Erik's Marvel Comics Review: WINTER SOLDIER #2
Readers who were shocked at the apparent death of Bucky Barnes in the pages of Fear Itself will no doubt be pleased that the character survived and is back to his roots as a spy, written by the mastermind who brought him back in the first place: Ed Brubaker. The Winter Soldier has a good cast, big action, and believable enemies and heroic motivations.
Winter Soldier #2
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice and Bettie Breitweiser
Edited by Lauren Sankovitch
Cover by Lee Bermejo
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The first story arc of the Winter Soldier's solo title has only been going for two issues now, but those two issues have packed a lot into them. First, we saw Bucky back in action and trying to right the wrongs he committed as the brainwashed Communist weapon, the Winter Soldier, a mission that's going to take more than a few issues to wrap up. In trying to stop three hibernating Soviet secret weapons that he helped to train, Bucky has, naturally, come against some opposition, in the form of nameless henchmen and a machine gun-toting Russian ape. The ones trying to release the secret weapons have been revealed to the audience to be the Red Ghost, an appropriate throwback to a Cold War-era villain, and Lucia Von Bardas, who you may remember as one of the main villains from Bendis' Secret War. In this issue, Von Bardas is going through with her scheme to assassinate Doctor Doom at the Latverian embassy on US soil, while Bucky and the Black Widow tackle the aforementioned machine gun-toting Russian ape.
While your initial reaction may be less than favorable for the fact that Bucky is still alive, it's important to keep in mind that not all life-threatening injuries result in fatalities. That said, this book had the potential to fail big, and likely would have done so without the writing talent of Ed Brubaker and the artistic talent of Butch Guice. Guice lends a gritty, almost Cold War feel to the book, which is in keeping with the book's dynamic, and Brubaker just gets Bucky as the Winter Soldier so well it's almost scary. The story is entertaining, compelling, and thoughtful, which is perfect for a new book in today's comic marketplace.
The Winter Soldier's first story is going great so well, and if the story can keep a similar momentum, I see no reason why it won't be a must-have for this year.