Someone is killing spies and Black Widow and Mockingbird are on the hit list. Their mutual ex, Hawkeye, joins them on a trip to Russia to sort things out. Mockingbird's employee, the mercenary Dominic Fortune, goes along to stir. Russian metahumans show up, and Hawkeye is being framed as the master assassin dresses up in his ridiculous old Ronin outfit.
And that's what would have been Hawkeye & Mockingbird #7 had the book not been cancelled - the first of a four-part crossover with the Black Widow's title. But that's been curtailed too, so Marvel is putting the story in a separate mini. It makes sense, as it allows for a new title that may intrigue, and the accompanying new number one.
The regular H&M creative team of writer Jim McCann and artists David and Alvaro Lopez is on board for a stylish little thriller which gets from A to B with admirable efficiency. The relationship between Clint and Bobbi remains to the fore, but their problems don't crush their teamwork. And the addition of the Black Widow doesn't change the dynamics much, which is as it should be - she broke up with Hawkeye decades ago in real time, and several years ago in comic book land. There is a tiny bit of snittiness, but I can't see a catfight breaking out between two espionage professionals, especially when lives are at stake.
McCann is very good at laying out his story and using his characters to progress the plot. This is the first time I've seen him use the Black Widow, and while she's not as much fun as she was in last week's Heroes For Hire #1 (reviewed below), she earns her keep. And I like the fact that Crimson Dynamo and his colleagues don't immediately attack our heroes.
The storytelling or the Lopez's is as clear as ever, with some lovely James Bond-style sequences, and amusing cold weather superhero looks. I'm still not keen on their hard-faced Mockingbird, but that reflects her character these days. Nathan Fairbairn's colours are intelligently applied, for example, he loads a scene of slaughter with red to heighten emotion while damping down the spatter. And Cory Petit's letters are more than fine. Jae Lee's cover is attractive, though it should have Mockingbird in there - no wonder she's so grumpy.
The logo's rubbish, mind - just look at that flat, ugly thing!
Oh well, can't have everything. This book didn't blow me away, but it's good spy superheroics, and gives three interesting characters a continuing showcase.