Does Hydra on a train equate to snakes on a plane? As Rick Remender’s Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #4 opens with a bang, yes trust me a bang, the reader wonders if Agent Ran Shen will be able to save the girl though we can rest assured the world will be saved since this is 1966. Seriously, Bond girls die. Is the same true for a Ran girl?
The three-way battle continues between S.H.I.E.L.D., the Soviets and Hydra to take control of the Alchemy formula developed by Dr. Mila Hitzig. But Agent Ran Shen is fighting strong thanks to a dose of the Infinity Formula and S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. The same cannot be said for the Winter Solder who is experiencing graphic flashbacks to the man he was. Both hero and villain fall to Hydra agent the Drain’s ability to manipulate emotions. Do the men have the emotional strength to save Dr. Hitzig (and do we want them to)?
Level Seven Analysis
Seriously, Ran Shen is Sean Connery. And at one point as this handsome young agent went in for the kiss, the picture was a perfectly framed 1966 James Bond movie (that places Winter Soldier: Bitter March between Thunderball and You Only Live Twice). I really have come to enjoy this story because it is a change of pace from superhero tales. This is a spy story and S.H.I.E.L.D. is used perfectly from the S.H.I.E.L.D. grapple pen to providing us a hero who has to use brains and training not muscles to win. Even the Winter Soldier feels like a good Bond villain and not some over the top super villain. I like superhero books, I really do. But this is a great change of pace and one that helps add something different to Marvel’s line.
And speaking of Bond, this Ran girl has a lot to offer a potential Bond franchise. She is beautiful, as all Bond girls are. She’s in distress, that is a no-brainer for a Bond girl. She has the brains, seriously Denise Richards’ Christmas Jones was a nuclear physicist! But here is where Mila varies from the traditional Bond girl pattern; she does not need Ran to save her. She straight out says she is no damsel in distress. She will contribute to both of them getting free of Hydra. Yes this lady needs no man to complete her! I am betting Melinda May and her could enjoy quality time together! But seriously she has to be kissing on Agent Ran soon even though her husband turned traitor and died like 15 minutes ago! Though we should probably note Dr. Hitzig does not have time to wear the bikini on the cover!
I keep heaping praise on the story. But I really do need to compliment Ronald Boschi’s art also. He does a really nice job visually representing a period piece. And seriously, it is like he is channeling all the great Bond directors in one series.
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #4 was an enjoyable next chapter in this story. It does leave the reader with some questions for the next issue. But one is also frustrated as one realizes that Winter Soldier cannot escape his fate in 1966.
Agent Fury (mention), Agent Ran
Steve Rodgers/Captain America