Comic Book Review – Winter Soldier #1

Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, is back in a brand-new miniseries courtesy of writer Kyle Higgins and artist Rod Reis.

“My name is Bucky Barnes, some people call me the Winter Soldier. I’ve done a lot of bad things. And those things don’t go away, even after you get a pardon from the government for fighting HYDRA. Nothing can ever undo what I’ve done. But maybe I can keep other people from ending up like me.”

Bucky’s new mission is to help others seek the redemption he was lucky to find after years as the Soviet Union’s premiere assassin, the Winter Soldier. He operates out of his hometown of Shelbyville, Indiana with the help of ex S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter.

The story opens in Chicago with a police officer named Arthur Hayes, who is forced to partake in illicit activities by seasoned and very corrupt brothers in blue. Arthur was able to contact Bucky and after the pair narrowly escape from a squad of officers trying to kill them, Bucky returns home to get his cybernetic arm fixed by Tony Stark.

After some downtime meditating, Bucky heads to Wisconsin to check on a former client named Terry. Terry worked for HYDRA and the evil organization is looking for him. Terry is not adjusting to his new life so far because he misses a woman he was dating named Amy and regrets not bringing her with him. Bucky suggests speaking to a professional to help him with the transition to his new life, which Terry laughs about, because Amy recommended the same thing. When Bucky asks if he talked to Amy, Terry is shot and killed by an unknown assailant.

Bucky protects the other bar patrons but takes a shot to the chest, protected only by his bulletproof vest. A voice is heard saying, “how exciting it’s going to be to kill Bucky”, the final page revealing a teenage boy toting a gun dressed exactly like Bucky during his sidekick years with Captain America.

The opening issue reminds me a lot of the movie Eraser starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bucky is trying to atone for his sins by helping others, while trying to put his past behind him. The meditation scene is key to a central mystery that will be answered later in the series- Bucky is trying to remember a long-forgotten memory of a man who tried to save him when he was the Winter Soldier. Bucky ended up killing the man. Bucky needs to exorcise the ghosts of his past if he’s able to move on with his future. Speaking of his past, there is a beautiful spread of Bucky’s life that helps new readers understand who he is while reminding old readers of his triumphs and tragedies over the course of his career.

Up Next- As Bucky works to help others find the redemption that he found, HYDRA takes issue with his new initiative…and sends a young killer to rectify the situation. Introducing RJ, teenage assassin extraordinaire, who’s been sent to kill the man he was modeled after: the Winter Soldier.