Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Soldier #14... Ed Brubaker's final issue...

So this is it...  This is Ed Brubaker's final issue of Winter Soldier...  After I put this comic down, there will be no more Brubaker writing Captain America or Winter Soldier ..  That's going to hurt...  A lot...  To put in perspective how much I love Brubaker's Captain America run(which brought us the Winter Soldier), I consider Brubaker's Cap run the greatest run, by any comic writer, on any comic series, ever.  And just by taking a gander at the number of reviews I've done here at the blog should tell you that I've read A LOT of comic books written by A LOT of writers...  And Brubaker's Cap run is arguably my favorite.  And this is his swan song...  After this issue, Winter Soldier is being taken over by Jason Latour, who I only know from that abysmal A+X #4(review for that coming Saturday)...  Needless to say, I am going to desperately miss Brubaker's take on Bucky...  Probably more than I'll miss Brubaker's take on Cap himself!  I mean before Brubaker, Bucky was one of the Big Three...  Along with Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy, he was one of the characters I never expected to be brought back to life.  He had served his purpose, he was Cap's sidekick, he died.  What more was there to do with him?  Well, Brubaker showed us there was A LOT more that could be done with Bucky, and crafted one of the greatest comic stories I've ever read with his original Winter Soldier storyarc.  And then, he seamlessly worked Bucky into the mainstream Marvel U, after Bucky had been gone since the 1940's!!  AND turned Bucky into one of my favorite characters to boot!  Amazing...  So yeah, reading this comic is going to be bittersweet for me...  Ah well, I'll always have the back issues.  So without further ado, I should probably open this comic and end this era...

Winter Soldier #14: 

Summary: This issue gets underway with Captain America, Bucky, Wolverine and Hawkeye finding the weapon maker that Leo had been using, attempting to leave Washington DC before Leo detonated the bomb the weapon maker had built.  SHIELD gets the weapon maker to dish on what type of bomb it was, as well as it's blast radius, which leaves them with three potential locations for maximum damage.  The heroes split into three groups, with Cap sending Bucky to the least likely spot, since Bucky had been acting irrationally since Leo surfaced.  That spot?  Arlington National Cemetery.  As Bucky heads to the Cemetery, he knows deep down that THIS was the spot Leo and the brainwashed Black Widow would be, and he's proven right when he finds a dead guard at the entrance to the cemetery.   Bucky alerts Cap that Leo and the Widow were there, but disobeys Cap's order to simply watch and wait for back-up, instead confronting Leo and the Widow.  Bucky manages to take the Widow out of the equation and defeats Leo in hand to hand combat, leaving Leo down and in the cross-hairs of Bucky's gun.  However, even after all Leo has done, Bucky finds himself unable to pull the trigger.  At that point, SHIELD and Bucky's allies arrive, but Widow manages to get to Leo and tries to get him to safety.  Realizing that there was no getting out of this mess, but wanting to hurt Bucky as much as possible, Leo grabs Widow by the throat and puts a gun to her head.  Bucky tells Leo to let Widow go if he wanted to walk away, but Leo seems content with dying, and tells Bucky there'd be no deal.  Before Leo can pull the trigger, Hawkeye fires an arrow into Widow's leg, knocking both her and Leo off-balance, at which time Bucky shoots Leo a few times, taking him down...  But not out, as SHIELD manages to save his life.  From there, we learn that SHIELD is able to return almost all of the memories Leo had wiped from the Widow's head...  All except for her memories of Bucky...  Maria Hill and Cap tell Bucky that while they hadn't been able to get Widow her memories of him back yet, there were still other options, including telepathy and magic.  However, Bucky tells the two to just leave it be, since Widow had had her head messed with enough for ten lifetimes and that she was better off not knowing him.  With that, Bucky takes one last look at the love of his life, and leaves.

Thoughts: In it's own way, this was the perfect ending to Brubaker's portion of Bucky's life.  One final heartbreak...  Poor Bucky...  This issue was, pretty much the perfect comic for me.  If I had any gripes, it would be that Leo would leave such a large loose end in the weapon maker, since he knew so much of Leo's plan.  With how cagey Leo had been all storyline long, you'd think he would have killed the weapon maker after the bomb was created, depriving the heroes of the only lead they would have had on him.  Besides that little quibble though, no complaints here.  I actually read the final few pages twice because they were so powerful.  I felt for Bucky.  I really did.  Not only were Brubaker's words magnificent here, Butch Guice's artwork was perfect, especially that one final scene where all you see is Bucky's downcast reflection in the window of the Widow's door.  This was a great issue, written by a great writer, about a great character.  There's nothing left but to give Ed Brubaker a HUGE thank you for all that wonderful stories he's crafted over the past several years.  Marvel is undoubtedly worse off without him.

Score: 10 out of 10.
Winter Soldier #14
Poor, poor Bucky......


  1. Totally, totally agree. Could just say ditto. So brilliant. Brubaker never seemed as good at writing Cap as he was writing Bucky and those issues of "Captain America" that saw him return and take over the shield are definitely some of my favorite issues ever. Bucky has always had Natasha by his side since his return so I wonder where it's all going. Fingers crossed Latour can keep it going.

    1. You could tell that Brubaker really loved the Bucky character. I think he respected Cap(and his early Cap run will go down as one of the greatest comic runs ever for me), but Bucky was his baby. AND he ended up taking Black Widow and making her into a very solid co-star in this series! That's something else I'm sad to see go. I don't know if you read Winter Soldier #15 yet, JW, but I was not thrilled by it... I am holding out hope though...

    2. Yeah, I'm really sad to see him go. I'm pretty much prepared for Bucky to just be like every other black-ops character now, since I doubt anyone in going to get in his head as well as Brubaker did.