Mockingbird is stuck on a nerd cruise and a murder requires her to investigate. If you’re expecting a character focused story that’s got a cracking wit and a fun premise, look no further.
Mockingbird Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
A top secret mission on behalf of an old friend, a tropical cruise. What could go wrong? Turns out it’s a theme cruise -super-hero themed, naturally -a fl oating comic con. Now Bobbi is trapped on a boat with a thousand cosplayers, caped colleagues she was trying to avoid, an ex-boyfriend who keeps showing up at inopportune times and a rampaging herd of corgis. When a passenger is murdered, Bobbi must play Hercule Poirot to fi nd the killer and confront some uncomfortable truths from her past in the process.
Why does this book matter?
This book collects Mockingbird #6 to #8 which finishes off Chelsea Cain’s run, and also includes Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers (2010) #13 to #14 which is a Mockingbird-centric story. Although these stories aren’t connected, they both capture Mockingbird’s voice well and key moments for her character’s journey.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dig the ex-boyfriend profiles.
Having reviewed Mockingbird #8 I already knew Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk had quite a few clever tricks up their sleeve to make the narrative more interesting. Examples include a flow chart to determine the villain’s plan, a neat artist profile of Mockingbird’s ex-boyfriends, and a top down full page layout of the cruise ship rooms which reveal quirky neighbors and the actual crime scene. It’s these scenes that spruce up the story and make it feel a tad quirky and a lot of fun.
The characterization of Mockingbird is on point, and it’s a shame Cain isn’t still writing this series. Mockingbird is tough, smart, and has a bit of sass about her that’s infectious. As she moves about the ship she runs into nerds of all sorts and they all seem to pale in comparison to her wit. Her captions, told as if from a notebook, help relay her personality into the book and they’re well balanced with the dialogue and art.
It’s hard to not fall in love with this character.
Speaking of art, Niemczyk does a great job, from the clever visual elements to the standard look of the characters. With the aid of colorist Rachelle Rosenberg the book has a bright pop to it that makes it feel positive and fun. Later in the story arc, Mockingbird’s ex shows up and he has an otherworldly glow about him that’s quite cool. Basically put, this is how you put together a strong series with a female lead all across the board.
The second half of the TPB takes us back to New Avengers from 2010 where Brian Michael Bendis wrote a major change for Mockingbird’s character. Through a mysterious woman, a dark secret only Nick Fury knows about, and fact that Mockingbird lay dying in a hospital, Bendis gives the character superpowers like no other. Combining the Infinity Formula and the Super Soldier Serum, the first issue of the story arc details how the heroes acquire this magic elixir with the last issue showcasing Mockingbird post super power bump. This last issue includes five full pages of Mockingbird talking to the audience about where she’s at in her headspace, and does well to showcase her character. Like the previous arc in this book written by Cain, Bendis does a good job capturing her voice. This chapter is drawn by Mike Deodato and has his customary dark tone and strong detail in facial expressions and surroundings. His art helps ground the story even when it gets really out there with Mockingbird punching Nazi mechs!
A cool idea that grows tiresome.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Surprisingly mixing the new with the old works pretty well here, though it’s somewhat strange the reader isn’t getting the whole Mockingbird story arc from 2016. The New Avengers story does take a while to integrate Mockingbird into the story, which makes it seem less relevant, though the events are quite important to the character. That said, Bendis’ style of full page monologuing from Mockingbird wears thin pretty quickly. The dialogue is good at fleshing out her character, but much of it is boring or pointless and feels more like padding.
Is It Good?
This is a good collection that showcases the finale to Cain’s great story with a surprise addition of a key moment in Mockingbird’s life. Jamming an entirely unrelated story into the TPB certainly feels forced on some level–and seems irrelevant for much of its arc–but overall this is a good collection that helps key characters into Mockingbird’s personality.