Getting Through To RJ In Winter Soldier #3

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The Winter Soldier has taken RJ back to his house in Indiana to recover. RJ is distrustful and resistant to Bucky’s gestures from the outset, and Buck enlists the help of Doc Leonard Samson, Bruce Banner’s psychiatrist. After a couple of weeks, Bucky gets a call from another contact in need of help. He invites RJ along, and RJ accepts. However, this extraction turns out to be a bit more complicated than could have been expected. Can Bucky and RJ pull through?

Winter Soldier #3 cover by Rod Reis
Winter Soldier #3 cover by Rod Reis

Winter Soldier #3 shows the developing trust and friendship between Bucky and RJ. Naturally, Bucky sees a lot of himself in RJ, and he wants to bring RJ back from the same abyss that once consumed him.
That’s been made pretty obvious by the story since RJ’s introduction; he is literally dressed like Bucky from World War II. The nuance and interesting material come from how closed off and combative RJ is and Bucky trying to break through it. This is Bucky at the most sensitive and kind we’ve seen him.
It’s a comic that talks very seriously and at times clinically about recovering from abusive relationships and looking for redemption. It’s pretty heartfelt.
The climax comes from the aforementioned extraction that went sideways. This is where we discover how committed to Bucky RJ has become, and it’s handled quite well.
Winter Soldier #3 art by Rod Reis and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Winter Soldier #3 art by Rod Reis and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

Rod Reis artwork gives the world an almost impressionistic look, though there are many more concrete and defined panels. I’m here for Bucky having more of a full beard like in the movies. The climax is visually creative and even a little brutal too. The color work is moody and subtle, which suits the story and the Winter Soldier well.
Winter Soldier #3 is an emotional and compelling read that strengthens and deepens the relationship between Bucky and RJ. Kyle Higgins has put the Winter Soldier in a position one would have never expected to see him in, and the artwork from Rod Reis is great. This one gets a recommendation. Check it out.
Winter Soldier #3 comes to us from writer Kyle Higgins, artist and cover artist Rod Reis, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles.

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