This profile is part of a series, to be read in order :
- Bobbi Morse — 1971/73 (start there).
- Bobbi Morse — 1973/1980.
This here second entry ends after her first year-or-so as Mockingbird. That’s clearer than ending before she becomes Mockingbird.
- Real Name: Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (deceased).
- Other Aliases: Agent 19, Huntress, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent #9317, Mockingbird.
- Note: Her first name is once given as Roberta, which I’ll ignore as a continuity fail.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Susan Morse (mother), Ben Morse (brother).
- Group Affiliation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Base of Operations: Mobile.
- Height: 5’7″ Weight: 120 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde
- Note: Officially, Morse is 5’9″ and 135 lbs. The vitals above instead describe how she’s drawn during this era.
Powers & Abilities
Bobbi continues to train heavily, especially in acrobatics and the martial arts. She’s now a cinematic athlete and hand-to-hand fighter, able to beat up groups of opponents.
Too skilled a Mockingbird
During this era Bobbi’s martial progress starkly accelerates.
(Perhaps she had some sort of minor exposure to the Gladiator super-soldier serum. But this is a No-Prize Hypothesis and it is never evoked in the material.)
Her main asset is speed. And though her mass and strength aren’t huge, she demonstrated a remarkable level of endurance and pain tolerance. She uses a full fighting style with kicks, punches, throws, etc..
She also gained experience as an elite S.H.I.E.L.D. brick agent.
Going from better to Morse
In 1979, Dr. Morse designs and builds her distinctive Mockingbird costume and battle staves.
The costume is fire-, plasma- and penetration-resistant.
1973 action espionage material ? No contest.
In early 1974, Fury sent Agent 19 to do surveillance of ruthless criminal El Tigre (Juan Meroz), in Mexico.
Bobbi trailed Meroz all the way to the Savage Land. She and Ka-Zar eventually defeated El Tigre and the Man-God (Maa-Gor).
However, Dr. Morse didn’t linger much. She still couldn’t stand the jungle lifestyle.
Lord of the Hidden Jungle !
In 1975, S.H.I.E.L.D. detected two major underground vibration waves. These would meet in the Savage Land, and the impact would result in worldwide devastation.
Agent 19 was put in charge. She hired Shanna “the She-Devil” O’Hara as her guide. She also had an unmarked boat outfitted with special sonars, high-powered searchlights and lots of other electronics. This allowed her and her crew to reach the hidden land.
There they recruited Ka-Zar. However, they lost two men to a giant snake attack. Then they got into a conflict with the Hill-Forest People.
The vibrations were coming from time capsules from “one billion years ago”. Back then Earth had but two continents . The champion of each of the two rivals species had been put in suspended animation. They were to emerge in the far future to solve their conflict. But one champion was defeated by Ka-Zar.
When Bobbi snatched the other capsule, the champion within had died a long time ago to a malfunction. Curiously, he looked very much like Ka-Zar.
Spy vs. spy
In 1976, Agent 19 had been detailed to bodyguard S.H.I.E.L.D. lawyer Orlando Zarate. Sheer luck left her the sole survivor of a bombing attack.
As Morse recovered, Congressman Kirk told her that he suspected there was a network of double agents within S.H.I.E.L.D.. The Zarate murder clearly was an inside job.
Agent 19 went rogue in order to root this corruption. She designed a masked identity for this, the Huntress.
The Santana plot
Returning to Mexico, she contacted one Scott, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had been one of her trainers. She sought his insight about local S.H.I.E.L.D. contractors.
She discovered that a wealthy and shady couple financed by S.H.I.E.L.D., Rico and Angela Santana, had gone rotten. They were using S.H.I.E.L.D. funds to prepare a major coup in the Middle East, and were indeed behind the Zarate murder.
The Huntress put an end to this, but Scott was killed in the fray and the Santanas killed each other.
(This plot seems similar to what little we know about the plan El Tigre was working on in Mexico. It certainly seems possible that the Santanas had resurrected his plot. This would also help explain why Bobbi started her work in Mexico.)
(The Huntress story was supposed to be a two-parter, but it was pared down to one for financial reasons. It certainly feels… accelerated.)
Feather in the mornin’…
Ms. Morse worked for years to take down corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. She extensively documented those she couldn’t get.
The Huntress thus mapped out what seemed to be a major Hydra infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D..
In 1979, she adopted the identity and gear of Mockingbird.
… feather all through the night
In 1980, she attempted to contact Nick Fury in New York City S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities.
But Director Delandan, heading the New York branch, was apparently a Hydra plant. As part of his efforts to stop Mockingbird, he tricked Spider-Man (Peter Parker) into assisting.
Bobbi’s attempt to reach Colonel Fury would thus likely have failed. But she half-convinced Spider-Man that she wasn’t the bad guy, and Delandan broke cover.
Mockingbird managed to hand over her proof to Fury. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who weren’t aware that Delandan was a traitor gunned her down. Her armoured costume, and Fury rushing her to a hospital, only narrowly allowed her to survive.
Can’t keep a good girl down
Dr. Morse spent months in a coma, but eventually made a full recovery. In the meanwhile, Fury purged those traitors she had exposed.
Morse and Fury eventually decided to fake her death. The risks of retaliation, including against her family, were too severe.
Learning of Barbara’s death lastingly devastated her mother.
Bobbi also left S.H.I.E.L.D. – presumably, too many people there knew her. She became the crimefighter Mockingbird full time, apparently by earning bounties.
In 1982 she was glimpsed among the crowd of super-heroes assembled for the Contest of Champions between the Grandmaster and Death. But Mockingbird wasn’t an active participant.
Then, in 1983…
The Morse identity
Hawkeye and Mockingbird #2 (2010) depicts Fury and Mockingbird erasing everything about Barbara Morse. Her S.H.I.E.L.D. file gets an “alpha eyes” classification, all other archives are wiped clean, she sets up off-the-record caches and security measures, etc..
This is a retcon of the 1983 Hawkeye series, where she freely reveals her identity to Hawkeye (Clint Barton). This is noticeable since Hawkeye is where Mockingbird fully debuts.
Dr. Morse *did* take irrational decisions about the exceptionally attractive Mr. Barton. Such as marrying him. But that she would break her extensive security by spontaneously unmasking is pushing it.
A tentative explanation
A No-Prize Hypothesis is that between 1980 and 1983 she was particularly successful in taking down what remained of the infiltrators behind Delandan and his ilk. Perhaps it was one of those rogue, small Hydra factions rather than Hydra proper.
Thus, between Fury’s purges while she was comatose, and these exploits, she may have felt it was okay to tell an Avenger.
Bobbi and the Distinguished Competition
Writeups.org doesn’t generally discusses out-of-universe aspects of characters. Our focus is on in-universe material. But we also have an “Alternate Reality Version” tag for characters, which could sort of fit Mockingbird. Here’s why it’s not used here :
- The Mockingbird character *was* originally dreamed up by Mark Gruenwald as a Marvel equivalent to the Black Canary. But that was before he became a comic books professionals.
- At this stage the character was Black, and would debut as a Spider-Woman villain. Who’d reform and eventually hook up with Hawkeye. So it’s more about occupying a similar niche than being an expy .
- So far, no relation with Bobbi. But when DC Comics launched Huntress (Helena Wayne), Ms. Morse’s Huntress identity just wasn’t viable anymore. She had to get another angle or disappear into comic book limbo.
- Mr. Gruenwald offered writer Steven Grant to leaf through his old notebooks about character ideas. Though he had reservations about the “Mockingbird” name, Mr. Grant didn’t have any better idea. So the old Gruenwald concept was repurposed to be Bobbi’s new costumed identity.
- When Mark Gruenwald created the Hawkeye mini-series, he thus introduced the Bobbi/Clint relationship to act on his old, fanzine-editor-era idea.
So it’s pretty indirect. In good part because Bobbi’s early career was so chaotic out-of-universe.
The bright red 1970s rompers is what she usually wears when appearing as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
And the black/very dark blue jumpsuit with a worrying lack of support is the Huntress costume.
Feisty, pro-women’s-lib, hard-charging, loves action, determined, a bit cranky.
Though Dr. Morse changes a lot during this era, there isn’t that much material. Which also means there isn’t much characterisation space.
“Well then, it’s obviously time to put my S.H.I.E.L.D. training to work ! Boss-man Fury probably didn’t have *this* battle in mind when he gave me that training — but he did say ‘be ready for anything’ !” (WOMP !)
“[Mick] Jagger said it better ten years ago, Nick Fury. ‘Don’t play with me, ‘cuz you’re playin’ with fire !’”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Bobbi Morse, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1974)
|Dex: 06||Str: 02||Bod: 04||Motivation: Responsibility|
|Int: 05||Wil: 04||Min: 05||Occupation: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 05||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 017||HP: 020|
Acrobatics: 05, Artist (Actress): 04, Martial Artist (incl. Technique): 05, Medicine (First aid): 03, Scientist: 06, Thief (Escape artist, Locks & Safes, Stealth): 04, Vehicles (Air, Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04
Credentials (S.H.I.E.L.D., Low ; NATO countries law enforcement, Low), Scholar (Biophysics, Super-Soldier serum), Expertise (General biology, Espionage), Familiarity (Parapsychology, S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment and protocols, Chemistry), Rank (equivalent of a Sergeant wrt S.H.I.E.L.D. rank-and-file).
Dr. Wilma Calvin (Low), Ka-Zar and Zabu (lords of the jungle !) (Low), Colonel Nick Fury (Low).
- TRACKING IMPLANT [BODY 01, Radio communications: 15, Miniaturisation: 06, Limitation: Radio Coms can only emit a S.H.I.E.L.D. tracking signal].
- Miniature radio [BODY, Radio communications: 11, Miniaturisation: 04, Insta-Change]. This tiny walkie-talkie is camouflaged as a link on her 1970s chain hoops belt.
- Purse. This 1970s leather bag includes first aid supplies and tracer bugs. Plus presumably other field agent stuff.
|Dex: 06||Str: 03||Bod: 04||Motivation: Responsibility|
|Int: 05||Wil: 05||Min: 05||Occupation: Spy|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 05||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 017||HP: 025|
Acrobatics: 05, Artist (Actress): 04, Martial Artist (incl. Technique): 06, Medicine (First aid): 03, Scientist: 06, Thief (Escape artist, Locks & Safes): 05, Thief (Stealth): 06, Vehicles (Air, Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04
Scholar (Biophysics, Super-Soldier serum), Expertise (General biology, Espionage), Familiarity (Parapsychology, S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment and protocols, Chemistry).
Dr. Wilma Calvin (Low), Ka-Zar and Zabu (lords of the jungle !) (Low), Colonel Nick Fury (Low), Underworld (Low).
Mistrust (hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and their allies).
At this point, she still uses her Huntress stats – but with 30 Hero Points and Weaponry (Battle-staves): 06. The major change is the gear.
If you need stats for it right here right now, use the numbers in Ye Olde Mockingbird Notes.
Bobbi will later be established as nearsighted, but at this stage the glasses (if any) seem decorative.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics.
Writeup completed on the 22nd of September, 2018.