When I saw The First Avenger I knew I had seen a special origin story. I had enjoyed other comic movies before but none made me want to get to know the character any deeper than what was shown on screen, until then. So after that I immediately went online to look up what were some great starting places for Cap fan's and I settled on Brubaker's run because after looking at some previews and story synopsis this felt like the best fit for me.
When I got the book in my hands and started reading this story it held my attention the entire day! The art is fantastic and the story incredibly deep while still being fun to read. I am so happy that these 13 issues were my induction into comics and specifically Captain America. I like what Ed Brubaker did with 'fixing' Cap and Bucky's WWII history to be more in line with what soldiers had to do - they killed. Sometimes it was a little black-ops like, but it was always for a reason and Cap never let it go to far unless he had to. And even then you can see in the art and feel through the words that he hates that that kind of thing is necessary in war. In this book you get to see Cap struggle with his place in a world without the avengers, grapple with his past, try to find love, and take comfort in his brotherhood of friends that he's met throughout his life. It feels very cinematic, and I loved that.
Cut to a few years later and Marvel Studios announces that the second cap film is titled The Winter Soldier! YES! And with that comes out a bunch of promo comic books and this hardcover collection. As soon as I saw it in the store and I held it I knew it was coming home. The front of the slipcover has the damaged movie shield. Its simple and tells you everything you need to know about what Cap is about to go through. The back has a quick synopsis and a shot of the comic versions of Cap and Winter Soldier. If you take the slipcover off the book it all white, no words on the covers or spine - just a red white and blue shield piece poking through like the rest is covered in snow. Another amazingly simple design that says all we need to know. The binding is solid and looks like will hold up for years.
The issues are all the same as the old softcover Ultimate Winter Soldier Collection, with variant cover art, sketches and the Winter Soldier early designs. But at the back the is a 1 page afterword by Brubaker from November 2013 explaining how he decided to do the unthinkable (at the time) and bring Bucky back. After that you get to read the original pitch he did to get the job writing for Captain America.
I loved my old paperback Ultimate Collection but this book is my new gold standard. It's going to sit next to my Art of The First Avenger and Art of The Winter Soldier Marvel Studios books. If you want to experience Cap at his best in the comics, this is right up there in many fans top 5 Cap stories, and my #1 personal recommendation.
If you get this hardcover, you won't be disappointed