Comic Corner: Falcon & Winter Soldier #4

Previously- Falcon & Winter Soldier #3| Coming soon- Falcon & Winter Soldier #5

Falcon & Winter Soldier #4 was written by Derek Landy with art by Federico Vincentini. The colours are by Matt Milla, and letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna. 

What do you need to have read?

This is a short 5-issue series that you can read on its own. This book gives you a paragraph or two recapping what has happened so far. If you are here because you’re a fan of Bucky in particular, then I would recommend Winter Soldier: Second Chances for some extra background. However, there’s no pressure. 

What do you need to know?

After spending more time with The Natural, including meeting his Captain-America-Obsessed-Parents, Bucky and Sam get him to see the error of his ways and turn against HYDRA.

Cover of issue #4 shows the Falcon and the Winter soldier fighting mid air. Beneath then is the silhouette  of a plane. Surround them are HYDRA goons shooting towards them.

The book begins with Veronica Eden on the phone with her mother as she walks through the HYDRA base. The movement through the setting gives the base scope, which also gives the story some scope especially that which doesn’t involve our protagonists. It is a smart way to humanise her as more than just a bad person who wants to do bad things. Given that this is a limited 5-issue series it’s great to see that Landy sees the importance of a scene like this. Similarly, as she walks down the corridor to waves to other HYDRA employees/goons. Their return wave shows that she is relatively popular, which suggests that she is a good boss. I get the impression that she asks about their personal lives and organises a birthday cake. This gives balance to HYDRA who are usually depicted as being pure evil, but as with the previous issue, the employees of HYDRA are still people. 

I want to take a moment away from the plot to discuss her design. We got a glimpse of it in the final panel of the previous issue, but we get to see different angles as she moves down the corridor. I love her design. It’s fun enough to fit into the style of this book. It reminds me of a lot of Harley Quinn, especially, because of her blonde hair and the use of red and black. There’s an armoured look to it in the way that it is layered, which makes sense of a potential Supreme Commander of HYDRA. While this is all great but what clinches it for me is the fact you can see references to a Captain America uniform. With the way the black vee is situated in the front and the harness, you can’t help but think of Cap. Even though this isn’t technically a Captain America book, it has embraced its connection to Steve, so it’s a nice detail to include. It also makes me wonder if HYDRA/Veronica saw Cap’s uniform and decided to take note. 

We move onto a scene between Bucky, Sam, and The Natural on a plane somewhere over Nevada. The book is still interested in exploring The Natural’s character, and more specifically his fanaticism. Interestingly, his fanaticism is implied as inherited, or at least heavily influenced by his parents, and yet it has manifested in a very different, and more dangerous way. As he speaks about Steve Rogers’ greatness it becomes clear that his fanaticism is something we should be worried about. During this conversation the tone of the panels shifts to a red tint. This could represent HYDRA’s influence, as their logo is usually depicted in red and their arrival a page later. Alternately red is also used to signify danger, and the danger could be The Natural’s fanaticism. 

Two comic panels.
The left shows Sam and The Natural against a red tinted background. 
The speak reads as follows: 
Sam: You really want to be like him, huh?
The Natural: Of course. Captain America's blood is pure American, and it flows red, white and blue. 

The right panel shows Bucky and Same looking at a shiloueted Natural. The speech reads as follows: 
Bucky; Yeah... Except, Steve's parents were Irish immigrants
Sam: And the super-soldier serum was developed by a Jewish scientist born and raised in Germay
Red, white, and blue… or Irish, Jewish, and German?

HYDRA’s arrival sparks an airborne fight between the trio and the newly arrived HYDRA goons. There is no doubt that this looks a lot of fun on the page, and I appreciate how different each big fight has been so far. Each panel of this action piece feels as though it’s brimming with movement. In issue #2 I spoke about how much I adored the fighting panels (I’m still using that image as the background on my iPad), and that quality is still present. Vincentini has a great way of showing us movement and excitement in a single image while also preserving it as something you want to look at. This mirrors the fact that the narrative is always moving, either physically or emotionally.

Three panels skewed to the left showing Bucky fighting a HYDRA goon in mid air.
Just an average Monday for Bucky

Once back on the ground, the trio is picked up by a HYDRA goon/chauffeur who takes them to an ordinary dinner where Veronica is waiting. It becomes plain that Veronica is very good at manipulating people, no doubt a valuable skill for anyone high up in the HYDRA hierarchy. I love this about her because I much prefer it to brute force. This is the sort of thing that helps you to understand why HYDRA persevere. My favourite Marvel storyline, The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier himself is a powerfully physical presence. He is dangerous. However, it is the psychological aspect of the fight which holds the real stakes, because Steve won’t kill his best friend. That’s excellent manipulation on HYDRA’s part. 

Earlier I mentioned the use of the red filter and what that could mean. In the diner, The Natural reveals that he has been loyal to HYDRA this whole time. Bucky and Sam haven’t been able to convince him otherwise. In retrospect, that red could have been hinting towards this moment. It also serves to show that he, like Veronica, is also a talented manipulator. Bucky and Sam bought everything he was selling, and now they’re in a dinner full of HYDRA assassins. Here’s hoping for another epic fight sequence, maybe even better than the train, if that is at all possible

Falcon & Winter Soldier #4 is available now in Falcon & Winter Soldier: Cut off One Head from Comixology, Forbidden Planet, or your local comic book store. 

Coming Soon… Falcon & Winter Soldier #5

In the meantime, why not check out… Falcon & Winter Soldier #1, Winter Soldier: Second Chances, or Batman: The Adventures Continue #1.

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