Ed Brubaker‘s run on Winter Soldier ends with the final issue of the “Black Widow Hunt.” Although I’m happy to see someone else get a crack at Captain America, I fear Bucky’s status in the Marvel Universe could take a hit with Brubaker’s departure, particularly with the choices he makes here.
The first third of the comic is pretty much set-up and the retelling of Bucky’s war with the Soviet sleeper agent Leo Novokov who has brainwashed the Black Widow into believing she is once again an agent of the KGB. I’m not saying the amount of pages spent on catching everyone up are wasted, but it does mean the final battle between Novokov and the Winter Soldier feels rushed and anti-climactic.
More concerning however is Novokov’s victory. Although the Avengers are able to restore nearly all of Natasha’s memories, they can’t make her remember Bucky at all. Aside from making no sense, this certainly opens up new possibilities for the character (including the teased pairing with Hawkeye to mirror the movie characters), but it also means a huge piece of what made this book work will be absent for the foreseeable future. Worth a look.