Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter Solider #1

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Butch Guice
Company: Marvel Comics

When it was announced some time ago that Bucky was coming back in the pages of Captain America, people were skeptical. It was strange and the notion of turning him into what is essentially a trained assassin wasn't a very popular idea. That said, writer Ed (Sleeper/Catwoman) Brubaker, being a fairly talented writer, did the impossible. He injected a healthy dose of espionage into the pages and made a believer out of a lot of people. He made Bucky a character to root for, a man who was more than up to the challenge of taking on Captain America's mantle. Then came Fear Itself and the supposed demise of our new favorite hero. The shock death felt forced and wasn't a very satisfying conclusion to our hero's story.

This first issue of Winter Solider (and the previous Fear Itself Point One issue) marks the return of the character to the Marvel Universe, and plainly stated, it's a very satisfying opener. Chock full of the things that you would expect, Brubaker bares down and focuses on the characters. The relationship that he has built between our main character and Black Widow may be in fact the best romantic pairing that is going on in the Marvel Universe. The two of them work and Brubaker finds a way, even during the many bouts of action that occur, to show that the two care for each other deeply.

The story that comes together here is a straightforward one, as it seems that Bucky wasn't the only assassin that was kept on ice over the years by the Russian government. One can argue that it makes Bucky's circumstances a little less special, but the idea makes sense in the grand scheme of things. It gives him a larger drive, a more defined emotional investment, as he wants no one to suffer the way that he suffered at the hands of his one time masters. This motivation quickly leads into some very well designed action pieces that have a pleasant Superhero meets James Bond vibe.

Butch Guice's artwork is also something to crow about in regards to this issue. He's always been a talented artist, with things like Ruse and El Cazador and Resurrection Man under his belt, but he's changing things up a bit this go around. For one, his style is different. There's a more photorealistic edge to it, which takes some getting used to, but the underlying talent and ability to still retain a blistering sense of movement to things instead of feeling frozen is impressive. Every single one of his lines has purpose and the realism that dominates adds a lot to the proceedings, as does Bettie Breitweiser's expertise with colors. The hues and shades that she utilizes, without a doubt, enhance Guice's work. It makes the light and shadow and the things that ultimately need to, pop.

Winter Soldier starts out on the right foot. Brubaker, as always, peppers the entire issue with reminders that this is indeed taking place in the Marvel Universe. That coupled with great action and art that is so vivid and engaging result in a comic that is a martini, shaken and stirred with awesome.


  1. This is a solid first issue. I was a little worried about Bucky because his removal as Cap felt too forced by editorial, almost like Brubaker really didn't want to, even though you knew he'd eventually give up the role. I'm glad that this issue was a good return.

  2. Yeah, I actually didn't want Steve to come back, even though we all knew that it was inevitable. Bucky was a great Captain America, just like Dick Grayson was a great Batman, and I rather enjoyed Steve being more of a Nick Fury for the Marvel Universe.

    But like you said, that wasn't going to stick what with the movies that are coming out.