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Winter Soldier #1: Review

Feb 2012
Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Winter Soldier #1 Review by (February 3, 2012)
Review: Ed Brubaker showcases his favorite character, ably abetted by Butch Guice’s dark realistic art, in the initial offering of his own series. More espionage than superheroics, this promising start manages to summarize the story thus far and lay the groundwork for an exciting adventure featuring Doctor Doom. Plus, one of Brubaker’s strengths is his talent for reworking old villains to fit into the more realistic milieu of his tales (the downside is his inability, or unwillingness, to create compelling—or even interesting—new villains, but that’s another rant) and now he is able to move beyond Cap’s rogue’s gallery to bring us the FF baddies Doom and the Red Ghost. Doom is one of the mainstays of the company, but the Ghost hasn’t been around for a while so kudos to Ed for reviving him—now let’s see what he does with a mad scientist who hangs around with super-apes. And we only have to wait two weeks for issue #2!

Comments: R.A.I.D. has appeared in the background of some issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA (2004) notably #34 and issues of UNION JACK. Cameo by the elderly Fred Davis, the second Bucky, interviewed on the TV news report. A sign reading “The MMMS Wants You” can be spotted in the background on one page, an in-joke for those familiar with 1960s Marvel. Issue also includes a one-page tribute to Cap co-creator Joe Simon, who passed away in December 2011.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Winter Soldier #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, and Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, are in Las Vegas, posing as glamorous guests at the Red King casino. They sneak into a restricted area and enter a secret door that leads to a long-forgotten Soviet base. Fighting a skeleton crew of guards they read the main chamber to find an empty stasis tube. They are too late, the first of the sleepers is awake….

Later, Bucky depresses himself by watching a news report on the controversy that exploded around him when it was revealed that the new Captain America was a former Soviet assassin. Natasha makes him turn it off but his bad memories continue—of his time in the stasis tube between deadly missions for the KGB, his training of other agents as machines of murder, and how he was brainwashed and employed against his own country. Now, three sleeper agents from Project Zephyr have been sold on the black market by the former-KGB man Red Guardian, and Bucky, the Winter Soldier, holds himself responsible for any evil they may do. They contact Jasper Sitwell of SHIELD who explains what they have found: the Vegas sleeper’s handler was Nico Stanovich, living undercover in the US as Nick Stanton for decades—until he got a call. He then murdered his whole family, burned his files, and revived the sleeper. A second handler has been identified as Mickey Bonderant of Minnesota a/k/a/ Mikel Bulgakov. Bucky and Natasha head there and capture him, forcing him to tell what he knows….

The two the proceed to the location of the third sleeper where the buyers, an A.I.M. splinter group called R.A.I.D. (Radically Advanced Ideas of Destruction), are in the process of collecting their prize. Bucky suspects R.A.I.D. is only a pawn of the real mastermind, and he and Natasha infiltrate the facility cautiously—until they are spotted, then the mission becomes a firefight. Bucky makes it to the truck carrying the stasis tube but is fired upon by a Russian-speaking gorilla. Yes, you read that correctly….

In New York, ex-Soviet mad scientist Ivan Kragoff, the Red Ghost, reports to his employer, Madame Lucia von Bardas, ex-Prime Minister of Latveria, and now a cyborg. She is the buyer for the Project Zephyr sleepers and even now, one of them is on a rooftop across from the Latverian Embassy, awaiting the appearance of Doctor Doom. When the armored monarch steps through the front door, the sniper takes aim…fires—and there is a massive explosion….

Butch Guice
Butch Guice
Bettie Breitweiser
Lee Bermejo (Cover Penciler)
Lee Bermejo (Cover Inker)
Lee Bermejo (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Winter Soldier
Winter Soldier

(Bucky Barnes)

Plus: Jasper Sitwell, Lucia von Bardas, R.A.I.D..

> Winter Soldier: Book info and issue index

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