Rating: 4/5 – It’s Supposed to be Confusing!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The first issue of Mockingbird is confusing. It makes you think as though you’re missing so much action and information in between each of it’s multiple scenes. Halfway through the book I thought I must be over tired since I was clearly not understanding what’s happening. Then, as I flipped the last page and read the afterword by writer Chelsea Cain, I found out that it was all intentional. Although I wasn’t 100% sure of this until reading the last page, I knew there was something off within the narrative about halfway through since there’s a pattern to the intentionally jumbled and confusing writing.
Mockingbird number one takes us through multiple visits of Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird) to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s medical facility after receiving her experimental treatments of the Infinity Formula and Super Soldier serum. These visits always start in the waiting room where Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk give us a brief glimpse of Bobbi’s status through creative visual means. In one scene she’s wearing normal clothes while Tony Stark is a few chairs down reading a pamphlet on gonorrhea, while in another she has a dog accompanying her as she sits next to a wounded Hercules and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage holding their baby. Each visit brings more questions, but as Cain promises, all will be revealed in future issues.
I can see how this narrative choice can turn off some readers and make a compelling argument for waiting for the trade, but after reading this issue all the way through, I really enjoyed the choice to write it this way. Cain described the premise of this series as a puzzle. You don’t have all the pieces together yet, but you know it will all come together given time. I like that she’s confident enough to write the issue this way and although you don’t get the whole story in this first issue, there’s plenty of humor not only in the writing, but in the art to make this worth your time.
Kate’s art throughout works for this story and she includes plenty of jokes on the page. Mockingbird continues Marvel’s purposeful approach in infusing humor into many of it’s titles and it works here, mostly because of Kate’s art. There’s subtle humor in the waiting room scenes and Kate also draws the humor in the artistic props like “how do you feel” cards and more. Cain and Niemczyk have taken a risk with this first issue and for me, I think it was a smart one. Mockingbird isn’t as innocent as a Patsy Walker or Squirrel Girl and would fall closer to Marvel’s recent She-Hulk series which is a good thing! I’m on board for the rest of this mini-series and am glad I’ll be reading it in single issues.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture