Marvel Comics has been focusing heavily on their Avengers franchise for the past decade, with their efforts both in comics and media ramping up ever since 2008 (and especially since their film debut in 2012). Much as with the X-Men in the 90’s and early 2000’s, that entails that as many characters as possible will appear in as many comics as Marvel thinks they can sell. To this end, Bobbi Morris/Mockingbird becomes the latest to get her own ongoing comic book series in March 2016, as reported yesterday (November 23) by ICv2.
As reported in the press release, “Mockingbird” will be written by Chelsea Cain, a New York Times best selling novelist best known for the “Gretchen Lowel” and “Kick Lannigan” series of novels, and drawn by Kate Niemcyzk. In the race for diversity in “big two” superhero comics, this means a rare opportunity for a female creative team to handle a heroine lead. The series will follow Bobbi Morse, codenamed “Mockingbird”, as she investigates a conspiracy within SHIELD, which is a subplot so rare that it only happens several times a month in almost every medium the agency appears in. Seriously, CONTROL from “Get Smart” had fewer security breaches.
Like many comic book characters, Bobbi Morse has had a strange history. Her first appearance was in a Ka-Zar story (of all things) in 1971’s “Astonishing Tales #6” as a doctor who ultimate becomes the jungle man’s love interest. With at least eight writers working gradually to develop her character, she ultimately became a SHIELD agent and adopted multiple identities as time wore on. She would claim the identity she is best known by, the bo-staff carrying Mockingbird, in 1980’s “Marvel Team-Up #95”. Taking the name for her tendency to mock enemies in combat (thus making them careless), she joined Hawkeye’s mini series in 1983 and the next year ultimately joined his superhero team in “Avengers West Coast”. Often attached to the quick witted archer, she has been connected to either the Avengers or Hawkeye spin offs ever since. In 1987, Bobbi was at the center of a controversial story when during a time travel adventure to the “old west”, the Phantom Rider kidnapped, drugged, brainwashed, and ultimately raped her. At the conclusion of the story, Bobbi recovers her identity and chases the Rider to a cliff, deliberately allowing him to fall to his death. This act would split the team’s feelings about her and strained her relationship with Hawkeye. Killed off in 1993, she was brought back as a consequence to, naturally, a crossover (“Secret Invasion”) in 2009 and returned to her usual role as Avengers team member and frequent partner to Hawkeye. A year later, she got title billing for the first time with a “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” ongoing series – which was ultimately canceled due to low sales after a mere six issues.
This time around, Bobbi has corporate synergy working in her favor. Not only is Marvel Comics intent on giving virtually any character even vaguely attached to the Avengers a stab at their own ongoing series (such as Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hellcat, Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, and Hawkeye), but the incarnation of the character played by Adrienne Palicki on ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD” is set to get her own TV pilot in August. It will remain to be seen whether it lasts beyond the pivotal twelve issue mark.