From Heroes Database
Bucky is the name of several fictional characters, masked superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as a sidekick character in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941), published by Marvel's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics. In 2005, the original Bucky was brought back from supposed death as the Winter Soldier. In 2008, Bucky became Captain America after the death of Steve Rogers.
Following his debut, Bucky Barnes appeared alongside Captain America in virtually every story in Captain America Comics and other Timely Comics series. In the post-war era, with the popularity of superheroes fading, Bucky appeared alongside team-leader Captain America in the two published adventures of Timely/Marvel's first superhero group, the All-Winners Squad, in the unhyphenated All Winners Comics #19 & 21 (Fall-Winter 1946; there was no issue #20). After Bucky was shot and seriously wounded in a 1948 Captain America story, he was succeeded by Captain America's girlfriend Betsy Ross, who became the super heroine Golden Girl. Captain America Comics ended with #75 (Feb. 1950), by which time the series had been titled Captain America's Weird Tales for two issues, with the finale a horror/suspense anthology issue with no superheroes.
Captain America and Bucky were both briefly revived, along with fellow Timely stars the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, in the omnibus Young Men #24 (Dec. 1953), published by Marvel's 1950s iteration Atlas Comics. Bucky appeared alongside "Captain America, Commie Smasher!", as the hero was cover-billed, in stories published during the next year in Young Men and Men's Adventures, as well as in three issues of Captain America that continued the old numbering. Sales were poor, however, and the series was discontinued with Captain America #78 (Sept. 1954).
Retroactive continuity, beginning with The Avengers vol. 1, #4 (March 1964), established that the original Captain America and Bucky went missing near the end of WWII and were secretly replaced by then-U.S. President Harry S. Truman by successor heroes using those identities.
Bucky appeared in very occasional flashbacks from the 1960s on, and co-starred with Captain America in flashback WWII adventures in Tales of Suspense #63-71 (March-Nov. 1965). His death was depicted in flashback in The Avengers vol. 1, #56 (Sept. 1968).
In 2005 issues of Captain America, series writer Ed Brubaker returned Bucky from his seeming death near the end of World War II. He additionally revealed that Barnes' official status as Captain America's sidekick was a cover-up. According to this retroactive continuity, Barnes began as a 16-year-old operative trained to do things regular soldiers and the 20- to 21-year-old Captain America normally would not do, such as conduct covert assassinations.
Bucky's death had been notable as one of the few comic book deaths that stuck. An aphorism among comic book fans, known as the Bucky Clause, was that "No one in comics stays dead except Bucky, DC Comics' Jason Todd, Spider-Man's Uncle Ben and girlfriend Gwen Stacy". However, all four have been brought back to life in their respective universes in 2006, although Uncle Ben turned out to be an alternate Ben from another reality, and Gwen Stacy turned out to be a clone.
Bucky's death has also been used to explain why the Marvel Universe has virtually no young sidekicks, as no responsible hero wants to endanger a minor in similar fashion. Stan Lee also disliked the plot device of kid sidekicks, saying in the 1970s that, "One of my many pet peeves has always been the young teenage sidekick of the average superhero". Roger Stern and John Byrne had also considered bringing Bucky back, before deciding against it. However, in 1990, co-creator Jack Kirby, when asked if he had ever heard talk of resurrecting Bucky, answered: "Speaking completely for myself, I wouldn't mind bringing Bucky in; he represents teenagers, and there are always teenagers; he's a universal character".
A climactic scene of Bucky's return involves Captain America using the reality-altering Cosmic Cube to restore the Winter Soldier's memories. Writer Brubaker, in an interview, said he intended no loophole, and that Captain America did not "will" the Winter Soldier to have Bucky's memories.
Fictional character biography
Origin and World War II
Barnes (named after James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States), was born in Shelbyville, Indiana. He is an orphan, the son of a soldier killed in training at U.S. Army Camp Lehigh in Virginia just before the United States' entry into World War II. As a result, he is unofficially adopted by the camp as a mascot. Nicknamed "Bucky," he takes to wearing a uniform and becoming savvy with the ins and outs of military life, even though he is a teenager. It was at Lehigh that he meets and befriends Private Steven Rogers, who by all appearances is the clumsiest soldier in the camp. This was at the same time that reports of the then-mysterious Captain America begin to appear in news magazines, and Barnes eagerly devours the accounts of this new hero.
In 1940, Bucky underwent extensive training and was assigned to be Captain America's partner. The military justified putting a 16-year-old in harm's way by using him as a symbol to rally the youth of America (retconned in Captain America vol. 5 # 12, Dec 2005). They fight the Red Skull together, and Captain America accepts Bucky as his partner. Together, Captain America and Bucky fight Nazis both at home and abroad, as a duo and as part of the superhero team known as the Invaders, fighting Master Man in their first mission. Barnes also teams up with the sidekicks of other heroes in a group called the Young Allies. Additionally, Bucky was retconned in 1976 as the organizer of the flashback World War II super-team the Liberty Legion, set between the formations of the Invaders and the post-war All-Winners Squad. He was also briefly one of the Kid Commandos at this time. Bucky served as an advance scout for Captain America and the Invaders, often being assigned tasks that none of the heroes could be seen doing.
In the closing days of World War II in 1945, Captain America and Bucky try to stop the villainous Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental unmanned aerial vehicle. Zemo launches the plane with an armed explosive device on it, with Rogers and Barnes in hot pursuit. They reach the plane just before it takes off. Bucky unsuccessfully tries to defuse the bomb, and it explodes in mid-air. Bucky is believed killed in action, and Rogers is hurled into the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Rogers' body, preserved in suspended animation in a block of ice, is found decades later by The Avengers.
After the plane explodes, General Vasily Karpov and the crew of a Russian patrol submarine find Bucky's cold-preserved body (minus an arm). Bucky is revived in Moscow, though, as a result of the explosion, he suffers brain damage with amnesia. Scientists attach a bionic arm, upgrading it every time technology improves.
Programmed to be a Soviet assassin under the code name the Winter Soldier, he is sent on covert wetworks missions, becoming increasingly ruthless and efficient as he kills in the name of the state. While a Soviet agent, he also has a brief relationship with The Black Widow. The Winter Soldier is kept in stasis when not on missions, and as a result has aged only a few years since the closing days of World War II. In 1968, the Winter Soldier was to kill Professor Zhang Chin, whom he had met in WWII. Unfortunately, he was pinned down by an intangible being called The Man with No Face, though he was able to escape. On assignment in the United States in the 1970s, he suffers a breakdown and goes missing for days after assassinating his target.
In the present day, the Winter Soldier seemingly kills the Red Skull and Jack Monroe (Nomad) under orders from former Soviet general Aleksander Lukin (Karpov's former protégé). The Soldier launches a terrorist attack on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, killing hundreds, and charges the Cosmic Cube which Lukin sent him to retrieve. He kidnaps Sharon Carter, an agent of the international espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and an erstwhile paramour of Steve Rogers (Captain America). Upon her rescue, Carter tells Captain America the Soldier looked like Bucky. S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury confirms the Winter Soldier's existence, but cannot ascertain his identity.
Captain America tracks down and confronts the Winter Soldier. Upon gaining control of the Cube, he tells the Soldier, "Remember who you are". Regaining his memories, Bucky becomes overwhelmed by guilt over his past actions, crushing the Cosmic Cube and teleporting away.
He reappears shortly afterward in London, England, where he helps Captain America fend off a terrorist attack. He asks Nick Fury for employment and new equipment following the loss of his bionic arm. Following the events of the superhuman Civil War, the Soldier helps Fury plan the escape of an arrested Steve Rogers. Before the plan can be implemented, however, Rogers is assassinated. Considering registration architect Tony Stark (Iron Man) as ultimately responsible, the Soldier plans to kill Stark in revenge. Deducing that Stark will oversee the appointment of a new Captain America, the Soldier steals Captain America's shield from S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow (his former lover while brainwashed in the Soviet Union) so that it cannot be handed down. Ultimately, he heads to Kronas' headquarters, where Lukin reveals he is the Red Skull and has the evil psychiatrist Dr. Faustus attempt unsuccessfully to brainwash the Winter Soldier.
New Captain America
After escaping from Faustus and being captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., Barnes learns from executive director Tony Stark that Steve Rogers had left Stark a letter asking him to watch over Barnes, and the mantle of Captain America should continue. As this arrangement is illegal under the Superhuman Registration Act, Stark keeps his support of the new Captain America secret. As Captain America, Barnes wears a new costume and carries a pistol and a combat knife. He and his allies succeed in aborting the Skull's plans, and Bucky saves the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates from assassination, winning public applause. He also restarts his relationship with Black Widow.
Bucky in his 1941 incarnation reappears in the Avengers/Invaders miniseries (July 2008- ) alongside his fellow Invaders when a time travel incident takes them from a World War II battlefield to the present-day Marvel Universe, where they encounter both the Mighty Avengers and New Avengers. At the conclusion of Avengers/Invaders #4, while attempting to break out of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier — believing it to be a German base — Bucky encounters his future self dressed as Captain America.
After most of the other heroes have fallen as the Skrull invasion of Earth continues, Captain America is seen watching Thor defend a group of civilians in Central Park. Later, after a brief confrontation with Thor, he joins the other group of heroes (Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, The Initiative, The Thunderbolts, Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors, Young Avengers, and The Hood's group) in battle against an army of Super-Skrulls led by Queen Veranke herself.
In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, Bucky joins the New Avengers and offers his home as a base of operations. He later participates in the search for Luke and Jessica's child, Danielle.
Other characters called Bucky
Fred Davis - Late-WWII and post-war Bucky
Fearing that the deaths of Captain America and Bucky, if revealed, would be a blow to morale, President Harry S. Truman asked William Naslund, the hero known as the Spirit of '76 (a member of the Crusaders), to assume the identity of Captain America. Assisting him was Fred Davis, a former bat-boy for the New York Yankees, who had posed as Bucky in 1942. The new Captain America and Bucky finished the rest of the war and continued to fight crime with the All-Winners Squad. Naslund was killed in 1946 fighting the android Adam II, and Captain America's identity passed to Jeff Mace, the Patriot.
Davis assisted Mace until 1948, when he was shot and wounded, forcing him to retire and leaving him with a permanent limp. In 1951, Davis joined the V-Battalion, a secret organization that hunted war criminals, and eventually became one of its leaders on the Penance Council. He served the V-Battalion in both a leadership role in the Penance Council, and as an engineer.
Jack Monroe - 1950s Bucky
In 1953, an orphan named Jack Monroe, who idolized Captain America and Bucky, discovered that his history teacher also had a similar passion, to the extent of undergoing plastic surgery to make him look like Steve Rogers and assuming his name as well. In addition, "Rogers" had discovered, in some old Nazi files stored in a warehouse in Germany, the lost formula for the Super-Soldier serum that had given Captain America his abilities. The two used the serum and began to fight Communists as Captain America and Bucky.
Unfortunately, "Rogers" and Monroe were unaware of the stabilizing "Vita-Ray" process used on the original Captain America. As a result, despite their bodies being enhanced to peak human efficiency, they slowly grew paranoid and dangerously insane. By the middle of 1954 they were irrationally attacking anyone they perceived to be a Communist. In 1955 the Federal Bureau of Investigation managed to hunt them down and placed them in suspended animation. The 1950s Captain America and Bucky would be revived years later after the return of Steve Rogers, going on another rampage, and would be defeated by the man they had modeled themselves after.
Monroe was eventually cured of his insanity and took up the superhero identity of Nomad, an identity that Rogers himself had once taken in the 70s (when he discarded Cap's mantle as a consequence of the Marvel-version of the Watergate Scandal, engineered by the Secret Empire), even teaming up with the original Captain America on a number of occasions. At one point during his solo career, Monroe was injured severely enough to need to be placed in stasis once again. He was revived and brainwashed by Henry Peter Gyrich (who was in turn being manipulated by Baron Strucker). Monroe was then forced to become the new Scourge of the Underworld and sent to kill the reformed supervillain team known as the Thunderbolts. Monroe eventually broke free of the conditioning, helped the Thunderbolts to defeat Gyrich, and then disappeared (Thunderbolts #35-#50, 1999-2001). When last seen, Monroe had been shot by the Winter Soldier (James Buchanan Barnes, the original Bucky) and dumped in the trunk of a car.
Soon after awakening in the modern age, Steve Rogers met perennial Marvel sidekick Rick Jones. A little demented from his time spent encased in ice, Rogers would refer to Rick as Bucky. Jones also donned the Bucky costume in an attempt to make himself Captain America's partner. However, Rogers was still wracked with guilt over the original Bucky's death, and refused to make this a permanent arrangement although Jones was insistent that Rogers should finally put the tragedy behind him. While Jones' time in this identity is short lived and the task of measuring up to the original Bucky was daunting, he profits from it with invaluable training from Rogers.
When the role of Captain America was taken over by John Walker, he formed the Bold Urban Commandos (BUCkies) as a backup team. Walker's main partner was African-American Lemar Hoskins, who used the name "Bucky" until he realized the racist connotations of the alias when applied to him, and assumed the name "Battlestar".
Other persons who have used the Bucky alias include an unnamed baby that Nomad looked after for a period (after which she was adopted and given the name Julia Winters), and Rikki Barnes, who was from the alternate Earth created by Franklin Richards in the wake of the Onslaught incident. Rikki Barnes is still a member of the Young Allies on Counter-Earth. In the wake of the Onslaught Reborn series, Rikki has been transported to the mainstream Earth.
Powers and abilities
Having trained under Steve Rogers, the original Captain America in World War II, and others in the time leading up to WWII, "Bucky" Barnes is a master of hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, as well as being skilled in the use of military weapons such as firearms and grenades. He also used throwing knives on occasion and was a gifted advance scout. His time as the covert Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier helped to further hone his skills, making him the equal to his predecessor in combat skills. Brainwashed into working for the Soviets, as the Winter Soldier, Barnes became an expert assassin and spy. Barnes's left arm is also cybernetic with superhuman strength and enhanced reaction time. The arm can also function when not in contact with Barnes (presumably by cybernetic brain implants) and can discharge bolts of electrical energy from its palm. The arm can also discharge an EMP rendering electronics to either shutdown or become useless such as when Bucky shutdown the Nick Fury LMD and when he attempted to use it on Iron Man. As the new Captain America, Barnes possesses the original, indestructible, vibranium-steel alloy shield used by his predecessor, as well as a Kevlar/Nomex blend, shock-absorbing costume. He often carries several conventional weapons such as knives, guns, and grenades.
He is also fluent in many languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, and Japanese. He can understand French.
Of the others to use the name, only Monroe and Hoskins had augmented strength and reflexes. Fred Davis, Rick Jones, and Rikki Barnes were merely highly skilled in acrobatic fighting techniques. The infant, Winters, had no training.
In the DC Comics/Marvel Comics one-shot intercompany crossover Batman/Captain America (Dec. 1996), written and drawn by John Byrne and set during World War II, Bucky briefly takes Dick Grayson/Robin's place as Batman's sidekick, while Robin becomes Captain America's. In this alternate reality (set in one of DC Comics' numerous "Elseworlds" continuities), Bucky dies (off-page) as he had done in numerous Avengers and Captain America recollections.
In the alternate reality of this five-issue miniseries (Jan.-May 2005), James Barnes never teams up with Steve Rogers as the Super-Soldier program was never activated. However, Rogers volunteers for the 'Iron Man' program and as such, saves Barnes and several fellow soldiers from an advancing tank. Unfortunately he is not swift enough to save Barnes from severe damage to his legs.
Civil War: House of M
James Buchanan Barnes is one of the United States government agents (alongside Mimic and Nuke) sent to Genosha to kill Magneto and as many of his followers as possible. Nuke and Mimic served as a distraction while Agent Barnes sneaked into Magneto's headquarters; and though he fatally stabs Professor Xavier, Bucky was killed by Magneto.
In the second issue of the crossover miniseries Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness, a zombified Winter Soldier appears and attempts to devour Dazzler. This version of the Winter Soldier is ultimately killed by Ash Williams, who shoots his head off with his "boomstick".
In the alternate reality Ultimate Marvel universe, Captain America had an adult sidekick, Bucky Barnes. This Bucky was a childhood friend of Steve Rogers who accompanies him on his missions as an Army press photographer. Surviving the war and believing Rogers had died during his last mission, Bucky eventually marries Rogers' fiancée Gail. Barnes and Gail both live to see Rogers' revival in the 21st century and renew their friendship with him.
U.S. War Machine (Marvel MAX)
In the alternate reality Marvel MAX series U.S. War Machine, Bucky was serving in the present as Captain America, as the Captain had died in his stead in World War II. Bucky was accompanied here by two assistants, Hawkeye and Falcon, neither wearing a costume and both addressed by their real names.
In the 2005 What If? event, the Captain America story, set during the American Civil War, featured Steve Rogers' commanding officer, Colonel Buck Barnes, whom the men called "Bucky". His mercenary tendencies led to Rogers' desertion, and when he later intervened in Rogers' transformation into Captain America, his face was destroyed, turning him into an undead being known as the White Skull.
Set in a dystopian alternate future, Bucky is taken into custody alongside Victor Creed and others for several heinous crimes, including cannibalism.
In other media
Bucky appears in an animated series entitled The Marvel Superheroes.
Ultimate Bucky appears in the animated movie Ultimate Avengers.
The Winter Soldier appears in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Crispin Freeman. In the game, he is a member of Dr. Doom's Masters of Evil. He is seen working with Radioactive Man. They are thwarted by the Marvel Heroes.
- Newsarama: "Bucky Barnes, Badass"
- Newsarama: "Did He, or Didn't He? Ed Brubaker on Captain America #6"
- Newsarama: "SPOILER SPORT: Ed Brubaker on the Winter Soldier" and Captain America #14
- Newsarama: Ed Brubaker interview