Winter Soldier #16
Written by Jason Latour
Art & Colors by Nic Klein
Review by Joey Braccino
During a period of reinvention and new directions, Winter Soldier has gone through its creative shuffling with its heart and quality intact. Ed Brubaker’s departure from Marvel left a lot of fans (myself included) deeply concerned for one of the most popular break-out characters of the 21st Century: Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes. After a tragic, heart wrenching conclusion his run on Winter Soldier (and, by extension, the Captain America mythos) with issue #14, Ed Brubaker handed off the series, the character, and Bucky’s quest for redemption to writer Jason Latour. Fortunately, Latour and artist Nic Klein proved more than up to the task of following Mr. Brubaker’s footsteps; issue #15 perfectly captured Winter Soldier’s pulpy, espionage-tinged thriller aesthetic.
Latour and Klein keep the story moving this issue as Bucky and recently “rescued” rogue agent Robards stumble deeper and deeper into a super-noir web of intricacies and complexities. After Bucky’s aforementioned heartbreak at the end of Brubaker’s run, Latour has chosen to give our eponymous hero the mission of redeeming himself in the eyes of those that he wronged during his villainous days as a brainwashed Soviet assassin. Of course, Latour makes the brilliant choice of weaving both Bucky’s lost love, Natasha “The Black Widow” Romanoff, and Bucky’s discomfort with revealing himself as the assassin who took Robards’ lover into a web of guilt and anger. Winter Soldier as a comic depends on the emotional strain in Bucky’s character, which Latour captures on every page. And, as is often the case with these suspense-thrillers, the ultimate antagonist of the entire storyarc is directly related to Bucky’s own transgressions. Brilliant turn, and the reveal is even more profound when you read the book and have the context.
Nic Klein is the perfect artist for The Winter Soldier. I loved Butch Guice’s old school, Steranko-esque aesthetic during Brubaker’s espionage-inspired run, but for Jason Latour’s angrier, darker pulp-Romantic storytelling, it’s Nic Klein’s edgier, more solid style that fits. The inks are thick and the shadows dark; the colors contrast between lurid blues and scarlet reds—this is a book in which the visual story is just as vital as the script. Klein’s art is a stunning cross between Stuart Immonen’s kinetic action and Daniel Acùna’s and Sean Phillip’s hard-boiled, solid character designs.
Check it. Winter Soldier is one of the most original books coming out of the House of Ideas these days. For hard-boiled pulp-espionage thriller action, you need to check out Jason Latour and Nic Klein’s work on this book.