Falcon & Winter Soldier #1: Bucky Barnes Carries a Cat in His Jacket

Falcon & Winter Soldier # 1 Cover A

The Winter Soldier was having a quiet evening in with his cat. Until a SWAT team shot his place to hell, that is. Meanwhile, Falcon is looking for a missing member of his support group. They both end up in the same place — surrounded by dead bodies.

Falcon & Winter Soldier #1

Joe Caramagna (Letters), Derek Landy (Writer), Matt Milla (Colours),  Federico Vicentini (Artist)
Marvel Comics
February 26, 2020

Falcon & Winter Soldier # 1 Cover A. Marvel Comics. February 2020
I started out liking this book and then… not so much. Any book that starts off with a master assassin hiding his kitty in his jacket is going to get my attention. Unfortunately, the adorable kitty doesn’t stick around for very long and
we are forced to concentrate on the story which involves a super-secret government organization that may be Hydra, a lot of dead people, a hungover assassin handler, and a blond, teenage Hydra acolyte.

I was fine with the story until that last bit. The acolyte feels so discordant with the rest of the cast of characters that it threw me right out of the story and never let me back in. I would have preferred a more adult badass assassin with some personality. This newbie talks a lot, punches even more, but fails to leave any impression upon the reader. And that really drives Falcon & Winter Soldier #1 down. The days of one-dimensional baddies are behind us—we need villains with some pizzazz, plenty of motivation, and tons of personality. What I saw in this book left me underwhelmed. It could be rectified in upcoming issues but will we be sticking around for them? At least we get some banter between Falcon and Winter Soldier which, in all honesty, is why everybody is reading this book. These two characters have a long history together and it’s always fun to see them team up.

With the Falcon & Winter Soldier Disney+ series arriving soon, this comic is quite timely. But it doesn’t capture their dynamic as well as one would hope, mostly because they spend so many panels getting the crap beaten out of them while listening to the teenage assassin’s soliloquy.  My disappointment really arises from the fact that this book turned out to be ‘meh’, with the addition of an annoying villain, which made the reading experience even worse. I didn’t feel incentivized to read further because I actively don’t want to meet this villain again.

The art is good—so much stunning detail in every panel. You get a complete sense of the world that Falcon and Winter Soldier are inhabiting. And Falcon’s uniform looks gorgeous.

Falcon & Winter Soldier # 1 Page 3. Marvel Comics. February 2020

I didn’t like the faces though—they’re elongated and too pointy. All the features look distorted. I understand it’s the art style but it isn’t to my taste. Plus, the characters look too alike. At this point, with the cast so small, that isn’t a problem but when more characters are added, I foresee trying to guess who is who based on their clothes.

I was excited for this book, and the opening pages with soft Bucky protecting his cat were lovely. They got me feeling hopeful for the rest of the book. But the rest of the story felt unfulfilling and the villain was underwhelming. Can the next issue save this series? I’ll never know because I won’t be reading.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir