Release Date: February 12th, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written By: Rick Remender
Art By: Roland Boschi
It’s 1966 and the height of the Cold War between superpowers. Nick Fury, Winter Soldier, Hydra, and an upstart S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Ran Shen face off in a spy game that will decide who comes out on top of not just the Cold War but the world itself.
Rick Remender is writing this and that should be enough to give it a read. Seriously, the guy repeatedly cranks out hits and great comic books and Winter Soldier is no different. We join Nick Fury on a routine mission to throw various monkey wrenches into a Hydra scheme to obtain the Alchemy Formula from two captured Nazi scientists. A rivalry is formed between Fury and Shen, one in which the veteran always seems to one-up the younger second-in-command. Apparently the Alchemy Formula was something that whackjob Baron Zemo was cooking up but couldn’t quite make it work for world domination. It seems as though it can create anything. I know, anything. Uranium, adamantium, diamonds, plutonium, gold, anything. The person with it could easily control the entire planet. While the young agent gets made by a ummm, Madam Worm…? who is disguised as a seductress, Fury pulls his butt out of the fire and attempts to escape with the two Hitler Youths. Despite being the lower agent, Shen ignores Fury’s advice and decides to evac the two from the roof where they are quickly and profoundly trounced by the Winter Soldier. Keep in mind that this is when Bucky was a literal boogeyman and was barely known to even exist. Everyone in the soldiering business feared the myth of the Winter Soldier. Barnes looks to be showing why this should hold true as he makes a daring escape and recovery.
The art fits perfectly with this story. In fact, the pencils, inks, and colors all feel like this book was published in 1966 and we’re just now reading it. The action is intense and very kinetic and the characters all look very visceral and dangerous. Bucky literally looks like he will tear a person limb from limb. All that is accomplished by an older style with little detail but plenty of character. It’s reminiscent of Jim Steranko the way we’re transported to the Cold War and the Golden Age of espionage.
All in all WS:TBM is a good solid read especially if you’re a historical fiction junkie like myself or you enjoy spy tales like classic Bond flicks with a few superpowers peppered in. The art may be the only drawback as it’s not the high profile, hyper-realistic, incredibly detailed stuff Marvel has been cranking out recently but it’s extremely rare to find such a great connection between the story and the art.