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Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection Paperback – April 14, 2010
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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The biggest problem that Brubaker faced in "The Winter Soldier" arc was not just reintroducing Cap in a new and darker world while still being the shining Sentinel of Liberty. It's all in the resurrection of a long-dead character. Brubaker staked his whole future in the comics industry by resurrecting one of the great untouchable characters in the Marvel Universe.
Obviously, comic characters are killed and resurrected all the time so it pretty much becomes rote. But there were two characters in the Marvel U that were untouchable as far as bringing back from the dead: Uncle Ben Parker (you bring him back, you invalidate his death, and the reason Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man), and James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, Cap's teen sidekick who 'died' in the explosion that also hurled Steve Rogers into the suspended animation he was in since 1945. And what Brubaker does is perhaps the best and cleverest resurrection in comics history. Bucky Barnes is not only resurrected as the villainous Winter Soldier, his wartime persona is also reinvented not as a constantly wise-cracking and villain-punching kid sidekick, but as an efficient and deadly advance scout who does the darker and unfortunately necessary things in combat that Cap can't.
The story also brings important side characters from Cap's life to the fore, like his on-again/off-again love Sharon Carter (aka Agent 13) and Sam Wilson (aka The Falcon). It also introduces a new and very insidious threat to the Captain America pantheon: Corporate Takeovers. It also includes the greatest deus ex machina ever conceived: The Cosmic Cube, which can alter the reality of the user, or can force others to bend to the user's will... which works both positively and negatively for everyone who does choose to use it.
Apart from Brubaker's writing, the other bright spot is the amazing artwork provided by both Steve Epting and Mike Perkins. Epting's work is about as close to photo-realistic as you can get, and Perkins provides a little more stylized artwork, but it doesn't seem at all out of place.
To give even more hyperbole, CAPTAIN AMERICA has been the best continuing comic on the stands since Brubaker started writing the new volume, and what's even greater is that this is a brilliant start to the new volume, and it keeps getting better in its run.
Amazing stuff, and it will lead you to more Brubaker work. Of what you should view for Marvel especially is his run on DAREDEVIL (after Bendis' status quo-smashing run), his work on the creator-owned ICON line that includes ALL the volumes of CRIMINAL and his newest series INCOGNITO. X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS is pretty good, but his arc "The Fall of the Sh'iar Empire" is his best X-MEN work.
Partisan politics are a big part of that "real world". When they are injected into a story arc or *are* the story arc, they intrude upon that entertainment, that attempt to escape.
"Two Americas" is shot through with politics, with crude stereotypes and straw man observations. Rather than bridging the divide between the "Two Americas", the symbol of Captain America is used to discredit, to marginalize, to in effect make the divide even greater.
Marvel editorially chose to publish this story to take a stand, to make a statement... and to hopefully get some much-needed buzz from the media that would increase sales. They definitely got the buzz.
Apparently Marvel didn't give much thought to how this story would be received by existing readership. Some no doubt are thrilled with the story, as it reflects their own politics. They make up the choir that Marvel was preaching to. Some probably don't care one way or another. There are I'd imagine a fair number who were stereotyped and don't appreciate it one bit. Then there are those like myself who fall outside the standard political boundaries, neither Left nor Right, and are sick and tired of this sort of politics as usual.
Marvel could have done something constructive with the "Two Americas" concept, as I said earlier, using Captain America as a symbol of unity. Sadly, they chose otherwise.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHO WILL WIELD THE SHIELD? 1; CAPTAIN AMERICA (2005) 602-610; STEVE ROGERS: SUPER-SOLDIER 1-4; CAPTAIN AMERICA (2005) 611-619, 615.1; CAPTAIN AMERICA (2011) 1-10
Captain America: Two Americas(Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? 1, issues #602-605)
Captain America: No Escape( issues #606-610)
Captain America: Steve Rogers - Super Soldier( issues #1-4 miniseries)
Captain America: The Trial of Captain America( issues #611-615 and 615.1)
Captain America: Prisoner of War( issues #616-619)
Captain America, Vol. 1(issues #1-5)
Captain America, Vol. 2(issues #6-10)
[Please click on the links above for further detail on each book, so I will not go into as much detail since they explain it for me.]
After the events of Captain America Lives Omnibus, the original Captain America Steve Rogers has returned from the dead (through hard to-believe methods but hey!). And with Steve back that means the current holder of the shield, Bucky Barnes, will have to give back the identity to Steve because there can't be two Captain Americas. But Steve doesn't want to be Captain America anymore (he actually becomes head of S.H.I.E.L.D. now with a new uniform and title the Super Soldier), so Bucky gets to keep the title and shield. But with Steve back, Bucky doesn't feel like he's truly worthy of the title, especially his 60 years as the brainwashed Russian spy/assassin, The Winter Soldier. Now the sins of Bucky's past have come back to haunt him as Baron Zemo, Red Skull's daughter Sin, and the numerous other villains are bringing forth Bucky's dark past to the media public. Bucky will not only deal with his rogues' gallery, but also the crimes he has done to American and Russian soil in a trial that will decide his future. Bucky is in for a long and turbulent time, which his friend and mentor Steve trying to clear his partners name.
By now, it should be no surprise that writer Ed Brubaker's work on Captain America is revered among the comic book community as one of the best works in the Star-Spangled Man's career. As this volume we see Steve take on the new role as leader S.H.I.E.L.D. doing less hands-on fighting and more on running operations for Bucky and, occasionally, doing things for himself as the Super Soldier. So although Steve doesn't take up the main story throughout this volume even after his return, he still has his share of times he takes the spotlight and is compelling stuff. Even more so with the supporting cast of Falcon, Black Widow, and Nick Fury.
But actually, most of Brubaker's work has been on building up Bucky Barnes as a truly great character on his own. We get to see the inner conflict of Bucky as Captain America now that Steve Rogers is back, the long history as the Winter Soldier, and even finding redemption through a public trial makes this wonderful material, especially an ending that won't be resolved until the next and last omnibus.
The numerous artist are numerous and widespread, but a good majority of these issues collected by artist include Butch Guice, Luke Ross, Mitch Breitweiser, Dale Eaglesham, Mike Deodato makes up issues 602-619 that is gritty, noir-like art to fit the espionage theme very well. Whereas Steve McNiven and Alan Davis do more cinematic action/sci-fi for the Steve Rogers as Captain America stuff.
I have no problems with this collection, except some of the story arcs like the "Two Americas" and "No Escape" arcs are not quite up to par as some tales. The change in direction with Steve Rogers taking up the mantle again of Captain America near the end might ruffle some readers because it goes against the espionage the series started with into more of the 1970's style of adventures of science fiction and action. I still enjoyed it, but some might not like the tonality change. And additional confusion might happen with Steve Rogers being head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and his transition into that mantle. For clarification, he was put into the position in another series, as well as some explanation for it in Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Mission to Mars. It's not necessary to read, but it's worth checking out if you enjoy Rogers under Ed Brubaker.
For this 2014 omnibus, it's a true Marvel tome done with sturdy board, usual over-sized hardcover, and sewn binding. The dust jacket is the same cover on Amazon's description page, while the cover board is all black with only Cap's shield and the book's title on the spine. A bit boring for a back board, but no biggie. We get 22 variant covers, two interviews with Ed Brubaker, some of Butch Guice's layout pages, and the "Seven Deadly Stories of Sin" article informing readers the history of Red Skull's daughter, Sin.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE TRIAL OF CAPTAIN AMERICA OMNIBUS is another fine continuation of Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America for Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers. Stellar story telling, great art, and all in usual Marvel omnibus form. Sure an story or two might not be as strong as others, but its still a worthy addition to the Cap/Brubaker run. Seeing as this is the fourth omnibus/collection from Brubaker and the penultimate chapter, buyers should already be be caught up already by reading owning the the previous omnibus's Captain America Omnibus, Vol. 1, The Death of Captain America Omnibus, and Captain America Lives Omnibus all of which are out of print and pricey now. But you can choose to get caught up on this fantastic series with the cheaper paperback collections Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection, Captain America, Vol. 2: Red Menace Ultimate Collection, and Death of Captain America: The Complete Collection.
Just one more omnibus of Brubaker's run on Captain America coming out in 2015, Captain America: Return of the Winter Soldier Omnibus to finally end 8 years of great stuff.