Bucky is back in black, so everybody in the KG-used-to-B better be on notice that their life is about to get complicated.
Winter Soldier #1
If the fact that Bucky is alive confuses you, grab Fear Itself 7.1 and you’ll learn that Bucky was saved from his mortal wound via the Infinity Formula – Ed Brubaker’s encyclopedic-like knowledge of Marvel lore strikes again! (Could they make him editor in chief and just get it over with?) Bucky tells Steve Rogers that he has “work to do… and it has to be done in the shadows.” I thought that meant he was going to replace Steve as the leader of Secret Avengers, but instead, we get a Bucky solo book – and so far, it’s living up to my expectations.
When it comes to me reviewing Ed Brubaker, it’s a case of the fox investigating the chicken coop – we’re both pleased with what we find. To no one’s surprise, Winter Solider is a spy book with a healthy dose of noir. The Black Widow (Natasha Rominov) co-stars as they set off on a mission to find three KGB sleeper agents (literally sleeper agents) that were trained by Bucky (I think) during his time as the brain-washed Winter Soldier. They’ve already missed the chance to grab two of them before they’re either activated or moved – the second by just minutes – when they’re attacked by a talking gorilla who only speaks Russian (so one presumes it’s not Grodd). Finally, we meet the villians: Professor Ivan Kragoff (The Red Ghost) and Madame Lucia Von Bardas (Ex-Prime Minister of Latveria), who’s first order of business is using one of the sleeper agents to assassinate Dr. Doom. Didn’t see that coming, huh?
If you’ve enjoyed Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America, I’m sure you’ve already purchased this book and are as pleased as I am. This is Brubaker at his best; fast passed action, a quick joke and good storytelling. Sure, it’s not what I expected at every turn, but it’s failings are tiny. For example, Bucky makes no attempt to hide his cybernetic arm; in fact, it’s completely exposed when he’s in the field, immediately identifying him even though the world is meant to think he’s dead. The reveal-the-bad-guys-at-the-end-of-the-book is a little cliche, but it works anyway. It’s a little strange to have Bucky and Natasha in the field together as they’re practically married, but both characters compliment each others differences and similarities well and Brubaker does such a great job of making you feel that these two characters genuinely care for one another that a barb about whoever gives away their position buys breakfast is welcome rather than an irritant.
The art by Butch Guice, colors by Bettie Breitweiser and covers by Lee Bermejo are all outstanding – the tone is consistent through the images and writing and it all comes together beautifully. If you’ve read any of my reviews or comments before, you know I don’t easily give out praise – so when I take this moment to encourage you to go out and buy this book, you know I mean it.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Bettie Breitweiser and Lee Bermejo are all at the top of their game||None, really|
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