Comic: "Winter Men"
Published by: Other
Written by: Brett Lewis
Artist: John Paul Leon

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 12/16/2009

Plot: Former KGB officer Kalenov has come across an unusual case: a kidnapped child, the babysitter murdered by trained assassins, and the possibility of the child being part of something much bigger. To make matters worse, the CIA is in town, and they want him to travel to the US to infiltrate a criminal organization. And it's all interfering with a trip he and his wife have planned for tomorrow.

Review: I wasnít sure of what to make of this comic when I first picked it up. That itís about a happening in Russia I picked up on, but I didnít exactly know what the story was about. After reading it all the way through, I have to say Iím still not entirely sure about it.

It starts off simple enough: an unseen narrator hints at there being a secret project of some sort during the Cold War. One that may have resulted in some kind of super soldiers that were used for... something. Our Narrator, Kalenov, explains that he and three of his friends are former ďrocket soldiersĒ. Itís then left up to the audience to decide what that means. In the introductory panels, we see some Soviet-era propaganda drawings of soldiers with jetpacks, so maybe that has something to do with it.

The rest of the book follows Kalenov as he spends his day sorting through the rampant corruption in modern Moscow, in which he plays no small part. Through some kind of exchange with one of his fellow ďrocket soldiersĒ, he winds up taking on an investigation into the kidnapping of an infant who may have gotten a liver transplant from some doomed guy who may have had superpowers. That is, if Iím reading it correctly.

Some of the situations Kalenov winds up in are given explanation, such as a dispute over who gets protection money from a new store. The rest, however, are presented as though the reader already has a fair understanding of how post-communism Moscow is working. Between that, and Kalenovís love of euphemisms, it gets a little tricky to keep the plot straight.

The only thing I know for sure is that Kalenov pretty much hates everything. Nearly every bit of his dialog is him bristling at something. The weather, the people he works with, the lines at the grocery store, he hates it all. He definitely has the grizzled detective angle down to a T. I just wish I had a better idea about where heís coming from/going to.

Artist John Paul Leon does some decent work with the story, but nothing to fancy. The bare art style does lend itself to the bleak setting, so I suppose that can be seen as good news. It fits in with the overall theme of the book; this is a fairly slow-moving story that hopes to draw you in by hinting at things. Lots of things. Too many things, I would say. Still, canít fault them for trying something new, I suppose.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Dec 16th, 2009, 04:16 PM

This was originally meant to be a Vertigo version of the Brigade, so obviously everyone is miserable and drunk all the time. And while the story is confusing, you have to give it credit for being confusing in exactly the same way russian action/crime films are.
Dec 17th, 2009, 01:59 PM
I hate confusing russian action/crime films.
Forum Virgin
Dec 17th, 2009, 03:48 PM
You have that right.
Forum Virgin
Dec 20th, 2009, 11:56 AM
I feel I should reccomend the Boys, a great Graphic novel series from garth Ennis which also includes the likeness of Simon Pegg.