A Review From Christopher Franey
Here we are at the big issue before the end, and I have to say I’m very happy with this miniseries so far. Get yourself prepared because this issue will definitely tug at the heart strings, Kyle Higgins has managed to create a new character and bond that questions how you feel about the main character’s motivations.
I like how Rod Reis and the colors come together to give that flash back feel while we read Richie Edward Boyle’s file, and Richie turns out to be RJ’s long lost dad. Now in case this series is new to you the big question is, who is RJ? RJ is basically Buck as a kid, but brainwashed early in life and working for Hydra, he wears a costume that is very similar to Bucky’s WWII outfit and is just a cold blooded killer, Buck is helping people find a better life by escaping from a mistake in their past. Buck is kind of a mentor for RJ and the two have started working together, but now Richie is back in RJ’s life.
We pick up early that Richie is a schemer and a con artist which has ended him up in prison…just to conveniently have him see news footage of Buck and RJ in action. Once Richie is out he makes his way to RJ to get back into his life. Both Buck and Sharon feel it is too much of a coincidence, but Sharon has check out all the facts and can rule it out. Buck is spying on RJ and Richie having dinner and we see elements of Richie being the con artist that he is, but there are some mixes of atonement that Richie wants to do right this time.
We see some mobsters come for Richie as he owes them money, so this causes RJ to fight for his dad to not be hurt; RJ does some serious hurting on these guys. Buck steps in as well to scared the guys off and check in on RJ, which causes Richie to explode on Buck and be angry about being spied on.
Richie does finally reveal that he borrowed some big money from these guys at high interest rates. This puts Richie in a bad light, but does help to sway RJ back to wanting to help his dad…worse part is that is strains the bond with Buck and also causes the motivations of Buck’s new life plan to be questioned on is’s sincerity and effectiveness.
Richie and RJ meet up again, this time Richie has another scheme that can work and he wants to let RJ in on it, but RJ reminds his dad about starting over but again Richie reminds RJ that is hard to start over and he can’t pass on the opportunity. We then see Buck and Sharon talking and she puts it out there for Buck to think about how involved he is with RJ’s case.
Now the pieces start to come together, we see Richie meet with other guys so they can get the scheme to work, but the fourth guy is needed…Richie is sure that he will get RJ to be the fourth guy. Evidence comes out to show that the TV clip Richie saw earlier of RJ and Buck in action was actually planted on that TV for Richie to see so he could worm his way back into RJ’s life. Now all that feeling on atonement is gone, so Buck confronts Richie. Buck wants Richie gone from RJ’s life totally. Buck did pay back the mobsters from earlier, so this does give Richie a clean start, but unfortunately RJ just can’t quit running scams, now that both men know this the confrontation gets heated. Richie feels Buck is overstepping in RJ’s life and Buck feels that Richie is bad for RJ. This leads to a fight and a silly death (in my opinion)…we see Richie take a swing at Buck, who of course dodges, which causes him to trip and fall head first into a dumpster and snap his neck. Now this scene doesn’t look good for Buck at all…last person to see Richie alive isn’t someone who likes him, RJ isn’t in the best of mindsets right now…so the conclusion is going to be painful, just like RJ’s life has been.
I’ve been enjoying this series and I like the idea of Buck going around and helping others to find their redemption. Even since Buck became the Winter Soldier back in Brubaker’s run it has been great to see Buck work towards his redemption. I like that Buck has taken it upon himself to help others who have walked down a path that is bad, I think this is great and could work as an ongoing book with arcs like this one. I’m very excited for the conclusion as the set up is gut wrenching, which way with RJ go? The only thing I didn’t care for was the way Richie died, but he isn’t a main character he is just a motivation…in my opinion it would’ve meant more if the death didn’t feel forced. I give this issue 4 out of 5 bullets over all and highly recommend you catch up with this mini. As always read on and Excelsior!
Marvel’s Winter Soldier #2
Here is part two of the miniseries that will explore more of the redemption that Bucky Barnes can offer to those who want to walk away from past mistakes and bad choices. Writer Kyle Higgins and artist Rod Reis have chosen the perfect character that understands what it means to wake up in a life that you didn’t want to end up the way it did, but can also find a way to change it. Issue 1 did a great job of setting up the key players as Bucky is the field agent who goes in to help the person escape their situation, while Tony Stark and Sharon Carter help him with information, finances, and tech repair.
This issue continues the firefight that new character R.J. has caused from Bucky’s latest client meet up. The opening with R.J. showing some of his secret origin is painting a very bleak world and I like how Rod Reis’ illustrations show that with his use of color. Here we see how Mr. Colt has a hand in getting R.J. to be trained as an assassin. I like how it almost can be seen as a parallel to Bucky’s new origin as a young soldier in WWII. I enjoyed how the creative gave us enough of a taste and then tease us with the next issue blurb about digging deeper into R.J.’s past.
Kyle Higgins has shown a great growth in the character of Bucky, this is a side of him that I am enjoying and really appreciate how he genuinely wants to help others live a better life of peace. The part where Bucky has R.J. and questions him was great, but it really sold me the minute Bucky asked R.J. if he liked killing. R.J.’s answer is so pure and direct that it is going to be scary when we see next issue’s reveal of the past. This is a great miniseries and I’m glad to see the Winter Soldier back in action with the use of Higgins’ writing this could be a great launch point for Bucky. I highly recommend and give it 5 out of 5 vibranium arms. Go to your local comic shop and see if you can pick up issue 1 and 2, very fun ride or mentor ship and redemption, Read on and Excelsior!