While he has written a few books before, Jim McCann is better known as the “Assistant Manager Of Sales Communication” at Marvel. Having little to no writing background need not be a massive obstacle to good stories – after all, Peter David began his career at Marvel in sales and he’s done just fine – but it does mean that there’s an extra level of scrutiny to apply to his work. Couple that with the fact that this is a rare example of the “New Avengers” brand being applied to a satellite title, and there’s a good reason for McCann to worry.
Luckily, it’s more than good enough to justify the name. Mockingbird’s return is one of Secret Invasion’s more baffling ramifications, so it falls to McCann to turn the event into a story – and he has to do so in such a way that people like me, who don’t remember her relationship with Hawkeye, and who quite probably make up the majority of comics readers right now, are interested in it. Bendis has done a little groundwork over in New Avengers, but the introduction of Bobbi’s character and situation needs to be done from the bottom up, and McCann tackles that quickly and competently.
The plot itself concentrates heavily on the relationship between Clint and Bobbi, with good results. McCann writes the pair with convincing chemistry, despite the new gulf between them, and Hawkeye’s demeanour especially feels fresh without being out of character.
The redesign of Mockingbird’s costume is a good one, retaining a substantial amount of the original design while simultaneously dispensing with the more dated elements of it. David Lopez’ pencils are clean and striking with a good sense of storytelling, and he captures the mood of the comic and its characters perfectly.
Overall, it’s of a much higher quality that its pedigree initially suggests, and makes itself a worthy bearer of the New Avengers name. If it can maintain this level of quality for the entire series, it’ll be a story worth reading for both “New” and classic Avengers fans.