After the major success of WandaVision, there’s a lot of hype riding on Marvel’s next Disney+ series, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. It’s set to premiere on March 19, picking up from the end of Endgame, where a geriatric Steve Rogers has passed on the mantle of Captain America to the Falcon.
From what we’ve seen so far, it seems to be more in-line with the blockbuster action of the previous Captain America movies, with the two title characters grappling with returning villain Baron Zemo and an anti-patriotism organisation known as the Flag-Smashers.
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen of either hero in their previous MCU appearances – or you’re reading this from the future and want to know more about the characters after watching The Falcon And The Winter Soldier – these are the comics you’ll want to pick up.
Christopher Priest is a great writer – he’s responsible for most of the things people like about modern Black Panther. This series is worth a read, but it can be a bit uneven at times due to external events messing with Priests’ story and some art that hasn’t aged well.
However, if you can stomach those slight flaws, this is an underrated Captain America comic that does a particularly good job of exploring the friendship between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson.
The series’ main threat is a twisted version of Cap known as the “Anti-Cap”. He works for the Office of Naval Intelligence, undertaking various black op missions “for the good of the country”, like retrieving a bioweapon that could kick off World War III.
While Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting didn’t create Bucky (that was Joe Simon and Jack Kirby), but they did create the concept of the Winter Soldier.
If you haven’t already, you should go back read the arc where the Winter Soldier first appears. It gives you all the backstory between Bucky and Captain America (The second Cap movie draws a tonne of inspiration from this comic).
As for No Escape, this story arc involves Baron Zemo Jr. learning that Bucky has taken up the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers’ death. So Zemo does what any supervillain would do in this situation: try to drive Bucky insane with an intense revenge plot.
The Winter Soldier is dead. Or, at least, that’s what everyone believes. After running around as Cap for a bit, this series returns the character back to his espionage roots.
Ex-Russian sleeper agents are being awakened, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. To hunt down these assassins, Bucky teams up with Black Widow, another killer turned Avenger.
Together, the two spies face down old enemies while also digging up bad memories that’d prefer to forget.
Brubaker writes a compelling mystery that does a great job of exploring the internal lives of two former assassins trying to make good, while the art of Butch Guice and Michael Lark creates a tense atmosphere where a deadly assassin could be hiding in everyone shadow.
No prize for guessing what this run is about. Steve Rogers has been aged into an old man, so he hands the mantle of Captain America over to Sam Wilson, turning the Falcon into the “soaring Sentinel of Liberty”.
That new title comes with a fair bit of baggage, as Sam now has to throw hands with classic members of Cap’s rogues gallery, like the Sons of the Serpent, Batroc the Leaper, Hydra and Baron Zemo.
This collection is a bit unbalanced at times (there’s a lot of chefs in this kitchen in terms of writers and artists), but overall it does a good job of exploring what it means to be Captain America, a symbol that’s meant to represent an entire nation. Is Captain America a reflection of the United States, or is the United States a reflection of Captain America? Just how heavy is that shield to carry?
Bucky is no longer a mindless killing machine, having done more than his fair share to atone for his sins. But Bucky doesn’t feel like his redemption has been earned, so he starts life as a fixer in Second Chances.
This comic opens with the Winter Soldier trying to help good but misguided people leave their lives of crime. Bucky believes that just because someone has made bad decisions in the past that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a good future.
And things are going pretty well for the Winter Soldier, up until a teen who’s been radicalised by Hydra and is dressed in Bucky’s World War II costume turns up and shoots him in the chest.
If you’ve never read a comic book that features either of these characters – or you just want a really fun superhero book – Cut Off One Head is a good comic story to jump into.
After a black ops team try to kill Winter Soldier and the Falcon discovers across an office of dead government agents, the former Captain Americas put two and two together and realise there’s something bigger going on.
Hydra has a new leader, and they’re beginning to make their presence known. Now it’s a race against time to discover the identity of this new leader and for Winter Soldier and Falcon to shut them down before the terrorist organisation can make some real trouble.
If the buddy cop dynamic of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is anything like the one in this comic, we’re all in for a good time.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier will be streaming on Disney+ from March 19.