Winter Soldier. Issue One. Comic Book Review

Barnes. Bucky Barnes.

Winter Soldier #1
(Brubaker. Guice. Breitweiser.)

BACKSTORY… Bucky died in WW2. He came back as a bad man. Captain America died. Bucky became Captain America. Then Captain America came back. Bucky died. He came back. This is his story.

Typing the above makes my head hurt. Which is amusing, given that it’s probably the least baffling history of any comic-book character. If you try summing up Hawkman for example, you wind up with a migraine the size of East Texas. Essentially, Bucky is a contrast to Captain America. He was never remembered fondly by history, he did all the wetwork stuff Captain America couldn’t do, and he fought like Hell despite lacking the Super Soldier formula. SO it’s only fitting that Bucky not being dead leads to his own official solo comic, instead of riding the coattails of Captain America.

As this comic shows, Bucky is still doing the wetwork that Captain America can’t do. Infused with a noir style, it connects thematically to the many allusions to the Cold War. Paired with Natasha Romanov (aka The Black Widow), Bucky travels around as The Winter Soldier, exploiting the fact that everyone thinks he’s dead to do anything he wants. Which means taking out bad guys and living as a symbol of brutal justice.

Then comes the gorilla yelling “death to America” in a foreign accent.

It’s not played for laughs. At all. Which nicely establishes that Brubaker (along with his excellent art team) is determined to tell stories that fit into the broader reaches of the Marvel universe without forgoeing a sense of realism. The art is fantastic here, filtering everything through a noir gaze so that a gorilla is terrifyingly plausible and looks like a trained killer as it holds a large gun.

Silly ideas done seriously. Simple. And amazingly effective.

Grade: A

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