Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi and Chris Chuckry
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 12, 2014

WSTBM2014001_DC11_LRWriter Rick Remender has been pushing the boundaries of his Captain America series for Marvel Comics by putting the star-spangled character through a myriad of trials and tribulations that not only broke Steve Rogers down to his core, but also rebuilt the character from the ground up. Remender has repurposed the hero as a conduit to bring a scrutinious eye on sociopolitics and demonstrate it’s affects on Cap and his entire supporting cast. In Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, Remender continues to add layers to the mythos that he is creating with Captain America by exploring the manifestation of the hero’s former sidekick Bucky Barnes, and his tenure as the unstoppable force for Russia –The Winter Soldier.

Remender does what he does best in this series. He sets the stage for an action-packed, fast-paced, pulp adventure story all within the captivating world of spy S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, scarily evil Hydra villains, and when you thought you had enough — he throws Winter Soldier into the mix as the wild card.  Winter Soldier: Bitter March is surprisingly captivating as it evokes much of the bravado of the 60’s pulp, spy genre while also offering an interesting perspective that begins to unfold the mystery behind the time when Bucky Barnes served as Winter Soldier.  Remender’s storytelling is pitch perfect and doesn’t lose any of his usual style or flair that you might expect when a major blockbuster movie like Captain America: Winter Soldier is casting it’s shadow over fans. The jokes between Ran Shen and Fury properly eschew a sense of history, rivalry, and friendship between them and the innuendo and banter of Shen and his attempts to seduce a Hydra agent are in good taste and help develop the fun in this issue. There is a sense of self-awareness in this book which assists in getting the reader to buy into this series even if the premise seems outlandish on the surface.

Artist Roland Boschi remarkably and confidently provides wonderful pencils in this issue.  There’s a simplicity in the art style that lends a straight-forward motif for the series.  Boschi’s panels don’t lose you and effectively envelop your eyes into the setting; whether it’s from the snowy mountains near the Hydra castle, to the fascist decor of an evil villain party, the sinister look of the Hydra lair, or flying bodysuits fighting in the air, Boschi pulls no punches and doesn’t shy away from the violence. People get punched, people die, people get shot, people even get burned, and Boschi is able to render these gratuitous panels in a non-gratuitous way. Colorist Chris Chuckry keeps up with Boschi pace, ensuring that everything seems distinct in each panel and illuminates some of the great iconography in the book.

Rick Remender and Roland Boschi channel legendary auteur Jim Steranko and his Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. series and make it entirely they own.  Remender is not only telling a Winter Soldier story, but he’s also telling a Ran Shen story. It’s going to be interesting to see how Remender and Boschi will unravel how this character went from being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to his modern state.  Needless to say, this was a great first issue for this mini-series and one that fans of Winter Soldier and pulp, spy stories should not miss.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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