Previously- Falcon & Winter Soldier #4 |Coming soon- Dubliners, ‘An Encounter’
Falcon & Winter Soldier #5 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 can be read on its own. This book is great at giving 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?
HYDRA is under new management, or it will be when either Baron Zemo or Veronica Eden – Bucky’s ex-handler– ascend to the role of the supreme leader. The little Captain America wannabe, known as The Natural has turned on Bucky and Sam, and revealed his allegiance to Veronica, along with his penchant for murder. We left our heroes in an all-American dinner ready for round two with The Natural.
The final issue of Falcon & Winter Soldier picks up where the previous issue left off, and we are thrown straight into a fun action sequence.
Let us begin by talking about the art one final time. Federico Vincenitni is the perfect choice for this series, and I cannot imagine anyone else taking his place There’s this fantastic sense of movement that is invaluable in the frequent action sequences. It brings the art to life in front of your eyes, so much so that it seems ludicrous that you are staring at still images. The artist is also great at building layers into the panels, something which can be seen to its full effect in the bigger panels. These layers give this fabulous sense of depth, which in turn helps with creating the illusion of movement.
If we look at the image above as an example. Veronica is at the forefront, and relatively still in comparison to the movement behind her. When we look behind here there is a lot of movement. We have Bucky jumping into the fray, The Natural throwing his shield, Sam getting hit by the shield, and a table being broken by all the action. Of course, we cannot talk about the art without giving a should out to the person in charge of the colours, Matt Milla. I said in the second issue that I was fascinated by his use of colour and that remind true here. What is extra special about it, regardless of the excellent colour choices, is that it incorporates a dotted effect beneath the colours in certain areas. In this image, you can see above the windows of the diner. Does it look great? Of course, it does, but it also acts as a call back to how original colouring techniques of comics. I love how it is almost like a nod to comic heritage while also looking cool and new in this issue. All of this goes to show that Milla and Vincentini are quite the team.
As this fight progresses, we get a lovely image of Bucky breaking The Natural’s shield. I go crazy for anything involving Bucky and the shield, so I loved seeing this. It is reminiscent of that iconic panel from The Winter Soldier where Bucky’s metal arm hits Steve’s shield. The shield does not break, but you can feel the power of those two characters as they face off against one another. In this case, the shield does break, which is very interesting. It can easily be interpreted as The Natual’s lack of ideals, or loyalty, coming back to haunt him as he doesn’t have anything to protect him. I’m going to leave that here for a moment, but we will return to this moment in due course.
Most of this issue takes place either inside the dinner or outside. Veronica leaves, so inside we have Sam, Bucky and The Natural fighting each other. We learn that The Natural is not loyal to anyone but himself, which is a sharp contrast to his parents who are almost obsessively loyal to Captain America. As the three of them fight, they discuss the key to being Captain America, a theme I just love to see. Bucky and Sam, both previous Captain’s themselves, point out that it isn’t about how hard you hit but how you keep getting up when you get knocked down. This drives home the famous line from Captain America: The First Avenger, ‘I can do this all day’. It is also a nice reminder that Steve isn’t Captain America because he got the serum, he’s Captain America because he has a good heart. We’re also reminded that Captain America is more than just Steve Rogers. Cap has to bigger than one man, he has to stand for more. This is part of the reason I love Captain America so much because it is about standing for something greater than yourself and choosing to be a better person than you were yesterday.
Their fight eventually spills over into the second fight which is going out outside the diner. This one involved Zemo, Veronica Eden, and HYDRA goons, where Zemo and Veronica wrest for control of HYDRA. I love the levity of this book, it’s exactly what I want from a Marvel book, and so this fight was executed brilliantly. Instead of a traditional fight, the named characters band together and turn on the goons, who would kill whoever lost. I appreciate the way that this turn in events pokes fun at comic book fights, and the use of goons. Once this is done there is a humorous moment where Zemo, Veronica, The Natural, Sam, and Bucky have to figure out who is on whose side. These moments are cleverly interspersed in this issue and work brilliantly to keep your interest throughout what is essentially a lot of fighting.
Sam and Bucky reign victorious, as they should, which leads to the two of them having to decide whether arrest or murder is the appropriate solution. I’m sure I do not need to specify who is in favour of which solution. It is a subject that has already been broached in the series, so it’s great to see it come full circle in the final issue. This seems like an apt time to return to that broken shield, and how Bucky’s ideals are somewhat broken from his own experiences. Essentially it comes down to the fact that there isn’t always a ‘right thing to do, and that the right thing can look different to different people.
We spend the last couple of pages wrapping up two final plot lines. The first being Sam’s vet friend Sally was recruited as a HYDRA goon. She survived the massacre and is reunited with Sam. She doesn’t have a whole lot of page time, but what she does say is quite poignant. Her character is a reminder of how veterans are treated. In her desperation, HYDRA offered her simple things, like food and board, and she felt like she needed to jump at the chance. This not only humanises the HYDRA goons, another ongoing theme despite their deaths, but also shows that they always have a ready supply of recruits because there are always desperate people around. Although she does get a happy-ish ending, her story has such a sad undertone.
Finally, the book finished with Sam, Sally, Bucky and Alpine at group therapy with some other vets. This is important for Bucky’s character who has been resistant to this from the beginning of the series. It shows his growth, and also shows that he is beginning to open up again. My heart melted at the sight because Bucky’s deserves some good in his life.
Overall I really loved this series, which has probably been obvious from this series of reviews and can’t wait to see where Bucky (and Alpine) go next. It is a really fun story, which comedic moments, that also hits hard on some of those core Captain America themes. More of this, please!
Falcon & Winter Soldier #5 is available now in Falcon & Winter Soldier: Cut off One Head from Comixology, Forbidden Planet, or your local comic book store.
Coming Soon… White Knight: Harley Quinn #1
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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