Falcon & Winter Soldier #2 was written by Derek Landy, with art by Federico Vicentini. The colours are by Matt Milla, and letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna
What do you need to have read?
I will take this opportunity to recommend Winter Soldier: Second Chances if you’re interested in Bucky because it’s a great little series. It is available to buy as a trade paperback right now, or you can read my series of reviews.
What do you need to know?
After having their asses kicked by the Natural in the previous issues, Bucky and Sam board a train on the hunt for Baron Zemo’s protegee. It is explained in the book that Punisher (or maybe Fisk) killed Zemo and his Protégée has taken over. It’s also worth mentioning that these books are great in that they have a summary on the first page to catch you up on what happened previously. I wouldn’t recommend it but in theory, you could pick up any issue and dive straight in.
I love stories that take place in a single location, and this book almost does that. Except for the first and final pages, the whole thing takes place on a train filled with wannabe HYDRA assassins. As a result, the majority of this book is taken up with various fight sequences. Normally I wouldn’t fund this too entertaining, but this was so much fun. Somehow it did not feel repetitive, and even when it did a little later on it felt intentionally repetitive. This brought out the humour in the situation and it’s great to see that we’re getting a fun story from these characters. When you consider the current Captain America run (which starts with Winter in America) this is on the other end of the spectrum, full of bright colours, and fun action sequences. It also gave is this gorgeous art sequence:
I love everything about this page, from the close-up imagery to the slightly crooked panels, to the bright violence of the colouring. Everything is exactly how it should be. The images are even organised so that Bucky and Sam’s fights mirror one another. For instance, on the third row down we have Sam grimacing, Bucky kicking someone’s knee, Sam punching someone’s chin, and then Bucky grimacing. It feels really well thought out, and not just “insert-fight-scene-here”. I love it a lot.
In the previous, I noted that while Sam and Bucky have both been Captain America at various points in their careers, they have very different philosophies. This issue translates their different approaches into a single question: kill vs. capture, which comes up a lot. This was great because it builds tension between the two of them. They’ve sort of fallen into this mess together, and in that sense, they are somewhat reluctant heroes. While Bucky is all for killing Zemo’s protegee, who they’re effectively hunting, Sam asks him to shoot to injure instead. At times it comes across as light banter, but it can also have a heavier undertone to it.
Here we see Sam trying to remind Bucky that he’s not a shoot-first sort of person, at least not anymore. This is so important for Bucky’s character that he’s not just an assassin. Even though he might think that about himself, and think that he’s hard, he has a heart of gold. If you’ve read Winter Soldier: Second Chances, it might also be worth considering how his relationship with RJ has affected him. Although it’s been a while since I’ve read it, his attitude seems slightly more hardened than he was at the beginning of that book and I like to think that how it ended is affecting him now. I also really want RJ to come into play again, but I’ve got no idea if that will happen.
We have to talk about Zemo quickly. Yes, I said Zemo because as it turns out he’s still alive. I didn’t know that he had been killed so I wasn’t surprised. I’ve never really read a Zemo story properly, and my love of him comes from the MCU Captain America: Civil War. In that film, he uses the press against Bucky to lure in out of hiding and use him for his purposes. Here he threatens Bucky with releasing information on him to the media, to get Bucky and Sam to eliminate his competition. I love that these two stories have a similar thread because it means that this is a Zemo I recognise. Therefore, it’s a Zemo that I am enjoying so far.
I feel like issue #2 gets the story going and I loved every minute of it. I can honestly say I am excited about the next issue.
Coming Soon… Falcon & Winter Soldier #3