Summary

Landy offers fresh twists on the classic buddy cop dynamic and packs genuine emotion into this action thriller.
Writing/Story
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering

Review: FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER #1 Twists Classic Buddy Cop Story

We’ll have to wait a while before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres, but Marvel Comics’ Falcon & The Winter Soldier #1 is sure to whet your appetite. On sale February 26, the opening installment of writer Derek Landy’s miniseries pays tribute to the fan-favorite dynamic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. It also sets both heroes down a rabbit hole into an investigation of a Hydra revival. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and, by the end of the issue, Landy leaves us begging for more.

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1 Bucky Home
From the start, it’s clear Bucky Barnes is trying to escape his past.

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1

Writer: Derek Landy 

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Artist: Federico Vicentini

Color Artist: Matt Milla

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

In a good buddy cop story, the main characters have to be drastically different. Right away, Landy and the art team contrast Sam Wilson with Bucky Barnes. The first scene shows us that Bucky is trying to live a peaceful life at his house in Indiana. This idyllic scene is quickly ruined by the arrival of armed men. Letterer Caramagna accentuates this intrusion; he uses red to heighten the utter violence in the “Brakka, Brakka” sound effect of the goons’ bullets. Of course, Bucky defends himself, and he single-handedly defeats the mysterious squad.

Falcon Winter Soldier #1 Fight
Landy and the art team pay tribute to Bucky’s classic MCU fight scenes.

Landy then shifts to New York City, where Sam Wilson is chasing an investigative lead as Falcon. By simply showing us Wilson in this urban setting, Landy inherently points out the unique attributes of the two former Captain Americas. Plus, their clothing further sets them apart. Whereas Bucky wears unremarkable civilian clothes, Sam dons his colorful Falcon costume. Artist Federico Vicentini and color artist Matt Milla combine to show the sun reflecting off of the bright black-and-red outfit. Before the characters have even spoken to each other, Landy establishes their disparities. 

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1 Sam
Sam Wilson stays true to his superhero roots.

Naturally, the duo also differ ideologically. When Sam’s investigation leads him to a crime scene with dead bodies, he assumes Bucky is responsible because of his past as the Winter Soldier. Likewise, when Sam and Bucky fight a new antagonist, they get into an argument when Bucky tries to shoot their foe. While Bucky is accustomed to killing people, Sam firmly believes in a Steve Rogers-like moral code. Given that Sam and Bucky are investigating a resurgence of Hydra, they’ll have to iron out their moral conflicts if they hope to stop the infamous terrorist organization. 

Though the first issue sets the series up to be an action thriller, Landy includes a few raw emotional moments in the story. Bucky and Sam go to see Veronica Eden, Bucky’s handler. Here, Landy and the art team depict  her grief utter grief when Bucky tells her some heartbreaking news: all of her colleagues are dead. Bucky and Sam are hunting the then-unseen villain who killed them all. When Bucky delivers this awful news, Vicentini uses jagged lines for the background to convey Eden’s profound shock. Similarly, a few panels later, Milla shades in Eden’s face to complement the story’s cold, dreadful mood feeling as Eden processes this tragedy. This scene packs some powerful emotional weight, which makes Landy’s story more well-rounded. 

When it comes to the relationship between Sam and Bucky, Landy hits a few of the same notes that we saw in the MCU. But he also adds enough twists to make it fresh; he leans away from the comedy and into a genuine clash, which has the potential for a more satisfying exploration of both characters. Along with plenty of thrilling action, Landy and the art team crafted a winning recipe with the opening installment of this series.

What’d you think of Falcon & Winter Soldier #1? Where do you hope to see the story go from here?

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Colin Tessier
Passionate fan of Marvel/DC Comics. Freelance writer for Monkeys Fighting Robots, Bam Smack Pow, WrestleZone and other publications.