REVIEW: Mockingbird #7 – “Ghosts Of Marvel Past”

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MOCKINGBIRD #7
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Penciller: Kate Niemczyk
Inker: Sean Parsons
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 9/14/16

Bobbi Morse is currently on a cruise, where she has teamed up with her ex-boyfriend to get her ex-husband off for a murder charge. Speaking of murder, there’s been one on board and every passenger is a suspect. Mockingbird really doesn’t know what a vacation is, and thank goodness for that.

Plot: After Garfield is killed, Bobbi and Hunter are named Lead Ship Detective and her Deputy respectively. Thus begins a locked room murder mystery which Bobbi must solve before the killer strikes again… And before it’s too late to help Clint.

Story: A dead guy in a horse head should not be cause for so much laughter – and neither should Clint Barton’s murder trial, for that matter. But Mockingbird manages to make everything funny, which is a great quality when things look as bleak as they do in the world of Civil War II.

Every mundane detail of the investigation becomes more entertaining when it’s subjected to Chelsea Cain’s sweet and sour brand of sarcasm. The dialogue sparks in a way that makes Bobbi relatable, because she’s as bemused as we would be in her place. And yet it also inspires confidence that she can handle whatever the story throws her way. Which is great, because she gets thrown quite a few curveballs, and it’s to the author’s credit that Bobbi never gets bogged down in them. An interesting plot point about the Bermuda Triangle (or lack thereof) is set aside for another day, for example, because it’s not relevant to the case at hand. Almost every page is busy enough to keep the reader on their toes, wondering which revelation will move the story forward and which is just world-building for now.

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The only moments that didn’t work as well for me were the ones relating to Bruce Banner’s death, which would probably have been more poignant if I had any investment in his story. Bobbi is so fleshed out that it’s easy for me to care about the people and issues that motivate her, but in this case the Hulk feels more incidental than anything. Regardless, the reveal of the killer was very powerful. Even for someone such as myself, who did not have previous knowledge of Bobbi’s history with the character in question. Her fear and disgust came through so clearly that I immediately felt dread, and then googled their story.

Art: The artists on Mockingbird can always be counted on to find new and visually interesting choices to make every issue. Of course, this is only possible because Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk work so well together. One stellar example of this is the way the investigation progresses through a bird’s eye view of the ship cabins rather than through Bobbi and Hunter searching each one in real time.

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In the meantime, the coloring remains rich thanks to Rachelle Rosenberg’s efforts. This week’s Mockingbird is filled with blue and green tones that invoke the very sea waters Bobbi is traveling through. Joe Caramagna ensures that even the lettering is infused with personality, so that there is rarely if ever a dull panel in the entire book.

I said before that the I was less invested in remembering the Hulk, but I must say that the art for that section was still evocative. The shift from blues to golden yellows set the stage for the next chapter, preparing the reader to move into a whole new obstacle.

Verdict: A great combination of humor and tension, Mockingbird #7 lays out an exciting mystery. Its resolution ties up plenty of loose ends while making the wait for next month all the more difficult. Still, I have one lingering question about this week’s issue of Mockingbird. Who gave artist Kate Niemczyk only a 5 for speed? She was by far the slowest suspect on the ship, which seems impossible.

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