Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Pencils: Kev Walker
Inks: JP Mayer
Colors: KJ Díaz
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Salvador Larroca & Frank D’Armata
Variant Covers: Carmen Carnero & Alejandro Sánchez; Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 16th, 2022
After a violent confrontation with Steve Rogers, Bucky has taken his place in the Outer Circle. Now find out how the secret group started and what Bucky means to do to it.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Captain America and the Winter Soldier Special #1 Review.
There’s a lot going on in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY. In issue #6 Bucky and Steve came to blows over how best to deal with the Outer Circle, an organization dedicated to controlling the flow of history from the shadows. Steve wanted to work slowly, from the outside, fighting the Outer Circle through above-board and legitimate means. Bucky, on the other hand, wanted to use any and all means to destroy them after learning how they’ve manipulated him over the years. That issue ended with a shock as Bucky, having killed the Outer Circle’s current Revolution, took his place. This is where the CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL #1 begins.
Despite the name, CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL #1 doesn’t feature Captain America at all. Instead it focuses on Bucky in his role as the new Revolution. This gives Lanzing and Kelly the opportunity to effortlessly connect the Outer Circle’s origins which date back to the aftermath of World War 1, seen in the first half of the issue, to the present day. The writing duo then follows Bucky as he first acts on his ulterior motives (unsuccessfully) and then is schooled on how the Outer Circle works by one of its members.
The CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL #1 reads very much like an extended piece of exposition–an interlude after an action sequence and major plot development. Two thirds of that exposition deals with the Outer Circle itself. The rest sets up machinations involving Bucky and Peggy. In this way the story justifies the issue’s billing as a special. While I obviously can’t predict the future, this comes across as a supporting issue for the story arc–not strictly necessary but adding flavor and depth to what will happen going forward.
Looking at the CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL #1 in that light, the story is largely successful. The opening half of the issue is somewhat on the slow side, but existing curiosity piqued by CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #5 and #6 drives interest in this sequence until the issue catches up with Bucky.
That said, it is considerably less compelling without a background in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY. Patient readers may get through the first half of the issue. It might then serve as a jumping on point for Bucky’s arc in the series. But that’s clearly not what the issue is designed to do.
Kev Walker does a good job here. The issue is largely action free, so his work centers around characters–something that Walker typically excels at in any issues he pencils. He’s especially successful in the flashback sequence in the first half of the issue–the founders of the Outer Circle prove to be an expressive bunch and it helps inform their personalities. It also proves to be an effective juxtaposition with these same characters in the current day scenes where their expressions are more neutral–even hard in some cases. There’s a definite feeling of time’s passage.
Walker’s art when it comes to Bucky and Peggy in the current day scenes isn’t quite as successful, but mostly because they feel somewhat one note by comparison to the members of the Outer Circle. The final page works very well, though, as Walker draws an almost sinister Bucky as he takes his place as Revolution.
Díaz’s coloring is particularly noteworthy in the flashback sequence. The Outer Circle founders have gathered in a war ruined landscape. The background, both ground and sky, is colored in various shades of pink, peach, and orange. The colors evoke a kind of heat commensurate with the devastation on display. It reinforces the war’s horrific events, serving to underscore why the Outer Circle has come to their decision.
This is a reasonably well done issue for what it is. Though it might be possible for new readers to use the CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER SPECIAL #1 as a jumping on point, it reads like an enhancement to the ongoing story in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY. In that way the narrative is quite effective and further enhanced with high quality art.