By: Jason Latour (Writer), Nic Klein (Artist/Colorist)
The Story: Bucky tries to find Father Hammer, one of the commanding officers from his time as the brainwashed Winter Soldier.
The Review: Jason Latour continues to write up the continuous adventure of James Buchanan Barnes, a character created by Jack Kirby but brought back and modernized by Ed Brubaker. Writing a character that has been really developed and deepened by another writer is tough, but it is doubly so when writing exactly that character’s title. Some writers may do an error once or twice with the characters if he is in a team book, but that kind of leniency is not available in the titular book of said character. Still, Latour managed to write a pretty smart issue last time, so does he keep the same level of quality?
Sadly, he does not. Not by a large margin, as the story is still fairly interesting and he still seems to have a good comprehension of Bucky’s character, but the big spectacle and exciting re-entry of the character that was found in the last issue simply isn’t there. While he does advance the plot and introduce some small new elements there and there, the book simply matches the tone of Brubaker a little too much, as if Latour cannot remove the presence of this author from this book. Of course, it would be hard to do so, since Bucky has been this particular author signature character for close to a decade, yet this goes a little too much in the too familiar territory. Something from Bucky’s past is still haunting him; he has remorse and wants to do good to wash away his sin.
That is a bit disappointing, since the character, when he was assuming the role of Captain America, was doing a great job toward a redemptive arc. He was saving lives, honoring the memory of his fallen companion and managed to become a very interesting and nuanced character as a result. Here, though, this seems a bit like a regression, playing a little bit too much in the downfall of Bucky simply because it is one of the main themes of the character.
However, not everything is depressing and bitter in this comic, as we do get some pretty great action scenes and some good character work here. The scene featuring Maria Hill and Nick Fury alone is a gem, with the laid-back Fury fishing, while Maria Hill is stressed out once more, as the old master spy can be seen still at the top of his game while he does such a relaxing activity. Robards also add a little touch of cynical humor here and there, as he help to deviates the general tone of the book in most scenes. He is, like Bucky, a character that has constant bad luck, yet copes in a much different way than him. I am eager to see if Latour will make the comparison and contrasts in the story itself, as there is potential there.
What is not promising, but rather delivering, would be Nic Klein in this issue. He is a beast, simply put, as the main attraction of this book would be his amazing art. Considering what he can do with colors and his lines, I’d buy the book simply for his art. There is an action scene where he shifts colors from one panel to the other during three pages, where he starts from yellow and end up in purple after three pages that are simply gorgeous. It adds to the savvy spy effect that was so frequent in the old James Bond movies, which only enhances the product as a whole.
The Conclusion: Although this is a fairly standard plot when it comes to Bucky Barnes as a character, Latour does get us some nice character work there and Nic Klein is absolutely wonderful as an artist. Come for Bucky, stay for the amazing skills of the artist.
Hugo Robberts Larivière