By Jim McCann (writer), David Lopez (artist), Alvaro Lopez (inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist)

The Story: On the road to reconciliation and renewing their relationship, Hawkeye and Mockingbird take time to bust up an arms deal while charting their own course in this new Heroic Age.

The Good: Diehard fans of the Hawkeye/Mockingbird duo will undoubtedly love the existence of this book, and I can’t blame them. There has always been a certain undeniable, geeky fondness for this dynamic duo over the years, and Hawkeye and Mockingbird have gone on to garner much well-deserved admiration from fans and creators. To be honest, I like having them back in the Marvel Universe, and I think their presence adds immense credibility to this notion of a Heroic Age.

What really drew me to this issue was the ridiculously attractive art from Team Lopez. David’s pencils and Alvaro’s inks are sleek and engaging, and they are clearly talented at choreographing some sweet-ass action sequences. The opening chase scene through the streets of New York was every bit as intense as a summer blockbuster movie, and I mean that in the best way possible. These guys are good, damn good, and I honestly think they can take this comic to heights of Greatness.

The Not So Good: I’ve more or less come to expect a certain degree of mediocrity from these Heroic Age relaunches, as creators need to re-establish the status quo and devote an issue to reminding us who their respective characters are and what their Mission is. And to be fair, that is certainly present here in this issue. But there is something too, something slightly more annoying. McCann’s script draws heavily on the extensive continuity of these characters, but slightly to a fault. Crossfire? The Phantom fucking Rider!? Come on. Hawkeye and Mockingbird have battled their ways through death, an alien invasion, and the dark reign of an utter fucking psychopath to find their way into each others arms and the best McCann can give us are some D class antagonists?

I felt like McCann had too much to say about the continuity that he grew up on and contributed nothing to the continuity that new readers are growing up on. This is the perfect point for him to leave his mark on these characters and say something Original about them, but his script reeked of a zealous adherence to things that came before and a reluctance to chart his own course. It literally reads like a guy who’s been jonesing to write comics about Hawkeye and Mockingbird since he was a teenager and has finally been given the chance to do so even though he’s got nothing authentic to say about either of them. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t, but after reading this issue I doubted whether or not I wanted to continue with it, which is a huge shame considering how much I love these characters! Given everything that Hawkeye and Mockingbird have been through recently, is it too much to ask for stories that deal more with their recent history than things that occurred years ago that no one gives a shit about? I want to see McCann chart a clear and engaging direction for this book, otherwise I really won’t see a reason to continue buying it.

Conclusion: I love Hawkeye. I love Mockingbird. You’d think I’d love seeing the both of them in their own comic, but wow did McCann take a great idea and do absolutely little with it. He wrote this like a 15 year-old fanboy giddy at the thought of taking on characters he grew up reading, but neglected to say anything about them that hasn’t already been said many other times by many other writers. After reading this, I’m less inclined to buy the second issue, and will probably wait for the graphic novel to see if he can salvage this book. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed.

Grade: C-

-Tony Rakittke