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Captain America and Bucky #624: Review

Nov 2011
Ed Brubaker, Chris Samnee

Story Name:

(No title given) [Part 5 of 5]

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America and Bucky #624 Review by (December 10, 2011)
Review: Passable issue largely exists to summarize the career of the Winter Soldier in preparation for the start of his solo series in February and doesn’t measure up to the previous issues in this story arc. Major oddity: the five-issue arc was called “Masks” for the first two issues; titles were dropped with the third, along with the theme.

Comments: Captain America (Steve) appears only in an off-panel cameo from CAPTAIN AMERICA (2004) #14. Issue includes a seven-page preview of the graphic novel CASTLE: RICHARD CASTLE’S DEADLY STORM.

Captain America and Bucky #624 Review by (December 17, 2011)
This issue suggests that the Russians turned Bucky into Winter Soldier straight after rescuing him, but after 1958 they kept him in suspended animation when wasn't needed for a mission. CA v5 #11 added that they also kept him in stasis for some years at the beginning, possibly up to 1954. The combination of these things allows lots of leeway in the physical age Bucky is supposed to be now, and also means that like Cap he is insulated from the changing timescale of Marvel history. However Black Widow has no such period of suspended animation to explain her apparent youth. Her original origin in Daredevil #88 in 1972 said she was say 5 years old in 1942. This worked for her becoming DD's lover around that time, and also for trying to seduce Tony Stark in the mid 60's. But it would make her a bit young to be having an affair with WS in 1958 (and for some years earlier). Uncanny X-Men #268 in 1990 inadvertently made a BW/WS affair more reasonable when Wolverine claimed to have met BW as a young teen in 1941. But as Jubilee wondered at the time, how old did that make BW now? Other stories have built on that new timeframe for BW's life, but I think everyone except Jubilee strenuously ignored the ageing problem, until BW: Deadly Origin #1. That issue established she was born in 1928. It also revealed that in 1956 WS gave her a dose of a secret formula that extended her lifespan. I don't think this was a version of Cap's super-soldier serum as it didn't enhance BW's abilities. It certainly didn't give her companion Ivan any super-powers. I think it was more like the Infinity formula that kept Nick Fury young. As a side-note, that issue showed WS with a more primitive cybernetic arm, which I don't think has appeared anywhere else.

As I guessed last time, the big 'reveal' this issue is that Bucky survived the drone explosion, was picked up by the Russians and turned into Winter Soldier. Who knew?! I don't think the ending even indicates that he also survived Fear Itself. I think it's just Winter Soldier and Black Widow riding off after #619. The last 3 issues have been completely new episodes in Bucky's life. This one has 3 new events in his career as Winter Soldier, accompanied by Black Widow in each, interspersed with a summary of things we've seen before. The 1st 2 scenes are set in 1958, the last one is recent. The opening scene in a fake US town mocked up in Russia is reminiscent of a similar scene in CA: Theater of War: America First, where BW was again helping train Russian agents in a fake US town with someone dressed as Captain America (but it's not WS there). The 2nd new set piece is the mission of WS and BW which alerts his Russian masters that his Bucky personality is starting to reassert itself, in some measure due to his affair with BW. Which in turn persuades the Russians to keep him in suspended animation between missions. The 3rd new scene is the meeting with his dying sister. These are set amidst a replay of the general WS story as set out by Ed Brubaker in CA v5 #11, and his involvement with BW as told in #27.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America and Bucky #624 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On an ordinary street in the American Midwest in 1958, Captain America suddenly crashes through a high window, bounces off of an awning, and flees the gunmen pursuing him. He seizes a gun from a newsstand owner who is in league with the baddies and shoots loose a high-tension wire. He then hurls his shield through the windshield of an approaching car full of enemies and when they pile out into the wet street, Cap calmly tosses the electrical cable at them. When he turns Cap is confronted by red-haired woman dressed in widow’s weeds, holding a pistol and a grenade…. The instructor calls off the exercise and we discover that we are in the Soviet Union, in a mockup of America designed to train KGB agents, and that "Cap" was the living weapon known as the Winter Soldier. He gives us a recap himself: Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s wartime sidekick, thrown into the English Channel when Baron Zemo’s drone-plane exploded. He was recovered by the Russians, who gave him a bionic arm and brainwashed him into serving as their special assassin. He begins a clandestine affair with Natalia Romanova, the Black Widow, and everything seems well…

The Winter Soldier is dispatched to West Berlin to assassinate Sergei Ivanovich, a former KGB official who is defecting to the west. He gets a bead on the man with a sniper rifle but is distracted when Ivanovich’s young daughter suddenly runs up to him. His aim is thrown off, and the bullet strikes Ivanovich in the shoulder. The Soldier flees only to encounter the Black Widow in an alley. Together they pursue the quarry, with Bucky shooting down bodyguards and CIA agents until the father and daughter are cornered in an alley. While Natasha holds the child safely at a distance, the merciless assassin kills his target with a dagger.

Reporting to his superiors the next day, he is irritated that he was not told his victim would have his child present. The officials realize his conditioning is wearing off and he is starting to recover his old morals and is even speaking English. So the decision is made to keep him in suspended animation and only let out when he is needed to kill. Eventually Captain America would restore his mind and memories with the Cosmic Cube and with the love of Natasha (whose aging is retarded through Russian biotechnology) he manages to return to a semblance of normality….

And now Bucky is visiting his sister Becca in a nursing home, to introduce her to Natasha. As they leave Bucky reveals that he needed to tell his life story to Becca, even though, suffering as she is from Alzheimer’s Disease, she will not remember any of it. And so the two head out on Bucky’s new mission to right the wrongs he committed as the Winter Soldier.

Chris Samnee
Chris Samnee
Bettie Breitweiser
Ed McGuinness (Cover Penciler)
Ed McGuinness (Cover Inker)
Morry Hollowell (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

(Bucky Barnes)

> Captain America and Bucky: Book info and issue index

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