So after around a year of stretching out a story that could easily have resolved itself in half the time, we finally come to the end of the Leo Novokov/Black Widow storyline. Oh, and Ed Brubaker leaves the series after this. It’s WINTER SOLDIER #14.
Leo Novokov, former soviet sleeper agent and student of James “Bucky” Barnes, kidnapped Black Widow and brainwashed her. That was several issues ago, and SHIELD has been trying to get her back. Especially the Winter Soldier himself, whose romantic involvement with the Black Widow compromised his effectiveness.
He allowed himself to be brainwashed to his old soviet self just because Leo told him to do it. And that subplot lasted all of two issues. That was time well spent. Except it wasn’t, because pretty much nothing came of it.
Thankfully, WINTER SOLDIER #14 resolves the plot. Bucky and Leo have their big showdown, Black Widow returns to the side of good, and everything returns more or less to the way it was.
Well, not everything. Barnes doesn’t get the girl, and in the worst possible way.
And that’s about it. I personally am done with Winter Soldier. A new creative team starts next issue, and after the incredible crawl that was the last several issues, I’m calling it quits. By all means check the new story arc out and tell me how it goes, but it’s one ride I want to exit while the exiting is good. It’s one of those weird aspects of my reading habits; I can’t bear to leave a series that’s terrible until I see how it ends, at which point it ironically might get better.
If I do a retrospective, it won’t be for a long time. The next few months see me working with C++, HTML, Maya, and a digital camera. My time is scarce, and I want to distance myself from the drag as much as possible.