by Charles Suffel
Well tovarich (can tovarich be plural?) my secret contact has supplied me with the upcoming Winter Soldier comic and let me tell you it looks good! As evidenced here in the preview pages posted by Marvel.
First thought when I saw it was: hmm… ok looks good but what can they really do to fix all the silly Bucky is Cap was The Winter Soldier stuff they pulled? I guess time will tell.
They’re employing a kind of crime / spy story vibe, the visuals carry it well…
On to the writing and story, no sorry you’ll get no spoilers here. This cold war style romp teams up Black Widow, Natasha Romanov, and Winter Soldier, James “Bucky” Barnes, on what seems at first to be a chase to locate the rest of the Zephyr program, sleeper agents sent to the US for who knows what nefarious purposes. Will they catch up to whoever has the sleepers? Can they figure out the target or who could be behind waking the sleepers?
The dynamic between Natasha and Bucky has worked in the past and this time is no exception. Their relationship reminds me of what Green Arrow and Black Canary’s would be if they could cut out all the guilt and bickering. Every time DC puts those two together in a book you get like three pages of good story and the rest is all… Sorry for the tangent as I was saying, Natasha and Bucky work well together and they really play up the stealthy spy stuff in this first issue, as well as a little happy adult time. The plot moves smoothly along bringing the reader deeper into what was Bucky’s past as a Soviet agent and starts filling in the blanks right away. I haven’t read Captain America in a while so I don’t know how much was revealed concerning Bucky’s past and only recently did Black Widow get a mini showing some of the stuff she’d done for the Russians so this series definitely hooked me quick. The first issue gives us a good grasp of the what and why of it all and has a great reveal in the last pages.
It’s good to see that they haven’t abandoned Bucky after his stint as Cap and I’m always happy to see Natasha in a series. I have a funny feeling this will be a series I’ll follow for a while, I mean c’mon its Ed Brubaker if he can’t make espionage interesting then who can? Artist Butch Guice has long been a favorite of mine, his work on Ruse (Crossgen) with Mark Waid is still something I reread regularly. This first issue is a little murky at times, though that may have more to do with the fact that the action takes place at night. I’m waiting to see how issue two looks before passing judgement on the art.
This book doesn’t hit stores till February 1st. That’s more than enough time for you all to get down to your local comic shop and pre-order it!
Winter Soldier 1
Format: FC, 32pg., COMIC