Captain America: Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker
Format: Trade Paperback
Illustrated by: Steve Epting / Mike Perkins / Michael Lark
Collects: Captain America (vol. 5) #1-9 & 11-14
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Published: 2005 (collected in 2010)
Length: 304 pages
Growing up, I was not the least bit interested in Captain America. I think he always seemed a bit tacky to Canadian readers. We have had a couple of maple leaf clad heroes, one with the embarrassing name of Captain Canuck, but they never really took off. I think by the time I was reading comics, the whole squeaky-clean patriotic leader idea wasn’t really in style.
Once I learned a bit about Captain America, he seemed a much more interesting character. His backstory involves the loyal flag-waving, what he was created for, but throughout the years he often became critical of the government, a reflection of American ideals and a reminder for when those ideals were being ignored, rather than just a hacky yes-man. I love that the first Captain America comic had him punching Hitler in the face a year before America entered the war. He was created in a time in history when a character like that made sense.
This book is Captain America in our present time as he tries to track down a Cosmic Cube that was acquired by Red Skull. Before he’s able to retrieve the cube, he’s intercepted by an unknown assassin, a companion he had thought dead for forty years. As the story progresses, we are introduced to the mysterious character and get to learn about his tragic life since his supposed death and why he has seemingly turned evil. It’s a well written story that hooked me even without having any connection to, and very little knowledge of, the characters. It’s a great introduction to that cast, as the assassin’s story is told through flashbacks that span the length of Captain America’s career.
I picked this up ages ago to read before the film was released, which didn’t happen. I heard about this Ed Brubaker run enough times that, despite not really knowing anything about the character, I wanted to give it a try. I’m glad I did. The art was very good, but where this really succeeded was in the interesting story. I imagine it would be mind-blowing if you were an old-school fan to see a character brought back from literally forty years ago. It’s something that can’t happen in a lot of mediums, but the long-running and continuous nature of comic publications make something like that possible.
Worth picking up if you’re enjoying the movies.