‘Dead Or Alive?’ is a monthly column that features a character in comics who has been resurrected, typically in a convoluted manner. This week’s spotlight character has been a love interest for everyone’s favourite archer (sorry, Oliver Queen).
Longtime lover of the Avenger Hawkeye, Mockingbird AKA Bobbi Morse is the focus of this week’s instalment. Technically, the character has never been killed off, according to a recent retcon.
But first, let’s start with an explanation of Mockingbird’s origins.
Bobbi Morse first appeared as a scientist named Barbara in the pages of Astonishing Tales #6 as a supporting character to Ka-Zar.
She landed in the Savage Land to seek the help of Ka-Zar after the appearance of Man-Thing in Florida. Barbara appeared in Man-Thing stories, and was revealed to be researching Captain America’s Super-Soldier serum in Florida when she was kidnapped by AIM.
Barbara had been working as an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D agent at the lab, investigating her partner, who was in fact an AIM double agent. Man-Thing freed her from her AIM captivation, and Barbara went on to become a supporting player in Ka-Zar as his companion, for quite some time.
Barbara was later renamed Bobbi in 1976, and became the Huntress where she appeared in a story within the pages of the one-shot magazine, Marvel Super Action #1.
The idea of turning Bobbi into Mockingbird was conceived by Mark Gruenwald, who wanted to expand Spider-Woman’s rogues gallery.
Instead, Bobbi Morse appeared as Mockingbird for the first time in Marvel Team-Up #95.
Gruenwald featured Mockingbird as a supporting character in the 1983 Hawkeye mini-series, where the two began their romantic relationship and eventually married.
Mockingbird later joined the cast of the Avengers under Mark Gruenwald as Editor, and went on to join the West Coast Avengers for several years.
After Avengers West Coast #89, Bobbi was supposedly kidnapped by Ultron, to be re-animated as his new girlfriend (which is the second time he attempted to find love. See: Jocosta). Shortly thereafter, Mockingbird sacrificed herself at the hands of Mephisto in Avengers West Coast #100. The next two issues of the series dealt with the aftermath of her death, and ended in the cancellation of the series.
However, in Secret Invasion #8, it is revealed that Bobbi had been kidnapped by the Skrulls, and in real time, had been absent from comics for 17 years.
In New Avengers: The Reunion #2, it is revealed that Bobbi was in fact kidnapped by the Skrulls after Avengers West Coast #89, prior to her capture from Ultron for Avengers West Coast #90.
That means, it was in fact Bobbi’s Skrull replacement that sacrificed herself to Mephisto in Avengers West Coast #100.
What makes this even more odd is that the pseudo-“Mockingbird” appeared in the 2000 Hellcat mini-series, 9 years prior to the real character’s return, battling in Hell alongside the Great Lakes Avengers.
So in retrospect, was this “Mockingbird” in hell because she was in reality an impostor?
Mockingbird appeared yet again prior to 2009, this time in heaven, in Peter Milligan’s X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl mini-series as part of a team of deceased characters (Dead Girl, Gwen Stacey and Moira MacTaggart).
Now that she’s in heaven, I suppose that means the Skrull impersonating Mockingbird has redeemed herself.
As for the real Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird, she is currently a member of the Secret Avengers line-up.