Bucky Barnes The Father Figure? Winter Soldier #4 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

RJ’s dad, Richie, has come back into RJ’s life, but the Winter Soldier doesn’t trust the Richie. RJ is reluctant too, but Richie slowly wins RJ over. Sharon digs up Richie’s history, and it turns out that he was just let out of prison, but everything seems legit. That said, some of Richie’s old associates return to call up some debts. RJ is able to fend them off, and he convinces Bucky to set up Richie with a new life. Bucky agrees, but he finds more about Richie, and Bucky loses all confidence in RJ’s father.

Winter Soldier #4 cover by Rod Reis
Winter Soldier #4 cover by Rod Reis

Winter Soldier #4 finds RJ reuniting with his father and Bucky feeling like he’s losing his new partner already.

This leaves Bucky Barnes in a very unusual position for him; he’s the father figure losing his surrogate son to the real dad.

Bucky doesn’t trust Richie, but it’s heavily implied that he doesn’t want to trust Richie because he could be taking RJ away from Bucky. Of course, Sharon points out to Bucky that RJ isn’t being “taken away” from anyone; he has agency of his own.

It’s a relatively slow-moving issue. There aren’t any big bombastic showdowns, only a couple of short street fights with hapless thugs.

Richie himself is a bit of a scumbag, but it seems that truly cares for his son. Richie is just a man with bad instincts that have led him astray many times.

You can’t help but feel for both Bucky and RJ here. In some ways, his instincts about Richie are right, but he’s not as bad as Bucky believes. Meanwhile, RJ is finally meeting his dad again to only learn that he’s a deadbeat and a criminal.

Winter Soldier #4 art by Rod Reis and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Winter Soldier #4 art by Rod Reis and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Rod Reis’ artwork continues to be a compelling impressionist style that manages to feel grounded despite its unorthodox use of form and color.The characters are expressive, and the colors are lively and interesting. Also, Bucky has a full beard now, and it looks awesome.

Winter Soldier #4 finds Bucky at odds with RJ’s real dad, and both seem to want the best for RJ despite their disparate methods. It’s another emotional issue that manages to hit home and feel grounded, and it gets a recommendation. Check it out.

Winter Soldier #4 comes to us from writer Kyle Higgins, artist and cover artist Rod Reis, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles.

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