Captain America #14
Marvel Comics (April, 2006)
“The Winter Soldier” part 6
WRITER: Ed Brubaker
ARTIST: Steve Epting
COLORIST: Frank G. D’Armata
LETTERER: Joe Carmamagna
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Aubrey Sitterson, Molly Lazer, and Andy Schmidt
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
Captain America and Falcon invade the base, but thanks to a warning from his bird (I don’t know if this is Redwing), Falcon avoids being shot by the Winter Soldier. As Falcon is aided by SHIELD in taking down the other soldiers, Cap finally confronts his old friend, but he doesn’t remember who he is and Steve isn’t able to jog his memory until he gets his hands on the homemade Cosmic Cube and uses it to restore Bucky’s memories. Shocked at what he became, Bucky grabs the Cube and destroys it but rather than going up with it as Sharon and Sam believe, Steve is sure Bucky somehow survived, and he’s right as Bucky shows up at the camp where he was trained to be Captain America’s sidekick. Meanwhile, Lukin has a passenger in his head…and it’s the Red Skull.
What they got right: As a finale to the story this works really well, and sets up the redemption path of Bucky we’d see after this. (At least I hope that’s where the character went next. This is the end of the comiXology version of the trade I’ve been using.) Whatever issues I had with the story personally and the retcons involved the story itself is quite good and an interesting way to bring Bucky back to the Marvel Universe beyond flashbacks. Red Skull inside Lukin’s head means he’ll continue to be a threat so we don’t lose Cap’s arch nemesis. (Sorry, Zemo.)
What they got wrong: Wait, when did Skull transfer his mind to Lukin and when was that a plan he set in motion? Maybe a later story explains it, but it isn’t here.
What I think overall: It’s still not my kind of story personally. Retconning Bucky from teenage sidekick to someone playing a younger man, the darker coloring and themes, some of these are more me than critical. On the critical side the story was well told and I see why Brubaker’s run has its fans. I can admit my biases and still see a story as good and a decent continuation. Plus it found a way to bring back a character you wouldn’t think could be restored and it doesn’t feel like another use of the revolving door of the afterlife we see in comics, even though technically that’s what it is. Overall a well done pair of arcs, but I’m ready to review something other than Captain America from my comiXology-hosted Marvel library.