Review – Winter Soldier #1

Winter Soldier 1 - Cover

Winter Soldier Issue 1

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Butch Guice, Bettie Breitweiser, Joe Caramagna

Covers by Lee Bermejo, Gabrielle Dell’Otto

Released: Feb 1st, 2012

Well issue 2 of Winter Soldier comes out today (2/15/12), so why not post up a review for issue 1?

James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes is one of the oldest characters in Marvel’s line-up. Once upon a time he was Captain America’s young sidekick. Then he was turned into an enhanced Soviet weapon, brainwashed and kept frozen between mission for decades, known as the Winter Soldier. Most recently he has filled the roll of his mentor, by taking on the mantel of Captain America. Now with his past coming back to bite him he has had to fake his own death and once again become the Winter Soldier.

After the events of The Trial of Captain America story line last year and Fear Itself Bucky has a new mission and faking his death was really the only way to accomplish it. Only a handful of trusted friends know he’s alive and on this mission. With him is another former soviet spy Black Widow – who he also happens to have a romantic relationship with. It’s up to them to bring down a plot that threatens to awaken cold war terrors that Bucky helped put in place.

Ed Brubaker is penning this new chapter in Bucky’s life. Brubaker has been writing Captian America since 2005, he’s the one that brought Bucky back to comics as the Winter Soldier to begin with. I’ve only read about a years worth of Captain America comics, starting back at the The Trial of Captain America, and I must say Brubaker knows his characters and how he wants them to be portrayed. He redefined Bucky as a character, made him more than just a boy sidekick of a 1940’s super hero. And with this first issue of Winter Soldier gives us a nice recap on what’s going on following Bucky’s ‘death’ in Fear Itself. Woven through the recap we’re shown what’s going on presently and how the mission is fairing so far. This brand of story telling makes the issue feel fresh even when it’s telling you something old.

Filling in the space between the text bubbles is the beautiful artwork of Butch Guice. Like everyone I have a person preference when it comes to artwork. I usually gravitate towards things from artists like Mark Bagley, Humberto Ramos, or David Finch. They tend to be bold and well defined in their characters. Guice on the other hand has a more stylized approach, it all seems to flow like a liquid almost. And though it’s not what I normally go looking for in artwork, after reading the issue I really did like it, and feel that it definitely fits Brubaker story. And Guice’s artwork is brought together with Bettie Breitweiser colors to really make this issue stand out. It may take a few pages to get use to it, but once you’re into it you’ll be hooked.

One of the best moments of the story for me was the ending. It really hit me out of nowhere, and though some people might not think it’s a big deal I was shocked. Leading up to this issue we knew what Bucky’s goal was, we knew why he was going on this mission. What we didn’t know was who. Who started this in motion? Who is the villian? Well we find out on the last pages of the issue, but I’m not gonna spoil it for anyone.

Now as good as I found this story, there was one concern and that’s with the pacing. This first issue is quick, everything changes within a few pages. Hopefully as the story continues Brubaker slows things down and we get to see more of the Winter Soldiers character, and more interactions with supporting characters. Throughout the issue there is a very relaxed back and forth between Bucky and Black Widow, I’d definitely like to see more of this and not just jump from point to point so quickly.

Preview Courtesy
Winter Soldier 1 - Preview
Scene from Winter Soldier #1

All in all it’s a fairly solid read. If you read Captain America monthly or really like the idea of the Winter Soldier this should definitely be in your buy pile from now on. Otherwise I’d say grab the first issue check it out, if you like it stick with it, if not no harm done right?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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