REVIEW: ‘Winter Guard,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Winter Guard #1

Winter Guard #1 is published by Marvel. Written by Ryan Cady. The prelude story artist is by Djibril Morissette-Phan, whilst the main story artist is Jan Bazaldua The colourist is Federico Blee and the letters are by Ariana Maher. 

This comic spins out of the pages of Avengers, based around the story that She-Hulk has been captured by the Winter Guard. Yelena Belova, the White Widow, is in custody and interviewed by Carol Danvers. But a group attacks the facility, leading to Yelena escaping. In the main story, Yelena and the Red Guardian are back in Russia. They are being hunted by Red Widow and the extremely dangerous Winter Guard. Outnumbered and outgunned, the two assassins find themselves in for a fight.

This is an action-packed issue from the very start. There are two stories within this issue. The opening half exists to create confusion as to why Yelena has been captured. There is a fantastic, heart-pounding escape sequence filled with guest stars and brilliant set-pieces. The second half is that explanation, set deep in the heart of Russia. With the likes of Usra Major bearing down on them, there is a period of building up to an explosive fight. And that comes. The second battle makes the previous one pale in comparison. 

This isn’t just a spin-off from Avengers. There are important and lasting events that happen inside Winter Guard #1. The ending is very surprising and is something that will not go unpunished.

There are so many brilliant and mad characters within this comic that are worthy of their own space. Many have been created by other creators, such as Jason Aaron, Bill Mantlo and many others. Cady brings them into their own series and makes them effective main characters. That is easier said than done, yet this is accomplished superbly. The huge, awesome gods of Chernobog and Perun, those we know in Darkstar, and the still unknown quantity of the Red Widow. Ursa Major is given moments of moving, powerful dialogue as a small step away from the dark comedy he is usually involved in. 

It was also a wise move to include White Window and Red Guardian. Not only are they recognizable, but their presence in the recent Black Widow movie should help to bring eyes to a great comic.

The art is as rock and roll as the story. With all of the chaos, both Morissette-Phan and Bazaldua capture the action well whilst keeping it easy to follow. The prelude is fast and the sensation of movement increases the energy. The main team isn’t seen in this segment, but Morissette-Phan draws Captain Marvel brilliantly. Carol is fearsome in this issue, her best friend still playing on her mind. The second half features the truly epic designs of this newer team. There is an amazing variety in the visuals of the Winter Guard. Darkstar and Vanguard have straightforward but effective costumes.  Crimson Dynamos armor is superb, and Chernobog is a fearsome, magnificent creation. The choreography of the battles and different abilities provide a visually fantastic comic.

The colours are stunning, with a slight difference between the two stories. With Captain Marvel comes vibrant colours as her costume is resplendent in yellow, red and blue. This is not the case in Russia. Here there is mainly a choice of red and black. Blee uses multiple shades and the textures are beautiful. The representation of abilities is also gorgeous, as lightning and portals have a shining light accompanying them.

The lettering is always easy to read. Some of the characters, for example, Vostok and Crimson Dynamo, have custom word balloons that suggest a voice. But even with the changes, the reader’s ability to read is not impaired.

Winter Guard #1 is an awesome, action-packed start to the series. From their first introduction in Aaron’s Avengers, this team just had to have their own comic. The characters are brilliant and engaging. Cady takes this team full of sub-plots and conflicts and gives them a story that feels specific to them. The art is superb, and the battles are some of the best available to be read in comics. For this first issue, a brief knowledge of the Avengers series is helpful but not required. However, this book has the ability to stand on its own without being considered a spinoff. 

Winter Guard #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 


Winter Guard #1
5

TL;DR

Winter Guard #1 is an awesome, action-packed start to the series. From their first introduction in Aaron’s Avengers, this team just had to have their own comic. The characters are brilliant and engaging. Cady takes this team full of sub-plots and conflicts and gives them a story that feels specific to them. The art is superb, and the battles are some of the best available to be read in comics. For this first issue, a brief knowledge of the Avengers series is helpful but not required. However, this book has the ability to stand on its own without being considered a spinoff.