Comments Off on Hawkeye & Mockingbird: Strained Relations

By Ben Morse

When we last left the titular duo of HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD at the end of their third issue, they had just been shot and blown up alongside their ally Dominic Fortune by the villainous combo of Crossfire and the latest Phantom Rider. When the action picks up September 1 in issue #4, the battered and bruised Avengers will be out for revenge-if they can keep from alternately bickering and making out long enough to pull it off.

“They love each other, but they are both extremely hot-headed, stubborn and passionate,” explains series writer Jim McCann of the unique dynamic between Hawkeye and Mockingbird, even more strained after the archer dragged his ex-wife’s estranged mother back into her life and into harm’s way. “They are each other’s equal and mirror. But sometimes the mirror shows you things about yourself you don’t want to see. They tend to lash out at each other and live up to the ‘You hurt the ones you love’ adage, but they do love which is why they will always have one another’s backs, even if they are in the middle of a personal disagreement. It’s that tension and power-keg emotional aspect that I love so much.”

Romantic sparks and personal issues still take a backseat as far as the challenges confronting Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse currently, as Crossfire, the first foe they ever battled as a duo, has brought all his resources and powers to bear on the couple once more.

“Crossfire is the evil opposite for both characters,” shares McCann. “He’s an ex-spy like Mockingbird and an expert marksman like Hawkeye. He’s responsible for their pairing, which I find awesome in its irony. The fact that they can’t escape him and vice versa makes for a great rivalry.”

Providing back-up as well as direction for Crossfire, Jaime Slade carries a lot of history and baggage as the new Phantom Rider. Her ancestor, Lincoln Slade, drove the wedge that led to Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s divorce when he drugged and took advantage of Bobbi, leading her to allow his death and upset her beloved moral marksman in the process. Has Lincoln returned from beyond the grave and possessed his ancestor to seek vengeance, or could there be more than meets the eye occurring here?

“What Lincoln Slade did to Mockingbird and the fallout her actions against him had on her relationship with Hawkeye has never fully been resolve and is a specter hanging over them,” posits McCann. “I looked into the legacy of the Phantom Rider and found the family history fascinating. There were two brothers in the 1800’s; one good and one bad. Now we have Hamilton Slade-the good Rider-and his daughter having been chosen by Lincoln to carry out his vengeance.

“I will say it’s weird writing a male spirit in a female body, especially a man obsessed with Mockingbird to the point where he wants to kill her so they can be together. The fact that he’s using and twisting Jaime almost seems inconsequential to him-or is Jaime actually bad herself already? That will be explored.”

Further complicating matters: Dominic Fortune, the cocky wildcard mercenary who Mockingbird has hired on as part of her WCA crew and who can’t help but rub Hawkeye the wrong way even as the couple faces this intensely personal vendetta.

“Dom is the guy that reminds Clint how he used to be,” notes McCann. “He’s got a swagger and will say anything. He honestly believes the best fortune is the one you have to work for, so don’ expect him to give up any time soon with [his romantic overtures toward] Bobbi. Most importantly though, he has a secret that he’s keeping from everyone, a reason he’s with the team; that will be exposed soon and I think it will be quite a surprise.”

The Hawkeye to McCann’s Mockingbird-or maybe vice versa-artist David Lopez continues to excel and grow at an exponential rate in his skills with each month, pleasing his creative partner to no end.

“David’s got an amazing grasp on the emotional state these characters exist in, which is very important to me,” touts the writer. “He understands it and really makes you get what they’re feeling in body language, facial expressions and actions. He’s my partner in crime and I love having him beside me on this journey. Alvaro Lopez’s inks are growing incredibly too and Nathan Fairburn’s colors are perfectly suited for the tone and style. I think the fans are seeing that this is a creative team marriage that is really in mutual love.”

Hopefully Hawkeye and Mockingbird will be able to take some of those warm feelings and harness it as they face the challenging months ahead-though don’t expect them to spend all their time speaking kindly about one another, because hey, that just wouldn’t be Clint and Bobbi.