WINTER SOLDIER: THE BITTER MARCH #1
So there's this character called The Winter Soldier, you might have heard of him, I think he's going to be in a movie. The Winter Soldier was thought up by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, and he's easily one of the most interesting characters and evolutions that has happened at Marvel in a long time. With the upcoming Captain America sequel featuring the man, Marvel has debuted a brand new mini-series which bears his name, but unlike the previous Winter Soldier tales, he's more of a supporting character than the focus.
Rick Remender has concocted an amazing spy thriller set in the 1960s Marvel Universe. Featuring the likes of Dum Dum Dugan and the original Nick Fury, “The Bitter March” is the kind of spy story that I'm more used to seeing from independent publishers, making it a welcome surprise to come from Marvel. The opening issue plays like a Bond novel with Fury and Agent Ran Shen, in his pre-evil days, off on a mission to stop Hydra from creating one of their elaborate super weapons. Remender's pacing is in top form for the story, which tells you just enough to keep you interested and often pulls the rug out form under you with some insane surprises.
Roland Boschi's artwork is a perfect fit for the series' tone and form. He also manages to be similar enough in style to Epting's original work that it's not a stretch to think of the stories as being related, which could have been an issue if it was drastically different. Boschi's action are in top form here as well; the gun fights, the areal battles, the skiing attacks, it's like watching a film play out. It's not often that the action in a comic hold up to the kinds of things we see on the big screen, but what Boschi and Remender have crafted here is top notch.
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March is a flawless spy thriller, the kind of story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and doesn't let go. The storytelling choices made by Remender and Boschi are brilliant and force the reader to divorce themselves from what they already know about the Winter Soldier, because he's still a mystery. If there's one comparison we can draw to him for this series, he's the shark in Jaws, and his final attack will be glorious.