Review: Winter Soldier #3 by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guise
by RJ Schwabe on March 8, 2012

It’s always tough to split a book off. It’s not easy to take the success you have in one book and transfer it to a spin-off book. First off, you can spread the writer or creative team too thin. Secondly, it’s tough to make a book significantly different, and yet familiar enough that pulls the readers in. Up to this issue, I’ve enjoyed Winter Soldier, but mostly am thinking that I would prefer to collect this in trades when I can. Let’s see if this issue pulls all of the plot points together, and prepares us for a really good arc going forward.

Winter Soldier #3: The Longest Winter Part 3

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Butch Guise
Release Date: 03/07/2012
Cover Price: $2.99
Review: Digital Copy (From Comixology)

Where are we? Well, Bucky has taken on a mission to seek out the other ex-KGB sleeper agents like him that may be activated and turned against America, and he is joined by Black Widow. The Red Ghost and Lucia Von Bardas are working together, and have activated at least two of the sleepers: Arkady and Dmitri. They use Arkady to put a hit on Victor Von Doom, knowing that he will survive. Bucky and Black Widow infiltrate a Black Market auction of super-hero and super-villain tech, and discover that the Red Ghost has purchased a DoomBot. 1

Synopsis

  • The Red Ghost and Dmitri (one of the freed sleepers) kill Nico, who gave Bucky information about the operation in issue #1.
  • Bucky, Natasha, Fury, and Sitwell review the current status, realizing that the Red Ghost and Lucia Von Bandas are working together.
  • Lucia works with Arkady showing how she is in complete control of the Doombot.
  • Bucky and Widow secretly infiltrate the Latvertian Embassy in New York, and confront Doom with the possibility that he is about to be framed.

Questions and Answers (optional)

Q:    What is the purpose of the Doombot?

A:      To pose as Doctor Doom to attack the United Nations in response to the assassination attempt on his life.

Analysis

Look, you read Ed Brubaker comics for the plot. That’s not to say that he cannot create exciting vivid characters. But, other than a harder edge than Steve Rogers, there isn’t THAT much significant difference between Bucky from Rogers. 2

The plot here is really great! The villains do a feint of an assassination attempt on Doom, and then purchase a Doombot to fake retaliation on the United Nations, hoping that Doctor Doom’s megalomaniacal ego would prevent him from telling people the truth, if they would believe him, regardless. That’s pretty good. We’re talking “Your boy used pieces in combination to attack.” 3

You know what I love? 4 I love when comic book characters, both heroes and villains, not only act with intelligence and expect their adversaries to act smart as well. This issue was dripping with smart people acting that way.

I especially loved the idea that Bucky realizes as they are sneaking into the Latverian Embassy, that Victor Von Doom probably will know of their presence through temperature sensors, guards heartbeats, and extra oxygen, even though they can sneak past the basic Embassy security. Then the art cuts away to a pair of armored hands reading some sort of reading from a hand-held sensor, and putting on the classic Doctor Doom mask.

The art in this book is really well done. The middle portion where Bucky’s team is preparing to infiltrate the Embassy was a little artistically fuzzy. Not a problem, but I do like to know who is saying which words, especially when they could come from multiple people. I mean for the most part Fury and Sitwell talk exactly the same, and sometimes they talk very similar to Widow. I love how the art is presented, but you can’t sacrifice clarity.

Very excited to see where this goes next month. Admittedly, it could be a let-down as there doesn’t seem to be a shoe to drop in terms of plot, but I wouldn’t put it past Brubaker to have another plot card up his sleeve.

Verdict

If you like espionage stories, then you need to be reading this story. It’s not quite MUST read, but if you’ve enjoyed Brubaker’s work (on Captain America or in other stories) then you are doing yourself a disservice by not reading the book. Admittedly, nothing here is so plot worthy that you couldn’t wait for the trade, but if you’re a monthly comic book reader, then spend the three bucks, because it’s getting good.

Overall Grade: 9.0 (This is getting really really good.)

Series Grade: A-

Footnotes

1 – A Doombot is a robot created by Dr. Doom that looks and acts like him. In fact most Doombots believe that they are Dr. Doom.

2 – Don’t get me wrong, the difference is quite good for a superhero comic book, but without the solid plot, it wouldn’t matter too much.

3 – Quote is from the movie, Searching for Bobby Fischer.

4 – Rhetorical question. Don’t answer that. I’d be scared to see the responses.

 



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