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Winter Soldier #5 Review

A traumatic conclusion to a watershed limited series for Bucky Barnes.

Bucky Barnes must face his own demons in deciding how he can salvage the life of lethal protégé R.J. Will he lead himself and the new Bucky down a path of redemption? Or is the damage to severe to mend?

The role of underground savior who sets wayward souls up with new lives is a premise that fits Winter Soldier like a fresh bionic appendage.

What a striking premise, that a man who constantly battles to reclaim his own soul, his own life, discovers it on the way to rebuilding others. This would work just as well if it were the ongoing story of a Winter Soldier TV series.

As he did with Nightwing, Higgins has a real talent for building a supporting cast around a character to find the heart, core, and themes of a series.

The stakes, emotionally and otherwise, never let up and watching the layers of motivation unfurl as events take a constant turn is almost poetic.

Marvel Comics

The front ended action of the series slowly gives way to the high-end character work. The crescendo of harrowing acts of violence stemming the psychological bleeding like a tourniquet. It’s all been executed with a masterful touch.

Rod Reis’ use of artistic expression, tilted camera angles and repetitive framing really play with the readers emotion. The story would lack important impact if it weren’t for the artists respect for the script and ability to convey the themes and feelings so clearly.

The pain, frustration, turmoil, and anguish that R.J and Barnes experience is almost umbilical as Reis details their expressions and reactions as if he were in the room to capture these moments the instant they occurred.

The use of dreary, bleak color and ominous darker washes elevate the mood of each scene. Even when the scene has characters in costume or in a daytime outdoor setting. You really get the sense that a chill wind is blowing throw the lives and events of all in front of you. By the same token the use of reds to emphasize jarring violence is doubly effective.

Marvel Comics

Clayton Cowles letter work here is a velvet sledgehammer. Minimalist depictions of a SNAP or SHUNK play with the volume of the writing in a medium that has no sound. They’ll have you wincing in reaction and hearing the things you see such is the effectiveness of Cowles perfectly restrained use of them.

Winter Soldier #5
Is it good?
The conclusion to this latest Winter Soldier solo outing is a hard read. Not because it isn’t brilliant but BECAUSE of its brilliance. A powerful, emotional, conclusion to the best use of Bucky Barnes since Ed Brubaker resurrected the character. Please, Marvel, give Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis an ongoing Winter Soldier series. Some hope while I tear myself in two lamenting that this mini-series is at an end, while also waiting in anticipation to slam down some cash for the trade.
Excellent, layered writing wrapped around a great core premise.
The new Bucky gives Damien Wayne a run for his money.
Dramatic and moody art.
This creative team deserves more than a five issue limited series.

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