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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Superhero Sunday: Mockingbird

Yeah . . . I surrender.
The third (or fourth) tier super heroine Mockingbird is not as well known as many in the Marvel Universe, but she is certainly an intriguing character.
Pants are over-rated, really.
Barbara Morse first appeared as a brunette in a 1971 issue of Astonishing Tales desperate to find Lord Kevin Plunder, also known as the hero Ka-Zar. She suggested to Lord Plunder's butler that she has a strong psychic feeling that Lord Plunder is in great danger. Shortly after this a change in writing staff changed the brunette Barbara to the blond "Bobbi," and the psychic abilities were never mentioned again. Now, Dr. Bobbi Morse was a biologist who we eventually discover is a secret agent.
Bobbi later reappears as Agent 19 of Marvel's super espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Teamed with jungle hero Ka-Zar now in the wilds of New York City, they are a modern crime-fighting couple. Eventually, the Ka-Zar stories (again under new writers) return to the jungle and Ka-Zar's interest turn more to jungle lady Shanna. Bobbi eventually is written out of the series.

"Uh, guys? The giant robot is
 attacking city hall over there
. . . guys?" 
After a brief stint as a costumed superhero called the Huntress, she settles into her new identity as Mockingbird and becomes a charter member of the Avengers and the West Coast Avengers alongside new love interest, the swashbuckling archer Hawkeye (Clint Barton). This echoed a similar relationship in DC's Justice League between Green Arrow and the Black Canary.
Mock! Yeah! Ing! Yeah! . . .okay, sorry.
Eventually, after several ups and downs, the couple are married, but happily ever after is cut short in 1993 when Bobbi sacrifices her life to save Hawkeye.
Of course, in the "nobody stays dead" rule of comic books, Bobbi was eventually resurrected and reunited with Clint. They are currently happily ever after fighting crime in the Marvel universe.
I forgot what I was going to write here.
I think what is most interesting about Mockingbird is that she has no superpowers. She has a PhD, she has been trained in espionage and many forms of hand-to-hand combat by S.H.I.E.L.D., but she wasn't bit by a radioactive spider, wasn't injected with a super-soldier serum, and doesn't fight in a giant suit of armor.
Part Samantha Carter, part Sydney Bristow, part Emma Peel, Barbara "Bobbi" Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird is one of those comic book characters who was never quite as popular as I thought she should be.
Hmmmm. . .
Jeremy Renner has been cast as Hawkeye in the upcoming (2012) Avengers movie, but there is no mention of a Mockingbird in the cast as yet. It's possible that the screenwriters feel that Scarlett Johanssen as Black Widow will suffice as the butt-kicking superspy heroine of the movie, but, with Joss Whedon at the helm now, that could change. The director who is known for his strong, beautiful female characters may be able to show enough differences between these two women to include them both in the movie. However, where Joss could ever find a smart, beautiful, butt-kicking blonde actress to play the role, I just don't know.

Mockingbird tribute video by GhettoGypsy.

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