Writer: Chelsea Cain
Penciller: Kate Niemczyk
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 10/19/16
Mockingbird‘s final issue treats readers to another Bobbi and Clint therapy flashback before jumping into present-day action with the Phantom Rider. Though the thought of saying goodbye to Bobbi Morse’s hilarious hi-jinx hurts, at least she went out as sensational and sarcastic as ever.
Plot: Undeterred by Lincoln Slade’s threats and ghostly advances, Bobbi manages to call forth the help of fellow nerds on the Diamond Porpoise cruise ship. While most of their attacks are imaginary or otherwise ineffective, one passenger named Paul Sabourin befriends and frees Phantom Rider’s ride. And so the horse Banshee rushes off alone, leaving Lincoln at the crowd’s mercy and justice. Despite the valiant efforts of everyone on board, Mockingbird’s spurned ex might still have succeeded if not for some progressive feminist pirates and a bunch of mercorgis.
Yes, you read that right. We just lost a series that introduced us to a lost kingdom of Corgi mermaids.
Story: This issue of Mockingbird is tasked with tying up loose ends more than anything, but it does so with humor and heart. The Phantom Rider story line from Bobbi’s past is tied up in rape culture and, while there isn’t enough time for Chelsea Cain to explore that, the story does make its stance on Lincoln’s “claim” over Bobbi clear. If the admonishments are less than subtle, that’s all the more reason to celebrate them. Men don’t need to be let down gently in order to protect their feelings, because a woman’s autonomy is more important than her manners.
Not only that, but portraying Lincoln as anachronistic is also a clever way to drive home the message. Of course it’s not true to life, as there are men today who think they can own or control women and no one has ever corrected them. But not normalizing the behavior is the first step to eliminating it, and anyone who acts in such a manner should feel that they’re alone in the world. After all, when skeleton pirates don’t agree with your methods, you know you’re on the wrong track.
While the ending of Mockingbird may seem a bit abrupt, it also honors the 7 issues that have come before it. Not only has Bobbi herself been explored and analyzed in this series, but so have her relationships with Clint and Hunter. There is no traditional love triangle, but the final scenes show that all of Bobbi’s history can and should coincide peacefully because she wouldn’t be herself without those experiences.
Art: Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg continue to make an excellent team, and I hope to see them join forces in other Marvel titles soon. The balance between Bobbi’s quirky nature and her graceful poise seems hard to strike, but they accomplish it beautifully every issue. Phantom horses, flow charts and skeletons all mix together without seeming out of place – and even the most outrageous moments of the story are softened by the cool palette and smooth lines throughout.
The art in Mockingbird makes Bobbi Morse look like a human being without much comic stylings, which had helped ground the book whenever it goes into more bombastic territory. The combination of a real beating heart under the flippant veneer is what has drawn me in over and over again, and it’s reflected perfectly in the work of these two artists.
Verdict: Even though Mockingbird has been cancelled – and I’m not exaggerating when I say that’s a tragedy – please heed Chelsea Cain and purchase it if you can! Bobbi’s solo book may be over, but Marvel should know that more amazing female-led titles will always be welcome.