Winter Soldier #1
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice
Color Artist: Bettie Breitweiser
Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover by Lee Bermejo
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99
For decades, we all thought that Bucky Barnes was one of the two characters in the Marvel Universe who WAS dead and would actually STAY dead. After reading Winter Soldier #1, I’m sure glad that surviving death is a regular occurrence in the Marvel U.
Here’s where Ed Brubaker‘s years of writing Bucky and Captain America pays off. Yes, it’s paid off for several years now, but this is different. If it was anyone else but Brubaker writing this series, it might not go over so well. But, Brubaker knows this character like the back of his hand and it shows. It almost feels like you’re reading an issue of Captain America where Bucky takes over as the central character.
I have to admit, I was expecting a LOT of “My life sucks because I’ve been in suspended animation for decades and then forced to kill people” inner monologue but surprisingly, there wasn’t. And it only shows up when it’s necessary to the story. For me, the highlight of the book was not the killer action, great mystery, solid story, or the big reveal at the end of the book, but the interaction between Winter Soldier and Black Widow. It’s nice to see someone write playful, smart dialogue between a man and a woman that’s not over the top flirting or Moonlighting-like bickering. These two characters have a nice, healthy relationship and it’s very enjoyable for the reader.
What can I say about legendary artist Butch Guice? He’s awesome? Yeah, pretty much. He definitely brings his A game to this issue (like he even HAS any other game). Some of the panels look almost painted, which is an interesting choice — one that I wouldn’t necessarily agree with, but over all, it works for the book. If I HAD to complain about one thing, it’s that some of the panels are colored REALLY dark and it’s hard to see what exactly is going on. But, then again, I’m sure they’re purposely done that way to get the reader to use their imagination. Bottom line, great art by a great artist.
If I had to give this comic a letter grade, it would be a solid A. It’s a great, super hero/spy comic that never goes into over the top territory. What will be interesting to watch for in this book is if any super villains show up. Now, there are super villains in this book, for sure, but I’m talking about like over the top only super villains. I don’t see Batroc the Leeper fitting into this corner of the Marvel Universe that Brubaker has Bucky in. Time will tell. And I’ll be waiting.