Thursday, August 18, 2005

CAPTAIN AMERICA #8

That was certainly worth the wait.

The Winter Soldier (not to be confused with the brilliant debut of the similarly-themed The Winter Men) began two issues ago with a bang both literal and figurative. The first was the obliteration of parts of downtown Philadelphia by Alexander Lukin as a means of charging up the cosmic cube and, oh, yeah, causing a bit of terror. However, because nobody would actually miss downtown Philly, the more relevant explosion came with SHIELD agents taking a look at the man behind the chaos and realizing that he looked just like Bucky Barnes. This issue deals with the fallout of that.

Steve Rogers had been having a tough go of it even before he got the news that Bucky may have spent the second half of the twentieth century working for the Soviets to perpetuate the Cold War. Cap's past coming undone by a torrent of released memories, his present is now getting similar treatment. Cut between flashbacks to the dark and fiery combat in Philadelphia, Nick Fury tells Cap and Sharon Carter about the legend of the Winter Soldier, a man who barely seemed to age over the decades as he performed brilliant and brutal acts of war to keep the Soviets in the game. Fury believes that Bucky -- or at least the fellow who looks just like Bucky -- is the Winter Soldier. And that, simply, is unacceptable to Captain America.

The other set of flashbacks for this part of the story take place at the end of World War II on a Soviet submarine immediately after the initial explosion that supposedly killed Bucky. The last page did absolutely nothing to solve the Is It or Isn't It Bucky question, which is precisely how Ed Brubaker intended it.

I went back and forth a bit on Steve Epting's art in this issue -- I really didn't care for the murky darkness of the fight scene, but it was nighttime and limited visibility was a key part of the story. Perhaps it could have been a few panels shorter, but I can't come up with any better alternatives and I'm still a fan of Epting's work on this book. When it came to the glowing red cyclops eyes of the OMAC MODOC troops, though, I had to laugh -- between them and the timing synchronicity of Bucky and Jason Todd, it's like Brubaker is having sympathy pains for Infinite Crisis. (Kidding, kidding. I kid because I love.)

Overall, a strong issue that more than made up for the sly-dog trick of throwing in last month's (quite good) one-shot story of Jack Monroe when all anyone wanted to know was whether Bucky was still alive.

1 Comments:

Anonymous cga said...

Is it just me, or does the fact that Brubaker used to work on the Bat-books over at DC, along with the timing of the Bucky-Jason Todd revelations, seem like more than just a coincidence?

Tue Aug 30, 08:45:00 AM EDT  

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