The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

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The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ares » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:34 am

So, apologies for being late to this party, but I was doing a little bit of internet reading and I came across something that might have made me bruise my face with how hard I facepalmed.

So, a while back, Mockingbird's solo series was canceled due to low sales, going the way of The Black Knight book and several other series that should have been a self contained limited series to test the waters rather than just try for a new book. And they chose to use this cover to end the issue:

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Now, at the time I just figured it was the comic book equivalent of click-baiting. I wasn't following Mockingbird, I had no idea what the content of the book was, etc. I just knew this fit in with the politics of Marvel at the time, where causing controversy will boost sales and they were emulating some really toxic SJW notions in a lot of their writing. This was just a way to get positive reviews from alleged feminists and to piss off trolls, which generates controversy, and as a result, it got the most sales of the series. But then I heard that the writer had been chased off of twitter due to harassment over the issue, and that there was more to the controversy than just one final middle finger to fans on the cover.

What I read . . . . well, see the title.

In case anyone doesn't know, there's a moment in Mockingbird's career that defined her and Hawkeye's relationship. Initially a happy couple, during a time travel story with the West Coast Avengers, the heroes teamed up with several western heroes, including the Phantom Rider of the era, Lincoln Slade. Shenanigans happen and Slade kidnaps Bobbi just as the other Avengers are teleported away. He uses various drugs and potions to basically mind control Bobbi and . . . well, under that influence, they have sex. The story never uses the "R" word, but it's very clear from everyone's reactions that Bobbi was raped.

Eventually, the mind control is broken thanks to several other heroes and Bobbi remembering her love for Hawkeye. And Bobbi is PISSED. She confronts Slade, beats several different shades of crap out of him, and during the fight Slade winds up dangling off the edge of a cliff. He begs her to save him, and instead of doing the typical hero move of sparing the villain, Mockingbird lets him fall to his death.

When the team came back for her, she lied to Hawkeye about what had happened, saying she had gotten away from Slade and that Slade had killed himself. Everything was good for a while, only for Slade to come back as an actual ghost to start haunting her. Eventually she confided in several other members of the team about what had happened, and they encouraged her to just be honest with Clint and he'll understand. Unfortunately for her, the Phantom Rider appears to Clint and explains that she killed him. Clint is so pissed that she Bobbi lied to him and apparently murdered someone that he's extremely confrontational when Bobbi approaches him. Bobbi, still on an emotional rollercoaster from the rape and her guilt about killing someone who was helpless, is just as confrontational right back. Arguments get heated, and the two divorce each other.

Supposedly the idea was to have them patch it up after a storyarc or two, but the writer left and subsequent writers dragged their feet in getting them back together, but they did reconcile.

It was a difficult but honest examination of someone who was raped, who fought back and defeated her oppressor, and who handled the situation badly after. It was about two people who loved each other, but felt they couldn't count on each other due one bad argument. And it was a showcase of how its possible to move past a horrible tragedy like this and for a couple, despite the bumps, to eventually overcome it.

Or it WAS, anyway. Because now it's RETCON time!

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The "barely married" line makes it seem like they broke up over a conversation where she is being amazingly blaze' about having killed someone. Only her dialogue makes it seem like she thinks that Slade was an ACTUAL ghost when he died, and therefore couldn't be killed. Except Slade was just a normal man with a few gimmicks and tricks to make himself appear to be supernatural. He only became a ghost after she killed him. It makes me wonder if the writer actually read the original story.

Anyway, the Phantom Rider returns again, and tries to command some pirates to attack the crew. And we get this gem.

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:| I just . . . . I have no words.

And then we get this exchange:

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So, according to this, Bobbi had consensual sex with the Phantom Rider. There was no mind control, no rape, she just chose to cheat on her husband with another man. A man she later killed.

The writer later said she wanted to erase the rape in order to give Bobbi back her agency. I wonder if she really understands what that term means. Because apparently, "agency" isn't being a woman who was drugged an raped, who then confronted and defeated her her rapist, and endured several other hardships, only to remain a strong, independent woman. Apparently "agency" is choosing to cheat on your husband with someone, and then murdering that man because . . . reasons? Or does she think she didn't kill him because he was a ghost after his murder?

This is the worst kind of retcon. It tries to paint Hawkeye as some guy in denial about his wife deciding to cheat on another man, and divorcing her over other reasons because his ego couldn't handle the idea of her cheating on him, while she remains a strong, independent woman who just did what she wanted.

Instead, it basically makes Bobbi into kind of a bitch, cheating on her husband, killing someone and then apparently saying it's Clint's fault that they got divorced. Like he should have just dealt with it and moved on. It shows a ridiculous amount of self-awareness and potentially damages both Bobbi and Clint.

Thankfully this will probably be ignored, but if the rest of the book was like this, then good riddance.

Am I being too harsh? Is there some context I'm missing? Please let me know.

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ken » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:46 am

Two words:

RADIUM AGE!!!
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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by RUSCHE » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:08 pm

I have not read it but from what you presented it is a total lack of respect to all characters involved. As long to what was clearly a repeat of the Carol Danvers/Marcus issue. The current writer either did not read as you said or just does not give a @#$%.

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ares » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:25 am

I've got to say, it is an interesting way to try and "fix" a character.

Imagine if we did that to Hank Pym? The Jan-Slap incident? Never happened. It was something Jan made up because she wanted to divorce Hank during his period of mental instability, and the black eye was something she got during a fight with Whirlwind. Hank believes that it happened because of his mental breakdown, and all this time he's been vilified because of something her never did. Jan has never spoken up about it because she's too ashamed of what she's done, and hates herself for it, which is why none of her post-Hank relationships have worked out.

Imagine how well that would fly with fans?

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by RUSCHE » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:10 pm

It would fly like a brick. I personally hate total retcons. It diminished a strong and powerful story to as you said a lie..

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by MacynSnow » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:47 pm

Personal Opinion,this is why i choose to Use the History of Marvel Untill 2000...It was all good(if a Little EXTREEEEEEAAAAAAAMMMMM!)untill around that time.

Of course,I'm just an old Man in my taste's...:D

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ken » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:06 pm

MacynSnow wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:47 pm
Personal Opinion,this is why i choose to Use the History of Marvel Untill 2000...It was all good(if a Little EXTREEEEEEAAAAAAAMMMMM!)untill around that time.

Of course,I'm just an old Man in my taste's...:D
That's pretty close to when I place the start of the Radium Age. Basically, I consider the Busiek/Perez "Avengers/JLA" crossover to be the last story PRIOR to the Radium Age. That's a few years after your 2000 cut-off, but not that many.
Zack Snyder in the 1940s: Hope vs Crosby, Road to Justice

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ares » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:47 pm

To my mind, Identity Crisis, Avengers: Disassembled and Grant Morrison/Chuck Austen's X-Men bookd is about where it all started. Not to say bad books didn't exist before, but those points seem to be where things got started.

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by catsi563 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:39 pm

I saw this and I HATED IT with a passion. Ill grant you, I am a Mockingbird Hawkeye fanboi but this was despicable. Hell much of the entire story was ridiculous even the attempts to shove Hunter in from the MAOS series as the new love interest were badly done. The attempts to retcon and redo the story to avoid the R word just cheapened the whole affair.
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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by MacynSnow » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:02 pm

catsi563 wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:39 pm
I saw this and I HATED IT with a passion. Ill grant you, I am a Mockingbird Hawkeye fanboi but this was despicable. Hell much of the entire story was ridiculous even the attempts to shove Hunter in from the MAOS series as the new love interest were badly done. The attempts to retcon and redo the story to avoid the R word just cheapened the whole affair.
I wholeheartedly agree with you Catsi(and i'm not just saying this 'cause your currently running me in a game! ;) ).
I'm what you might consider an Avengers Historian,as i've read everything about the team(and it's various spin-off books)up untill The 2000's a mentioned earlier,and aside from the Hankjan(Hank Pym/Janet Van Dyne)relationship(which is one of the Major reason's i currently detest marvel...but i'm digressing),i alway's thought Mockeye(Mockingbird/Hawkeye) was the most realistically handled Relationship they ever had.

I'm sorry,but i can't count the MAOS Mockingbird as her due to the "Movie Logic" being applied...

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:57 am

Wow, that IS dumb. I'm not ordinarily a fan of rape in comics, but... that story was huge for the character, and the writer seems to have no idea what they're doing.

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Re: The Mockingbird Controversy, AKA What the f*** did I just read?

Post by Ares » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:44 am

I'm generally of the mind that rape is a subject that needs to be treated carefully. The worst thing you can do with a rape story is to make the story not about the victim. Take Identity Crisis. In that story, they retcon in Sue being raped, and the focus is not on how Sue overcomes her experience, how she and Ralph had to support each other, and what came after the event. The rape is just a read herring to distract from Sue's murder, and to set up the general darkening of the DCU.

Have I mentioned I don't like Identity Crisis?

With Mockingbird, at least the story was about Bobbi and how she dealt with the incident. We saw every step of her journey, from the incident itself, to her anger at the realization, to her fighting back against her rapist, and her decision to let him die. We saw the fallout of the incident, how she lied to her husband, how keeping all of her emotions bottled up were damaging her, and how she had to face the consequences of her decision when Hawkeye was told about her decision to let Phantom Rider die, and how that ended their marriage for a time.

It was a hard look at what this could do to someone, and Bobbi made poor but understandable decisions that, for a time, cost her and Clint their marriage. But it was Bobbi's story, start to finish, and in the end, she and Clint had finally reconnected, moved past it, and were happy.

At least until this lady decided it was better for Bobbi to cheat on her husband, murder someone for no apparent reason, and then try to present Hawkeye as being in the wrong somehow. It's a retcon that makes nobody look good.

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