In Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse, you have two characters who have been through death and rebirth, who have found love and had it torn asunder, and who know what it takes to be a hero no matter what.
In writer Jim McCann and penciler David Lopez, you have a team who show a great love and understanding of these characters, and helped remind people how cool they can be together in last year's New Avengers: The Reunion.
Now these two pairs come back together, with a couple of notable changes. In Hawkeye and Mockingbird #1, due out this June from Marvel Comics, Clint is back in his original costume, and their tales won't be a limited series, they'll be an ongoing.
We talked with Jim McCann about the return to these characters, his first ongoing series, and the characters we can expect to see stop by. He also lets us know what's so special about Clint and Bobbi and how the WCA is involved in all this.
Newsarama: Perhaps the first big part of this announcement is... Hawkeye! This is Clint back in his gear, right? What was it like coming off "Reunion" and being told you then get to write a series featuring his other return?
Jim McCann: This IS Clint! He IS in purple, with a bow & arrow, snarky and never misses. The Hawkeye you’ve been demanding! As for what it’s like, I don’t know that it has fully processed for me. Hawkeye has ALWAYS been the male character I have wanted to write. He and Mockingbird are my all-time favorite couple. Now I get to plot the course for these two? Ongoing?!?! Get out! If my 12 year-old self only knew this day would come…wow
Nrama: This is your first ongoing series. How does your writing have to adjust to long-form stories?
McCann: It’s funny because it’s different and familiar at the same time. I’ve done a lot of 8 page stories and done-in-ones, as well as The Reunion mini-series. Those had finite endings. This, however, find me diving back into my TV roots, writing for characters that have been around long before me and will continue to be long after me. I’m looking at this in that same vein as serialized TV- I don’t ever want to give people a jumping off point, but I want it to be accessible for new readers to come in. So, while there will be “arcs”, they really are just movements in a larger piece. (yes, I used music, TV, and comics all in one metaphor.)
Nrama: What is it about Bobbi and Clint, for you, that shows a lasting love that breaks through all their history?
McCann: They can’t escape each other. They may say they want to, but they don’t REALLY. They are the perfect match. They are equals in almost every way, and they compliment each other. However, there is something to be said about a couple that goes THAT well together. They have a tendency to be equally stubborn, brash, and unreasonable. And when one starts down that road, the other often follows. They can be the best and the worst thing in the world for each other and I LOVE that.
Nrama: Perhaps more importantly, what is it that makes these two stand out as a pair that has their "own" stories to tell?
McCann: They have an incredible history, not just with each other, but with the whole Marvel U. We haven’t seen Hawkeye in his own book in years, and a decade has gone by since we saw Mockingbird really shine. They have old villains who are really happy/pissed to see them back, and they are making new enemies every day. And we will see a LOT of them, old and new.
As for the duo as a pair, this is a couple where ANYTHING can happen. They are the most realistic couple I think the Marvel Universe had (until Luke Cage & Jessica Jones, probably). They met, eloped, formed an Avengers team together, dealt TERRIBLY with marital issues, separated, tried to get back together, separated again, died, came back to life, and now have a new lease. Ok, so some of that isn’t “realistic,” but the core of their dynamic is. This is not a couple that is afraid to fight as fiercely as they love.
Nrama: You established the "W.C.A." in Reunion. Will this duo continue to build this new organization? Any new or peripheral members?
McCann: I am beyond thrilled to be building on the new W.C.A. That is a familiar acronym with the core duo at its heart, but for those who don’t know, this is not a team that only fights crime West of the Rockies. This is the World Counterterroism Agency. They are comprised of ex-SHIELD agents like Mockingbird who were captured by Skrulls and, like Bobbi, came back to a world that moved on, one they didn’t recognize. They have all contributed to the Marvel U in the past, and you’ll learn how as the series goes on. They have an awesome new HQ and a mission statement that puts them in the crosshairs of some of the most dangerous criminal organizations and super villains Hawkeye & Mockingbird have ever faced! There’s also a new member to the team with his own secrets, role, and agenda, one that is very relevant to this book as a whole, and that’s Dominic Fortune. How he fits in, you will find out in the first issue. Well, somewhat. He’s got a LOT of skeletons in his closet!
Nrama: Along the same lines, with any new ongoing featuring characters who don't have "spider" in their name or claws coming out of limbs, you'll probably want some guest stars on occasion to help bring people in. Anyone locked down yet?
McCann: Mockingbird made her first appearance in that guise by teaming up with Spidey. They go way back. But he’s not swinging by just yet. Others WILL be. Steve Rogers and Clint have a very important scene that explains why Hawkeye’s on double-duty between the Avengers & the W.C.A., as well as why Bobbi is no longer an active member. (Can I geek out for a second at writing Steve & Clint together?! …!!! Ok, thanks) There are a number of other characters with whom Hawkeye and Mockingbird share a past that will be showing up in this first arc, and even more in the next, and the next…and the next. You’re going to see old friends, new enemies, and maybe an evil robot or two!
Nrama: Your first arc sees the return of the Phantom Rider. How is he the same, and how is he different from the last time he appeared?
McCann: It features Phantom Rider in a way you have NEVER seen before. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but the Phantom Rider is the only character that succeeded in tearing apart Hawkeye & Mockingbird the first time. Now that Hawkeye & Mockingbird have reconciled, He Who Rides The Night Wind has returned to finish the job. Phantom Rider is joined by Crossfire, a villain who has never had a chance to show just how deadly he can be. An ex-CIA operative with training in intel and interrogation who is also an expert marksman- he’s Jack Bauer with no restraint or conscience. This is a war to him, and there are no lines to cross in war. He’s building something huge here and is prepared to remove any obstacle that stands in his way. Paired with Phantom Rider, this duo are willing and able to systematically destroy everything Hawkeye and Mockingbird have built…and ultimately make sure it is one of THEM who dies this time- for good!
Nrama: The solicitation promises some New Enemies as well. What are some features you look for in a villain to combat characters like Hawkeye and Mockingbird?
McCann: I like pitting them against people it makes sense for them to fight, so cosmic threats don’t make a lot of sense. The day I suit them up to take on Galactus is the day I know I have run out of ideas-- OR stumbled upon the GREATEST idea ever! Nah, probably the former. I prefer to pit them against people or groups that they could defeat or be defeated by, equals in a sense. But the really fun thing about these two is that they have a tendency to get in over their heads. So I start with the equals premise and then add another layer or two of danger. The second arc will feature the biggest cast of characters these two have ever faced together or apart.
I also think they are great when facing off against each other, butting heads and both playing Alpha Dog. It’s an aspect that is unique to their relationship that is a minefield in and of itself.
Nrama: This is spinning out from Enter the Heroic Age. Is that an original story, or more of a preview to #1?
McCann: The story in Enter the Heroic Age is 100% original and will not be reprinted in issue 1. It sets up a lot of what you’ll be seeing in the series.
Nrama: From your Twitter account, it looks like you've been having fun writing this. What's one specific moment (without being too spoilery) that fans should be looking forward to from the first arc?
McCann: Every page from David Lopez is amazing and a wonderful thing to have waiting in your inbox. He’s upped his game immensely. We’re both so happy to be back working together, and that’s because of the support The Reunion had. So, fans, you’ll be in for a treat every issue, but specifically: Pages 2 & 7 of the story in Enter the Heroic Age and pages 3 and 22 of issue 1. That’s just a start. There are moments in every issue that I can’t wait to get to…and that I can’t believe we’re getting away with doing!