I was reading an entirely different comic the other day, one that won’t appear among these all-positive reviews. It wasn’t bad on the whole, but the villain totally fell flat. He seemed formidable, sure, but the writer primarily used exposition to sell this new nemesis. No organic connection between hero and villain ever developed, and the result was utterly generic.
Everything that storyline got wrong, “The Winter Soldier” gets right. The initial arc concludes in Captain America #14 (though the story is far from over), as Captain America finally confronts his friend-turned-enemy.
Bucky Barnes, now the Winter Soldier, isn’t some random villain shoehorning himself into Cap’s life—he was a major part of that life back in their shared glory days. And now Cap needs to not only stop Bucky from hurting others, but he also needs to save Bucky, too. Cap genuinely cares about his opponent. That adds a nice extra dimension to the usual hero/villain conflict—stopping the bad guy means saving the bad guy.
Oh, and Sharon Carter/Agent 13 and Falcon are in this, too. They’re a bit overshadowed in this issue, but their presence is always welcome. Lot of great characters in this book.
I remembered this series was great, but I had forgotten just how great. The folks behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe were wise to draw inspiration from this particular story.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting
Cover: Alex Schomburg and Steve Epting
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Captain America: Winter Soldier (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 14 and up