Writer Ed Brubacker is the man responsible for returning Bucky Barnes from the dead and creating the character of the Winter Soldier. The last volume of Captain America saw Bucky slowly regain his memories after been brainwashed as a Soviet assassin kept in deep freeze for years. His stint filling in as Captain America was the best Cap storyline anyone has done is some time.
Once again Bucky’s been brought back from the dead in a new series penned by Brubacker that puts the Winter Soldier and the Black Widow on a mission to track down other Soviet sleeper soldiers as he tries to redeem himself for some of the damage he did while working for the KGB.
As a first issue it works well, and I’ll stand by my statement that Brubaker seems more interested in telling Bucky stories than Cap stories right now. I don’t doubt that in time this could become Brubaker’s best monthly title.
I’m less sold on the art by Butch Guice. Although it certainly fits the feel of the comic, it’s just not a style choice that I’m overly fond of.
If the first issue has any problem its almost entirely set-up, and surprisingly much is given away so early in the comic’s run. Almost the entire issue is spent reintroducing Bucky, Natalia, their relationship, his history, and explaining what their doing together now. In a somewhat surprising move Brubaker even introduces us to our main villains (Red Ghost, Lucia Von Bardas) who are reactivating these soldiers for their own nefarious purposes (which are also revealed here).
Thankfully there is some action mixed in (including a Russian-speaking gorilla with a machine gun) that helps move the story along. I’m a bit surprised how much Brubaker gives away in the first issue, but with so much heavy lifting done here, I’m expecting issue #2 to get right to business. Worth a look.