inferiorego's Captain America #617 - Gulag, Part 2 review

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Review: Captain America #617

Bucky is in a Russian Gulag. Cue Russian craziness!

The Good

First thing I noticed, when I popped Captain America open, was the artwork by  Butch Guice. To sum it up the best I can, it's like Darwyn Cooke's colors (with a tad more shading) met very detailed pulp comics pencils and art. We have a great opening scene of Bucky going at it with Ursa Major. It's detailed and paced incredibly well. If there's one great thing I can say about Ed Brubaker (I could actually say a lot more than one thing, but this would turn into an essay), it's that he can take potentially boring scenarios, like being stuck in a Russian prison, and turn them into riveting stories. He's taken a character thought to be long dead and made him into a legend.

There were also two back up stories and the second one, featuring Steve Rogers, had some fantastic art in it. Mike Deodato did the artwork in it, and it really pops out. It has a very classic, stoic style, and it's a nice break from the norm.

The Bad

I call the two other stories featuring Black Widow and Steve Rogers back ups because while they're technically part of the main story, they just feel shoved onto the end. I've never been a fan of Black Widow, and I really don't like the change in artists throughout the book. (Action 900 has been the only exception to that rule) I lost interest when I noticed the change.

The Verdict

I pick up this book from month-to-month for Bucky, not for Steve, and certainly not for Black Widow. I'm a huge Bucky fan and I don't like feeling like his story was shortened just so we could see what other characters are up to. I understand they all tie together, but it's still a bummer. However, the Bucky story is so good. Ed Brubaker sure can create some interesting stories in this book, and he does so again. If anything, borrow the issue. I recommend it, just not to buy.

Off-Subject Rant

I understand that the Captain America film is coming out in July, and because of this, the book may be forcing in a bit more of Steve Rogers into each issue so more people will want to read Captain America books. However, this book suffers because of the Black Widow and Steve Rogers back up stories. This was a 4.5 story, until these two back ups came in. I hope that this book stays the way it has been for the past few years, with Bucky as Cap. He's finally found his role in the mantle and it works very well. I just hope the editors at Marvel don't try to mix things up again just because the movie is being released.

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