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Winter Soldier #18 – Review

WINTER SOLDIER #18

By: Jason Latour (Writer), Nic Klein (Artist/Colorist)

The Story: Tesla Tarasova tells us her life story and how she views her training, her life mission and the world in general.

The Review: It’s not fair. Really, parts of me are right now enraged after reading this issue. Having finished analyzing the various elements that compose this story, I can only come to a single conclusion: it’s not fair.

Do not misinterpret this, as this statement is only my vision of a harsh truth, a thought on the fact that this title will be over soon, as it has been cancelled. How can a title that has grown to become so amazing be cancelled like this?*

With this issue being a true showcase of why this take on Bucky and his adventures is probably one of the best we ever got, it would be hard not to come to the same conclusion as I. Here, we get to see the origin and pretty much a character study of Tesla Tarasova, the Electric Ghost, who is the antagonist of this arc. We get to see from her childhood to the day she received powers thanks to the cosmic ray to when she finally understood something that made her what she is today. It is a well-paced story full of great moments that allow us to delve deeper into a character that had been shown, yet not thoroughly explored during the few issues of Latour’s handle on this title.

This exploration of the character is actually quite fascinating, as we delve into the ever-growing vision of the world from her innocent years to her more enlightened perspective, as the whole tale is told with a narrative ripe with self-analysis and a certain sense of nostalgia. Mixing the telling of her tale with some presentation of how she interacts with Bucky does help to ground the tale around our main character, but those who were expecting more of Bucky’s adventure might be a little disappointed due to his lack of actions and presence in this issue. Still, the character work here is very good, as we do get something rather unique from Tesla Tarasova: an origin story that is actually well-thought out.

When a writer tries to create a character for an already established universe like Marvel or DC, it does not always work in the best of ways possible, especially when it’s a villain. Considering that most writers (though not all) try to gather up interest in their villains by playing them in the most mysterious or threatening way possible, it was refreshing to see her origin and view of the world in such a focused tale, with nuances. Instead of going for the big powerful and obnoxious path (much like Loeb’s Red Hulk tale)**, Latour instead choose to show her as a complex and much more nuanced character instead, as shown with her interactions with Bucky.

Still, as good as the story and the character presentation is, what could be also described as nuanced and complex would be Nic Klein approach to the art in this issue. While in the other issues he had shown a tendency to go toward the experimental. Here, though, he goes with several styles as he does a more sketchy and childish approach to colors and details in the first pages, only to evolve in his style as the stories of Tesla Tarasova goes on. The colors follow suit with the same evolution, as we get more primary colors followed by more complex one as the tale goes on. This creates a really gorgeous book to look at, as it really does a great symbiosis with the script and the story itself. It is perhaps one of the best looking issues of that title yet and I sure do hope Nic Klein will get more work after his stint on that title.

The Conclusion: This issue delivers in many ways with a good look on a character that has been teased many issues before, giving us a great origin with some stunning art from Nic Klein. While the next issue will be the last, Latour and Klein seems to be going out of their way to give us one hell of a finale if they can manage to top this.

Grade: B+

*Yes, I know it’s because of sales and because it’s low on the radar. Latour just does not have the same fan base as Brubaker.

**While I do cite this storyline as the very basis of a bad character introduction, do please note that I actually consider Red Hulk to be one of my favourite Marvel character. Jeff Parker did fix the character all right after Loeb.

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve enjoyed this series, so it is sad to see it go. What surprises me is that the imminent Captain America movie is about The Winter Soldier, so surely the interest and popularity of the character will increase significantly once the movie is released. Then again maybe they have plans to launch a new movie friendly series much like they planned with the Avengers TV show.

  2. Great review. What else can be said? This short run By Latour & Klein has been like a quick glimpse into a fantastic 2-3 year run in another universe before both moved up and on to even bigger things. As it is, I hope the issues they did get to do both serve to compel Marvel to give both creators more, and Bucky another shot when the movie comes around. Marvel needs talent like this with the departure of Brubaker & Rucka, and the espionage corner only left with Secret Avengers.

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