Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Marco Rudy
Letterer & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Marco Rudy
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The road to redemption is paved upon the bones of good intentions. Shrouded in darkness, the redeemers only hope, only compass, is the light which shines at the end. The Marvel universe is filled with characters in search of redemption, looking to right the wrongs of their past sins. From Black Widow to Wolverine, these heroes know just how easy it is to give in to their dark passengers. Yet there is one character whose redemption will seemingly never come, at least, not inwardly; James Buchanan Barnes aka Bucky aka The Winter Soldier.
This week Bucky adds another title to his long and sordid career. He will be taking on the mantle of ‘The Man on the Wall’ from Nick Fury thanks to his new solo book entitled Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier. Having already spent some time as a down to earth S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in his last outing, writer Ales Kot is taking Bucky out of his element, and off of this earth. That’s right; The Winter Soldier is now an ‘assassin not-for-hire’ in space (his words). Our first and last line of defense from the scum of the galaxy and the results are fantastic.
Writer Ales Kot (Zero, Secret Avengers) quickly establishes the intergalactic tone for the series with Bucky bound before a giant green alien king. In the past other Winter Soldier writers have been stuck in Ed Brubaker’s shadow. Many writers often fell back on old spy game tropes, but its Kot’s embrace of the weird that makes this book stand apart. Bucky is still a spy, the top spy none-the-less, and Bucky’s sights are now on aliens and gods. Kot has written himself a seemingly infinite well of potential storylines that he is more than capable of tackling. This issue alone introduces us to time travel, cross-dimensional treachery and even futuristic doppelgangers. Its this eclectic mix that makes Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #1 one of Marvel’s strongest debuts.
More appealing than the story however is the always phenomenal art from Marco Rudy. Kot has made it a habit to pair himself with great artistic talent and Rudy is one of the more talented artists out there. His kaleidoscopic range invokes memories of the psychedelic wonders from previous Marvel greats like Ditko, Kirby and Steranko. While some pages can be muddled at times from having too many ideas crammed within the borders, you’ll still be hard pressed to find a better looking book this week—Death of Wolverine #3 included.
Bucky Barnes: Winter Soldier #1 finally manages to have its titular character break out from Ed Burbaker’s shadow. Kot and Rudy’s willingness to embrace the strange and have fun with the downtrodden assassin is a refreshing and reinvigorating take. After the success of the Captain America : The Winter Soldier film, many have no doubt been anxiously awaiting this book. It’s lucky for us then that the creative team has crafted something truly out of this world.