Winter Soldier


Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1 Review

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Release Date: February 12th, 2014

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Written By: Rick Remender

Art By: Roland Boschi

Price: 3.99

Review:

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.

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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.

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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.


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Steve Rogers’ American Captain

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Thanks to the most recent installment of Thor, I have the Marvel films on the brain. Since I know  we’ll all be waiting anxiously now for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I am sharing the excellent Steve Rogers’ American Captain to help scratch that itch. Steve Rogers’ American Captain takes place between the end of The Avengers and the upcoming film. As Steve tries to work out his confusion with the new world around him and grief for his friends from the 40’s, he begins to sketch himself interacting with others, all the confusing things that happen throughout the day, and his thought process as he wrestles with the PTSD that comes from going to war, being trapped in ice for 60 years, and being resuscitated and then save the world from an alien invasion. Cameos from his colleagues in the Avengers as they work, hang out and try to relate to him or help work  out his problems are frequent and often hilarious and touching.

A lot of the praise for American Captain has been for the honest and touching ways it portrays mental illness. Captain America, the true All-American, sharing his very relatable struggles with depression and anxiety help shows how very real the struggles can be for such a huge portion of our society.  The comic is all told from Steve’s perspective, in a sketchy pen-and-ink style. They are all hand drawn and scanned, which helps preserve the personal diary feel. It’s also fun to see the characterizations of the Marvel heroes in their casual mode, including Thor on a lunch date, Black Widow talking politics, and Tony Stark bonding with Steve over his father issues in his own roundabout and with-maximum-frustration way. The author, Robyn, is a doctoral candidate from New Zealand. American Captain is currently her only comic.

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I hope book libraries never change, especially not the smell.

 


Captain America Takes On The Winter Soldier

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We’ve gotten our first look at the possible showdown between Captain America and the Winter Solider that should take place in the upcoming movie.  Now to be fair, this look isn’t a picture taken on set, but some incredible looking concept art.

Entertainment Weekly released this concept art by Ryan Meinerding and it looks beautiful.  Take a look for yourself (click on the image for a full size look).

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Winter Solider looks almost exactly like he does in the comics.  This includes the cybernetic arm and a costume that looks strangely familiar to folks who read Ed Brubaker’s run in the Captain America comics.  Personally, I’m super excited to see Steve Rogers wearing his classic 1940s Captain America uniform once more in this artwork.  Eagle-eyed people might notice that The Falcon can also be seen in the background of this image.  To me, this movie is really shaping up.  I can’t wait to see this showdown depicted on the big screen next year!