After losing his father at a young age during World War II, James Buchanan Barnes was adopted as the mascot for Camp Lehigh and nicknamed "Bucky". Because of his skills Bucky was sent to England on his sixteenth birthday, where he went through two months of combat training with the British S.A.S. and another month of special training back in the United States. To his superiors Bucky was the best natural fighter they had ever seen. It wasn't long before he was made Captain America's partner, who unlike Cap could get his hands dirty doing the little tricks that Cap wasn't allowed to do because of regular military methods.
The press then came up with a cover story: "Camp kid becomes Cap's sidekick," which made kids all over the country think it could happen to them too. He soon joined Cap as a member of the Invaders, fighting alongside such other heroes as Namor the Sub-Mariner, Jim Hammond the Human Torch and Thomas Raymond the Toro. As they were about the same age, Bucky and Toro would become close friends, along with the Human Top and Golden Girl, who dubbed themselves "The Kid Commandos". During this time he teamed up with other sidekicks to form the Young Allies and later the Liberty Legion to help the Invaders in their fight against the Red Skull. Bucky also teamed-up with a group of teenage superheroes called the Kid Commandos.
In the closing days of World War II, during a mission overseas to take down Baron Heinrich Zemo, Cap and Bucky hopped on a plane carrying a bomb and hoping to disarm it. Cap couldn't reach it but Bucky hung on. It was booby trapped and the bomb detonated. Bucky found himself too close to the explosion which sent him and Captain America falling into the waters below. While Captain America's body was frozen in a state of suspended animation for years, Bucky's body was never found... Or was it?
Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Bucky Barnes as a sidekick for Captain America, named after a childhood friend of Joe Simon's. He first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 in March 1941.
Bucky has been through some drastic changes in his career.
Bucky was a major feature of the Golden Age of comics as Captain America's sidekick, although the decline in superhero comics in the late 1940's saw him replaced by Betsy Ross (Golden Girl) as Captain America's partner. A brief revival in the early 50's sadly fizzled and the character was left dormant after Captain America #78 in September 1954.
When Captain America returned in the pages of the Avengers #4, the first retcon was made to Bucky's history, revealing that he and Captain America met their fatal end at the close of World War II in an airplane explosion, and that subsequent appearances of the two were actually stand-in heroes posing as Cap and Bucky. However, despite Captain America returning as a mainstream Marvel hero, Bucky was left apparently permanently dead for many years to the extent that it was assumed he would never be revived (a la Spider-Man's Uncle Ben). Instead, Bucky appeared in flashbacks and in tales of his and Cap's World War II history together (for example in The Invaders series).
Ed Brubaker finally brought Bucky back to real life when he restored him in another retcon, this time showing how he had become the Winter Soldier. This path has since led to Bucky replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America in the Marvel Universe.
Major Story Arcs
The Winter Soldier
In April 1945, an experimental Soviet spy-submarine helmed by Comrade Karpov was crossing the English Channel when it intercepted a transmission claiming that Captain America and Bucky had been blown up. Not far from the area, the sub quickly charted the depths and discovered Bucky's tattered body, his left arm completely torn off. Apparently flash-frozen in the waters, the Soviets slowly increased his temperature to thaw out his tissues. After administering electricity, CPR and adrenaline directly into his heart, Bucky was brought back from the dead. While he had no memory of his previous life, Bucky demonstrated a remarkable ability: reflex memories. He knew how to fight, and how to speak four languages, but had no clue how he knew all this.
Fitting him with a cybernetic arm, the Soviets began work on the Winter Soldier Project. They began mental implantation to reprogram his mind and make him loyal to no one but the Soviets. With the codename Winter Soldier, the former Bucky was sent out on spy missions to blend in with his surroundings and assassinate various Cold War power-players. After acting oddly on a few missions, Bucky served as a body guard to the professor behind the Winter Soldier project for a few years before the Soviets decided to store the Winter Soldier away in a suspended state until needed again, keeping his mind from learning the truth.
Bucky's memory loss was so severe that even after killing a number of subjects including Red Skull and Nomad under the direction of Karpov's protégée, Aleksander Lukin, the Winter Soldier came face to face with Captain America and still did not remember his past at all.
Under orders from Lukin, Bucky is told to bring the newly obtained Cosmic Cube to a safe location. However, using A.I.M. technology Captain America and Falcon are able to track Bucky down and after a close battle, resulting in Captain America obtaining the all-powerful Cosmic Cube. Cap held the Cube and made one short statement to the Winter Soldier: "Remember who you are." As the memories flooded back to him, the Winter Soldier couldn't handle it and destroyed the Cube, vanishing with it. Although the rest believe Bucky to be dead as a result of the splash damage from the cube, Captain America believed that he was alive, referring to Bucky as a "fighter". This is indeed true, as Bucky is revealed to have been teleported by the cube to his old air base where he first met Steve Rogers. He soon found an ally in Nick Fury, another WWII legend who has also gone 'off the map'. Fury equipped Bucky with the Intel and equipment (including an improved cybernetic arm) needed to remain a key player behind the scenes of the Marvel Universe.
Confused, angry and still reeling from shock of Steve's death, Bucky looked for a way to strike back. After getting into a bar fight and being the only man left standing Bucky decides that the only way to strike back is to kill Tony Stark, blaming him for the death of Steve Rogers. He stole Cap's shield during a transfer between two S.H.I.E.L.D. holding areas. This leads him to a confrontation with Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow, who is revealed to also be an old flame of his. Bucky is able to defeat Natasha with ease, having trained her, and goes on to ambush the Red Skull, who is revealed to be alive and currently sharing a mind with Lukin. Bucky succeeds in infiltrating Lukin's office and defeating both Crossbones and Sin but before he can pull the trigger Lukin speaks the word "sputnik" (a word implanted in him to shut him down during his time as the Winter Soldier) which causes Bucky to be unconscious and only to be temporarily taken prisoner. Bucky is taken to be brainwashed by Dr. Faustus so he can be used by the Red Skull but Bucky manages to escape and attempts to rescue Sharon Carter who unknown to him is under Faustus control. Bucky is taken on-board a ship where Faustus attempts to escape from the coming S.H.I.E.L.D units and the Falcon who is in close pursuit. Gaining momentary sanity Sharon throws Bucky overboard knowing that the Falcon will save him and allowing him to be held by S.H.I.E.L.D custody.
The New Captain America
Steve Rogers left instructions for Tony Stark in a letter written before his death to "save" Bucky and that the mantle of Captain America should go on. After the murder of Steve Rogers, the man who was Captain America, Cap's former partner during World War II, James "Bucky" Barnes, agreed to don the mantle. And even as he struggles with the sins he committed as the Winter Soldier - the Soviet mercenary he was brainwashed into becoming during the Cold War - the new Captain America finds his past as both Bucky and the Winter Soldier colliding with his present.
When the Winter Soldier (Bucky) was brought into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, he managed to escape. His cybernetic arm had been removed and was being examined by S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists. They were surprised at how much of their own design was in place. Either the Russians had a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Winter Soldier was working for Nick Fury. The arm sent out an electrical shock to one scientist, rose up and knocked out the other two. It then crawled up the wall and into a ventilation shaft to seek out it's owner. When the Winter Soldier was free his only goal was to attack Iron Man.
The two fought to a standstill until Stark mentioned the letter from Steve. Bucky wasn't sure that Cap had meant for him to actually become Captain America. Tony said that there's no way Bucky would let anyone else fill those boots and asked if he wanted to be the one to let Steve down. Bucky said he'd do it under two conditions. The first was that his mind was completely probed to ensure there was no trace of brainwashing or fail safe code-words left over from when he was under control was the Winter Soldier. The second condition is that he doesn't have to answer to S.H.I.E.L.D. or to Stark, just as Steve didn't. Tony thought about it and agreed. Bucky donned his own new Captain America costume as he did not feel right wearing Steve's. On his first mission Bucky with Black Widow at his side fight an A.I.M radical group to which he easily defeats. He is later confronted while training with the shield by Clint Barton aka Hawkeye who does not approve of him being the new Captain America. Clint attempts to fight Bucky who merely blocks his attacks. Upon learning that they were basically thought the same moves Clint departs warning Bucky not to let the name of Captain America down. After the revealing of a jaded former Captain America Bucky goes to confront him despite being told by the Falcon not to. Bucky sneaks into a room to find information only to be taken by surprise by this Cap and is punched through a wall. The Captain America from the 1950s is able to defeat Bucky resulting in him getting thrown of a building but saved by the Falcon just in time. The two later knowing that the red skull will want to retrieve the 50s Cap use him as bait to gain the location of the Red Skulls base.
A New Avenger
Since becoming Captain America, Bucky has stopped the Red Skull's plans and saved the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, winning public applause. He also restarted his relationship with the Black Widow and joined the New Avengers, giving them a new hideout. James later participates in the search for Luke and Jessica's child, Danielle. When the New Avengers find out about Norman Osborn's "Avengers" James and the rest of the team try to think of a way to show that world that Osborn is still as evil as ever. They send in Spider-Woman to try and join Norman's Avengers into a trap, but Norman figures out this plan and sends The Hood and his gang to try and take the New Avengers down, the Avengers make their way out of the ambush and try to think of a new plan.
One night Bucky was up late talking to Black Widow about what he did as the Winter Soldier, Widow kept telling him that it wasn't his fault, he went out to think but ran into Batroc, they fought but Bucky was defeated. Later, he and Widow went to the U.N. to find some answers, but discover that the U.N. is covering something up. Bucky then goes to the black market to find answers, learning that the U.N. would be transporting something the next day. The next day Bucky ran into Batroc again trying to steal what ever the U.N. was transporting, they began to fight, then The Man With No Face jumped into the fight, Bucky defeated Batroc, but even with the help from Black Widow, The Man With No Face got away with what was left of the Original Human Torch.
James teams up with Namor and goes after The Man with No Face and Professor Chin (the man who created The Man with No Face), while Black Widow works on getting more info on this Professor Chin. Cap and Namor use Namor's old ship to sneak into Professor Chin's base and they split up but Namor is captured. James then changes into his old Winter Soldier uniform and makes his way through the base, Professor Chin begins to experiment on Namor while Black Widow makes her way to Namor's ship and sees that James is not wearing his Captain America uniform. James breaks into Chin's lab and orders Chin to let Namor go, but The Man with No Face attacks James. During the battle Chin injects Namor with some kind of chemical, but Namor is unaffected because of him Mutant-Human gene. Black Widow then joins in the fight and helps James beat The Man with No Face, as well as helps both James and Namor to escape. While on their way home, Namor mentions how good of a team James and Natalia make. Back home Namor, Norman Osborn, and others put the Human Torch to rest and James later comes to grave to pay his respects to an old friend.
On his birthday, Bucky was on patrol above the streets of New York City, when he was suddenly attacked by a group of rocket men. As he ran across the rooftops, dodging heat-seeking missiles in the process, he was able to get a picture of his attackers and sent it to Clint Barton, asking Barton to find out who these guys were and why they were trying to kill him. While this was happening Bucky started to remember other birthdays he's had over the years, the first of which involved him getting into a fight after getting drunk on his 16th birthday. Next was his 18th birthday when, during which Toro tried to get him a cake and accidentally gave away their position to the Nazis, whom the group had to fight off. In 1945, when he turned 20, Bucky spent his birthday helping Steve interrogate a German spy. During his time as Winter Soldier he didn't celebrate any birthdays. Clint Barton was able to find out that Bucky's attackers were members of a militia group called the Watchdogs, a team of so-called patriots who claimed to worship Captain America. As Bucky fought The Watchdogs, he saved a lady and her child from one of the rogue missiles. After taking down two of the men out with his shield, Bucky shot the third, after which he questions the man on why they are trying to kill him. The Watchdog responds by telling him that he he isn't the real Captain America. Bucky then tells the militiaman he knows, but that he is trying. When he returned home, Bucky was surprised by a birthday party that Black Widow and the New Avengers had made for him.
Captain America: Reborn
On the one year anniversary of Steve Rogers' death, Bucky, along with his fellow Avengers went together to the vigil in Steve's honor. As they attended the vigil, they noticed as Norman Osborn and his fake Avengers scanned the crowd, looking for the real Avengers. After the vigil, the Avengers are stopped by Sharon Carter, who says she has found a way to save Steve.
With the help of Nick Fury, Cap and Black Widow sneak aboard the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier, making their way through a group of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents, the two heroes make their way to the carriers storage area hoping to find the Red Skull's device he was using on Sharon a while back, but they are surprised to find that the device is not there and are then attacked by Osborn's Dark Avengers, Ares and Venom. After a short fight, Cap and Widow are captured and taken to Norman, who then reveals that he has outed Sharon as the second shooter in the death of Captain America. He then lets Widow go to give Sharon a message that if she doesn't turn herself in, he'll kill Bucky.
While being transported by Norman's Thunderbolts, Cap is freed by Ant-Man as Falcon comes to his rescue. After escaping, Cap, Widow, and Ronin (Clint Barton) take out one of H.A.M.M.E.R.'s mobile data-collectors as they try to find out where Sharon Carter - who turned herself in to Osborn - is being held.
Using Sharon Carter, the Red Skull is able to pull Steve Rogers - who had been placed in his own past by the Skull - back to the present, putting his own mind inside Steve's body. As the Skull heads to the White House, Cap and the rest of the Avengers chase the Skull down in the Avengers' Quinjet, but they are shot down and land in front of the Lincoln Memorial. As the Avengers fight off the Skull's forces, Cap goes after Red Skull, hoping that Steve is still in there somewhere. This hunch proves to be right as Steve is able to force Red Skull out of his mind, and together, Steve, Bucky, and the Avengers are finally able to defeat the Red Skull once and for all.
Days after Steve's return, Black Widow finds Bucky trying to design himself a new suit, stating that since Steve is back, he'll be wanting his shield, but Widow disagrees and believes Bucky is a great Captain America, and shouldn't have to give the shield up. She is finally able to convince Bucky to go out one more night as Captain America. As the two try to recapture the Hyde, who had escaped from Raft, Bucky sees Steve watching above and throws him his shield, allowing him to defeat Hyde. Steve then tries to give Bucky the shield back, stating that he's Captain America, not him.
After a talk, Steve tells Bucky that he's not sure if he can pick up his shield again, saying that being Captain America means something more to Bucky and that he should keep doing it and that if Bucky won't do it for himself, then to at least do it for him.
When the assembled heroes learn of Norman Osborn's Siege on Asgard, Bucky joined together with Steve Rogers and the rest of the New Avengers as they set off to end Norman's Dark Reign once and for all. Before they heroes left, Bucky told Steve that if he was going to be Captain America one last time and take his country back, he wasn't going to do it without the shield, giving the shield back to Steve for one last go.
Arriving in Asgard, Bucky worked together with the Avengers as they took on Norman's forces. The battle seemed to have been won when Iron Man joined the battle and shut Norman's armor down, but Bucky along with the others were caught off guard when the Sentry brought all of Asgard crashing to the ground. Bucky managed to survive Sentry's attack, easily defeating Crossfire and meeting back with Steve as they worked together to help a man whose family had been caught in the collapse of Asgard during Sentry's attack. After defeating Razorfist who was holding the man's young girls hostage, the two patriots continued their search for anyone else who needed Captain America's help.
Bucky and the other Avengers work together to fight the Void. After defeating him with the help of the Norn Stones, Steve gives Bucky the shield back, telling him that if he's learned anything during the battle, it's that the world only needs one Captain America, and that person is Bucky. Bucky and the New Avengers then leave and capture The Hood, Madame Masque, John King, and Count Nefaria. Bucky later joins the rest of the team at Avengers Tower to celebrate their victory and to usher in a new age of heroes.
Enter the Heroic Age
After getting an upgrade for his bionic arm from Nick Fury, Bucky learns that the Captain America of the 1950s has sided with the terrorist group known as the Watchdogs. He and Falcon then head to Idaho to bring him in. Bucky manages to get inside the Watchdogs' training camp and spends a week training with them. Bucky and Falcon ambush a group of Watchdogs who were on a scouting mission, possibly looking for new recruits from a nearby army base. Bucky enters the camp as a new recruit in hopes of stopping 50s Cap's plan, but their own plan backfires and both he and Falcon are captured. 50s Cap then forces Bucky to dress up in an old "Bucky" uniform as they head to the Hoover Dam where 50s Cap plans to make a statement that will be heard around the world by blowing up the dam. Bucky is able to escape his restraints thanks to his bionic arm, and with the help of Falcon, who was able to escape his captors as well, the two heroes fight off the Watchdogs. Bucky tries to reason with 50s Cap as he is just about to set off the bomb that will destroy the dam, but in the end, Bucky is forced to shot 50s Cap, knocking him off of the dam to his "death". As it turns out 50s Cap survived and hasn't been seen since.
After being given Norman Osborn's position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. by the President of the United States, Steve Rogers decided to make the Avengers the world's new peace keeping organization instead of S.H.I.E.L.D. or H.A.M.M.E.R., assembling Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, and Spider-Man as the newest incarnation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes under the command of Maria Hill.
After failing to stop the Wrecking Crew from making a heist, Falcon and Steve Rogers take Bucky out for some drinks after a game. They are concerned that Bucky is taking the whole deal with 50's Cap and that he's beating himself up over it, going so far as to even let super-villain's do it for him. Bucky is able to get Steve and Sam off his back after telling them that he's fine. Later that night as they three are leaving, Sam offers to drive Bucky home since he appears drunk, only to figure out that he isn't drunk, bur drugged, but isn't quick enough to stop Sam from being caught in an explosion that unknown to Bucky was caused by none other than the recently returned Baron Helmut Zemo. Bucky goes with Sam as he is rushed to the hospital, and then begins to beat himself up for what happened to Sam. While still feeling the effects of being drugged, Bucky is attacked by the Iron Hand who had been hired by Baron Zemo, Bucky defeats Iron Hand but is then attacked by Nazi soldiers whom Bucky easily defeats, but is shocked to find out that he wasn't fighting Nazi's but NYPD officers when he is finally stopped by Steve Rogers.
Steve takes Bucky back to Avengers Tower where they find some sort of nano-tech virus in his bloodstream, but this is fixed quickly. After learning that footage of Bucky fighting police officers was now public, Bucky and Black Widow go off to find out who it was that had drugged him in the first place, after tracking down where the bar tender who gave him the drink lived, they soon find out that she is the newest Beetle, who catches them both by surprise. Bucky finds a message from Baron Zemo in his bathroom he then goes to an army base. They fight and Baron Zemo wins and puts Bucky on a plane over to the English channel. Bucky then fights it out with Baron Zemo. He has the chance to kill Baron Zemo but he does not. Steve, Falcon and Black Widow go and get Bucky and bring him back to America so now The Trial of Captain America now awaits him back home.
Trial of Captain America
Bucky's past has finally caught up with him. Baron Zemo exposed Mr. Barnes as the Winter Soldier and the media storm began raging. Steve Rogers, convinced that the entire trial will be nothing but a media circus, tells Bucky that he should run. Bucky, however, realizes that it's time for him to face the past. He can't run- he needs to follow through with this. Bucky officially turned himself over to federal authorities and is now awaiting trial. As Bucky's trial gets underway Black Widow and the Falcon capture Dr Faustus so he can defend Bucky. They next go on to find evidence that Bucky was completely under mind control but are captured by the Red Skull. Meanwhile at Bucky's trial a man attacks him with an AIM weapon. The man is brought down by Steve Rogers. The man gives Rogers a video with Sin, now the Red Skull, revealing that she will kill Black Widow and Falcon and blow up the Statue of Liberty if Bucky is not delivered to her.
Bucky wants to go but the judge would not let him so Steve set out to rescue them. During transport Dr Faustus helps Bucky escape for unknown reasons. Sin is next seen on the Statue of Liberty and has her men hack into broadcasting so she appears on TV. Just as she begins to talk Bucky attacks her in his Captain America suit. As the fight begins Sin gets away and Bucky starts to fight Master Man. Master Man manages to get the upper hand but Steve and Sharon arrive and save him. Bucky next makes his way up the statue of liberty. Sin begins to shoot him and Bucky blocks the bullets with his shield. The bullets explodes sending Bucky down the stairs and breaking some of his ribs. Sin make up to where the Black Widow and Falcon are being held and waits for Bucky. Bucky makes it to the room an uses his shield to free Widow and Falcon. Sin detonates charges, sending Bucky flying into a wall. Sin then kicks him in the head and escapes using a jet pack. Bucky tries to stop her but Sin uses a pistol to shoot him down. Falcon save him from the fall. Widow then reveal that Sin would only have detonate the charge if Bucky didn't come and that she was a symbolic victory. They all then realize that the blast took out one of the Statue of Liberty's eyes. Steve and Bucky argue about him coming to save Widow and Falcon. They head back to the court house. The judge declares Bucky to be innocent but Russian officials come to take Bucky back to Russia where he has been convicted of crime against the state.
Gulag and Fear Itself
While in the Gulag, Bucky starts finding old memories brought to life. As he dreams his memories start to shatter and run together. He is made to fight in an arena against super-powered opponents, such as Ursa Major and even Titanium Man. Bucky was brought to the Gulag as a plot by Colonel Andre Rostov (Red Barbarian) to extract information from his mind regarding the location and activation codes for three additional sleeper agents that were trained by Bucky and hidden within the United States. Once the codes were extracted, Bucky was forced to fight Unicorn in the arena. Bucky continually evades the blasts from Unicorn's third eye until he maneuvers in front of the methane tanks which are blown up destroying much of the Gulag. Bucky makes his escape of the burning prison to find that Black Widow was there with a helicopter ready to break him out. During Fear Itself , Bucky has returned to the States as Captain America to face Sin, the new Red Skull and now Skadi, in Washington. In the midst of the battle, Sin rips off Bucky's bionic arm and impales him with the shaft of her hammer killing him shortly before he warns Black Widow of the Serpent's arrival.
Fear Itself 7.1: Captain America
Nick Fury reveals to Steve Rogers that his sidekick and "brother" was not killed by Sin during the events of Fear Itself. As Black Widow and Fury have Bucky medevaced out of Washington, the medic tells Fury that Bucky is barely alive. Fury gives the go ahead for the doctor to use the last of the Infinity Formula in order to save Bucky. Steve is upset that he was left in the dark on this subject, but Fury explains to him that it had to be this way and no one can find out that Bucky is alive because of what transpired at Bucky's Trial and the Gulag. With Bucky presumed dead, he can continue his work in the shadows as the Winter Soldier!
Captain America and Bucky
Bucky narrates the story starting with his family and the good times. He speaks of his father and his kid sister and how life was on base. When his father dies he becomes the mascot for the base and soon is sent overseas for special training. He returns to find Captain America waiting on his new partner, Bucky Barnes! The narrative skips around to his days with The Invaders and his days as the Winter Soldier.
The Longest Winter
Bucky and Black Widow were looking for a sleeper agent stasis container at a Vegas casino and when they got there they realized the agent had been awakened. They have a briefing in the morning with Jasper Sitwell who tells them about a former KGB agent named Nico Stanovich, who went in hiding and is perhaps the handler of the awoken sleeper agent. Bucky and Natasha head to Minnesota where they meet another former KGB agent of the same squad named Mikel Bulgakov. They interrogate Bulgakov until he gives them the little info he knows about the sleepers' activation codes which he sold to some unknown buyers and the next sleeper. Bucky and Natasha go the warehouse location and dispatch the agents in there. They get assaulted by a genetically modified gorilla with a chain gun and after a brief battle, the gorilla flies off. They head back for another briefing and find the activated sleeper, while Nick Fury gives them some intel on an infiltration mission at an auction. Bucky starts a raid and him and Nat defeat the goons there and get more info on the buyer of the codes who also happened to buy a doombot. They narrow down the possible people who want to use these agents and bot to start a war between the U.S. and Latveria to Lucia Von Bardas. In order to get help and prevent a war, Bucky and Natasha infiltrate Dr. Doom's fortress who attacks them in confusion until Bucky tells him to stop and someone is trying to frame him with the Doombot.
Bucky and Dr. Doom face off against the Doombot and Arkady, a sleeper agent. Bucky ends up killing Arkady. Bucky, Doom and Natasha infiltrate Doom's hidden missile silo where Von Bardas is located. Bucky runs off and defeats Dimitri. Natasha tells Bucky about intel that Agent Sitwell had. The intel was about the person who sold the codes to the Zephyr Sleepers. That person was Colonel Andre Rostov (Red Barbarian) Ex-Soviot Agent. Bucky then tracks him down in the Bahamas and assassinates him by sniper shot.
Bucky investigates the final sleeper agent's stasis pod location and learns he has been broken out for some time. They learn his name is Leo Novokov. To locate the sleeper, Bucky decides to check the newspapers because controllers used secret classified ads to find the agents and find a handler was killed. Fred Davis, the one time Bucky stand in, was killed Leo causing Bucky and Natasha to investigate allowing Leo to find Bucky to begin his revenge. Novokov kidnaps Professor Rodchenko who was a former Red Room Russian scientist that specialized in brainwashing. Bucky and Natasha locate Novokov on a stolen bus and intercept it on a mountain highway. After a shoot out, Novokov flees the bus which is loaded down with explosives. Natasha follows Novokov while Bucky drives the bus off an overlook to explode harmlessly after he jumped out at the last moment. Novokov set the whole instance up to separate Natasha from Bucky where he kidnaps her.
Bucky and Agent Sitwell search for clues on where Leonid has taken Natasha while it is revealed that he has brainwashed her and set her up to be a ballerina. Bucky and Sitwell are able to locate her at a private performance for the First Lady of the United States and members of the press. After seeing to the evacuation of the crowd, Bucky engages the brainwashed Black Widow in an attempt to get her to be released from the brainwashing effects. Leonid opens fire upon them causing Bucky to leave his fight and attack Leo head on. After a brief fight, Leo points out that Natasha was about to kill Sitwell. Bucky stops Natasha from shooting and she remembers who she is, but Leo is able to escape. Bucky tracks down where the Professor is being kept captive while Natasha is taken back to the Helicarrier for a medical analysis. When Bucky finds the Professor, he is informed that there is more Leo's plan and that Natasha was still under Leo's control.
While on the Helicarrier, a second layer of programming kicks in for Natasha and she attacks Nick Fury, Sitwell, and the SHIELD agents on board. She is about to kill Fury when Sitwell steps in front of the gun and takes the fatal bullets. Natasha flees the Helicarrier on a flying motorcycle and vanishes without a trace. During interrogation with Professor Rodchenko, Bucky finds out that all memories of his relationship with Natasha has been removed from her memory. He is trying to cope with this information when Captain America arrives and lets him know that they are going to find her along with Hawkeye, Wolverine, and Maria Hill. Bucky and Hawkeye head research where Novokov is headed next. They find a spot where they get attacked by AIM agents and they make short work of them. Bucky and Clint enter a building where they find a hard drive with a message from Novokov saying if Bucky ever wants to see Natasha again, he will take the hard drive and have Professor Rodchenko install it in his head.
Bucky is attempted to be talked out of the mission but by Hill and Hawkeye, but he manages to escape them and breaks Rodchenko out of jail to install the mission. The installment is successful which reverts Barnes back to his original days as the Winter Soldier. Bucky turns on the professor and uses the memory machine on him to erase his mind. Bucky is trailed by Wolverine and Hawkeye and manages to escape by cheap shooting on Logan and utilizing the environment to his advantage. It is revealed the mission is for Bucky to target Daredevil whom is someone Natasha cares about. Bucky finds Daredevil and they fight him. Wolverine, Captain America and Hawkeye join in and they knock Barnes out and bring him back to S.H.I.E.L.D where they manage to piece his memory back together. The team then heads out to find Novokov and retrieve Black Widow.
Bucky and the team learn that Leo has planted a bomb somewhere and learn of three locations. They each scatter taking one location with James heading out on his own. He finds the bomb along with Leo and Natasha. Natasha discovers him and Bucky faces off against the two. He tries to avoid harming Natasha and focuses his assault on Leo and manages to beat him down. S.H.I.E.L.D sends Wolverine, Hawkeye, and Cap along with plenty of reinforcements to the bomb site where Leo attempts to hold Widow hostage. Hawkeye manages to separate them allowing Bucky to shoot Novokov. S.H.I.E.L.D manages to resuscitate Leo and they manage to connect all of Widow's memories back together up to current time except for one; the one about Bucky. S.H.I.E.L.D attempts to continue fixing Widow, but Bucky screams at them to stop messing with her head as she has suffered enough. Bucky looks in on Natasha's room saying at least only he has to suffer these feelings as he walks away heartbroken with the realization Leo had truly won.
The Man On the Wall
During the events of Original Sin, Bucky is contacted by a mysterious voice after Uatu the Watcher is murdered. It is revealed that the original Nick Fury is dying due to the Infinity Serum having run out, and is seeking to find someone to replace him in his role as "The Man On the Wall", Earth's secret defense against cosmic and otherworldly threats. Bucky is chosen as a candidate alongside Black Panther, Emma Frost, Gamora, Ant-Man, the Punisher, Doctor Strange and Moon Knight, and ultimately becomes the new protector of Earth after Fury seemingly perishes.
He recruits Quake (who had been fired from S.H.I.E.L.D.) to act as his new partner, with the two stealthily eliminating potential threats to Earth before they even have a chance to strike.
Powers, Abilities and Equipment
Bucky is not like Steve, he did not take a Super Soldier Serum, though Bucky is classified as peak human.
Bucky Barnes also has a left Cybernetic Arm that has a significant amount of strength (capable of throwing a shield through guns and steel super computers), it is also capable of producing EMP's and electrical shocks. He has recently been injected with the Infinity Formula by Nick Fury, in order to save Bucky. Whether or not this has any effect on his physical abilities beyond great longevity remains to be seen.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
In the recent Captain America Films, it is apparent that Arnim Zola’s experiments, and the additional rigors of Hydra’s manipulations have resulted in Bucky’s physical attributes reaching meta-human levels. In “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, we see that his non-cybernetic strength is comparable to Captain America's, as we observe him kick a SHIELD operative 30 feet through the air (into a QuinJet Turbine). We can also assume that his agility and reflexes have also been similarly enhanced, since he continued to be a formidable challenge for Cap in hand to hand combat, while we see Cap easily defeat Batroc the Leaper, who is a highly trained fighter, with exceptional ‘human’ physical prowess levels. It can also be deduced that Bucky’s running speed is slightly faster than Cap’s since both he and the Black Panther out-ran Steve during the chase in Berlin, in Captain America: Civil War.
As a young teenager, James was observed to have remarkable fighting prowess by fighting military men twice his size and age. Concerned, the U.S. Army decided to make use of James fighting ability and immediately sent him off to train with the British SAS. Upon returning, he continued his training under William Essart Fairbairn and Colonel Rex Applegate to become Bucky, the sidekick to Captain America (Steve Rogers).
As Bucky, he was further trained by Steve Rogers until his death and rebirth into the Russian assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
With no prior memory of his former self except for his fighting ability, the Winter Soldier continued to train under the Russians to harness his skill in martial arts and assassinations. Because of his skill, James became the basis for the Red Room program and trained dozens of other Russian assassins including the Black Widow.
Bucky has proven his fighting ability against creditable fighters such as Black Widow, Sin, Crossbones, Batroc the Leaper, Wolverine and more. Although he has doubted himself by comparing his physical ability to Steve's super soldier abilities (Approximately 3 times stronger and faster than himself), with his lack of super soldier formula and ability to go toe to toe against many of Steve’s rogues and win proves that he is on a level close to Steve's fighting ability.
Bucky, like many others, looks up to Steve Rogers. He has a great deal of respect for Steve, but Bucky is also ashamed of what he has done as Winter Soldier. Bucky has shown signs of aggression whilst depressed and has also redeveloped a relationship with Black Widow. But he is also sarcastic and makes jokes like his light-hearted self.
As the Winter Soldier he has super strength and quick reaction time and the ability to produce EMPs, as well as jammers for metal detectors and x-ray machines, due to his cyborg left arm. Even when this arm is removed, Winter Soldier can mentally control it from a remote location. His time as a covert Soviet agent has further honed his skills giving him a combination of mix fighting styles for use in close combat. As the Winter Soldier, Barnes became an expert assassin and spy and performed many behind the scenes assassinations without getting caught making some of his kills look like accidents. Thanks to Nick Fury, Bucky's bionic arm is now covered in a flesh like material making it both look and feel like a real arm.
As the Winter Soldier, James's missing arm was replaced by a cybernetic enhancement. As his career progressed as Captain America, Nick Fury found it necessary to upgrade his arm to be fully synthetic in order to look and feel real.
The arm is capable of the following:
- When detached, can be controlled by James through mental implants.
- Capable of punching through metal and throwing a shield fast enough to slice through human limbs, control panels and assault rifles.
- Capable of emitting a electrical shocks.
- Capable of emitting an EMP to shut down electrical hardware.
- Capable of bypassing any airport sensor.
- Holographic imaging to appear as a normal human arm. Looks and feels like a human arm.
As Captain America, James also carried the famous indestructible Vibranium-steel alloy shield and a modified handgun. The handgun closely resembles Nick Fury's modified handgun and has been commented by Mockingbird to fire greater impacting bullets than normal handguns. Ares has also been winded by being tricked and shot under the chin by Bucky. Bucky's gun has palm-print sensors so if anyone other than Bucky were to try and shoot the gun it would explode.
As the post-Cold War Winter Soldier, Bucky has an updated Winter Soldier BDU and gear:
- Impact resistant.
- Bullet resistant.
- Security jamming built in. The suit continues to give off a pulse which continuously jams and loops all recording devices for a few seconds.
- Real Name: James Buchanan Barnes
- Aliases: The Winter Soldier; formerly Captain America, Bucky
- Identity: Known to top level K.G.B. and S.H.I.E.L.D. authorities
- Citizenship: United States
- Place of Birth: Shelbyville, Indiana
- Occupation: S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, Soviet assassin, freelance assassin, sidekick to Captain America. army mascot
- Known Relatives: George M. Barnes (father; deceased); Winnifred C. Barnes (mother; deceased); Ida (aunt; presumed deceased); Rebecca P. Barnes Proctor (sister); Proctor (first name unrevealed, brother-in-law); unidentified niece and nephew; Scott Proctor (grandnephew); Kimberly Proctor (grandniece)
- Group Affiliation: Avengers, formally; Kid Commandos, Liberty Legion, Invaders (wartime), Young Allies; former partner of Captain America
- Education: High School Dropout
- Height: 5'9" ft/in
- Weight: 220 lb. (the cybernetic arm weighs roughly 40lbs)
- Eyes: Brown
- Hair: Brown
Earth-58163 Bucky (House of M)
In the House of M reality, Bucky Barnes was an elite SHIELD soldier sent to Genosha by Bolivar Trask in order to murder Magneto. Bucky's squad was formed by Mimic and Nuke and although they managed to cause a great deal of damage and casualties among the mutant population (Barnes murdered Charles Xavier) they were ultimately defeated and killed by Magneto.
Buck Barnes of Earth-Law Enforcement Squad
While searching for an alternate version of Frankie Raye during the early stages of The Abraxas Incident, the Fantastic Four and Namorita encountered The Law Enforcement Squad (Marvel's JSA), an alternate reality Avengers-esque team of superheroes that was led by an intelligent version of The Hulk. Bucky (who was simply known as "Buck" in that reality) was a member of this unusual gathering alongside Battlin' Jack Murdock, Captain Universe, Doctor Druid, Living Lightning, Namora, Red Raven, Robert Frank, The Rose and The Shroud. The two teams clashed with one another when The Fantastic Four found the alternate Frankie Raye at the mercy of The Law Enforcement Squad. After being hit Namorita was tossed to the floor and ended up being hit on by Buck. Namorita said "Aren't you dead?" and the alternate Buck responded, albeit confused, with a no. He was then quickly knocked out by Namorita who told Buck not to call her "Dollface" anymore. Later, when Captain Universe "died" at the hands of the alternate Frankie Raye, the two teams set aside their differences while Reed and Buck's ally Doctor Druid went to converse with Captain Universe in the realm that existed in-between all realities. He was last seen vanishing with the rest of The Law Enforcement Squad as their reality and Earth-616 split apart from one another.
Marvel Zombies Destroy
In this alternate reality the Nazis found a plant that turned them in Zombies. The Nazi-Zombies took over the world. At some point Bucky was bitten by a zombie and turned into one himself. He then joined to Nazi-Zombies in taking over the world. At some point he joined other zombie superpowers and became part of the Invaders. The Invaders where the first superpower team that Dum Dum Dugan and his Ducky's Dozen fought when they came to Earth-12591.
The Ducky's Dozen escaped but when they tried to infiltrate the Nazi-Zombie Headquarters, Bucky was there. He tried to stop Miss America from launching Big Boy, a rocket powered bomb that could wipe out all Zombies. He fails when Miss America bites his hand and makes him lose his grip and fall to earth. It can be assumed he is blown up with the rest of the Nazi-Zombies.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Bucky was Steve's childhood friend and a young photographer during World War 2. Unlike his mainstream Marvel counterpart, this version of Bucky survived the war unscathed. After Steve was frozen and believed dead, Bucky eventually married Gail Richards, Steve's former fiancee.
On the new version of Battleworld, a teenage version of the Winter Soldier was a senior student at the Victor von Doom Institute for Gifted Youths, a school led by Valeria von Doom, Doctor Doom's daughter. Bucky served as an enforcer (called a "glorified hall monitor") for Valeria, making sure order and discipline was maintained. After a group of six students (Battelworld's version of the Runaways) fled the Institute, Bucky and Frostbite were tasked with hunting them down. After having a change of heart and helping the Runaways escape, Bucky was ultimately executed by the Institute's security Doombots.
In an alternate version of World War 2, Bucky's counterpart was Rebecca "Becky" Barnes, a tough and foulmouthed teenager from Brooklyn. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, Becky would often protect weaker children from bullies, despite her small size. One day, during a fight with four men outside an army recruitment center, Becky was spotted and recruited Peggy Carter, this reality's Captain America. Donning a costume and mask, Becky went on to fight alongside Captain America against Nazi Germany and other menaces. When the Exiles visited this Earth, Becky quickly began flirting with Valkyrie, whom she affectionately nicknamed "Muscles."
In the Old Man Logan universe, Bucky remained as Captain America, and was one of the numerous heroes who was thought to have perished during the great purge conducted by Earth's united supervillain community. He was defeated by the Red Skull in Washington, D.C., and was seemingly killed when the Skull crushed his eyes. However, it was later revealed that the Skull had spared Bucky's life in order to humiliate him further, and transformed him back into the Winter Soldier after giving him new, bionic eyes. The Winter Soldier served as the Skull's brainwashed assassin in the ensuing decades, before finally being fatally wounded by Bullseye after being sent to kill him. Bucky was finally able to regain control of his mind during his dying moments, and thanked Bullseye for putting him out of his misery.
- Bucky appeared in the Captain America portion of the 1960's Marvel Superheroes Show. More recently, he featured in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series. In the episode "Meet Captain America" voiced by Scott Melville. He is shown to be Cap's trusted sidekick working with him to stop the Red Skull from unleashing Asgardian creatures upon the Allied Forces. He is apparently killed in an rocket explosion after saving Cap from Red Skull. Bucky's death greatly affects Cap during the series, causing him to relive flashbacks with Bucky in the episode "Living Legend". However, Bucky returns in the episode "Hail, Hydra!" surviving through the intervention of Captain America's contact with a Cosmic Cube. He returns as the Winter Soldier (voiced by Jon Curry) in the episodes "Nightmare In Red" and "Red Alert", where he is seen as part of Code Red, a team of government operatives. He is later revealed to be Bucky in the episode "Winter Soldier", where he reluctantly helps Captain America fight the Sleepers. He returns in the series finale, where he is one of the many heroes who helps fight Galactus and his Heralds.
- Bucky is next featured as the Winter Soldier in the Avengers Assemble animated series. In the episode "Ghosts of the Past", he infiltrates Avengers Tower and kidnaps the Red Skull. His origin is briefly recounted, with it stated that he was thought dead in World War 2, only for the Red Skull to transform him into a brainwashed assassin. He now seeks to have his revenge by killing the Red Skull, which brings him into conflict with the Avengers, who need the information the Skull has on Thanos and the Infinity Stones. He is forced to flee after his plan is thwarted.
- Bucky appears in Marvel Future Avengers, voiced by Masayoshi Sugawara in the Japanese original and by Yuri Lowenthal in the English dub.
- Winter Soldier (voiced by Crispin Freeman) appears as a boss character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
- Winter Soldier appears alongside the Falcon as DLC in Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
- Bucky and the Winter Soldier both appear in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Winter Soldier appears in the Facebook game Marvel Avengers Alliance.
- Winter Soldier is a playable character in Marvel Heroes 2015.
- Winter Soldier is a playable fighter in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Winter Soldier appears as a sidekick character in Disney Infinity 2.0.
- Bucky appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's The Avengers as Winter Soldier and as Captain America. He is also a playable character in the Captain America: Civil War DLC pack.
- Winter Soldier is a playable character in the mobile app game Marvel Future Fight.
- Winter Soldier was a recruitable character in the Avenger Academy mobile app game.
- Winter Soldier appears as a playable character in the Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite fighting game as part of the first DLC character pack. When he and Captain America are partnered together on a team, the two can perform a special tag-team super move.
- Bucky appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 as the Winter Soldier. He was voiced by Scott Porter.
- Winter Soldier appears as an NPC in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, voiced by Ray Chase.
In the animated feature film Ultimate Avengers, Bucky Barnes was an army photographer and the adult sidekick of Captain America during World War II. When Steve is presumed dead, killed trying to deactivate a prototype Nazi a-bomb in mid-flight, Buck marries Steve's fiance, Gail. Buck and Steve are reunited in the 2000s after Steve was revived from being frozen in the Arctic after the bomb exploded. He was voiced by James Arnold Taylor.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Captain America: The First Avenger
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Bucky is portrayed by Sebastian Stan. Like his Ultimate counterpart, Bucky is a young adult and Steve's childhood friend. He enlists in the army during World War 2, leaving Steve behind and serving as one of the reasons his friend volunteers for the Super-Soldier experiment.
After his unit is captured by the Red Skull's forces in Europe, Bucky is tortured and experimented on by Arnim Zola before being rescued by Steve, now the superhero Captain America. He joins Cap as a member of the Howling Commandos and fights in many battles, but seemingly falls to his death during a mission to capture Zola.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Sebastian Stan reprises his role in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is revealed that thanks to the experiments done by Zola, Bucky's body was revived and brainwashed by HYDRA, who have used him as an assassin in the ensuing decades. His mangled left arm was also replaced with an advanced cybernetic prosthetic. He was given the codename "Winter Soldier" by his superiors.
The Winter Soldier is removed from stasis after Captain America's return is made public during the events of The Avengers, and is forced to battle Steve and his new allies, Falcon and Black Widow. At the close of the film, Bucky seemingly regains control of himself and sets off to regain his lost memories.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Winter Soldier is alluded to in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, though he doesn't appear directly. Near the start of the film, Falcon mentions that he is still searching for Bucky while Steve helps the Avengers take down the remaining HYDRA cells. It's implied that the search isn't going particularly well, as Sam states that many of the leads have gone cold.
Sebastian Stan reprises his role in a cameo in Ant-Man, though he only appears in the film's post-credits scene. He is seen with his metal arm trapped in some sort of vise, while Captain America and Falcon discuss how proceed from here on out. When it's mentioned that Iron Man isn't likely to assist them, Falcon suggests that Scott Lang may be able to help them somehow.
Captain America: Civil War
Sebastian Stan reprises his role in Captain America: Civil War. The movie sees Bucky going on the run after he is framed for a deadly terrorist attack, with both Iron Man and Black Panther pursuing him. He informs Steve that in addition to himself, Hydra created five other Winter Soldiers, each more powerful than him. Helmut Zemo discovers the location where the others are being held in cryogenic stasis, and Bucky informs Steve that they have to stop him before he can use the other Winter Soldiers to cause untold damage across the globe.
During the climax of the movie, it is revealed that Zemo has already killed the other Winter Soldiers, and actually wants to expose the fact that Bucky is responsible for the murders of Howard and Maria Stark. Iron Man goes berserk after this, and tries to kill Bucky to avenge his parents. Iron Man destroys Bucky's cybernetic arm in the ensuing battle, and nearly kills him before being stopped by Steve. At the close of the movie, Bucky willingly undergoes cryogenic freezing in Wakanda, reasoning that he's too dangerous to be allowed out in the world until the Hydra programming can be removed from his brain.
Bucky appears in the post-credits scene for Black Panther, with Sebastian Stan once again reprising his role. He is shown recuperating in a small Wakandan village after having been successfully deprogrammed by Shuri, with the local children now calling him "White Wolf" as a nickname.
Avengers Infinity War
Sebastian Stan returns as Bucky once again in Avengers: Infinity War, which takes place shortly after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. When Captain America contacts Black Panther to let him know that the Black Order has come to Earth in order to steal the Mind Stone from the Vision, T'Challa gifts Bucky with a new vibranium arm to replace the HYDRA-made prosthetic that Tony destroyed. Now sporting a new costume inspired by his original WW2 look, Bucky reunites with Steve and the other Avengers when the heroes try to defend Wakanda from the Outrider army. At the end of the film, Bucky is one of the many characters who is killed when Thanos completes the Infinity Gauntlet and uses it to wipe out half of the sentient life in the universe.
Sebastian Stan again reprises his role in Avengers: Endgame. After the Hulk uses the Infinity Stones to undo Thanos' decimation of the universe, Bucky is among those resurrected. He takes part in the final battle against Thanos' army at the ruins of Avengers Compound. At the close of the film, Bucky is present when the aged Steve (who had chosen to stay back in the 1940s to be with Peggy Carter) passes his shield and Captain America mantle to Sam Wilson.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Sebastian Stan reprises his role as Bucky Barnes in the live-action Falcon and Winter Soldier series. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Bucky has received a presidential pardon for his crimes as the Winter Soldier, but is now forced to attend government-mandated therapy sessions. He is also shown trying to atone for his actions, including attempts to make amends with the families of his victims. When Bucky discovers that the government has appointed John Walker as the new Captain America, he is forced to team up with Sam once more on a new adventure. Throughout the series, the two bicker constantly, but eventually grow to respect one another as they deal with the threat of the Flag Smashers. By the end of the season, Sam and Bucky decide to stick together as partners.
- Diamond Select released a figure of Bucky as Captain America for the Marvel Select line.
- Hasbro released a figure of Bucky as the Winter Soldier for Marvel Universe line.
- Hasbro has released six Bucky figures in their Marvel Legends. One was Bucky during World War II which was part of Brood Queen Build-a-Figure wave. Another one was a comic-inspired Winter Soldier figure that was released as part of a two-pack with Black Widow. The third was a figure of Bucky as Captain America, which was released as part of the Arnim Zola Build-a-Figure wave. The fourth was a figure depicting the movie version of the Winter Soldier, which was released as part of the Mandroid Build-a-Figure wave. The fifth was a movie version of Winter Soldier from the Civil War movie, which was a Walmart exclusive. Another new Bucky figure, this time based on his Infinity War appearance, was released as an exclusive two-pack with Falcon.
- Funko released various bobbleheads of Bucky for the Pop! line.
- Bucky was featured in Lego's line for the Civil War movie.
- Diamond Entertainment released a Winter Soldier figure depicting his appearance from Captain America: Civil War for the Marvel Select line.
- Bucky was featured in the S.H. Figuarts line from Bandai's Tamashii Nations division.
- Bowen Designs released a Bucky statue and bust. They later produced a statue depicting Bucky as the Winter Soldier.
- Kotobukiya produced a set of statues depicting Bucky as both the Winter Soldier and the new Captain America, respectively.
- XM Studios produced a Winter Soldier statue.
- Bucky was featured in the HeroClix figure game.
- Sideshow Collectibles released a statue of Bucky as Captain America.
- Hot Toys has produced extremely detailed movie figures based on Sebastian Stan's likeness for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
- Iron Studios released a Bucky statue for Captain America: Civil War.
- Bucky was also featured in Iron Studios' massive Avengers: Infinity War diorama.