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The Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier, art by Lee Bermejo

Winter Soldier has been present for quite some time now in the history of the Marvel universe. As Bucky Barnes, he was transitioned from a bright-faced teenager to an efficient soldier he is now. However, as Winter Soldier, he was somewhat depicted as an evil assassin and a vengeful hero. Nevertheless, Bucky Barnes fought alongside Captain America for almost his entire existence.

Winter Soldier’s Comic Origin

Bucky in WWII, art by Jack Kirby

In 1940, when Joe Simon created his first illustration of the Marvel Comics’ Captain America, a young side-kick was included. The side-kick was called ‘Bucky,’ who starred alongside the title star in almost every piece of Captain America Comics publication, where Barnes first debuted.

Subsequently, in the post-war period, Bucky appeared in All-Winners Comics # 19 and # 21 along with Captain America. In addition, during the Captain America Comics #66 in 1948, Bucky also appeared, although he was seriously injured. As a result, he was succeeded by Betsy Ross, (also known as Golden Girl) Captain America’s girlfriend.In a flashback of World War II during the ’60s, Bucky also appeared in Tales of Suspense #63 to #71 in partnership with Captain America. Moreover, in the flashback in The Avengers, issue # 56 released on September 1968, Bucky’s death was depicted.However, in 2011, Bucky returned to the role Winter Soldier and also as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in his own comic issue that lasted for 19 issues.

Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier

In 2005, Ed Brubaker, the series writer, brought back Bucky from his apparent death at the end of World War II.Brubaker also announced that Barnes’s official status as Captain America’s side-kick was just a cover-up. Apart from this, he stated that Barnes started as a sixteen-year-old agent, who had been trained to perform covert assassinations.

In the comic series, after the aircraft exploded, a crew of a Russian underwater navy found the cold-preserved body of Bucky, though his left arm had been severed. In Moscow, Bucky has been revived but suffered amnesia from the explosion. Furthermore, researchers attached a bionic arm to replaced Barnes’ left arm.Programmed to be an assassin for Department X, Bucky now uses the code name ‘Winter Soldier.’ As Winter Soldier, he was sent to covert missions, in which he becomes effective and ruthless as he kills in the name of the state. In addition, when not on missions, Winter Soldier was kept in cryogenic stasis. As a result, Barnes has aged only a few years since the end of World War II.

Subsequently, in 1968, Winter Soldier was sent to kill Professor Zhang Chin, whom he had met twenty years earlier. However, he was thwarted by an intangible being, called the ‘No Face Man.’He also kidnapped Sharon Carter, an agent of the multinational intelligence agency, the S.H.I.E.L.D. When Carter was rescued, she told Captain America that Winter Soldier seemed to be Bucky. Consequently, Nick Fury, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Chief confirmed the existence of the Winter Soldier but was unable to identify who he was. In order to know who Winter Soldier was, Captain America tracks him down and confronts him afterward.

Captain America used a reality-altering Cosmic Cube to recover the memories of Bucky, who’s now the Winter Soldier.Bucky was overwhelmed by guilt over his past actionsafter he regains his memories.With this, he crushed the Cosmic Cube and teleported away.Soon afterward, he reappeared in London, helping Captain America escape a terrorist attack. After losing his bionic arm, he demanded Nick Fury for employment and new equipment. Winter soldier helps Fury to plan the escape of Captain America. However, Rogers was murdered before the plan could be implemented.Winter Soldier planned to take revenge and murder Stark (Iron Man), considering that he was responsible for Captain America’s death.

Deducing that Stark would supervise the appointment of a new Captain America, Winter Soldier stole Captain America’s shield from agent Black Widow so that it could not be handed over. He headed to Kronas’s headquarters, where Lukin revealed that he was the Red Skull. Moreover, evil psychiatrist Dr. Faustus tried to brainwash Winter Soldier, although he failed.

Bucky Barnes as the New Captain America

Bucky Barnes, the new Captain America –art by Alex Ross

After Barnes escaped from Faustus, he was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. He later learned that Rogers had left a letter to Stark, stating to watch over him and that the mantle of Captain America should continue. Consequently, Stark suggested Barnesto become the next Captain America. Barnes agreed under a condition that Stark would remove subliminal commands and guarantee him complete autonomy. Since the autonomous arrangement is illegal under the Superhuman Registration Act, Stark secretly supports the new Captain America.

Barnes’ first mission as Captain America was to fight the original Red Skull, along with Falcon and Carter. The mission was a success, and they were able to abort the Skull’s plans, and they also saved the presidential candidates from a potential murder.

Superpowers and Abilities

Bucky is a master in hand-to-hand fighting and martial arts, and is also experienced in the use of combat weapons, as well as explosives. Furthermore, Barnes was also skilled at throwing knives. His time as the Winter Soldier, a Soviet covert agent, helped further enhance his skills and made him an expert fighter and spy. He was also fluent in speaking many languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russia, Latin, and Japanese.

Aside from his combatting skill, the bionic arm of Winter Soldier is extremely powerful. Made out of either titanium or vibranium, Winter Soldier’s arm is powerful and heavy. His bionic arm also has the ability to automatically reload weapons at incredible speeds. Other times, the arm of Winter Soldier in the comic book canon became an electric flamethrower.

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