Bobbi Morse is a woman with the training, abilities and experience to navigate many of the Marvel Universe’s dangerous and difficult corners. The hero better known as Mockingbird is an accomplished espionage agent with numerous S.H.I.E.L.D. missions under her belt, and has plenty of experience tackling global crises as a member of several Avengers squads. The latter has put her in the crosshairs of countless villains and also led to her receiving a solution made up of Nick Fury’s Infinity Formula and Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum, an ordeal that enhanced her already formidable physical abilities. Thanks to her doctorate in Chemistry, Bobbi also has a firm grasp of the science behind the solution and how it altered her heroic path.
In March 2016 novelist Chelsea Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk will dive into Bobbi’s eclectic adventures with the launch of Marvel’s first ever “Mockingbird” solo series. CBR News spoke with Cain about the signature look she wants to give the series, the villains she’s interested in pitting her protagonist against. She also discusses events in the book’s initial arc, which further explores the ramifications of Mockingbird’s exposure to the Infinity Formula and Super Soldier Serum combination.
CBR News: Chelsea, last time we spoke about how your love for the character and your perfect timing helped you land the S.H.I.E.L.D. Mockingbird special. Now you’re getting a chance to launch the character’s first solo series, which is also your first Marvel ongoing. How does that feel?
Chelsea Cain: Bwah ha ha ha! My master plan is coming together quite nicely, thanks.
[Laughs] In Marvel’s All-New, All-Different line of comics Bobbi Morse has become a very busy spy. She’s Peter Parker’s liaison with S.H.I.E.L.D., she’s part of Phil Coulson’s special team of agents, and she’s Silk’s handler in her role as an undercover operative in Black Cat’s criminal empire. Which of Bobbi’s new espionage roles do you find most compelling? And do you have any plans for those characters to show up in “Mockingbird?”
I love Bobbi and Peter Parker’s rapport; they give good banter. But all the roles you mention define Bobbi in relationships to other people. She’s Parker’s liaison; she’s on Coulson’s team; she’s Silk’s handler. The great thing about writing the “Mockingbird” solo title is that she gets to be at the center of the story, it’s her point of view. Everyone else is in relationship to her.
Spy is just one of the roles Bobbi plays — she’s also a super hero and a scientist. Which of aspects will you be exploring initially in the series? And are you planning to stick with one particular genre or tone, or will “Mockingbird” be the kind of book that can be as diverse as your lead?
All three roles you mentioned are explored pretty heavily in the first five issues. In some ways, that is Bobbi’s struggle — which of her three identities will she let define her? That’s what makes the character interesting to me — she has this untapped well of complexity.
As for “feel” — yeah, I think it’s really important. Mockingbird has a ’70s aesthetic, molded chairs, sunken living rooms, big patterns, lots of orange. It doesn’t take place in the ’70s. It’s just a visual reference that along with Kate’s amazing art creates a specific sense of place. Not just, hey, look, it’s New York City. But it’s Mockingbird’s New York City. I open so many comic books that look the same inside. Take away the heroes, and the settings are interchangeable. So I want something visually specific.
Genre-wise, I’d like to try a few out. Bobbi gets sent out on a lot of assignments and gets to try on a lot of hats. Literally. In the first five issues alone we dabble in conspiracy, horror, spy story, sex comedy, superhero, medical mystery and deep sea diving adventure.
What about Bobbi’s supporting cast — can we expect any of her Avengers teammates or maybe a certain Avenging Archer to appear?
I love Bobbi’s dynamic with both Lance Hunter and Clint Barton, so definitely expect to see those two. I can’t wait to throw Hunter and Barton in a scene together, because: awkward. Bobbi’s relationship with both Hunter and Barton allows for clever dialog and tension, but it also does a lot of character work, namely highlighting Bobbi’s inability to be emotionally intimate, and her inability to let go. I’m looking forward to having her explore that a little, when she’s not saving the world.
A supporting cast is just one of the interesting elements you get to build in an ongoing series; another is a rogues gallery. What’s your sense of Bobbi’s frequent foes? Can you reveal the villains of the first arc or two?
The Hellfire Club. I just adore those kinky megalomaniacs. They throw great parties. And zombies. You will see zombies. But — and this is maybe going to seem self-indulgent — I think Bobbi’s worst enemy is herself. That said, I would love to see her trapped in an elevator with Wilson Fisk.
Your artistic partner on “Mockingbird” is a relative newcomer. Kate Niemczyk has a very clean line and super expressive characters. What about her work made her seem like a fit for this project to you?
I came across this image she did of Batman wearing a slave collar and Catwoman holding his leash. I was like, hire her!
[Laughs] We’ve talked in general let’s talk a little more specifically about your first story. I understand it explores more of the ramifications of Bobbi’s life being saved back during Brian Bendis’ “New Avengers” as a result of her being given a solution of Nick Fury’s Infinity Formula and Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum, correct? What made you want to start here, and have readers already seen all the ways in which that solution effected Bobbi?
That moment in “New Avengers” seemed kind of huge to me. She was pumped full of these two unstable, unpredictable drugs. You have to pay that off at some point. I liked the idea that she’d have to go in for weekly check-ups, that S.H.I.E.L.D. would monitor her for side-effects. We’ve all been through the familiar tedium of a doctor’s visit. But this would be a S.H.I.E.L.D. clinic, treating superheroes, so what would that be like? As for Bobbi, I don’t think you take experimental drugs without there being some medical fallout. Stay tuned.
Tee us up for the first arc. What can readers expect from your initial “Mockingbird” story?
London, New York, and an undersea base in the Mariana Trench. You know, all the tourist hot spots.
“Mockingbird” #1 is scheduled for release March 2, 2016 from Marvel Comics.
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