"Winter Solider" #16 from Jason Latour and Nic Klein is a superb spy comic full of layered story and intense art. Their first issue was an amazing standalone tale of retrieval and this issue is a great follow-up on elements introduced with more world building. There is clearly a large story at work, but it flows just fine in monthly installments.
This is a book about a spy world and so all the cogs are equally important. Ed Brubaker, who created this current incarnation of the character and this title, was much more interested in the man. Jason Latour is all about the world as he uses scenarios and multiple characters to flesh out as much as he can. Every corner of this book is interesting and it’s because Latour and Nic Klein work hard to add little extras to everything.
Bucky is presented as a man defined by his actions. He doesn’t seem to interact with his costars as much as he broods and shoots around them. This keeps with the way Latour and Klein were given the character and it also makes an interesting change in the title. He can’t carry the book through his charisma and heroics alone. Now the larger narrative must become one of the major hooks. To host such a somber lead is a bold choice for Marvel and it’s nice to see the publisher allow the creative teams room to reinterpret and experiment.
Nic Klein is perhaps the greatest draw for the book. His moody pages make this spy rollercoaster feel as scary as possible. Not only can Klein tell a story in a masterful way, he creates art of the highest order. His landscapes and page arrangements are almost musical in the way they build and evoke. For years, Klein has put out the best looking comics and this book doesn't halt his ascension to the top of the art pyramid. His ability to turn the Winter Soldier into what is ostensibly an environment-specific G.I. Joe homage and still make him feel deadly is a testament to everything he can do. It should also be said that Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire work together for some of the best looking cover sets on the stands with their cover art.
"Winter Soldier" #16 is a great spy tale where little things are twisted to create the maximum amount of enjoyment. This issue is a layer of character development through the text and a pounding fight yarn through the images. When these layers meld into one, the book becomes something enjoyable as a structured work of art. This creative team does good things with Brubaker’s old toy and you shouldn’t be missing out.