Who is the Winter Soldier (Bucky)?
James ‘Bucky’ Buchanan Barnes had his first appearance in Captain America Comics #1 (1941) created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and was seen as a ‘sidekick’ to Captain America after undergoing rigorous training. Together they were seen on various adventures until their final foray against Baron Zemo, which saw Captain America dropped into the North Atlantic and Bucky assumed dead.
He was eventually found by a Russian General and revived, but unfortunately for Bucky and those closest to him, he didn’t remember a single thing about himself or his past. He was then reprogrammed as a Soviet Assassin called the Winter Soldier and committed various political assassinations around the world, only being brought out of stasis whenever he was needed for a mission.
Throughout his many storylines, the Winter Soldier came to train Black Widow, fought against Captain America, and eventually had his memories restored thanks to his old friend. He went on to work for Nick Fury during covert missions, before he came to take over the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers’ death.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve got a slightly similar story when it comes to Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) aka the Winter Soldier. We’re first introduced to Bucky in Captain America: The First Avenger as a young soldier in World War 2 who would undoubtedly do anything for his best friend Steve Rogers. During one of his missions he is captured and experimented on by one of Red Skull’s scientists Arnim Zola, only to be rescued by his childhood friend Steve, who has become Captain America in his absence.
Bucky goes on to join the Howling Commandos, almost acting as Steve’s right hand man. It is during a mission that Bucky falls from a high speed train to his assumed death, leaving Steve devasted. Unfortunately, Bucky was found by HYDRA and was brainwashed and reprogrammed to be the Winter Soldier, an assassin with a cybernetic steel arm.
He was used throughout the years for high profile assassinations, his memories constantly wiped in order to remain loyal to HYDRA. During Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, Bucky is sent out as the Winter Soldier to assassinate Nick Fury and meets Captain America face to face for the first time since his apparent demise all those years before.
It isn’t until later when Steve refers to him as Bucky that something must connect in Bucky’s mind as he mentions knowing Steve to HYDRA later. Of course his memories are wiped once more and he is back to being an emotionless killer when he meets Captain America for the third time on one of the helicarriers.
During a fight with Steve, it seems as though the normally steely Bucky has been affected by the words that Steve uses to remind him of who he was and their past friendship, and while he doesn’t seem to remember fully, he does pull Steve to safety once the helicarrier has crashed. Bucky takes it upon himself to disappear after this, only to be seen later in a museum looking back on his days as Steve’s best friend, Bucky Barnes.
In an after credits scene in Ant Man, we got to see Bucky in an abandoned building, his cybernetic arm caught in a vice while Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson stood looking on, trying to decide who could help them with Bucky, knowing his past and who may be on the look out for him now.
What powers does Winter Soldier have?
Bucky’s powers almost mimic that of his comic counterpart within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has enhanced stamina, agility and strength, not to mention speed, and reflexes, along with an enhanced healing factor, much like Captain America. His most prominent weapon is that of his cybernetic bionic arm which provides him with superhuman strength, stronger than even Captain America. He is also an expert martial artist trained in knife fighting, boxing, Taekwondo, Krav Maga. Bucky is also an expert marksman, a pilot, a master assassin, and an expert acrobat, if only to name a few of his known skills.
Honestly, my favourite issue is a run of Winter Soldier comics by Ed Brubaker, Winter Soldier: The Complete Collection. It combines Bucky’s past with Natasha (Black Widow) with his now present life working alongside those he now considers comrades, or friends. Old enemies resurface from Bucky’s past, Russian sleeper agents who Bucky and Natasha must take down or risk their lives and the lives of many others
. Personally, I adore the more personal nature of Winter Soldier and Black Widow and how that comes to forefront at times within this collection, not to mention how things from Bucky’s past keep coming bac
k to bite him in the ass!
Bucky’s role in Civil War?
Just from looking at the trailers, we can assume that Bucky is going to have a major role within the new film, Civil War. Whether he’s running from the government, Black Panther or the other members of Team Iron Man, or whether he’s taking down War Machine or ripping out Iron Man’s arc reactor, it’s quite clear that Bucky is going to have some enemies in this film. For me, it’s going to be a fantastic treat to see the Winter Soldier fighting side by side with his old friend, Steve. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Bucky will be taking on the title of Captain America after Civil War comes to end, or if we’ll see the Winter Soldier in future films in a much larger role!