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Captain America #619: Review

Jun 2011
Ed Brubaker, Chris Samnee

Story Name:

Black Widow

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #619 Review by (July 3, 2011)
Review: Strange and utterly confusing! I don’t mean the issue itself—that is a very satisfying wrap-up to the Gulag story. It’s how they wrapped it up. We have Steve ready to resume the role of Captain America just in time for the new comic and movie—no surprise here, it’s only logical that they put Steve back in action so as not to confound any new fans the movie might make. No, it’s what happens to Bucky that makes no sense: Bucky is now a fugitive, stripped of the shield, undercover and pursuing a new mission: to shut down all operations that he was responsible for as the Winter Soldier. This makes the perfect lead-in to the ongoing series WINTER SOLDIER—except there won’t be one. Instead, Bucky as Captain America was killed in the pages of FEAR ITSELF #3. Didn’t they tell Brubaker that Bucky was going to die? If not, why not? If so, why did he spend so much time setting up a new direction for a character that is already dead by the time this issue appears? Wait…was the dead Bucky an LMD? Or a Skrull? Probably not. We’ll see in a couple of weeks when the new CAP #1 comes out.

Comments: Neither Bucky nor Steve appears in costume as Captain America on the cover or in the story. The Unicorn (Milos Masaryk) was introduced as a major Iron Man foe in TALES OF SUSPENSE #56 and has not appeared in comics since 1985.

Captain America #619 Review by (July 5, 2011)
Having Fear Itself #3 come out before CA#619 isn't the worst crossover mistiming I've ever seen. Except that usually it's because one of the issues is late. This one was scheduled that way! It's also not the worst crossover connection I've seen. Bucky leaves #619 with Black Widow and turns up in FI#3 with her (and some others). I could earn a No-Prize by suggesting that she reunited him with his costume, and in the present crisis anybody's help is gratefully accepted. But it would have been nice if it actually said that one of the comics. Meanwhile Steve gets offered his old job back here, and we expect he takes up the shield in FI#4. It all fits together, but .... They didn't need to kill Bucky off to get Steve back in the costume. As Peter says, Bucky had a valid new direction to head in. They could have had a scenario, say, where he meets up with Steve and they agree on the handover, and Bucky regretfully drops out of Steve's life again. But instead they just went for the shock ending. Plus there was some typical reader manipulation:- Sin has a vision of killing Captain America. When it happens, it's Bucky she kills. Still, as Peter also says, just 'cause he's dead, doesn't mean he'll stay that way.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #619 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
On her own in Moscow, the Black Widow pursues her plan to free James "Bucky" Barnes from the Gulag where he is imprisoned. She makes a deal with an ex-KGB-agent turned gunrunner to take out his competition (and arm herself with their weapons) in exchange for access to a helicopter. She flies out to Siberia where she clobbers some guards to get close enough to the prison to use the rocket launcher she brought—instead she witnesses a series of explosions destroying the camp and wonders if her nightmare just got worse.

Story #2

Gulag—Part 4

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In the Russian prison camp, a heavily drugged James "Bucky" Barnes has given up the Winter Soldier’s secrets about Project Zephyr. This Soviet project planted three Soviet sleeper agents, each with special training and the ability to pass as ordinary American citizens, in the United States in the 1980s. Colonel Rostov now knows their whereabouts and activation codes and plans to sell them to the highest bidder. As a parting shot he tells Bucky he wants him to die knowing that whatever happens is his fault—since the Winter Soldier trained these three sleepers. When he awakens later in his cell, the Warden comes to take him for his last tournament fight—one he can not possibly win—and Bucky responds by breaking the man’s nose with a head-butt. Bucky is then beaten by the guards and delivered to the arena to face his opponent. The huge Russian fighter has a third eye in his forehead and uses it to fire a beam that puts a huge crater in the ground. Bucky realizes that he is fighting the original Unicorn. Using a chain Bucky flips his foe so that the Unicorn’s beam crashes through the Warden’s office window. He kicks Unicorn into a rage, tricking him into firing a beam that blasts a hole in the prison wall and in a flash Bucky rushes through. The Unicorn pursues and fires again—igniting the methane tanks that heat the buildings, setting off a chain reaction of explosions (which Black Widow saw in story 1). Bucky fights pursuing guards and seizes a gun to shoot down others. Suddenly Black Widow leaps into the fray and takes down the rest of his foes and together they head into the forest to her waiting copter. Meanwhile Bucky muses on how he thought taking responsibility for the Winter Soldier’s actions would bring redemption—instead it must be to stop all the remaining dangers with his fingerprints on them….

Story #3


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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Steve Rogers meets with Nick Fury at Avengers Tower to tell him how Steve’s report to the President went over. He told the President how he and Fury traced the movements of the dead Soviet sleeper and shut down the last part of the cover-up, destroying a factory making armored battlesuits. The President’s advisers were angry: they had the reports of Bucky’s explosive escape from the Gulag and were not going to listen to any more about Russian conspiracies. President Obama declares that whatever happens, James Barnes can’t be Captain America anymore…and he needs a Captain America. Steve is conflicted but Nick Fury knows that he was not the man to head SHIELD for the long term…and the President is calling on him. Steve looks for a way to fix all of this somehow…not knowing that what’s coming next will rip them all apart.

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)

Plus: President Barack Obama (Barack Obama), Red Barbarian, Unicorn.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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