James “Bucky” Barnes has lived one tragically long life. Recently, within the pages of Fear Itself, we believed Bucky (aka Captain America) to have found peace at the mercy of Sins Asgardian hammer. But thanks to Nick Fury and his stash of a version of the Infinity Formula, Bucky was revived by a heartbroken (Black) widows request. The Marvel universe now believes Bucky to be dead and only Nick Fury, Black Widow and Steve Rogers know the truth: Bucky Barnes has revived the legendary Russian agent, Winter Soldier! Bucky is back within his element, cast in the shadows. His plan? To tie up loose ends from his days as the puppeted Winter Solider agent during the Cold War. He won’t be alone, it seems that the Black Widow is a permament partner.
This issue kicks off with the Winter Soldier and the Black Widow entering a retired soviet base, presently disguised with a casino sitting atop it. Both Barnes and Romanov being natural spies, they quickly make way to a secret door leading to the underground base. The couple make a cute game of “First to be seen buys the mornings breakfast” as they incapcitate gaurds along the various complex corridors. They come along a familiar stasus pod, much like the pod the Winter Soldier was kept “preserved” inbetween missions. But this pod is clearly marked with the name: Zephyr. Could there still be undercover agents exectuing covert assassinations within the Marvel universe? If so, who controls them? And what does it all have to do with Dr. Doom!?
Winter Soldier creator, Ed Brubaker, launches the series as writer. Brubaker was a big pull for me, as he truly understands these characters and their personal voices. This is officially a continuation of his Winter Soldier mythology, first started within the pages of Captain America. And spy espionage dramas are both, Brubaker and Barnes expertee!
Penciler Butch Guice draws one fluid comic wide ation sequence. His detail on charcter expressions and faces has greatly improved from his last arc “Gulag” within the last Captain America volume. A handful of panels almost seem like he penciled over actual photographs, much like Alex Maleev’s art style. These panels crafted strong story beats that made the moment personable… if not a bit distracting. Guice’s panel placement need be commended, though he stuck to the basic rectangular box- it’s the way they were compressed and stacked that lead the eye and made the action and dialogue flow perfectly.
This is a solid beginning for a promising series. I forsee a long life with Brubaker leading the charge. This issue was everything you hoped and waited for, plus fun twists in choice of villian! And i’m not referring to the clocked tin man. Though I’m sad to see Bucky no longer wearing the flag, I’m glad he’s not dead: Long live the Winter Soldier!
Recommended this week:
Avengers X-Sanction #3 – Two unexpected guest crash Cables party!
Uncanny X-Force #21 – Fantomex undergoes mutliple Lobotomys. Reviewed here.
Swamp Thing #6 – The Rot inches ever closer to cutting off the Green.
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