“Hawkeye and Mockingbird: Superduo!” or “Ronin Loves Mockingbird” probably wouldn’t have worked as titles for this series — or, at least, as titles the mainstream market would have paid four bucks an issue for — but “New Avengers: Reunion” is not only the least interesting title imaginable, but it’s also tremendously inaccurate. This isn’t a New Avengers series, it’s a Hawkeye (or Ronin) and Mockingbird super-spy action series, full of secrets and bad guy scientists and flying cars and intrigue.
“New Avengers: Reunion” sounds like a comic where aging teammates sit around and swap stories of the good old days, and this certainly isn’t that.
This isn’t a Bendis-style comic that’s heavy on dialogue and light on plot momentum. It’s a Jim McCann comic. One that celebrates these characters and puts them in conflict with one another while moving them swiftly from one scene to the next. McCann gives this first issue a nice pace, alternating between character moments — Ronin and Captain America playing a passive aggressive game of verbal cat and mouse, Mockingbird not really in sync with her ex-husband anymore — and action. Advanced Idea Mechanics shows up, and wherever there’s AIM, there’s kicking. So we get plenty of that, but none of it lingers for too long.
The premise of this series is that Mockingbird is back from her Skrull abduction, but as an ex-secret agent, an ex-Avenger (or current New Avenger), and all-around woman of action, she’s not just going to sit back and whine about her pain and sorrow. She has a new job to do, with new inside-Skrullball information to rely on.
And her husband (her former husband according to California state law, which declared Bobbi Morse legally dead years ago) is always a step behind her. He wants to pick up where they left off, but she may be a completely different person from who she was back in the “West Coast Avengers” glory days. Just because Clint Barton wears a new costume and carries nunchucks instead of bows and arrows, it doesn’t mean he wants things to change.
The debut issue of this miniseries is far from perfect. David and Alvaro Lopez, who made “Catwoman” look great for a couple of years before its cancellation, don’t do their best work here. They are great at storytelling and at keeping the reader’s eye moving quickly from panel to panel, but they don’t seem to have a handle on these characters. Their faces seem either too soft, or too inconsistent. There’s an amorphous feeling to their facial expressions.
And McCann really stumbles with a “Grey’s Anatomy” reference. Not only isn’t it funny at all, it doesn’t make any sense for Clint Barton to refer to a show like that since he, too, was far from its target audience as well. He was dead and out of the country for years, remember, so he should be out of the pop culture loop almost as much as Bobbi Morse is. That McCann doesn’t address Barton’s own death and resurrection in the context of his relationship with his ex-wife is a glaring omission — perhaps one that will be dealt with in future issues, but seems strange by its absence here.
But “New Avengers: Reunion,” like any good Clint Barton story, has far more hits than misses, and the conflict between its two lead characters creates more than enough explosive energy to propel this series forward.