8. WINTER SOLDIER (CAPTAIN AMERICA #1-9 & 11-14, 2005-2006)
In 2005, Ed Brubaker began writing Captain America and quickly turned it into the best book at Marvel during that time. His first major storyline, Winter Soldier, broke onto the scene and finally got fans excited about the 64-year-old character again. By boiling the character down and getting back to the roots of what made him work in the first place, Brubaker created a globetrotting epic that was carefully plotted with fantastic art from Mike Perkins, Steve Epting, and Michael Lark.
Winter Solider wasn’t without it’s controversy, though, as it featured the return of Cap’s old war buddy, Bucky Barnes, who was thought to be dead. It turned out that Bucky was captured by Russian scientists after his plane crash in the '40s and was brainwashed into becoming a killing machine.
The concept may sound a little convoluted, but Brubaker’s strong grasp on the characters and inventive plotting made the whole story work without a hitch. Pulling inspiration from spy flicks like The Bourne Identity, Winter Solider was a little more intense and grim than most other Captain America stories, but Brubaker wove the grittiness and superhero action together seamlessly.