Super Hero Russian Noir: The Winter Men

The cold war grows colder for Kris Kalenov a.k.a. The Poet, as he is forced to investigate a kidnapping that brings him face-to-face with a past he is trying to forget. The Winter Men brings a unique voice to soviet inspired comics, one part detective comic and two-parts awesome The Winter Men is a heady intellectual comic worthy of notice.

If you haven’t read The Winter Men yet then I highly recommend that you do, Brett Lewis who to me is a complete unknown writes the comic. Of course comics don’t have to be good with big names attached to a project.

The comic has very deep and rich artwork done by John Paul Pope another guy I have never heard of.

I am going to try my best to describe the story for you, however that may prove difficult. You see the comic has a ton of dialogue and so much story that if you are not completely paying attention something is bound to go under your radar.

Of course too much story is not a bad thing, in fact, I think that this comic will be worth my time to re-read because I feel like I will pick up more stuff with each new read.

So anyways here is the run down.

Kris Kalenov is a stinking drunk and semi-corrupt Russian police officer in post-Soviet Russia, I say semi-corrupt because although he is a complete prick his heart is sort off in the right place. After being found drunk in a pile of snow with a vodka bottle in hand he is taken to a group of politicians who need him for an assignment.

The assignment appears to be just another kidnapping case, Kris’ reaction is that he is not all that surprised and makes it seem like kidnappings are common in Russia. The unusual part is that Russian politicians like the mayor of what I believe is Moscow are so interested.

Kris says he won’t do it, he doesn’t want to get involved, and part of the reason is because he was having trouble with his wife. He promised his wife a trip on the Siberian Railway; a trip that he is hoping will mend a broken marriage.

Another reason is because he isn’t looking to get involved with the case because some of the people he would be working with are former members of his special spetsnatz unit, Red-11 back in Soviet Russia.

Well when Kris gets home he finds a note from his wife saying that she had left him. With nothing else to do Kris takes the case.

Kris first task as the new investigator on this case is to go talk to the parents of the kidnapped girl. He learns that the parents had to get their daughter a liver transplant and that they were unable to pay the local mob bosses from their area.

So suspect number one is a group of mobsters. Kris is sent to New York where it is believed that the girl was taken. His goal is to pose as a mafia wannabe and join up with a local group.

Kris joins up with a local Russian mob in New York where he shows his value as a thug. Joining up with the group he turns on the mob and tears New York City apart only to find that they were a dummy group and that the girl was still over seas.

Kris attempting to make his escape is caught by another local mob leader only to realize that he was caught by one of his old comrades from Red-11.

The mobster joins Kris in his search with the girl when they return back to Russia. Now there are three members of Red-11 working on the case. Drost a Russian soldier who is sort of Kris’ handler that he doesn’t get along with very well and this mobster guy, Kris though is trying to enlist his old friend Nina who refuses.

So they return to Russia and Kris pals around with his mafia buddy and gets involved in a street fight with a rival gang over Pepsi and Coca-Cola, yes I kid you not. Apparently, the two gangs controlled soft-drink distribution in the area one being Coke and one Pepsi.

Through out the story it begins being hinted at that Kris and the rest of Red-11 belong to a unit of mech driving soldiers. The soldiers mission was to counter a Russian super-soldier program “Winter Men”. It was a precaution to keep one from becoming more powerful than the other.

Also, it begins to become hinted that the missing girls liver may have belonged to a super soldier or was a product of the “Winter Men” program.

Anyways eventually in the story Kris tracks the girl in Siberia where he meets up a Soviet Eskimo from his old Red-11 days. Along with the Eskimo who goes by the name The Siberian, he mobilizes a small group of militant Mongolians to storm the mafia hide out keeping the girl.

When they come to the hide out they discover men in hazard suits with there faces burned off. They penetrate a little deeper into the base and they find the girl strapped to an operating table. Apparently it is revealed later in Kris’s report to his superiors that the mafia was using the girl to age forged paintings. They were selling forgeries of famous paintings and using some sort of power she had to make them appear more authentic.

Kris left out though that the girl survived, I think this happened but maybe not, and instead hides her with Nina who is now willing to cooperate with him.

So at the moment Kris and the rest of Red-11 are withholding information from the mayor and the rest of the Russian politicians. Also the mafia guy that Kris met up with in New York is re-building one of his mech suits.

Kris continues the investigation trying to figure out what the liver the girl had transplanted connection was to the Winter Men.

Eventually it turns out that the liver was designed to take out their Russian superman, who was believed to be dead.

Eventually Red-11 uncovers that the mayor, who organized this little mission was in fact this superman person. He developed some sort of para-persona and was slightly aware of who he was, but didn’t know the full extent of his own power.

Red-11 goes to work removing the liver and putting it into Drost and then having The Siberian infiltrate the mayor’s mansion.

The Siberian infiltrates the mansion knowing he is going to die and guns down a hand full of advisors. Only one man stands alive and it is an old 70-year-old mayor who transforms into a hulking blue superman.

The Siberian is killed but the bullets he used had uranium in them and the remaining members of Red-11 could now track the now irradiated mayor.

The group tracks the mayor down and goes to battle with him and they appear to be losing. It isn’t until Drost with a super powers given to him by the girl’s liver transplant that they begin to stand any chance against the mayor. Drost and the mayor slug it out and eventually the two kill one another.

The mission is over and they can all return home, but it is hinted to Kris that perhaps there will be a time for him to be called to take out another Winter Man.



  1. Looking this one up…

    Didn’t even read your post…will comment after reading!

    • Its pretty good I really reccomend

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