REVIEW: ‘Winter Guard,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Winter Guard #3 - But Why Tho

Winter Guard #3 is a comic published by Marvel. Written by Ryan Cady. The artist is Jan Bazaldua and the colours are from Federico Blee. Letters are by Ariana Maher.

The Winter Guard are on the hunt for traitors. The Red Guardian and the White Widow are traveling over Russia, searching for answers over an Operation Snowblind. Red Widow and the guard have been tasked with bringing them in. During their first encounter, Crimson Dynamo’s armour was sabotaged and it exploded, nearly killing him and destroying Vostok and the suit. The team split up, both times losing their targets. Dissent is starting to form in the ranks. The Winter Guard receives a tip that the data drive they need is in the hands of Dracula.

Dracula and the Vampire Nation reside in Chernobyl, where they have been granted amnesty. He invites the Winter Guard there for a meeting. The Guard are desperate to get their hands on the drive, but that means playing nice. They are surrounded by vampires and are on the back foot. But they are not the only figures that the vampire has invited to his home, for the traitors have come to town as well.

There is a brilliant setup to this issue. This has been a full-on, energetic miniseries full of mysteries. This issue basically takes all the characters, moves them to neutral ground, and holds a mediation session. This allows many of the mysteries to be explained. But this is a Winter Guard comic, so the over-the-top drama is never far away. Cady continues to use brilliant settings that never ceases to be exciting, which more chaos added every issue. Dracula and vampires have entered the fray, something that could not have been foreseen. There is a backstory inside Winter Guard #3 that answers many questions, action scenes that leave you grinning and betrayals that change the course of the comic completely.

The cast of this book is huge, and yet all of them are able to exhibit their powerful personalities. Many of them are brash and loud, trying to exert their presence among the other figures in the room. But each issue does tend to shine more focus on certain characters, whether in a combat sense or otherwise. Vanguard is one of those presented in more detail here. Eager to impress and always ready for a fight, he is especially vocal due to the fact that the person he succeeded, Red Guardian, is also there. 

Chernobog is this epic, huge monster that works brilliantly with the giant scale of the comic. Red Widow’s resolve is tested as Dracula seems to know integral aspects of her identity. This is one of the few times where we have seen her look afraid. Missing periods of Red Guardian’s life is unraveled here. It may change the reader’s perspective of the old Guardsman as his true motivations become clear. And as for Dracula, his ancient knowledge, villainous charisma, and unspoken power always result in him stealing the show whenever he appears. Cady does a superb job of scripting the King of the Vampires.

There is an aspect of the location used for Winter Guard #3 that should be clarified, because the writer themselves don’t. Chernobyl is in a part of Ukraine, not Russia. Comments about diplomatic immunity, the freedom in which the Guard enter it, and revelations that the Russian Government allows the vampires to live there imply otherwise. It’s a small but glaring fact that is never cleared up. It appears like the creative team does consider the city to be Russian. 

The art continues to impress in key areas. The vampires are awesome in their designs, monstrous in appearance, and swarming in their numbers. Dracula is also impressive, Bazaldua providing a beautiful subtly to the difference between a smirk and a scowl. He is tall and menacing, able to stand up against the might of god before him. The battle scene at the end of the comic is frantic with movement and set pieces. The different abilities and sizes provide a superb variety in the fights at the artist’s disposal. One of the coolest aspects of Marvel characters fighting vampires is seeing how their powers adapt to specifically killing bloodsuckers.

The colours are stunning. The brilliance of the costume shades has been commented on multiple times, but more praise should be lauded about the backgrounds. There are some gorgeous red skies hovering in some panels, and the fading effects of the tones provide some beautiful shots. There is so much detail added by Blee that gives life to the smallest of surfaces. Scratches, smudges and clouds make the panels engaging and dynamic.

The lettering is well-placed and always easy to read. There is a lot of dialogue in this issue, but the word balloons can be followed effortlessly.

Winter Guard #3 is another awesome part of the underrated miniseries. The adventures of one of the most compelling groups in the Marvel Universe are fantastically written. It is a lively team with incredible characters and an intriguing plotline. There is utter madness in each issue as the combat is filled with giant bears or vampires or shadow gods, but also contains real depth to the dialogue and commentary on Russia. It is so hard to predict how this series will conclude.

Winter Guard #3 is available where comics are sold.


Winter Guard #3
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TL;DR

Winter Guard #3 is another awesome part of the underrated miniseries. The adventures of one of the most compelling groups in the Marvel Universe are fantastically written. It is a lively team with incredible characters and an intriguing plotline. There is utter madness in each issue as the combat is filled with giant bears or vampires or shadow gods, but also contains real depth to the dialogue and commentary on Russia. It is so hard to predict how this series will conclude.