The action packed finale of the first story arc hits with a bang, as our rock 'em sock 'em duo are pitted against their arch-rivals Crossfire and the Phantom Rider in final combat. As this happens, Hamilton Slade, the good guy Phantom Rider from the Rangers, performs an exorcism of sorts that will rid this world of Lincoln Slade's spirit once and for all...except things don't go exactly as planned.
For the most part, Crossfire is handled by Hawkeye with relative ease, enabling the spotlight to be shined directly on what really matters...the absolutely final showdown between Mockingbird and Lincoln Slade, the bastard who drugged and raped her way back when. However, despite being taken down early on, Crossfire isn't down for the count yet. In the meantime, the battle between Mockingbird and the female Phantom Rider is a fierce, personal one. During the melee, the truth comes out...
Mockingbird has a serious death wish. She's never been able to get over her rape and the changes it wrought, and the entire problem is compounded by her imprisonment on the Skrull homeworld and by her mother's near assassination at the hands of Crossfire, something that wouldn't have happened if Hawkeye didn't bring Susan Morse to town in the first place.
Lincoln Slade knows Bobbi wants to die, so he tries to oblige her. Unfortunately, Hamilton Slade finishes his little ceremony, putting an end to both Lincoln's spirit....and Carter's as well. So Hamilton Slade is Phantom Rider no more. However, before the ritual can be fully completed, Crossfire guns down Hamilton in cold blood, and Hamilton dies in Bobbi's arms. The Rangers are now short a member.
In a violent rage, Hawkeye breaks Crossfire's fingers, after which he literally gouges out Crossfire's bionic eye, leaving him a bloody mess. After it's over, Clint is horrified for having crossed the line, something that likely would never have happened if he wasn't involved with the angst-ridden Bobbi Morse.
But it's still not over. Hamilton's daughter, Jaime, the female Phantom Rider is still there, infuriated by both the death of her father and the loss of Lincoln. Mockingbird grabs a gun, ready to put an end to the evil Slade legacy once and for all, but Jaime surprisingly still has the Phantom Rider's powers, despite not having Lincoln's spirit inside of her. A struggle ensues, but Jaime falls off the cliff, forcing Mockingbird to save her. Then she clocks Jaime one, knocking her out.
Three hours later, when dawn arises, Steve Rogers and Captain America arrive to take the baddies into custody. Then Mockingbird boards the W.C.A. plane and orders an immediate take off. When Dominic Fortune asks, "What about Hawkeye?", Bobbi announces that Clint Barton is now off the W.C.A. roster list permanently....and her relationship with Clint is over. Forever. And Clint seems a-okay with this.
And so ends the first arc. Very action packed and emotional, and I was totally surprised by the death of Hamilton Slade and both of the Phantom Rider spirits. Didn't see this stuff coming, which is pleasant. Now there is only Jamie Slade, the female Phantom Rider left.
As predicted, Mockingbird and Hawkeye are no longer together, both as lovers and as partners. Jim McCann made a point in the letter's page to say that -- once WIDOWMAKER is over -- the only place fans will see Hawkeye is in the Avengers titles, at least for the time being. So it would apepar coming in March....MOCKINGBIRD #7.
But in the meantime, next issue, as Hawkeye packs up his stuff and heads into the Ronin mystery, Mockingbird will travel to the Savage Land, where she will encounter the one foe she never thought she would ever face...the one foe she needs to face to put to rest her horrible time on the Skrull homeworld...the one character we thought had been taken care of during SECRET INVASION. That's right, guys. Coming next issue....
Mockingbird versus Skrull-Mockingbird!!!!!!
God, I love this title! So exciting and filled with lots of twists and turns and emotional ringers for the characters. Very old school comic storytelling to boot.
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