BOOK REVIEW Ė ED BRUBAKER & STEVE EPTING Ė CAPTAIN AMERICA Ė WINTER SOLDIER. 2006 Marvel Comics.
Graphic novel featuring the most patriotic but jaded of all American superheroes. Captain America was a genetically modified superhero in World war Two, who was later frozen in ice until the 20th century. This adventure concerns his discovery that his old partner, Bucky (To Captain America what robin was to Batman) is also still alive in the present day, but working for the enemy. Agents of SHEILD with some bad news summon the Captain. Bucky is an assassin, working for the KGB, and later for private enterprise megalomaniacs. He is being kept in suspended animation between missions, which explains why he is still young looking.
The Captain last saw Bucky as he failed to bail out of a crashing warplane over the Channel Islands. Bucky was missing presumed dead, and in fact he had died, only to be resuscitated by the crew of a passing Russian Submarine, and given Cyborg replacement parts (including a robotic arm0. He was also brainwashed into forgetting what little remained of his old identity and sent out as a killing machine.
Much of the story hinges on whether the Captain can reach what humanity remains in Bucky or if he will have to help kill his old friend and partner. He is helped in his quest to reach the young man by The Falcon, and Iron Man.
Bucky is now on assignment to dispose of a powerful cosmic cube for a US traitor and terrorist supporter, Alexander Lukin. The mastermind has come to fear the cube which gives anyone what they want but at a terrible price. He has used it to carve himself a business empire, but he is possesses by Captain Americaís old archenemy, The Red Skull.
Captain America finds Bucky and struggles to reach him, as his SHIELD allies plan to kill the man instead. The Captain gets through to Bucky by inviting his former friend to kill him, making himself an easy target. Bucky instead grabs the cube, and uses it to will himself away, disappearing, leaving everyone wondering if he is dead, though Captain America rightly refuses to believe it of him.
A thoughtful, often exciting story, with shades of The Manchurian Candidate, though British readers will feel offended by The Captainís intervention in The Battle Of Arnhem, against zombie soldiers, and Bucky having been trained by the SAS.†
Iron Manís involvement is short lived, as in his human guise as Tony Stark; he has vested business interests in Lukinís field, which exclude him from intervening further in the captainís situation. Such touches help to humanise the story very well.† Definitely one of the better Captain America stories out there. .
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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