Lately, I am obsessed with the "color" series by Marvel Comics. I am half way through the series and so far Sale and Loeb are 2 for 2!!
I had a feeling I was going to enjoy these books mostly because, they chose some of my favorite main characters to focus on. It is hard to go wrong with Spidey, Cap, Hulk and Daredevil. But when you make their stories emotional and gut wrenching, you take it to a whole new level for the reader.
I will admit that if you are not a comic book reader or if you do not have a knowledge of these characters and their backstories, then you might not take to these books right away. They feel like they were written for a reader that has some prior knowledge of the comic history behind each of the characters. Each one of these books dives deep into a relationship that our heroes had with someone. So it helps to know a little of the back story before picking these up.
So lets get started .......
Bucky knew Steve Rodgers and knew who Captain America was but didn't know that they were one in the same until Bucky walked in on Steve putting his costume on one night in his tent. Somewhat in fear of his identity getting out Steve decides to take Bucky under his wing and train him to fight. They train in many types of hand to hand combat until Bucky is ready and the president believes that Bucky's presence could help boost the enlistment numbers of teens into the US Army.
Book one continues with Cap and Bucky's first mission together. They were triumphant but Cap thought that Bucky was slightly careless and could have really put himself into danger and reminds him that it only takes one careless mistake to get yourself killed. In Cap's letter to Bucky he says that he felt that he was too hard on him at that moment and that sometimes he regrets scolding him at that moment.
Book two fast forwards to Cap frozen in ice, found and surrounded by the Avengers. Here we see very art deco versions of Ant Man, Iron Man and Thor. Cap tries to escape and calls for Bucky. At this time we are introduced to Nick Fury. Not the Sam Jackson incarnation. The original. He obviously knows Cap. After he thaws it is clear that they have a rich past. At this point Bucky is presumed dead for the past 40 years and Cap is aware of it and blames himself for it. Fury gives Cap, Bucky's Medal of Honor issued by the US Army.
This interaction brings us back in time to when Cap and Bucky had a mission with Fury and the infamous Howling Commandos, way back when. The entire troop, Bucky, Fury and Cap were on a plane headed toward their mission when it gets shot and begins to crash. Bucky falls out and Cap catches him mid air as they fall together toward the water.
Fairly uneventful part of the book. It picks up with cap hitting the water after saving Bucky and he sinks. Bucky ends up saving Cap by diving into the water and swimming him to safety. The company comes upon a cliff and they need to climb it but there are no good holds to do so. Then out of nowhere Namor comes out of the water and gives Cap his shield back that he lost after hitting the water (No idea where this came from). When they finally reach the top of the cliff they are met by a troop of Nazi soldiers and the entire company are taken captive.
Also, we begin to see that Cap and Fury have a weird relationship where Fury seems to be jealous of Cap for being a better soldier. And as in all the books, Cap is talking to Bucky. Telling him how much he misses him and that he wishes that he were still around and that he could've saved him.
The book opens with the company as hostages and Cap hates the fact that Bucky is in this situation (then why bring him into war!!) but we see Bucky's unshakable faith in Cap to get them out of this mess. Cap recalls how good it made him feel that Bucky trusted him so much.
Steve begins to recall that he and Bucky are not very different from one another. They were both told that they would never amount to anything. One as an orphan and the other as a wimpy kid that gets beat up a lot.
Cap takes out all of the Nazi's single handedly and insists that the Commandos do not kill them. "Once you lie with dogs, you wake up with fleas." Steve says. We are better then them. The plan they come up with is to steal their uniforms and have a disguised Nick Fury escort Cap and Buck as prisoners to the Nazi camp as a decoy.
As Fury is transporting his new cap-tives, get it, to the nazi camps they come across a band of french gypsy's that ambush them because they think they are real Nazi's. This is where we meet Madeline and Batroc the Leaper. After a small fight the two companies join forces to take down the Nazi's together. They travel through an underground sewer system to a manhole that leads directly in the middle of a Red Skull Speech near the Eiffel Tower. The Skull is telling the French people that he is going to burn down the city to make Berlin the most cultured country in the world.
They rendezvous at a safe house and Cap is alone with Madeline. Bucky eve drops on them because he thinks Cap is gonna get lucky but Cap catches him being a peeping Tom and gets very angry at Bucky. The Commandos get intel that the skull is going to be sacking the Louvre later that night and they come up with a plan to stop him once and for all. However, when the company gets there it ended up being a double cross. Batroc the Leaper gave up the Americans to the Germans in return for their freedom. Meanwhile, Bucky ran off to face the skull alone to prove his worth to Cap after their argument. Cap runs off to save Bucky and finds him atop a zeppelin in the clutches of Red Skull.
Cap and the Skull fight on the top of a moving Zeppelin and Cap really gives it to him. Cap grags Bucky and jumps off the Zeppelin. As they fall the Zeppelin blows up, presumably with the Red Skull still on it. Cap and Bucky make it to safety and Fury finally shows Cap the respect he deserves because he ended a huge international conflict single handedly.
Bucky and Cap ride off into the sunset on a motorcycle where Cap admits to kissing Madeline and Bucky being overjoyed for him!!
The finally moves back to the day that Steve was brought back from the ice. Fury brings him to the monuments that where built in memory of Cap and Bucky since they were both presumed dead. Cap throws his shield and destroys the statue of himself leaving only the statue of Bucky. He rides off on his motorcycle with the memories of a young man who wanted to win the war!
This book was entertaining at times and the artwork is breathtaking but in the end it falls a little flat for me, especially after reading Spider-Man Blue. It is definitely worth the read if you are a Cap fan. I just don't get why he kept complaining about Bucky being in danger all the time? You decided to take a teenager into war!!!! Like real war, with Nazi's and the Red Skull!!! Why are you surprised that the teen with zero combat experience is in danger?
3/5 for me!!