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Winter Soldier #1

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Butch Guice

Colors by Bettie Breitweiser

There was once an aphorism among comic book fans, known as the Bucky Clause, that, “No one stays dead except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben”.  That was until the year 2005 when Jason Todd was resurrected in the Red Hood story arc, an alternate dimension Uncle Ben reared his head and Ed Brubaker brought back the long dead Bucky Barnes. This risky move was made all the more dangerous because, not only did Brubaker bring him back, but he brought him back as a villain. Barnes went from plucky kid to The Winter Soldier, a brainwashed Soviet wet works operative who carried out ruthless assassinations. I won’t go into the entire plot of that arc – which you can find on Amazon here – but now six years later, a non brainwashed, James “Bucky” Barnes has his own book and it was well worth the wait.

It’s difficult to review one of Ed Brubaker’s books without simply slipping into platitudes. The man is nothing short of genius at twisting a genre to his will, and Winter Soldier #1 is no different.  The genre this time around is the spy thriller, which is a story type that is reliant almost completely on tone. Not surprisngly Brubaker completely nails it in the pages of issue one. You can almost hear the dissonant tones of a spooky spy movie score playing as James “Bucky” Barnes navigates the clandestine waters of the American underbelly.

The art by Butch Guice is all at once simple and highly detailed. At  times a character appears to be drawn with only a few lines, but there are other moments when the faces of our protagonists are nearly photo real in their renderings . Mr. Guice’s panel design and colorist Bettie Breitweiser’s use of steely blues and deep blacks give the world of Winter Soldier a cold claustrophobic feel that enhances the tone established by Mr. Brubaker.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The title page catches you up on a lot of Bucky’s history and Brubaker takes care to illuminate the identity of any returning characters as they appear. However, if you are complexity unfamiliar with Captain America and the Marvel Universe you may be a bit confused.

VERDICT

Between this and Fatale #2, Ed Brubaker is having one hell of a week.  Winter Soldier #1 is a enthralling spy yarn and a great start to a series that I can’t wait to delve deeper into.

 

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