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Captain America #618: Review

May 2011
Ed Brubaker, Chris Samnee

Story Name:

Agent 13

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #618 Review by (May 29, 2011)
Review: Single story told in three parts, separated by artist and central character is pretty good though it doesn’t move the story forward much. There’s a sinister plot at work (no kidding?) which will be uncovered in the next issue. The Bucky section is best, with the chaotic art mirroring the hero’s mental state. Of course, if you read Diamond Previews last month you know what’s going to happen: the series restarts (it does not reboot) with a new number one and Steve back in costume after Bucky apparently dies (been there, done that). So we have one more month for Ed Brubaker to finish disassembling Bucky Cap (neatly bookending his run on the series which began with resurrecting him) and move on to something new. And yes, this review was nearly identical to the one for issue #617.

Comments: Neither Bucky nor Steve appears in costume as Captain America. Colonel Rostov is known as the Red Barbarian, possibly making him the same character introduced in TALES OF SUSPENSE #42 (in 1963).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #618 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
At the secret facility housing the Department X cold files, Sharon Carter and Black Widow have been surprised by a squad of soldiers. Natasha instinctively starts fighting and Sharon is forced to join in. The Widow corners the leader and demands to know how they knew the women were there; the man responds that they didn’t, they had been sent to destroy the stored records. As they compare notes later, the two heroines conclude that something is amiss: if the Russian government is behind framing Bucky Barnes for the assassinations, why are they only covering it up now? It begins to look like the real culprit is the prison warden Colonel Rostov, the Red Barbarian, who is manipulating matters but the reason why is not clear. Sharon wants to search for a connection between Bucky and Rostov, while Natasha insists to rescuing Bucky. Since doing so would put the United States in an indefensible position legally, Natasha goes rogue in the middle of the night. In the morning, Sharon reports to Steve Rogers then waits to hear from the Black Widow….

Story #2

Gulag—Part 3

Writer: Ed Brubaker. Penciler: Butch Guice. Inker: Stefano Gaudiano. Colorist: Bettie Breitweiser.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In the Russian prison camp, James "Bucky" Barnes is locked in combat with Boris Bullski, the original Titanium Man, a savage and gigantic foe, in a fight to the death. Bucky relies on his agility to evade his opponent’s brutal attacks, noticing in the crowd of prisoners Niko Constantin and his Wolf Spider gang. Up in his secret room, Warden Rostov also watches with interest, following the progress of the plan to break the Winter Soldier through savagery. Bucky finds himself cornered by his foe; it seems like the end until the guards throw weapons into the field. Realizing this game has no rules, Bucky scoops up a mace and beats Bullski into a pulp.

That night in his cell, Bucky has the worst nightmares he has ever had of his experiences as the Winter Soldier. In the prison yard, Bucky is confronted by Yuri Petrovich, one of the former Crimson Dynamos, enraged at the beating Bucky gave his star fighter. The confrontation quickly explodes into a riot, with prisoners overpowering guards and taking their weapons. Niko Constantin leads Bucky to safety, warning him that he can’t trust Alexi, his new pal from last issue, because he works for a cabal of ex-KGB leaders, along with the Warden. They enter the sewers where Niko explains that his only motive is to thwart the plans of this cabal and that he will show Bucky a way to escape from the camp. The hero declines, because it would create an international incident and he prefers to hang on for the next few days when the scheduled inspection by the Avengers is to take place. Niko then springs the trap and the guards who were following gas Bucky. He awakens strapped to a lab table where Rostov announces his intention to unlock the activation codes that were implanted in Bucky’s mind years ago….

Story #3


Writer: Ed Brubaker. Penciler: Chris Samnee. Inker: Chris Samnee. Colorist: Bettie Breitweiser.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

After taking the call from Sharon (in story #1), Steve Rogers continues questioning Henry Peter Gyrich about the attack on the latter’s office by an armored Russian killer in the previous issue. After stonewalling for a few minutes, Gyrich admits that, when he thought Bucky Barnes would be acquitted on treason charges, he was approached by a Russian diplomat named Sergei who produced evidence that the Winter Soldier had killed on American soil before. That was when Gyrich pulled strings to get Bucky into Russian hands. Steve tracks the diplomat by means of surveillance, all the while blaming his failure to save Bucky in World War 2 for the entire Winter Soldier fiasco. He arrives at the site to find SHIELD agents; inside Sergei lies dead on the floor, a bullet in the brain. Nick Fury is on the scene and explains that the evidence shows that Sergei had come to visit an elderly Russian man; the old man received a phone call from overseas, murdered Sergei, and then poisoned himself. The elderly man is an old Soviet spy, planted in the US and living undercover since 1978. So Fury wants to know: what is going on?

Chris Samnee
Chris Samnee
Bettie Breitweiser
Marko Djurdjevic (Cover Penciler)
Marko Djurdjevic (Cover Inker)
Marko Djurdjevic (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Red Barbarian, Titanium Man.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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