Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comics subscription service, is currently offering all fans free access to some of Marvel’s most iconic stories from recent years, including now-classic Marvel Comics events and critically acclaimed runs featuring the Avengers, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and more.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to take a look back at these classic stories and maybe help you decide whether or not you would like to check them out. Our next series is a very popular one due to its big screen adaptation of the same name. Captain America comes face to face with an old friend he never thought he would see again in…
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Not before we get into what this series is about, you should know that it is actually two different arcs. The reason the cover above says “Out of Time Part 1” is because this arc provides a lot of necessary context for “The Winter Soldier” arc. So instead of just a somewhat confusing six-comic story, you get a comprehensive 13-comic story that comes together much better in the end.
The story begins with Cap’s iconic foe meeting a mysterious Russian general and catching his first glimpse of the Winter Soldier. After some discussion regarding a Cosmic Cube, the Skull makes himself an enemy with whom he will eventually regret meeting.
We also see a struggling Cap, dealing with the fallout in the months after the disassembling of the Avengers. Agent 13, Cap’s ex-girlfriend as this point, is keeping tabs on him for S.H.I.E.L.D. until they need to call him in to help with the investigation of the apparent murder of the Red Skull.
With the Russian general Lukin, a Cosmic Cube and a new mysterious assassin in play, Nick Fury’s research and Agent 13’s unfortunate face-to-face encounter leads them to two conclusions. First, The Winter Soldier isn’t a myth, he’s real. And second, the notorious assassin, responsible for the deaths of so many people is none other than Cap’s old partner, Bucky Barnes.
That’s a whole lot of story just to get to the first issue of “The Winter Soldier” arc. And while there my not be as much action in those “Out of Time” issues, it’s a lot of necessary context to set the stage for the action-packed fight against The Winter Soldier. Plus, it’s not like The first arc is without its own fun. Cap does plenty of shield-throwing in those first six issues and there’s even a couple of appearances from Crossbones.
What this story is really about though, is a cerebral attack on Captain America. Lukin uses the cube to give Cap visions of his past and make him doubt what actually happen. He even has him fighting his own hallucinations. Then to cap it all off (no pun intended) he reintroduces him to his long-lost partner who he believed to be dead for nearly 80 years. Lukin is the perfect psychological villain for this arc.
And if you’re a fan of the film, like I am, you’ll enjoy that some aspects of the story were taken directly from the page to the big screen. For example, Cap’s first face-to-face with the Winter Soldier.
If you’re looking for a big Marvel story, you’ve got one right here. Not only do we get the death (temporary as it may be) of an iconic Marvel villain in the Red Skull, but you also get the introduction of another beloved villain and eventual hero in the Winter Soldier. It’s also one of the most important moments in the history of Captain America, so much so that they decided to make it a cornerstone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s also worth noting that the comics featured in this free collection include 13 of the first 14 issues of Ed Brubaker’s “Captain America” series. The 10th issue was actually a tie-in to Marvel’s “House of M” story and took place entirely in a different reality. So don’t worry, you’re not missing any piece of this story.
You can read “Captain America: Winter Soldier” for free now. And be sure to check back as we look back the rest of these classic Marvel Comics stories over the next several weeks.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”