Comic: "Captain America Omnibus, Vol. 1"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting, Mike Perkins, and others
Plot: Captain America (Steve Rogers) discovers that his WWII sidekick Bucky Barnes, long thought dead, has actually survived and has been working for the Russians as a brainwashed assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, the Red Skull resurfaces and begins concocting schemes of world domination, and his steps to remove the obstacles to his plans result in the death of a hero.
Review: Three years ago, if you'd told me that Captain America's teenage sidekick Bucky from his World War II days would be resurrected from the dead, and that it would be cool, I'd have stolen your lunch money and told you to go back to reading your Archie books. But you can take solace in knowing you'd have been right. Hungry, but right.
Although dead characters find themselves coming back to life as often as editorial teams swap out for other ones, for decades there were four Marvel characters that no editor in his or her right mind would dare to even consider bringing back: Bucky, Gwen Stacy, Captain Marvel (they just fucked that one up) and Peter Parker's Uncle Ben. But then along came Ed Brubaker, with a pretty cool idea, and he was fortunate enough to find an editor with the balls to back his pretty cool idea. Bringing Bucky back as the Winter Soldier isn't just a cheap gimmick, but rather it serves the story very well, and in the greater scheme of things moves the Marvel universe forward, which is precisely why it works.
Never before have I been so interested in Captain America. Sure, I dabbled here or there and was vaguely aware of his goings on, but this time I'm hooked. Cap has never been better. Brubaker's story has just the right balance of action and espionage, and he skillfully integrates World War II flashbacks into the story that relate to current events, and those are my favorite parts to read, seeing Cap and the Invaders giving Hitler's goons what for.
The artwork by Steve Epting, Mike Perkins and other guests here and there is remarkably consistent, and should serve as an example of how it's done to every other editor out there. Half the time you wouldn't even notice the change in artists unless you're paying close attention to the credits. The artwork usually consists of page-wide panels that are brooding and cinematic in their presentation, but my absolute favorite thing about it is how the action shots somehow convey such grace, as if they are somehow portraying movement and stillness at the same time.
This wonderful book collects issues 1-25 of Brubaker's landmark series, everything up to the infamous "Death of Captain America" issue; also including the "Captain America 65th Anniversary Special" and "Winter Soldier: Winter Kills" one-shots. This book is expensive, sure, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more attractive volume, and it's a perfect introduction to what is without a doubt the absolute best superhero book currently being published by Marvel. There's no contest.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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