'Mockingbird Vol. 1 : I Can Explain' by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk: EW Review
Scientist. Spy. Superhero.
Given former Avenger Bobbi Morse’s impressive resume, it’s surprising that Mockingbird is her first solo comic series. But as bestselling novelist Chelsea Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk easily prove in the series’ first paperback collection, it should be far from her last.
On paper, Bobbi has a lot going for her. She’s highly intelligent, an incredibly skilled fighter, and most recently appeared on screen in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where she was played by Adrianne Palicki. However thanks to Cain’s writing, she’s witty and perceptively understanding on the page. Niemczyk’s art perfectly conveys her stubborn, and slightly rebellious, streak. The result is a highly entertaining series focusing on a character that is funny, flawed, and entirely human—while also being unapologetically sexy.
The series’ first story arc is designed to be a “puzzle box,” allowing readers to jump in at any point and get the full story, without having to have read previous issues, or even recent events within the series. It’s intricate writing—an impressive feat for a first-time comic book writer—that showcases Bobbi’s various adventures, all punctuated by regular visits to a S.H.I.E.L.D. medical facility. This, in particular, is noteworthy as it situates the series (and Bobbi herself) within the larger Marvel comic universe.
The format also lends itself well to genre jumping, with Bobbi rescuing the Queen of England in one issue, while another sees her dealing with a teenage girl who just came into her powers. But her character traits only work effectively with Cain’s witty dialogue and excellent comedic timing, which began in the Mockingbird standalone, Cain’s well-received collaboration with artist Joelle Jones written for the S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s 50th anniversary.
Recently, the latest (and final) issue in the series received online backlash because Jones’ cover featured Bobbi sporting a t-shirt that says “Ask me about my feminist agenda.” But upon reading Mockingbird Vol. 1, the message should come as no surprise to anyone. Bobbi’s mother marched for equal pay, while Bobbi herself earned herself a PhD in a STEM field, and is currently serving as a superhero—two notoriously tough-to-crack fields for women. Much like the series’ titular character, Mockingbird has managed to spin gold from hate; the paperback collection became bestseller days before its release.