This limited run of Winter Soldier (2018-2019) is 5 issues and was written by Kyle Higgins, with art by Rob Reis, and letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles.
What do you need to know?
Bucky Barnes had a great new side-hustle going, helping those in need of a fresh start until he ran into RJ. A kid in an outfit eerily similar to his own 1940s get up, he’s handy with a knife and had every intention of taking Bucky out. But on whose orders?
What do you need to have read?
This is a #5 limited run, so you’re going to want to read the whole thing. If you feel the need for more background then Captain America and Bucky: The Life Story of Bucky Barnes does a pretty good job at covering Bucky’s story, from WWII right the way through to the Winter Soldier. If you like Bucky then you ought to read with Captain America: Winter Soldier, vol. 1 and vol. 2, just because they’re amazing. As I’ve said before, this is a new story so these completely optional and you should be fine to jump into this issue.
This is definitely the most comedic issue so far and I appreciate a respite from all the killing. RJ is a typical teenager, all snark and attitude, which people sometimes forget that sidekick-Bucky also had too. Sure, his heart was always in the right place, but he wasn’t really one for sitting tight and following orders. I think because RJ is so young, and such a teenager, he’s able to call Bucky out on his bullshit which doesn’t happen enough, and this is coming from a huge Bucky fan. He brings a new dynamic to the relationship, and is able to bring out a different side to this established character.
Bucky is such a complex character that typically his stories tend to focus on himself, so it’s a lot of fun to see him in this weird paternal relationship with RJ. Sure, he thinks that RJ is just like him, and he knows exactly how to handle him but, kids are hard work, and kids influenced by HYDRA are even worse.
I noticed two moment within this issue that were almost breaking the fourth wall. The first was Bucky’s comment about respecting writers, which, coming from the writer of this book, is always a funny moment. The second could be a coincidence because I will admit I have not done the research on dates but it’s the comment about RJ’s name. If you’re not up to date with DC’s Nightwing run, then you may not be aware that Dick Grayson is now going by Ric Grayson. No ‘k’. I can’t say that it’s a direct reference but if it’s not then it’s one hell of a coincidence.
Back to Winter Soldier, this book isn’t just the relationship between Bucky and RJ because there is some more action too. Hold onto your hats because I’m about to complain about this book for the first time. This new assassin, his name is Spot but let’s call him Dalmatian Man because that’s the vibe he gives me, is a bit ridiculous. There, I said it. I don’t know why we couldn’t just have a normal assassin. Or, if it had to be a superpowered assassin then maybe he could have been better designed. He just feels very out of place in a book that, so far, has been fairly realistic. Sure, the visuals are interesting, but it doesn’t feel like part of a Winter Soldier book, and that’s just disappointing.
Aside from this the issue does focus on RJ’s emotional arc, culminating in a bit of a reveal. (Though let it be known that’s I’m calling bullshit right off the bat). I’m not sure I’d say that Bucky has an emotional arc as such, but he does admit something out loud that I relay wanted to hear him say, and I hope we see more of the implications of that later down the line.
Winter Soldier #3 is available from Comixology or your local comic book store. Alternatively, it’s also available as a trade paperback, Winter Soldier: Second Chances from Comixology, Amazon, or your local comic book store.
Coming Soon… Winter Soldier (2018-2019) #4