Winter Soldier #1 Review

by Charles Martin on December 05, 2018

Winter Soldier #1 Review
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Rod Reis
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Bucky Barnes is back with an interesting mission and an interesting supporting cast. We meet him in full swing: saving a good cop from a department full of bad ones.

Redemption and Bucky Barnes go together like … well, like Bucky Barnes and Captain America.

His mission now is extending the same helping hand he received to other good men in impossible situations, motorcycling them to safety and a new, anonymous life. 

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a comic if Bucky was unopposed in that mission, and the final scene delivers a doozy of an antagonist. This story has a lot of potential to develop in exciting ways.

I have to say that this issue's work on plot, characters, and themes is thoroughly safe. I was a little apprehensive before reading due to the significant gaps in my mastery of all things Bucky, but I needn't have worried. This is very noob-friendly - and MCU-friendly - take on the Winter Soldier.

In fact, the MCU-ness of the comic gets a little overwhelming: Tony Stark drinks what looks like (but better not be) a glass of whisky.

Don't misunderstand me; I'm not suggesting that simplicity in storytelling translates into a lack of quality. If the writing is uncomplicated, it's also all the stronger for its focus. It might paint its portrait of Bucky with broad strokes, but that makes it exceptionally clear.

On the artistic front, this story is told with a little more daring than in its words. The painterly visuals are exuberant and expressive. Violent action and stressful dream-states stand out thanks to inventive composition. Bucky's Red Room flashback, in particular, touches on Sienkiewicz-ian brilliance in its passion.

The colours respond sharply to the story's mood; danger and conflict lead to high-intensity shades crowding out the more naturalistic colours. It works very well to amplify tension at the comic's busiest moments.

I also appreciate the care taken with Bucky's face. The visuals give him tremendous flexibility. He is at some points a hard-bitten soldier. At other points, the artist shows us the adventure-loving boy underneath. It's a remarkably nuanced portrayal.

The Winter Soldier launches into his latest mission with noble goals and promising challenges. The script is playing it safe here at the start, but a noteworthy helping of passionate art saves this from any danger of falling down into the run of the mill. It's already rewarding, and future issues seem likely to get even stronger.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
The story would have been tighter (maybe?) if Arthur the cop in act I and Terry the Hydra fugitive in act III were actually the same character.