“Winter Soldier” #4 sets this title back on track and cements why Brubaker and company are making the best action comic on the stands. There are many layers at work in this issue and that’s exactly how the premiere espionage book of the Marvel U should be: action and story dropped at the same time, all while exciting and amazing the reader.
Readers need to understand they are getting an inordinate amount of fun for their $2.99 on “Winter Soldier.” The art might be moody and the spy fu is dialed up to max, but at its heart this is a book that wants you to have a good journey with it. Brubaker is mastering this tone of playing spies while keeping it all in the confines of the Marvel U.
The issue’s greatest asset is the plentiful heaping of Doom on Doom action. A Doombot and the Doctor himself face off and the results show the power and ridiculous pomp of the character. Every panel a Doom is in could be the panel of the year. Even better, Bucky interacts exceptionally well with Doom to make the vibe of this book a real “nod your head along” playlist of back and forth still with narrative progression. This is the best Doom we have seen for years.
The overall arc of this issue is well metered with a delicious ending, but it’s a lot of the little moments that resonate the most. The Black Widow sneaks a smirking glance sideways out at the reader during one hilarious moment or takes a bike ride in a very mesmerizing page of rain, motion, and little tics. Bullets tag an innocent caught in the middle of a fight and Bucky reacts while the background is splattered red. “Winter Solider” is a book that delivers on small and large beats.
Butch Guice, ably assisted with the inks of Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Thies, makes this book feel pulpier than a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Mixed with the colors of Bettie Breitweiser and Matthew Wilson, “Winter Soldier” has one of the best art teams matched to the style and tone of the content in any book shipping today. They deliver the feel of this world and story perfectly, working hard to tell the story in effective ways. The page of Black Widow on the bike is a dazzling display of using 8 panels to get across information as well as intent of style. Not a single image is wasted.
“Winter Soldier” is a fun book that continues to keep us guessing. This issue swaps scenes of dizzying violent displays against brilliant comedic banter from one of Marvel’s best characters. Here you get a slice of action and a push forward on the narrative that pushes you to access the next issue as soon as you can. This is four-color action as only a Marvel book could present it.