Friday, May 4, 2012

Winter Soldier (2012) 1-4

Winter Soldier (2012) #1
  Written by Ed Brubaker
  Art by Butch Guice
  Color by The Fetching Bettie Breitweiser
  Cover by Lee Bermejo

OK, So I Said I Wouldn’t Buy This Book…But….

It is actually quite good.  Even though I hate Bucky’s codename of Winter Soldier, I am shocked to say that this first issue has me wanting to buy more.  Buckeye Barnes, thought dead by the world (in an extremely lame story angle from Fear Itself, by the way), and his girlfriend the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, are going around the world trying to fix Bucky’s evil exploits when he was a Soviet agent.  Evidently, Bucky was responsible for training some high level sleeper agents whose activation codes have come on the grid. 

The Good:
Butch Guice and the Fetching Bettie Breitweiser are artistic geniuses!  From the covers to the interior arts, the pencils and colors are phenomenal.  This team should still be on Cap, no offense to the current crop.  Guice is masterful in his understanding of drawing espionage stories, and Bettie’s colors are fantastic, vivid but providing mystery at the same time.  The scenes with Bucky and Widow are well written.  The story sounds surprisingly like a good concept.  The book drew me in.  I will be sticking around for a few issues.

The Bad:
The name of the book.  The name of the character.  The hammer and sickle on the cover.  I do not like it at all.  Just call him agent B or the Fixer or something.  Winter Soldier is not a term that should be respected.  And, the hammer and sickle should be kept in the dust pile of history. 

Overall, this is a pretty decent start to a book I was not enthused about, but am liking the story.  The art is fantastic, the colors phenomenal, and the writing is some of Bru’s best work in the Cap universe.  Don’t like the name of the title or title character, but the writing and especially the art are keeping me coming back for more.

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:


  3.5 out of 5 Shields

 
The Winter Soldier #2 (2012)
  Written by Ed Brubaker
  Art by Butch Guice
  Color by The Fetching Bettie Breitweiser
  Cover by Lee Bermejo

Monkeys, Red Ghosts, and Doctor Doom, Oh My!


When last we left Bucky and Widow, they were fighting a machine gun wielding gorilla, attempting to track down the three soldiers from Project Zephyr, whom Bucky trained.  The three literal sleeper agents (in stasis tubes, no less) have been auctioned off on the black market.  Bucky seeks to prevent disaster and of course, his lover Natasha is with him.  Throw in the old villain Red Ghost, the lame Lucia Von Bardas from Secret War and you get an intricate story involving assassinating Doctor Doom. 

The Good:
Again, the artwork on this book is phenomenal.  From Bermejo’s covers to Guice’s scripts to the Fetching Bettie Breitweiser’s colors, we get an amazing visual ride.  This art team should be on the main Cap book.  And, surprisingly, Brubaker again does a very good job with writing.  He can’t seem to write Cap well anymore (at least not without lame ripoffs of the past), so maybe he should stick to other characters in Cap’s sphere.  The snappy dialogue between Bucky and Natasha has a Bonnie and Clyde feel to it.  The story really is pulling me in, even if I continue to still protest the name of the Book and the hammer and sickle.

The Bad:
The title of the book, the hammer and sickle…Oh yeah, and the uber lame Lucia Von Bardas.  Could this crappy b movie refugee stay in the dark areas of Marvel’s history?  I hated her existence not only in the comics, but also the video games.  Lame character.  Hopefully, this time, Doom will get it right and Lucia will be left in nice cyborg pieces.  Also, to believe the Red Ghost, of all Marvel villains, was this crafty, is a bit of a stretch.  But, overall, not much to complain about.  Except.The.Damn.Name.

A story which continues to develop well.  An art team that is the best in the business.  And no lameass reboots on the horizon.  Pick up this book and at least ride it through the end of the current storyline.  Despite the soviet imagery, Bucky is showing he is still a true American hero.

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:


  3.5 out of 5 Shields

 
The Winter Soldier #3 (2012)
  Written by Ed Brubaker
  Art by Butch Guice and Stefano Gaudiano with Brian Thies
  Color by The Fetching Bettie Breitweiser
  Cover by Lee Bermejo

Doctor Doom!  Nuff Said


When last we left Bucky and Natasha, they were not chasing after moose and squirrel (get it?).  In fact, they were on the trail of the remnants of Project Zephyr, and that trail led straight to Lucia Von Bardas and her vengeance against Doctor Doom and the world.  Bucky and Widow have to warn a dangerous target that Lucia is going to make a move.  In this case, doing the right thing may end up just as dangerous as letting Von Bardas have her way.  Bucky goes into the Domain…of Doom!

The Good:
The cover by Bermejo is awesome!  Excellent portrayal of Victor von Doom!  The art in the rest of the book continues to impress.  Butch Guice is one of the five best artists in Marveldom today, heck, the whole business even.  The Fetching Bettie Breitweiser continues to show that she is a mistress of the color wheel with her excellent coloring.  Brubaker continues to surprise with some excellent writing.  His portrayal of the Red Ghost as a bitter Cold Warrior still fighting the war fits in well with the theme of this book.  The scripting for Doom is also fantastic.  Doom appears regal, arrogant, but full of genius and insight at the same time.

The Bad:
Ug.  Lucia Von Bardas.  The name of the book.  Bucky’s codename.  The hammer and sickle.  The use of a doombot.  No romantic interludes of the Widow semi-disrobed.  OK, that’s actually about it….except that I wish this type of work in art and scripting was done on the mainline Cap books.

The story continues to have me on the edge of my seat as I wait to see if Doom will cooperate with Bucky, or if Bucky will even survive his encounter with Doom.  Also, am hoping that Von Bardas finally gets taken apart, never to return.  And maybe we will finally be rid of the corrupt United Nations….LOL

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:


  3.5 out of 5 Shields

 
The Winter Soldier #4 (2012)
  Written by Ed Brubaker
  Art by Butch Guice and Stefano Gaudiano with Brian Thies
  Color by The Fetching Bettie Breitweiser
  Cover by Lee Bermejo

The Longest Winter, Part 4


Doctor Doom joins Bucky and Black Widow in the effort to stop Lucia von Bardas and the Red Ghost from using a Doombot to blow up the United Nations (now, if it was just a threat to get the United Nations to get the hell out of the US, then I wouldn’t mind if Bardas and Red Ghost succeeded, but…we are talking about terrorism and loss of life, so…).  Doom and Bucky leave the sexy Black Widow to follow a lead on the whereabouts of the Red Ghost.  The boys are out to stop the doombot and a Zephyr assassin from completing Von Bardas’s plan. Or is there something else going on?

The Good:
Again, I cannot stop talking about this artistic team.  It strikes the right balance of darkness and color in portraying this spy tale.  The visuals of the Doom vs Doombot action are stunning, even as the Widow is seen as seductive and sultry every panel she is drawn in.  The characterizations are excellent as well, with Dr. Doom being his usual arrogant, oblivious to others, imperial self.  The scene with Bucky and Arkady the Zephyr assassin are both brutal and poignant, as Bucky has to slip into his Soviet persona to attempt to ply information.  Even though no damage is done to the UN in New York, Lucia and Red Ghost are very much still in the game.

The Bad:
The title.  The hammer and sickle.  The lack of any more love scenes with the Black Widow.  Not enough Doom. 

Also, I am not a big fan of storylines that go beyond 4-5 issues.  Brubaker just seems hellbent on doing epic storylines that usually end in whimpers and riddles rather than solid conclusions.  I know the world isn’t black and white and such, but geez, this is comics, fantasy, ya know…..Let’s bring this to a close…..

While part of me hopes it ends soon, another part hopes it continues going on, as the art, the writing, and the intrigue have me raving about a book and a character I initially couldn’t give two rips about.  Hold onto this book, but if you are getting weary of the multi-layered, secretive, never ending stories, join the club.

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:


  3.5 out of 5 Shields
 
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