"New Avengers: The Reunion", which this series spins out of, was one of the highlights of last year, with smart, action-packed writing from Jim McCann casting Hawkeye and Mockingbird as pair as superhero spies/spouses reminiscent of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. And Mrs. Smith. And to my delight, the opening scene of this issue kicks off in exactly that vein. Too often, miniseries granted a full return miss what made the original great, but McCann has nailed it here, quickly reintroducing the setup and setting about expanding the world of the two heroes.
In some cases, that means introducing their family and friends - Hawkeye gets a great scene, sparring with the Captains America - and in others, it's reintroducing the villains the pair have collected, such as Crossfire and the Phantom Rider. Neither of those villains is especially A-List, and while Crossfire struggles to appear like a credible threat, I'm immediately interested in the new Phantom Rider McCann has created. At times it verges on being a little too comprehensive, but by the end of the issue, the plotlines and characters are all in place, and it feels like the story has begun.
For his part, David Lopez' art is fantastic: bright, clear storytelling, fluid and natural-looking figure work, and a brilliant aptitude for the sort of action sequence McCann is writing. The world is detailed and realistic, while Clint and Bobbi are both confident and sexy without being gratuitously drawn.
For its part in the Big Avengers reshuffle, everything about the issue screams "Heroic Age". It feels like a new beginning, and it keeps up the high standard already set by "Avengers" and "Secret Avengers". The characters might not be the obvious choice of series lead, but McCann has written a book that seems original without being unfamiliar, and feel traditional while retaining a modern edge.
Literally the only thing that upsets me about Hawkeye and Mockingbird is the feeling that it's far from being a sure thing. In many ways, this series has the potential to be the next "SWORD", the next "Captain Britain", the next "Power Girl" -- a smart, funny, fresh take on superheroics that winds up ending before its time. This series deserves a long and entertaining run. Let's get the word out.