Winter Soldier: The Bitter March Part 1
by Rick Remender & Roland Boschi
Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: T+ (ages 15 and older)
That one word seems to be the main focus of Winter Soldier: The Bitter March. Right from the get-go and all the way to the end, there’s action. Barely a page goes by where punches, bullets, or arrows aren’t seen whizzing through the air to find a mark. No doubt about it, this comic book is a thrill ride all the way to the cliffhanger end. Here’s the story:
The year is 1966. Two neo-Nazi scientists have finally perfected the evil Arnim Zola’s Alchemy Formula, and now they’re being held captive in a Hydra fortress. Nick Fury (of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Ran Shen have been sent in to covertly capture or kill the scientists. After a few hiccups in the plan, Fury and Shen grab the scientists and are about to make their escape when they run into the mysterious Winter Soldier. Will they be able to escape and bring the scientists back alive?
The Bitter March Part 1 is paced fairly well, with a few ups and downs, but I found the overall storytelling to be lacking in emotion and depth. From the beginning, I was never truly surprised or excited by anything happening. There is some fun dialogue, but nothing memorable or original. It seemed as if writer, Rick Remender, was so focused on making sure things went “whizz” and “pow” that he neglected the human connection that makes a story both readable and believable. I expected more, but I was disappointed.
Roland Boschi’s artwork here is entertaining, but given a quick-brush in style. With the exception of a few close-up frames, there is not much detail given to the characters involved. Where the artwork really thrives is in the frames showing larger rooms or landscapes. While these still aren’t extremely detailed, they do tend to give a good idea of setting and lead the reader easily into the world.
As this comic is rated T+, there are a few elements that aren’t suitable for children. All throughout there is some blood and violence including a few deaths of enemy agents as fights erupt. There is also a scene with some sexual innuendo (as Shen tries to seduce a pretty Hydra agent). Finally, there are a few profanities sprinkled here and there. Parents are advised to preview the comic before sharing it with their kids.
Let’s Talk About It
If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:
• If you were to ask a question about this comic, what would it be? How would you answer it?
• Ran Shen found out firsthand that our choices affect what happens to us. Describe a time when you took the obvious choice and it didn’t work out the way you expected. What happened?
• Do you think extreme violence become a necessity in superhero comics? Why or why not?
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