Overall- You know, it's kind of funny, reading this comic book actually made me despise Brian Bendis' writing even more, even though Bendis is in no way, shape or form connected to this comic book. Don't worry, there's a good reason why I'm once again bashing the good Mr. Bendis, and I'll get to that after this review.
We open this comic book with Prof. Chin, the man the Winter Soldier failed to kill for the Soviets back in 1968, in his lab in Taiwan with The Man With No Face(Ed Brubaker HAS to find a better name than that for that guy). No Face and Prof. Chin are standing with the body of the original Human Torch(the WWII one, not Johnny Storm), and are confident that Bucky/Captain America/Winter Soldier will walk into their trap in order to get his old teammate/friend's body back.
While the bad guys plot, Bucky and another old WWII teammate/friend, Namor, are travelling towards China in order to recover the Torch's body. Unfortunately, Bucky and Namor don't know exactly where Chin is holed up. That problem is solved with the help of the Black Widow, who tricks(forces)an MI6 agent into supplying her with British intelligence reports, which say Chin is "retired" in Taipei City, Taiwan. However, these reports also reveal to Natasha that Chin has been obsessed with catching Bucky, due to Bucky killing Chin's wife during the failed assassination attempt, back in 1968.
Upon arriving in Taipei City, Bucky and Namor split up, and with Namor out of the way, Bucky changes from his Captain America clothes to his old Winter Soldier outfit. Bucky's thinking here is obviously that Chin will reveal his location in order to obtain revenge on the man who murdered his wife all those years ago.
What a good, satisfying comic this was. The dialogue between Bucky and Namor was just perfect. I've always been a fan of Namor. He may be a pompous ass at times, but that's just Namor. This is where my criticism of Bendis comes in. Yes, Namor tends to be a pompous ass at times, and yes, he did go through the whole super-villain phase in the 1960's/1970's, but still, Namor has been an ally of Captain America(Steve Rogers)forever, and has served as an Avenger. Why Bendis has Namor working with Norman Osborn and the villains in this Dark Reign storyline, I have no idea. Namor is what's missing from the Bendis written "Avengers" comics right now, a tangible link to the Avengers past. Instead of Namor being an Avengers foe, he would fit much better as an Avenger himself. Meh, if you've read my blog over the past few months, I'm sure by now you know my MANY complaints about Bendis, so I'll get back to this comic and it's superb writer, Ed Brubaker.
The banter between Namor and Bucky was perfect in this issue. Ed really captured the essence of both characters. Namor is what he is. He's a jerk, however, you can see that although he's a jerk, he still considers Bucky and the WWII Human Torch to be friends, and he's more than willing to help out his old allies. The story is really picking up as well, with us discovering that Prof. Chin actually has a very real reason to hate Bucky, that being the death of his wife all those years ago. Of course Bucky was under the control of his Soviet masters back then, but still, Chin either doesn't know that, or just doesn't care. Now, in this one issue, Ed has taken Prof. Chin and turned him from a prototypical "mad scientist" into a guy you can almost feel for. Is he crazy? Sure, he could be, and probably is, but the important thing is we can understand the hatred Chin has for Bucky, or more specifically, the Winter Soldier.
After this glowing review, it's not that much of a stretch to figure out the score for this comic, a 9 out of 10. Last issue was a little slow for my taste, but Ed Brubaker is back in his usual great form again. I know I'll be eagerly looking forward to the next issue.