By Jim Beard
Latour describes the feeling of being offered the popular title as “a complete adrenaline rush mixed with kind of a curious surprise” and walking in Brubaker’s footsteps as a hard act to follow.
“The opportunity was completely unexpected,” he says of WINTER SOLDIER. “I just didn’t think this character would ever be in play. I’d drawn a few stories for my editor, Lauren Sankovitch, in the past and I’d always sort of dangled it out there that I’d like to pitch her some things. Fortunately she seemed to like my writing and when the time came to cast the book she asked me if I would be interested.
“Ed Brubaker is a writer I have the utmost respect for, as an artist and in terms of what he’s done with his career. He’s treated this character as his own and it’s been so much better for it. It’s really staggering what he’s done when you sit and process it. So look, I am aware that Elvis has left the building but I’m eager to jump on stage and try to blow the speakers out.”
Come January, fans will discover Latour’s ultimate plans for Bucky, but suffice to say he’s put a lot of thought and care into the continued development of the character.
“At the risk of oversimplifying it, Bucky is a guy struggling with a dual nature,” he notes. “The great things he’s done as Bucky and as Cap and the really awful things he did for the Soviets as The Winter Soldier seem very much at odds with one another. But this is a man who was trained by the U.S. government to be a super soldier—to fight and kill and do the messy work that Cap couldn’t or wouldn’t do. If things had played out differently he very well could have ended up a killer and assassin for the U.S.
|Winter Soldier #15 cover by Declan Shalvey|
“So an ever-present aspect of the character is the question of where and when does Bucky Barnes end and The Winter Soldier begin? There may not be an answer to that question, but Bucky as I see him is ready to ask it and that’s very scary for him. The answer might be very ugly.”
High on the ugly scale in terms of black-hearted villainy comes the
“She’s, hopefully, a new spin on Bucky’s rogues gallery in that she’s the first indirect casualty of his actions,” Latour explains. “But what I think will make her unique is that she’s got a complex set of motivations and agendas. Her plans are on a larger scale than revenge, but her involvement in them creates a very personal dynamic with Bucky—one that will really chip away at his already shaky foundation.”
As Latour’s first story opens in WINTER SOLDIER #15, Bucky’s head’s not exactly in the best place to fend off any incoming bombshells.
“Recently his past has come home to roost, and each time he found himself asking what his role in creating the situation was,” says the writer. “It’s made him feel very powerless. So he’s in a dark place and he’s lost a lot, and he’s sort of rolling all the awful things he’s done over and over in his head. When Cap fixed his mind with the Cosmic Cube; it’s telling that he used the phrase ‘Remember who you are.’ That didn’t just return him to this goofy sorta serial reel ‘get me some Ratzi’s’ Bucky: all the awful deeds of The Winter Soldier are still there.
“So he’s finally been pushed to a place where he feels he has to face that past, in order to move forward. The people he loves keep getting hurt, and he’s trying to really self-examine and see how much of that is him, how much of it is his old habits, who he works for being one of them.”
An artist as much as a writer, Latour has worked on many projects as both. WINTER SOLDIER’s scripts will allow him to approach the stories with a visual background and not just be able to “empathize with what it feels like to drink four pots of coffee and still pass out face down on your art desk.”
“With my approach to my work as an artist I try to ask myself how can each page, each panel, each moment best communicate the story I’m trying to tell,” he says. “To do that you have to really consider the story as the whole; the dialogue, the art, the color, the design and lettering of the package. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve worked with a lot of great writers, artists, colorist, editors, etc. over the years, and every step of the way I’ve tried to really learn the lessons of why they do or don’t do what they do and why those things either succeed or fail.
“I’ve also done those jobs and I’ve learned that no one is ever going to be able to predict what a blank page turns into, but experiencing those processes from a different angle, and in thinking about those other aspects you hopefully become better able to anticipate problems and solutions.”
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