawkeye and Mockingbird reminds me of Mark Gruenwald’s work. Since I view Gruenwald to be one of the most talented men ever to work at Marvel that is about the highest praise I can give to a current writer. Gruenwald had a guiding hand in the growth and evolution of both Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Barbara Morse first appeared in Astonishing Tales #6 in 1971. Bobbi went from a supporting character who was a scientist in Ka-Zar and Man-Thing to finally becoming the super heroine Mockingbird in Marvel Team-Up #95 in 1980.
Gruenwald wrote the original Hawkeye mini-series in 1983 that brought Clint and Bobbi together. By the end of the mini-series, the two heroes fell in love with each other and eloped. Gruenwald was the editor for both the Avengers and the original West Coast Avengers mini-series in 1984. Both of those titles provided for plenty of character growth and maturation for both Hawkeye and Mockingbird.
McCann handles Hawkeye and Mockingbird with the same enthusiasm and excitement that Gruenwald did. There has been no writer or editor at Marvel with more love for Marvel’s super heroes than Gruenwald possessed. McCann demonstrates that he truly likes these two characters. It makes all the difference in the world when a writer actually likes the characters that he is assigned to handle. There is no doubt in my mind that both Clint and Bobbi are in good hands with McCann at the helm of this title.
David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez combine to delivers some beautiful artwork. Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 is such a pleasant issue to look at. Lopez and Lopez create a slick and smooth style of art that is perfect for a super hero title. Lopez is able to crank out some dynamic action scenes. Of course, Lopez also deftly handles dialogue heavy scenes as well.
Lopez draws wonderful facial expressions which help inject plenty of emotion into McCann’s story. The layouts are well done as well. Lopez can do more than just create pretty panels. Lopez is also a good storyteller. The coloring is also well done. This issue has a nice vibrant look to it.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 was a blast to read. This issue delivers fun super-hero action and adventure like no other title currently on the market. Readers who like super hero titles should run, not walk, to their nearest Local Comic Book Shop and pick up a copy of this issue. Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3 is an incredible value at just $2.99. This title is superior to many titles with a cover price of $3.99. Readers will definitely get the best bang for their buck with Hawkeye and Mockingbird.