Winter Soldier #1 ended with an amusing bang last week by having a gorilla mercenary open fire upon Winter Solider and Black Widow whilst yelling, “Death to America!” in flawless Russian. The second issue begins exactly where the first left off in a showdown with the aforementioned gorilla mercenary. Winter Soldier and Black Widow get outsmarted by the gorilla and in a Thunderball-esque exit the gorilla escapes via jetpack.
The issue then unfolds by beginning with a bit of history, briefly narrated by James Barnes, of his tenure and training days with three ‘lost’ sleeper agents that he helped mentor back in his brainwashed Soviet days. It provides adequate expository that puts the plot in perspective, while not going into unnecessary detail. Nick Fury takes a couple pages of the comic by sleuthing into some intel and with that information Winter Solider and Black Widow act as the muscle and ruffle some feathers to get some answers about the attempted assassination of Victor Von Doom as well as the recently sold/purchased ex-Soviet sleeper cells. The issue concludes with the villains being depicted with their ace about to be shown in a summation that looks to pit Winter Soldier against Victor Von Doom in Winter Solider #3.
Keeping with the noir/pulp trend Butch Guice’s artwork continues within the pages of Winter Soldier #2. The snow blankets the panels akin to some of Ashley Wood’s artwork creating a very gritty, artistic atmosphere. The artwork is rough and bleak, and in the context of the plot and character works wonderfully. Some of the Winter Soldier panels remind me of the 1930s/1940s influenced Phantom and Green Hornet. His mask, which just covers his eyes, is very reminiscent of these classic vigilantes.
Bettie Breitweiser’s colorings compliment Guice’s style wonderfully by blending darker hues, primarily blues and purples, with several bursts of auburn. The auburn tones then stand apart and accentuate the informative parts of the issue as well as Black Widow hair which is a great tool to differentiate her and Winter Soldier during the fluid action scenes.
Ed Brubaker’s writing is solid and the story is already progressing along nicely. For example, some of the beginning issues of DC’s new 52 have been a little slow to start and even after six issues or so still haven’t dived into a plot, but Marvel’s Winter Solider began with a bang and continues to keep chugging along in issue #2.
Some notable lines include: “Sometimes a mission just goes off the rails. It’s understood. And then there are times you end up pinned down by a gorilla with a .50 caliber machine gun.”
“I’m not losing my mind here…that gorilla just used a jetpack, right?”
With lines like that…how can you go wrong?
Even if you were frustrated with the conclusion of Fear Itself and its subsequent point issues check Winter Soldier out—it’s worth the gander.