Comics/Graphic Novels

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1 Review

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This comic has spun out of the aftermath of Marvel’s entertaining summer who-dunnit Original Sin. Which I’ll admit I went into saying I’ll just read the self-contained Original Sin 9 part and have now become addicted to several of the tie-in novels, just what my bank balance needed.  Awesome.

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However as soon as I heard Marvel would be trying to re-launch a winter soldier title. I knew without a doubt it was going to be on my reading list. This is simply because the Winter Soldier has always struck me as a very complex character and to an extent a living breathing ethical dilemma. By this I of course refer to his lack of control over his actions, due to Red Room brainwashing and the debate that raged on until his “death” as to whether he was a war criminal or hero.

In this first issue we see a slow build of what Original Sin teased at, that Bucky has inherited Nick Fury’s role (and his satellite) as the man on the wall, someone who secretly acts as Earth’s defence against threats often before they happen. This is another ethics issue to an extent. Can we justify taking someone or an alien culture, in this case out for their potential actions in the future?

This in itself I think links back to Bucky’s teen years when he was doing the necessary evils such as slitting Nazi throats because Captain America couldn’t get his hands dirty. Also he admits that this new role is something that he feels he has to do as no one else will. This shows to an extent that although it’s been years since he’s been under someone else’s control that Bucky still can’t fully exercise free will when the decisions are directly related to his own life. Of course this is to be expected as the very few times he has acted on something he wanted e.g. his attempts at a relationship with the Black Widow, any happiness he has found have been rather viciously torn away from him.

Where I’m going with this I suppose is that I’d hoped to see this new chapter explore him trying to get to know himself better because in recent years I think he’s been running on survival mode. So far it’s not disappointing as we see a snippet of him acting on impulse in this issue i.e. stealing an animal because it was caged (I wonder why he identified with that, hmm…).  I think this could be to an extent were his new partner in crime comes in, to remind him he’s not an asset. Daisy Johnson an on the run ex-Shield director, who doesn’t seem to mind calling him out on things. I think she’s a great choice of partner (not sidekick that’s stressed very hard in the brokering of this alliance) another badass shield lady comfortable with a long range gun.  I predict epic banter from these two lost boys… I mean people? Lost people.

The pace was nice cutting between what appears to be emerging key players in the first arc, although Kot seems to be keeping identities as well as friend or foe stickers close to his chest. Although the last pages teased at a certain God of Mischief’s involvement in one of the threats from Fury’s files, promising that a trip to the realm of bizarre fashion choices is on the cards for Bucky.  I’m curious as to whether it’s the teen boy band Loki or the shadowy future Loki currently playing a prisoner until a better use of his time comes along. Either way I’m sure it’s nothing our two protagonists can’t get the upper hand in.

Overall I’m quite excited to see where this series will go. I mean it is space! The possibilities are endless.

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Original Sin Hardcover edition will be released in the UK on 4th November 2014, you can pre-order on Amazon UK.

Original Sin Hardcover edition will be released in the USA on 18th November 2014, you can pre-order on Amazon USA.

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