Comic Book Review – Winter Solder #2

“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 through a program that Sharon Carter helped me set up, I’m hoping I can at least give other people the second shot that I had. Criminals contact me when they want to leave the life, and I set them up with new identities. It’s a fresh start, no strings attached. But it’s not easy. I found out one of my resettled clients contacted his ex-girlfriend, who still works for Hydra—and moments later, the restaurant where we were meeting was shot up by a kid wearing something that looked a hell of a lot like my old uniform….”

Winter Soldier # 2

Written by – Kyle Higgins

Art by – Rod Reis

Issue Two opens with a flashback 2 years ago to New Jersey. RJ is at a diner with Mr. Colt. Mr. Colt is looking for a new subject to replace all of the failed agents he recruited over the years. Mr. Colt offers RJ some of the breakfast he ordered if he can kill two men in a back booth. RJ does the deed, albeit sloppily, and sits down with fork and knife in hand. Mr. Colt pushes the food off the table and tells RJ to get down on his hands and knees if he wishes to eat. Mr. Colt tells RJ he can get a fork when he can show Mr. Colt how to properly use a knife.

Jump to the present and RJ is standing over Bucky. RJ is about to go for the kill until a waitress hits him in the back of the head with an empty coffee pot. With RJ’s attention on the waitress, Bucky attacks RJ from behind and a fight ensues.  The fight is evenly matched until RJ releases a smoke grenade. Bucky is unable to see his opponent and RJ attacks Bucky with a sword, trying to cut off Bucky’s cybernetic arm. Bucky is able to distinguish the blade as Vibranium and asks RJ where he got it.  RJ does not answer Bucky. Bucky is able to use his short circuiting arm to knock out RJ cold.

RJ comes to on the back of Bucky’s motorcycle. RJ asks where they are going and Bucky replies somewhere safe.  While Bucky and RJ converse, RJ secretly activates a device in his tooth. As Bucky and RJ make their way down the road, an unknown figure places spike strips on the road. Bucky sees the road block too late and both men are thrown from the motorcycle.  The man is revealed as Mr. Colt and he easily dispatches a hurt Bucky.  Mr. Colt tells RJ that he has failed his test and will not be returning back to base with him. Mr. Colt shoots RJ as the bullet rips through the young man hitting Bucky. Bucky is able to dodge the other bullets and beats Mr. Colt to a bloody pulp. RJ tells Bucky to finish him off but does not do as he is told.  Bucky calls Tony for an emergency evac. The issue ends with RJ introducing himself to Mr. Barnes and vice versa.

Issue two is a bit lackluster after the explosive first issue and its final page reveal. As we begin to learn more about the origins of RJ, I have a feeling that Bucky will try to redeem and save RJ from his Hydra programming, only to have it blow up in Bucky’s face.  Can a leopard change its spots?  It took a while to bring Bucky back to the side of angels; I don’t think RJ will become a hero in the next three issues.  Rod Reis’ art is beautiful and the present day Mr. Colt has a David Bowie vibe to him. I’ll will be sticking with the miniseries to its conclusion, I just hope that we see more action and surprises in the next few issues.

Up Next: Having pulled RJ out of Hydra, Bucky begins diving into the mystery of the young killer’s past. Where does he come from? Who are his parents? How do you rehabilitate someone who’s only ever known death? You give him something new to live for.