It’s been a long time since I was caught off-guard by a comic. However, this week I picked up Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1, on a whim. Mostly because I thought the cover was neat; showing the Winter Soldier himself, smirking at the center of exploding shards of his previous incarnations. Well, let me just say, the neatness did not end there.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me go ahead and say the story is not knocking my socks off yet. That may have something to do with the fact that I come into this tale with no backstory, having not read any Winter Soldier since he handed Cap back the shield, but it has some interesting potential. Apparently, Nick Fury has been spending his downtime playing intergalactic assassin; nipping any potential threats to Earth in the bud with extreme impunity, and for he has now passed the mantle of “The Man on the Wall” to our boy, Bucky. The situation couldn’t be more tailor made. This equips Bucky with weapons, funds, a spaceship, and his own freaking space station!
The first installment of the story by Ales Kot follows Buck convincing ex-S.H.I.E.L.D director Daisy Johnson, whom we meet during a collaborative assassination of the head angel-frog of the planet Syro, to be his full-time partner. He also spends time in the Marianas Trench combatting drug smugglers with Namor, who may or may not have a substance abuse problem. As it is made clear that Loki is funding the smugglers, Bucky is shot from above… as in from above the water’s surface… while he’s in the Marianas Trench!—let that sink in a bit—by a poorly illuminated individual who doesn’t quite not look like Nick Fury.
Now that we’ve got the story out of the way, let’s get to why you need to put this book on your pull list.
Remember this name: Marco Rudy.
Write it down: Marco Rudy.
Scratch it into picnic tables: Marco Rudy.
This artist, with BB:TWS #1, has done some of the most flat out brilliant work I have ever seen in comics. I will not mince words. These pages are fucking beautiful. Historically, I like comics for the stories slightly more than the art, but I want these on my walls. Someone gave this man a tray of watercolors and a sheet of acid, and he turned into an improved version of 1970s Marvel wunderkind Jim Steranko. Inspired, ridiculously creative panel arrangement and spaced-out drawings, coupled with gorgeously vibrant watercolors make this book Art. Capital A, Art. You NEED to see this entire book! I am not shitting you; I bought it twice, because I needed a hard copy after being completely stunned by the digital version. My eyes are opened, and I’m hunting down anything this man has ever drawn. Here’s hoping Kos’ story can keep up (as I’m sure it will, based on his sharp work on Image’s Zero) with Rudy’s amazing art.