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on 19 August 2013
Ed Brubaker revisits Cap's past by writing an alternate history to his sidekick, Bucky, in The Winter Soldier. Originally dead from an explosion over the English Channel pursuing the evil Baron Zemo during WW2, Brubaker imagines Bucky surviving the blast and being turned into a cyborg assassin, brainwashed into fighting for the Russians. Steve Epting's art is ridiculous - it's just so good! And his character design of the Winter Soldier is brilliant, with the mechanical arm and neo-terrorist look being faithfully replicated in the upcoming movie.

Unlike the movie though, the plot centres around an evil Russian general and the cosmic cube taking over the world through purchasing American land, which works really well in the book but I don't see ANOTHER Cap movie centring around the cosmic cube so I expect that plot element to be jettisoned. From what I've seen of the movie so far though, they're using a lot of the book in the movie - Crossbones (one of Red Skull's lieutenants), the Falcon (one of Cap's old friends), certain scenes like Bucky punching Cap's shield with his mechanical arm - but it doesn't look like Hugo Weaving's returning as Red Skull so, even though he's in the book, he probably won't be in the film.

But enough talk of the movie! The book is awesome, so even if the film winds up sucking next year, at least we have Brubaker and Epting's great Cap story. And Brubaker should really be congratulated simply for writing a readable and fun Captain America book - off the top of my head, I don't think there are any great Cap books besides this! But it's more than that. We understand Cap's loss a lot more, seeing his friendship with Bucky in far more detail than in other books during the many flashbacks set during WW2, and understand how close they were and why it was so painful for Cap to lose him.

While it's recognisably a superhero book, Brubaker's written it in a very sophisticated way so that it reads like an espionage thriller with double agents, real historical events, unexpected emotional depth, and superhero action all thrown into the mix. Epting's accomplished art gives the book a gloriously realistic appearance while the muted colour palette perfectly suits the serious tone of the book. Cap might be looked at as an anachronistic, even outdated character, and dressed kinda silly, but Brubaker and Epting make him look like a tragic figure, which isn't something I usually respond to (miserable superheroes are DC's speciality, not Marvel's) but it's the right approach for this book. With Bucky's backstory that involves remaining youthful after decades, getting a robot arm, being brainwashed, and so on, it would be too easy to undermine if Brubaker was anything less than completely serious in his approach.

The only complaint I would give the book is that it feels overlong at times. The middle of the book sags a bit especially as Brubaker takes several tangents to explore every angle of Cap's long and varied history (taking in other Captain Americas who filled in for Steve Rogers while he was frozen in ice). But it's a minor complaint when so much of the book is so well done in every way.

With The Winter Soldier, Brubaker writes the best Captain America book ever while also resurrecting a forgotten character, giving Bucky a new lease on life and turning him from an easily mocked sidekick into a brilliantly realised and transformed new character, and a superhero in his own right. The Winter Soldier is a great read and anyone (and I used to fall in this category) who thinks Cap only works in team books, should pick this up to see him carry the story brilliantly.
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on 26 August 2015
Great stuff. Good story that is the inspiration for the second Captain America film. I read it and liked it, my 12 year old daughter loved it too. it was a present for her as she is a fan of the films and at the affordable price I want her to appreciate the comics and not just the film. Hopefully Marvel will cotton on to this and produce these cheaper collections for all of their films.
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on 26 February 2014
If you haven't picked up a Marvel comic in years - or even, ever - this terrific collection of the Ed Brubaker run is a fantastic jumping on point. The storyline is utterly compelling, and told in an incredibly engaging and dynamic, almost cinematic way. I literally couldn't put this down. If you ever needed to be convinced that modern comics can be this good, I'd highly recommend this trade paperback.
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on 29 July 2014
Captain America is my favourite superhero, and this storyline is one of the main reasons why. In this story, Cap proves why he is one of the best heroes in the Marvel Universe and comics in general. I liked Cap's supporting cast such as Falcon, Sharon Carter and especially Nick Fury. It's no surprise that Ed Brubaker won several awards for his writing when this is the quality. When I bought it first this book is the one that convinced me to buy more of Brubaker's work. As I said above, one of my favourite comics.
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on 13 March 2016
2 Americas? Bucky and Steve?

Nope.

Bucky and 50's Cap who nobody cares about.

The writing is great, the plot is alright and the art is consistently good.

Some interesting points and a few lessons learned for Bucky, but I'm gonna call this one a 'filler episode'
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on 29 September 2014
Very interesting political thriller, with a genuine shock for those who read this before the film was released. I really enjoyed this book.
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on 19 July 2014
as a BIG Captain America fan and got the First Avenger on blu-Ray and its awesome, i love reading this comic book. looking forward to the WINTER SOLDIER that i got on Pre-Order :D
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on 14 July 2016
Didn't expect it to arrive so fast. Outstanding quality.
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on 4 April 2014
excellent read can't recommend it highly enough buy it and love it i know i did ...by the way...innat
a++++
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on 9 January 2016
nice novel, no problem
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