Anthropology graduate, anglophile, social justice activist, chocoholic, traveler and book lover from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, currently working in the renewable energy sector. Books have been my passion since before I could read.
Considering using this as a replacement for my Goodreads account, where I've been keeping track of what I read (audiobooks included). You can find a record of the dead-tree books I own on LibraryThing. As of now I haven't imported those yet.
It's no secret that I have lots of feelings when it comes to Bucky Barnes. So naturally I had to buy this trade paperback telling a story of the time when he was an asset for the Soviet's, a brainwashed weapon following orders without question or conscience. Except that there's this man, this "American with a shield", whose voice the Winter Soldier hears at inopportune moments. Be still, my heart... :)
The story is pretty straightforward spy fare, following SHIELD agent Ran Shen as he tries to extract two Nazi scientists who have invented a dangerous formula from HYDRA's clutches, while the Soviets try to do the same, using the Winter Soldier. It's all very James Bond, including cool gadgets, a super-powered villain and a love story.
Although naturally I would have loved it if Bucky had actually been the main protagonist, I really enjoyed the whole thing. Shen, who has been undercover for ages, develops feelings for the scientist who developed the formula, which add to his existing doubts regarding SHIELD and the capitalist system it stands for. In a nice twist it's the woman, Mila, who's the really smart one, her mercenary husband simply taking advantage of her brains and people's expectations. (I only wish she'd been dressed a bit more and not been damsel'd so much - but it fits with the James Bond vibe of the story.) The main baddie, HYDRA's Drain, is a psychic who gets people to kill themselves, but his interference actually reveals some truths - and breaks the Winter Soldier's conditioning. This means that we actually get Bucky for part of the story, which I didn't expect and which almost broke my heart. Like I said, all the feels!
Drain: I can see into your mind, poor brainwashed toy soldier. Oh, to see what they did to you. It would break your Captain's heart.