Sunday, April 16, 2023

Book Review: Mockingbird - Strike Out

S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Bobbi Morse needs to get out of LA. Like, yesterday. With her painful divorce from Hawkeye still being hashed out, Bobbi could do with a new job to take her mind off the mind-numbing mediations. Luckily, an old friend and mentor of Bobbi’s is missing, so a jaunt to the UK might be the perfect distraction. What Bobbi isn’t anticipating is having to team up with the snarky and handsome Lance Hunter, but her options are limited if she wants to solve this mystery. Someone is trying to recreate and weaponize the original Super-Soldier Serum which could spell global disaster. To save the world, Bobbi will have to face her past, put her problems behind her, and let the Mockingbird take flight.

Mockingbird: Strike Out by Maria Lewis is the latest in the Marvel Heroines series. Aconyte Books provided an early galley prior to the June 6, 2023, release date in exchange for an honest review.

The cover by Anna Astrid of this novel perfectly portrays the heroine. My first exposure to Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse) was from the 1983 four-part Hawkeye mini-series. She became an instant favorite with her superior fighting skills and no-nonsense attitude. She was the perfect partner to the cocky, self-assured archer. While I hated to see this couple break up (which is how we find them as the novel opens), that allowed the character to grow on her own and not be tied perpetually to the "Hawkeye and..." label.

I found myself reading the narration in the voice of Adrianne Palicki, the actress who played Bobbi Morse for several seasons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I enjoyed the cameos of other Marvel characters; Lewis has a good grasp of the much-loved Marvel continuity and uses it to support her tale. Also, as a music person, I appreciated the author interjecting many references to 80's British new-wave and alternative acts.

The only minor quibble I have with the story is how soon Bobbi finds herself falling for another man. I get that her marriage was a major weight and the impending-divorce was a release, but I was disappointed that she so quickly rebounded to another man. It cheapened her characterization for me. If it had stopped at just flirting or with her rebuffing his flirtations, I think the narrative still would have worked.

Other Marvel: Heroines novels from Aconyte:

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