Using the names Agent 19, Huntress and Mockingbird, Bobbi Morse has been kicking around the Marvel Universe for more than 40 years. Her S.H.I.E.L.D. training and unparalleled proficiency with battle staves — her weapon of choice — have made her a formidable opponent to all super villains and a valued member of a number of different Avengers teams. Mockingbird even survived being dead for fifteen years with her popularity and go get ’em personality intact.
Now Mockingbird is about to venture into a totally new territory, one that this well-traveled secret agent has never adventured into before — live-action television. Bobbi Morse will make her debut on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” early this season, where Adrianne Palicki will bring her to life. The first photo of the “Friday Night Lights” star in the role was recently released, revealing that the character had taken on an all-new — and spoilerific — job title. Morse will act the head of HYDRA security in the October 21 episode, although the installment’s title — “A Hen in the Wolf House” — implies that Mockingbird might be up to her old super spy tricks.
For a primer on all things Bobbi Morse, we’ve compiled a list of the different code names, roles and occupations the character has tried on over the past few decades.
The character’s comparatively convoluted origin began with the introduction of a mystery, maybe-psychic character in 1971’s “Astonishing Tales” #6. The psychic bit was soon dropped, and that unnamed brunette character transformed into Bobbi Morse, a blonde biologist with strong ties to S.H.I.E.L.D., by the time “Astonishing Tales” #12 rolled around. The series took a new turn a few issues after that when Morse moved to New York City with Ka-Zar, the lord of the jungle. There she acted as the hero’s sidekick and erstwhile girlfriend, and her connection to the super spy agency grew from tenuous to essential. It’s during this stretch of time that Morse revealed her S.H.I.E.L.D. designation of Agent 19. When the similarly jungle-themed Shanna the She-Devil made her way into Ka-Zar’s cast, though, Agent 19 found herself without an ongoing series.
Morse appeared a year later in 1976’s “Marvel Super Action” #1, where she enjoyed her first solo story and traded in her S.H.I.E.L.D. number for a real super hero name — Huntress. The change comes when a United States Senator hires her to investigate a murder in Latin America. Being a super hero, the Huntress also wore a super hero costume — one that included a plunging neckline and a serious pair of leather boots, because, you know, it was the ’70s. Huntress’ adventures were intended to be ongoing, as she fought to expose S.H.I.E.L.D. corruption from within, but this issue marked her first and only appearance under the codename. DC would dust off the moniker for Helena Wayne one year later.
With her codename being used over at the competition, the biologist/spy/super hero would need another alias for her crime fighting exploits. Enter: Mockingbird! This name, which would end up sticking around for much longer than one issue, debuted in 1980’s “Marvel Team-Up” #95 wearing her iconic black and white costume and carrying her battle staves. The issue finds Morse going up against more corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, as well as a manipulated Spider-Man. Nick Fury recognized Bobbi’s efforts helped her fight against the agency’s evil infiltrators. After years of hiding and being on the run from the bad guys in S.H.I.E.L.D., Morse’s name was finally cleared.
Mockingbird’s career as an Avenger began when she first came into conflict with Hawkeye while investigating corruption charges against Cross Technological Enterprises. The two bird-themed good guys eventually overcame their initial differences — so much so that they eloped just a few issues after first crossing paths. When Hawkeye was tasked with expanding the Avengers brand to Los Angeles, his wife was right by his side. Mockingbird joined the West Coast Avengers and, with the launch of that team’s ongoing series in 1985, finally had a monthly showcase again. Her relationship with Hawkeye went through its ups and downs, which included talk of divorce. Mockingbird’s story seemingly ended in “Avengers West Coast” #100 when she sacrificed her life to Mephisto to protect Hawkeye.
Mockingbird stayed dead for years, becoming one of the few comic book characters to remain six feet under for more than a decade. The “Secret Invasion” event, which involved shape-shifting Skrulls replacing key figures in the Marvel Universe, proved to be the perfect way to bring the character back from the dead. Before Bobbi’s death, she had been swapped out with a nearly identical Skrull; the real Bobbi returned to Earth in the wake of the event. Since then, Mockingbird has served on number of teams, including the New and Secret Avengers, and has established herself as a hero independent of her longtime partner, Hawkeye — even if she does occasionally show up in his life alongside his other exes to shove his life back onto the right track.
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