Captain America returns to theaters everywhere this April for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Marvel Comics is whetting the appetite of the Captain America fans who want a glimpse of the movie’s villain in a mini-series titled “Winter Soldier: the Bitter March” by writer Rick Remender and artist Roland Boschi.
Set in 1966, the height of the Cold War, “Winter Soldier: The Bitter March” #1 spotlights the two top Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury and Ran Shen, as they look to infiltrate Castle Hydra to rescue two Nazi prisoners who have just developed the Alchemy Formula. While the spies of S.H.I.E.L.D. are working their way through Hydra another spy has entered the picture who wants the secret formula as much as his rivals.
Through the eyes of Agent Shen we are introduced to the mystery of the Winter Soldier, a man with a red star emblazoned on his arm, the Soviet’s unstoppable monster, a line item in reports that no one can confirm because no one has ever laid eyes on him and lived.
Remender has chosen wisely to keep the shroud of mystery on the titular character. It adds to the legend of this villain. The story told through the eyes of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gives a different perspective one that makes you fearful of this Cold War terror.
The artwork is evocative of the time as well. Boschi’s style brings out the romance of the super spy. The drawings capture the feeling of a mid-20th century European castle setting that could only be inhabited by a terrorist organization.
The pacing of the story is tight as the characters work their way towards their goal and an inevitable confrontation with the Winter Solider. The absence of the Winter Soldier only builds the excitement for when he finally shows.
The Winter Soldier will capture your imagination when he heads to the big screen in April, but to get to know the character’s beginnings before his confrontation with Captain America this glimpse into Marvel Comics’ Cold War is a great start. Remender and Boschi give a great introduction in the opening chapter of “Winter Soldier: The Bitter March.”
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