REVIEW: Tales of Suspense #101

TALES OF SUSPENSE #101 / Writer: Matthew Rosenberg / Artist: Travel Foreman / Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg / Letterer : VC’s Clayton Cowles / Publisher: Marvel / Jan 31, 2018

How does one survive an explosion? Fingers crossed, many of us will never have to figure that out. Thankfully, Everyone’s Favorite Spysassin, the Winter Soldier, has you covered as he opens Tales of Suspense #101 doing just that. This is particularly impressive as he in the middle of an explosion while telling all. Here’s the rules: first, be lucky enough to have good reflexes; second, relax and protect your head; finally, just hope you have pure luck on your side. As this is just issue 2 of 5, our heroes are certainly guaranteed to have just enough luck to survive the embassy bombing in Chernaya.

It may be tougher for Everyone’s Favorite Spysassin to survive is his tenuous partnership with Hawkeye, though. Connected only by a desire to capture the mysterious rogue assassin, the constant snarky banter between two iconic characters will charm you in this stellar installment of a too-short series.  

We jump right to the consequences of the explosion at the US Embassy in Chernaya. Literally at a dead end now, the duo catch their breath (and toss a sandwich) before crossing the Atlantic to hit Washington Heights, NY, in search of leads. They catch up with a woman named Agent Blevins, previously known as Skids from the New Mutants. She catches on quickly that the boys assume the mysterious assassin is Natasha. Within moments of passing along a possible lead, Blevins’ car gets blown up and off the George Washington Bridge. In a chase reminiscent of the Bucharest one in Captain America: Civil War, Bucky and Clint rain down chaos attempting to capture their prey. The issue’s final scene plays out in Westchester, at the home of another HYDRA fat cat. When Bucky and Clint finally get their hands on their mysterious killer, it’s nothing either expected.

Now, where’s the sparkly snark, you say? It’s there, constantly woven into the plot. The dialogue between Bucky and Clint perfectly balances plot progression and character development. Bucky narrates this issue, and you see so clearly how he sees Clint’s and his choices. So please enjoy these three quotes, completely out of context, because you need to go pick up this series and get the context for yourself.

Clint: It’s a nice view if you can ignore the civil war that just started. You bring all your dates up here?

Bucky: We need to look for the quickest way out of the city.

Clint: I bet you say that to all the girls.

Bucky: He could be one of the best. But instead he was the leader of the Malibu Beach Avengers or whatever.

Clint: You owe me five bucks. Why are you like this?

Bucky: Charming?

Clint: The brooding tough-guy shtick. Why are you the way you are?

Beyond the breezy dialogue (it tempers the intense action and search for truth) take a moment to enjoy the art. It’s so spot on. There are a number of funny visual gags (see: flying sandwiches, sore back stretches, and side eyes) tucked in between the action on the pages. Find ’em and smile.

The issue’s biggest action, the chase on the GW Bridge, is a tutorial on how to deliver a punch. Fast lines and cuts, as well as quickly changing perspectives, amped up the energy. I immediately thought of Captain America: Civil War’s chase scene in Bucharest with Bucky and Steve fleeing from Stark’s team and Ross’s goons. Foreman’s art efficiently captures Clint and Bucky as they bound up, over, and between cars in pursuit of a woman who moves a whole heck of a lot like the Black Widow.

I enjoy these two characters individually. Put them together and I’m in heaven. The title of the issue is “Disaster Tourism”—and justly so. Disaster after disaster (explosions and the like) follows them as they hunt their prey from one continent to the next. Yet, like Bucky said, luck keeps them in the game. Despite their very different personalities and perspectives about their current situation, their dedication to the singular goal of finding Natasha/Not Natasha keeps them on the road together. Definitely grab this off the shelf at your LCS. You’ll thank me later.

Verdict: 5 out of 5

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I'm a curious, creative, comic(al) woman. I am unapologetically Team Cap, but not HydraCap because there is a line in the moral sands of the universe and that whole thing is on the other side of it. I teach high school students all about the joys of mythology through comic books, graphic novels, and films. I wandered into the comic book world in 2015 and is a proud member of the #DoYouEvenComicBook gang.

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