So Ed Brubaker’s last issue is #14, huh? That’s an odd choice. But when it is time to go; it’s time to go, huh?
Brubaker dodges one of the common complaints in comics writing, he doesn’t leave everything nice and neat for the next creative team. Too often the status quo is restored in time for the new creators to come in and put their stamp on a character. And while Black Widow is back to her normal self, and Winter Soldier is plain ol’ Bucky Barnes again, it’s not the same between them. I won’t give it away, because that is the whole tragedy of the book, but it sure seems like Mary Jane Watson and Bucky have something in common now.
Leo never did get that costume I was hoping for, but Brubaker doesn’t play to expectations with him, either. Leo had all the makings of a villain who would die at the end, but Brubaker doesn’t even leave the possibility of him dying. Leo is going to live, and I’m sure he’s going to menace the Marvel U again.
The final confrontation feels a tad rushed; the fight probably could have used a bit more time to breathe. Hawkeye shows up to play a pretty important role, but he just sort of shows up to give Bucky a hand. I would have liked Leo to get some butt-whipping in on Hawk, Wolvie, and Cap; that would have shown how tough it was for Bucky to get his win.
Butch Guice’s art has an unusual look to it. I got an almost Dale Eaglesham-ish vibe from a couple characters. Maybe it’s the inker, but this doesn’t look quite like Guice’s other work. I do like that he uses so many shadowed figures and silhouettes in a spy title.