This introductory issue of the second volume of Winter Soldier was not at all what I was expecting. As I mentioned previously, the focus is entirely on Fury and Shen, and it takes place in the past. As far as setting a narrative goes, this serves its function of introducing the Winter Soldier to potential new readers, and with him debuting on the big screen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier soon, I imagine this is the entire purpose of relaunching this series.
Rick Remender is a writer I typically tend to like, and that is no different here. His story telling sets the scene perfectly, and his real strength as a writer has always been in his narration and internal dialogue, which shines here as well.
This issue is dense with action, and even managed to make my skin crawl at one point as agent Shen (who would later become the villain Iron Nail) has an (almost) romantic encounter with Hydra's Madame Worm. From the name alone, you can probably guess why that particular scene made my skin crawl.
Towards the end of the issue, after Fury and Shen have accomplished their mission, we finally get our first glimpse of the winter soldier. Remender's internal dialoge for Shen at this point is powerful and full of foreshadowing, which really leaves this issue on a high note, pretty much demanding a second look at the next issue to find out what is going to happen.
Instead of the superhero comic I was expecting, this felt much more like the Jim Steranko 'Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.' comic of the 60s/70s, and that is a very good thing.
A strong first issue from Remender and artist Roland Boschi.