“New Avengers: The Reunion”, which this series spins out of, was one of the highlights of last year, with smart, action-packed writing from Jim McCann casting Hawkeye and Mockingbird as pair as superhero spies/spouses reminiscent of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. And Mrs. Smith. And to my delight, the opening scene of this issue kicks off in exactly that vein. Too often, miniseries granted a full return miss what made the original great, but McCann has nailed it here, quickly reintroducing the setup and setting about expanding the world of the two heroes.
In some cases, that means introducing their family and friends – Hawkeye gets a great scene, sparring with the Captains America – and in others, it’s reintroducing the villains the pair have collected, such as Crossfire and the Phantom Rider. Neither of those villains is especially A-List, and while Crossfire struggles to appear like a credible threat, I’m immediately interested in the new Phantom Rider McCann has created. At times it verges on being a little too comprehensive, but by the end of the issue, the plotlines and characters are all in place, and it feels like the story has begun.
For his part, David Lopez’ art is fantastic: bright, clear storytelling, fluid and natural-looking figure work, and a brilliant aptitude for the sort of action sequence McCann is writing. The world is detailed and realistic, while Clint and Bobbi are both confident and sexy without being gratuitously drawn.For its part in the Big Avengers reshuffle, everything about the issue screams “Heroic Age”. It feels like a new beginning, and it keeps up the high standard already set by “Avengers” and “Secret Avengers”. The characters might not be the obvious choice of series lead, but McCann has written a book that seems original without being unfamiliar, and feel traditional while retaining a modern edge.
Literally the only thing that upsets me about Hawkeye and Mockingbird is the feeling that it’s far from being a sure thing. In many ways, this series has the potential to be the next “SWORD”, the next “Captain Britain”, the next “Power Girl” -- a smart, funny, fresh take on superheroics that winds up ending before its time. This series deserves a long and entertaining run. Let’s get the word out.
Originally published here.
First issues are always a moving target -- but when it comes to Hawkeye and Mockingbird #1, let's just say that with humor, action and some smooth retelling of the Marvel mythos, Jim McCann and David Lopez have definitely scored a bullseye. While it's a direct sequel to the duo's New Avengers: The Reunion, it's a strong opener that will hook readers into the exploits of one of the Marvel Universe's premier power couples.
Ultimately, I think Jim McCann's biggest strength in this book is that he lays out the foundations of Clint and Barbara's future stories by introducing a slew of plot threads with a surprising amount of lightness. It also doesn't hurt that he opens with a fantastic action sequence, one that shows that there's still a few more trick arrows in Hawkeye's quiver -- and that a bow and arrow can be pretty darn cool in the hands of the right writer. But there's a lot of good plotting here, whether it's the spy stuff or the family drama, all of which could lead to some great conclusions.
And David Lopez. The speed and emotion he conveys in this book -- combined with the superb atmosphere generated by colorist Nathan Fairbairn -- shows that he's just as inhumanly enthused about this project as McCann is. He absolutely sells some great moments here, especially with Hawkeye's bag of trick arrows and how they interact with an environment. Something I really enjoyed about Lopez's work was also the fact that you could tell that the characters were wearing a mask -- as in, they have the same facial qualities both with and without. It's a subtle touch, but it's one that's really appreciated.
With bows and arrows, spies and guns, heroes and villains and the World Counterterrorism Agency, there is a lot for Jim McCann and David Lopez to work with for Hawkeye and Mockingbird -- and after reading this first issue, I am definitely excited to see where it goes next. It's lighthearted swashbuckling with romance and intrigue, and ultimately it's got the same infectious fun factor as a book like Incredible Hercules. Just like the skills of its titular heroes, this is a book you can't miss.
Originally published here.
Comic Nexus (8/10):
One thing I noticed when I read Jim McCann’s Reunion mini last year is that, well, he really gets the character of Clint Barton. That isn’t to say he doesn’t get Bobbi Morse, rather I just haven’t read much of anything else with her in it. But he creates a dynamic between the two that does manage to intrigue me past the fact that I just happen to be a Hawkeye fan. I’m interested in the relationship between these two super heroes, who were married, who were divorced, one who was replaced with a Skrull and presumed dead, one who was killed by Disassembled. Now, both are alive, both are together, and they’re trying it out again for the first time. McCann keeps exploring the mysteries of Mockingbird, from her origin, to the sins of past exploits, to just how far she is willing to go to retain the autonomy that her Skrull induced paranoia requires.
In other words, McCann piles on the depth and potential for depth with this character who was most likely long forgotten by many fans. He’s doing his best to make us as readers care that we’re reading a book with her in the name, and he does a pretty good job. I’m interested in what happens to her next.
Clint gets love too, not to be over shadowed by Bobbi, but she does get the most of it. Though to make up for it we get a pretty cool scene of him talking to Steve Rogers….which I think is their first real conversation since Steve came back. McCann definitely nails the dynamic between the two. He balances Clint well, starting him out with the superheroics, and working him towards a very human moment…not spoiling. It was cool.
David Lopez does a great job on art here. Characters look right, action is smooth, faces look great. Definitely the right choice for art on this book.
Weekly Comic Book Review (C-):The Story: On the road to reconciliation and renewing their relationship, Hawkeye and Mockingbird take time to bust up an arms deal while charting their own course in this new Heroic Age.
The Good: Diehard fans of the Hawkeye/Mockingbird duo will undoubtedly love the existence of this book, and I can’t blame them. There has always been a certain undeniable, geeky fondness for this dynamic duo over the years, and Hawkeye and Mockingbird have gone on to garner much well-deserved admiration from fans and creators. To be honest, I like having them back in the Marvel Universe, and I think their presence adds immense credibility to this notion of a Heroic Age.
What really drew me to this issue was the ridiculously attractive art from Team Lopez. David’s pencils and Alvaro’s inks are sleek and engaging, and they are clearly talented at choreographing some sweet-ass action sequences. The opening chase scene through the streets of New York was every bit as intense as a summer blockbuster movie, and I mean that in the best way possible. These guys are good, damn good, and I honestly think they can take this comic to heights of Greatness.The Not So Good: I’ve more or less come to expect a certain degree of mediocrity from these Heroic Age relaunches, as creators need to re-establish the status quo and devote an issue to reminding us who their respective characters are and what their Mission is. And to be fair, that is certainly present here in this issue. But there is something too, something slightly more annoying. McCann’s script draws heavily on the extensive continuity of these characters, but slightly to a fault. Crossfire? The Phantom fucking Rider!? Come on. Hawkeye and Mockingbird have battled their ways through death, an alien invasion, and the dark reign of an utter fucking psychopath to find their way into each others arms and the best McCann can give us are some D class antagonists?
I felt like McCann had too much to say about the continuity that he grew up on and contributed nothing to the continuity that new readers are growing up on. This is the perfect point for him to leave his mark on these characters and say something Original about them, but his script reeked of a zealous adherence to things that came before and a reluctance to chart his own course. It literally reads like a guy who’s been jonesing to write comics about Hawkeye and Mockingbird since he was a teenager and has finally been given the chance to do so even though he’s got nothing authentic to say about either of them. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t, but after reading this issue I doubted whether or not I wanted to continue with it, which is a huge shame considering how much I love these characters! Given everything that Hawkeye and Mockingbird have been through recently, is it too much to ask for stories that deal more with their recent history than things that occurred years ago that no one gives a shit about? I want to see McCann chart a clear and engaging direction for this book, otherwise I really won’t see a reason to continue buying it.
Conclusion: I love Hawkeye. I love Mockingbird. You’d think I’d love seeing the both of them in their own comic, but wow did McCann take a great idea and do absolutely little with it. He wrote this like a 15 year-old fanboy giddy at the thought of taking on characters he grew up reading, but neglected to say anything about them that hasn’t already been said many other times by many other writers. After reading this, I’m less inclined to buy the second issue, and will probably wait for the graphic novel to see if he can salvage this book. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed.
Originally published here.