Winter Soldier #8
Written by Ed Brubaker
Pencils by Michael Lark
Inks by Brian Thies (w/ Stefano Gaudiano)
Colors by Bettie Breitweiser (w/ Mitch Breitweiser)
Review by Joey Braccino
Ed Brubaker continues Winter Soldier’s second story arc, “Broken Arrow,” with a note written in blood, brainwashing Soviets, seedy underworld brutality, and ballet! This is Marvel Comics at its best, folks: great writing, great art, great characters, and forward motion on character development and plotting.
Continuing from last month’s issue #7, Bucky and Agent Sitwell are on the hunt for rogue Soviet sleeper agent, Leo Novokov. The situation is especially dire considering that Novokov has kidnapped Bucky’s love, Black Widow, and plans on reprogramming her to her old, Red Room, bad-guy super-spy ways! While this might be a little “Women in Refrigerators”-esque, Brubaker is careful to remind us that Black Widow is one of the most dangerous women on the planet, and it is this fact that makes her potential turn ever more alarming as the issue goes on. Bucky, on the other hand, goes on a vicious tear through the criminal underground looking for leads on Natasha’s whereabouts. Brubaker also gives us insight into Bucky’s character by depicting his internal struggle with his non-heroic behavior and his responsibilities as the good guy. Even though it’s not explicitly stated, Bucky always struggles with his violent actions as the Winter Soldier in the shadow of his friend and mentor, the super-human and super-good Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. The fact that Bucky took up the mantle of Captain America for a period of time also complicates his current actions as the Winter Soldier, and it is this nuanced characterization that makes Brubaker’s stories with the character so engaging.
I can only hope that Bucky and Company come through this, so that Bucky and Natasha can live happily ever after for just a little longer. Bucky <3 Tasha 4EVA!
Michael Lark, Brian Thies, Bettie Breitweiser, Stefano Gaudiano, and Mitch Breitweiser team-up and turn it out in the art department this issue. It’s gritty, it’s murky, it’s brutal. It’s like Brubaker called up the Noir gods and got them to send down everybody that might be great for the gig (except Sean Phillips… how crazy would that be?). The art team captures everything from talking heads to taxi cab accidents to espionage to fisticuffs, and they do it perfectly.
Everyone should be reading this book. Period. Even though Brubaker is leaving Captain America in a few months, he will still be writing this book. Which is excellent. Because it’s fantastic. Just read it!