As Secret Invasion readers know, Marvel’s Mockingbird is back. For real.
And her husband – Hawkeye? He’s been back for a little while himself.
In March, Marvel kicks off the four issue New Avengers: The Reunion #1 (cover at right to #1 by Jo Chen).
See where we’re going with this?
The four issue miniseries is written by Jim McCann and illustrated by David Lopez, and will feature the couple trying to sort out their lives and their relationship amid plenty of arrow-shooting and battle stave throwing. But just how does one get back together with your significant other after he was killed by the actions of a former ally and you were kidnapped by Skrulls a few years back, and you both were presumed dead? Does Marvel’s superhero community have a therapist who specializes in super-hero marriages?
Prior to The Reunion, McCann and Lopez will preview the Hawkeye/Mocking bird relationship in this month’s Secret Invasion: Dark Reign. Marvel has provided Newsarama with two exclusive pages from the story, and as it hints, things aren’t all flowers and romance between the two.
We spoke with McCann to get a handle on why these two are back, what he had to do with it, and what’s going on between them.
Newsarama: Jim, you've been mentioned a couple of times by Brian Bendis as being the point person on making sure Mockingbird came back as a result of Secret Invasion. How were you in a position to exert that kind of influence, and...why for Mockingbird?
Jim McCann: Well, we were at a creative retreat finalizing the end of Secret Invasion and who would be coming out of that ship at the end. We knew who had been replaced and who would have been replaced by that point, but we wanted a surprise. We wanted to "get back" someone, either from the dead or who had become...less than recognizable. As we made the list, we decided that we shouldn't use the Skrulls to retcon any characters who have had some dubious plots thrown their way over the past few years. So we focused on who we could bring back. And I was actually not the first person to mention Mockingbird's name as someone to get back-- I didn't think she would be on the table at all. Mike Pasciullo actually said her name. As soon as I saw her name actually written on the list, that's when I fought like hell to make sure SHE was the one we got back!
I fought for Mockingbird. It was when I said that she & Clint were the Mr. & Mrs. Smith of the Marvel Universe, Brian and the room agreed that it would be cool to bring her back. That was the easy part. (by the way, Clint & Bobbi came first, so I am going to say that Mr. & Mrs. Smith are the film-world's Hawkeye & Mockingbird! Also, Clint & Bobbi have more than a dash of Nick & Nora Charles of the Thin Man in them as well...)
New Avengers: Reunion Prologue, page 1Once Mocky was decided I had to provide a plausible explanation. When was she replaced? Why her? What happened all those years ago? I started re-reading West Coast Avengers and I found the moment when she was taken. It's between two issues and it made total sense. I also found some reasoning in the pages of West Coast Avengers #100 (her "death"), which I tell people to re-read very closely and track the time and where the characters are. I will answer these plot points in the main mini, as well as the "Hell" and Legion of the Undead appearances, but it is by no means the focus of the mini-series.
The focus is the second part of the challenge to bringing her back - answering what does a returned Mockingbird get us? We didn't want her to walk off the ship and be like, "Hey look! It's the same Mockingbird as my 1988 Marvel Handbook entry. Cool!" She needed to have changed, and have a purpose and place in the Marvel U. What has happened to her all this time has affected her deeply and changed her. She has a new way of operating, but not so new if you look at the character's history. I am taking her back to her roots, including her past as a biologist and SHIELD Agent 19, while adding a layer of what it was like spending years on an alien world while everyone else thought you were dead.
Once those things were reviewed and agreed to, it was final- Bobbi Morse was back...and I now get to let you guys in on what's been rattling around in my head for about a year and a half! And thank you to Brian for agreeing to bringing her back and Tom Brevoort and my editor Jeanine Schaefer for helping me make this make sense.
NRAMA: We should probably address something before we get too far into this - your best known for being a part of Marvel's marketing and sales staff. You've worked on a variety of projects here and there, and they're now coming with a bit more frequency. Is writing more of what you do these days, and if so, how do you split your time?
JMc: I have actually shifted a bit in my duties at Marvel. Before I came to Marvel, I was in the ABC Writer Development Program, where I learned how to write for Daytime Dramas. I had written for One Life to Live just before starting at Marvel. So, they have known that I have a writing background and would one day like to go back to that. But I can't imagine ever leaving Marvel. So, Marvel has been wonderfully generous and are letting me do both. I am a consultant, in the office part time, and still doing PR, Publicity, Marketing, and conventions, so I am still Jim @ Marvel. But I am also able to do more writing now working from home, writing for Marvel, putting together creator-owned work, pitching for other properties and writing for other mediums as well, like TV. It's a delicate balance that I am still learning, but having the time of my life!
NRAMA: Back on topic with Mockingbird and Hawkeye – with what you said about the “when” of Bobbi being kidnapped…how much detail do you go into in your head? Do you have the entire timeline plotted out in your head of how and what all happened to her in regards to when she was switched, and why she's been spotted in Hell from time to time?
JMc: he answer is a resounding yes. They probably won't sit down with a timeline and say Ok, this is where this happened and that is where that, and oh, you saw me in Hell?! The information will come out organically in conversation, fights and at the worst possible time. By the end of the series, you should have all of the answers. If you didn't get them all, or feel I didn't answer completely, come by my board on Jinxworld or catch me at a con & I'll tell it to you in a linear fashion.
New Avengers: Reunion Prologue, page 2NRAMA: Something else that's a relative unknown is what happened to the characters who were taken by the Skrull. There was a mention that they were asleep, but is that the case with Mockingbird?
JMc: She was asleep for some of the time, yes, but what happened to her is rather unique, especially given that she was one of the first, if not the first person abducted. There's a reason why, and that reason plays directly into what happened to her while with the Skrulls. It was not pleasant. As you will see, she's got some serious issues going on, playing out in Post-Traumatic-Stress-induced visions. These visions are also clues to what happened to her while she was gone.
NRAMA: With a wink and nod to comic book "time" how long has Bobbi been gone?
JMc: I place it at about 3 years.
NRAMA: You're going to be delving into the relationship between Bobbi and Clint. From all we've seen in Secret Invasion #8 so far, there's a lot of kissing. For heroes famous for their amorous ways (to date the only male-female hero pair to end a miniseries naked in a heart-shaped tub...) one could assume that their true love might conquer all...or does it?
JMc: They are known as much for their amorous ways as they are their confrontational ways. They are impulsive and hot-headed and stubborn. They also have a lot to work out, not just the issues between them from before she was taken, but from the events that happened to them both over the years she's been gone. I can't promise anything beyond the fact that "Reunion" can mean many different things. There will be action, romance, fighting, and above all emotion thru all of this.
NRAMA: So where are Clint and Bobbi when we catch up with them in the in Dark Reign: New Nation, and what does that story do in the bigger picture?
JMc: They are around the current events of New Avengers, if not a slight bit after issue #50. The prologue focuses solely on the two of them, as does most of the mini, setting up their place in the bigger picture of the Marvel U. As for what Dark Reign does for this story, it adds a whole new level of danger. With evil on a longer- if any - leash, the stakes are raised. She has a mission, something she has to do now that she is back, and with Norman in charge, that makes it harder to do and imperative that she do it quickly.
Speaking of that new mission, it comes complete with a new updated look, designed by series artist David Lopez. (before traditionalists come at me with pitchforks, please remember that we all share a love and respect for the character and thought and reasons have gone into every decision made in this, including her new look. It is necessary for her mission and new status quo. It will maintain elements of past looks, but updated for a modern Mockingbird). David I have to say draws the most beautiful Bobbi Morse I have ever seen. His action and expressions are spot on and perfectly suited for this book. I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have him as the artist on this.
NRAMA: You’re suggesting that Bobbi has trouble getting back to normal. Yeah, but Clint was dead, and he seems okay...what gives on the difference in their adaptation to being back among the living on earth?
JMc: Yes, Clint seems ok, but is he, really? Clint is Clint regardless of what he is wearing. It's who he is on the inside and the choices he makes that makes him such a compelling character, not the purple tights. He seems to change costumes when he has a crisis of faith or feeling powerless and lost. He was Goliath to make up for a lack of power. He is Ronin to find a sense of balance and to center himself. The fact that he has stayed in that identity suggests he has not found that. And now that his is-she-or-isn't-she-his-ex-wife is back from what he thought was the grave, how much will that tip him off his delicate balance he's been trying to achieve? Plus, he didn't go through what she did. Scarlet Witch erased him then brought him back. It was like the blink of an eye for him and everything changed. Bobbi can't bring herself to close her eyes, because of what she might see and remember from the time she was gone.
NRAMA: Where are things going with Hawkeye and Mockingbird in the larger picture? Brian has said that they'll be joining a team, but how much will you be involved in their continuing adventures?
JMc: Brian is using them in the New Avengers, yes, and that is where they will be a part of a team. She's sort of the new set of eyes, pointing out how different the world is. Brian has read my outline and scripts and I keep up with his. He's been so amazing with this, really letting me tackle the punches, physical and emotional, that go down with these two. The Reunion is where you find out about them as a pair, duo, or couple. This is where the emotional agita is, and the high-octane action these two are known for, be it fighting a common threat or each other.
As for continuing adventures, The Reunion is a 4-part limited series, but if fans like it and miss them enough, David is having fun drawing them incredibly well, Jeanine is supportive and excited, and I have plenty of stories to tell with these two. West Coast Avengers started as a 4 issue mini with these two, so here's hoping lightening (or a battlestave and an arrow in this case) strikes twice!Related: Marvel's Dark Reign
- Brian Bendis: Wrapping it All Up, and Starting Dark Reign
- Making them Mighty: Dan Slott on The Mighty Avengers