Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Soldier #1

Talk about a character who's been put through the mill!

Bucky Barnes was, of course, Captain America's "kid" sidekick during World War II. During the battle with Baron Zemo that left Cap in suspended animation, Bucky was apparently killed - but he wasn't.

Near death, his body was recovered by the Russians, who saved his life, wiped his memory and made him into a cold war killing machine. He was finally rescued and his memory restored by Captain America, and Bucky even took Cap's role when Steve Rogers was (temporarily) "killed." (It's the "in" thing to do.)

While playing that part, Bucky was apparently killed by the Red Skull's daughter Sin - but he wasn't.

Now this tortured soul is back as the Winter Soldier and he's teamed up with the Black Widow, getting intel from SHIELD and using his skills to deal with some long-delayed business - namely, tracking down some other cold war killers.

It's a dark, spy-novel tale of deceit and danger - something writer Ed Brubaker does better than anyone out there.

But the writing is almost overshadowed by Butch Guice's art. He turns in amazing work here, with panels that are virtually photographic, and wonderful, over-the-top action sequences. He seems to be channeling his inner Steranko here.

I really enjoyed this issue, though it may not be for everyone - it's a bit on the grim and gritty side. But the story takes a surprising turn at the end, and it's going to be interesting to see what happens next, as a major supervillain appears to be entering the story.

A great start!

Grade: A-


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