Mockingbird Volume 2: My Feminist Agenda

Review:

Mockingbird Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda - Chelsea Cain,Kate NiemczykAs with the last volume, this was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it also carried through the same problems as the last one too.

A top secret mission on behalf of an old friend, a tropical cruise. What could go wrong? Turns out it’s a theme cruise -super-hero themed, naturally -a floating comic con. Now Bobbi is trapped on a boat with a thousand cosplayers, caped colleagues she was trying to avoid, an ex-boyfriend who keeps showing up at inopportune times and a rampaging herd of corgis. When a passenger is murdered, Bobbi must play Hercule Poirot to find the killer and confront some uncomfortable truths from her past in the process.

COLLECTING: Mockingbird 6-8, New Avengers (2010) 13-14

This series had been advertised as feminist, which I am obviously a big fan of,  but again, this is a clear example of white feminism and not the all-inclusive kind I’d rather see or be a part of. The feminism itself wasn’t as in your face on this one as the last, though. Not that I see in your face feminism as a bad thing, but again it was a bit of the execution.

The plot of this volume takes place at a convention that is meant to celebrate Hawkeye, and having been to some conventions in different parts of the country, it’s completely possible to end up at one that just is predominantly white. I had started the series with some erroneous preconceived notions about Mockingbird and Hunter from the Agents of SHIELD tv show, which I watch regularly. I had mostly dealt with them in the first volume, but they persist as a distraction here. The idea of Mockingbird as Hawkeye’s ex-wife is a little odd, given the recent MCU revelation of Hawkeye’s family in addition to that Mockingbird had been married to Hunter previously in the show. It’s distracting that the comic versions are so different. I’m over it, but I feel like that needed to be pointed out for the sake of this review.

The story itself was fun. This is the Civil War II tie in for Mockingbird and it takes place after the events of the Civil War II volume. If you recall that volume ends the conflict but this one picks up some of the aftermath, what with Hawkeye being in prison still and all. Like Spider-Woman, Mockingbird was trying to escape the hoopla, given her own close ties to those central to the conflict. She also gets roped in anyway, this time by someone claiming to have evidence that might exonerate Hawkeye.

Things go awry and it’s interesting to see Mockingbird do her thing and to see the way Hunter is portrayed in the series. I enjoyed the way it ended and figuring out who the villain was. Since I hadn’t read much of anything with her in it before the series, it was a real surprise.

It’s also great to see her continue to be used as a SHIELD agent in a capacity that is similar to that which she was on the tv show. She had been an Avenger at one point and the volume shows that too, just not in the main storyline. The series itself was cancelled before they could really have a full second volume, only having published 3 issues for it. They added the two New Avengers issues that contained the story of her transformation from a regular agent who could hang with the supers to an enhanced person by way of the super-serum/infinity-serum combo. She mentions in the first volume that this is what transformed her. Still, she had managed to be an Avenger before that…..

I love the image of Mockingbird with her “Ask me about my feminist agenda” t-shirt that had been the cover of the last issue. It was a lot of fun. I don’t know whether or how much feminism or white feminism contributed to the cancellation of this series, but this volume is also the last of it. There’s even a note in the Mockingbird #8 that points out that they knew it was going to be the end when it was written, so maybe that influenced some infuence on the way they ended it as well.

Altogether, it was a fun issue. The problem that I have with the make up of the series, despite it’s short run, is that if we were going to have a full on feminist character headlining her own series and pointing out feminist issues, I’d want it to showcase the intersections that feminism has as well as women working together. This does neither of those. It gave us a loner who treats men like they’re disposable, a female character who “acts liks a man” in almost every way.

It’s fun, yes, but not the personification of what feminism really is. For that, I’d refer a reader over to Spider-Woman who does things to help other women (and men. She’s a leader of heroes, you might say) in her series and she regularly interacts with other heroes in positive ways. She’s got agency. She decides for herself when she’s going to have life-changing events and while she knows she doesn’t necessarily need a romantic partner to help out with those changes, she isn’t too afraid to ask for help or give it when needed to those around her. I also find it exciting to have a hero who is a mom too. Because of her loner ways, Mockingbird only showcased one way to be a woman with agency and spends much of her time comparing it to the way that men do it instead of finding her own way. She’s the kind of character that has been a point of a concern for many of the feminist blogs and websites that I’ve seen take on the “strong female character” trope, of which this is pretty much the personification.

None of this makes Mockingbird a bad hero or superhero, I love her appearances in Silk. Her series itself is just not the best example of feminism in comics, which is what it was touted as before I read it. If you’re into those who would easily fall into the “strong female character” then this will be as fun for you as it was for me. If you’d like to see superhero comics with headlining women that include dealing with issues of race, ethnicities, religion, and accepting the lifestyles of others (I haven’t read an LGBT hero yet but there are LGBT characters that show up in other series, like Silk’s besties are a lesbian couple), then I’d refer you to Invincible Iron Man (Ironheart), Ms. Marvel, Silk, or Spider-Woman.

Follow the link on the cover for options for places to buy the volume, if you feel so inclined. It’s a fun series, though short.

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