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The Trap Springs

August 25, 2010

Crossfire and the new Phantom Rider continue their assault on Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse in Hawkeye and Mockingbird #3.  After examining where Mockingbird’s mom was shot, Hawkeye comforts Mockingbird as her mother is taken to the hospital (she’s alive, fortunately).  Mockingbird hands out orders to the rest of the W.C.A. to keep an eye on her mom and find out Crossfire’s position, and she prepares to go out and get revenge with Dominic Fortune.  Hawkeye isn’t happy about her insisting that Jaime Slade was involved, nor is he happy about finding out about all the weapons they’ve kept and sent back onto the streets.  And Mockingbird insists that this is his fault, as he’s the one who put her family back on the grid.  She tells him to either shut up or gear up, and he chooses the latter.  Clint, Fortune, and Bobbi infiltrate Crossfire’s headquarters, and Clint prevents Bobbi from killing one of Crossfire’s thugs.  As she insists they’re at war, Fortune shoots the guy, admittedly with a nonlethal round.  They fight, and Bobbi tells them both to back off, reminding that she’s the one who calls the shots.  They face off against more of those strange robots, which can transform and shoot bullets, and they have to resort to cutting and flashrounds to destroy them.  The robots suddenly start retreating, taking Clint, who’s standing on top of them, with them.  Bobbi gets a vision of Phantom Rider, but it’s too late, as Fortune and Clint are now under the control of the robots, which are the Death T.H.R.O.W.S., Crossfire’s new “henchmen.”  Phantom Rider explains that she is both Jaime and Lincoln Slade, and she shoots one of her phantom bullets at Mockingbird, paralyzing her.  Crossfire then has the robots make Clint and Fortune shoot each other and sets the building to explode.  Clint has survived, as the round was nonlethal, but then the building explodes as Phantom Rider, Crossfire, and the Death T.H.R.O.W.S. strut away.

Well, that was a dang satisfying issue.  Probably the best of the series thus far.  Why?  First of all, Jim McCann focuses mostly on the interplay between the series’ two leads and the main member of the supporting cast, Dominic Fortune.  Their personalities are all different, and their differences in morality provide great character moments.  The best part, of course, is how mad Mockingbird is at Hawkeye, claiming that he’s responsible for what happened to her mom.  I mean, that’s only sort of true in one sense, but it shows more of her thought process.  She’s so much cooler than you’d think, which only makes it sadder that she is so generic in New Avengers.  Next, Phantom Rider and Crossfire make a good villainous team.  They’re the dark opposites of our two heroes, and yet at the same time, they’re so different.  Their plan was also really quite cool.  The Death T.H.R.O.W.S. are a nice touch.  Then there’s all the action.  David Lopez just has a ball showing everyone sneaking around, then hacking and slashing at the Death T.H.R.O.W.s  He hasn’t been my favorite artist ever, but he really stepped things up in this issue.  That one panel with the full melee was just positively kinetic.  There’s also some great banter in this issue.  I particularly liked the quick little thing between Clint and Bobbi about him using the swords again, plus Fortune’s little crack about the Human Torch.  Yeah, this series still isn’t some grand, ambitious new crazy thing that totally redefines the characters or whatnot.  But McCann has proved that he’s at his best with this duo when he’s focusing on character work, and this issue combines enough character moments and some really good fighting to be great fun.  McCann is clearly learning as he does this series, which makes me very optimistic about its survival in the long run.

Plot: 8.5      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 8.7

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