Off My Mind: Will Captain America Uncover More Winter Soldier Sleeper Agents?

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gmanfromheck

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Edited By gmanfromheck
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Captain America and Bucky Barnes haven't had it easy. Both have made great sacrifices for their country since they first dressed in costumes and began fighting evil forces. In the 40s it appeared both made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Captain America was found decades later by the Avengers and began his fight once again.

It was some years when Captain America discovered the horrible truth about his partner Bucky. Bucky hadn't died all those years ago. It turned out a Russian submarine had found his body, which was only missing one arm. With no memory of who he was, Bucky was transformed into the assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Kept frozen cryogenically between missions, Bucky had only aged a few years until his encounter with Captain America.

Bucky overcame his programming and regained his memories (with Cap's help and a cosmic cube). He even took on the mantle of Captain America when the Red Skull launched his attack that made it seem as if Cap had been killed. When faced against the Red Skull's daughter, Sin, possessed by an evil Asgardian spirit, Bucky paid the ultimate price once again. A recent Marvel teasers asked the question, "What if there was more than one?" With the solitary red star on the teaser and with seeds planted in the Captain America series by Ed Brubaker, it looks as if Cap might be facing some other 'Winter Soldiers.'

== TEASER ==
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Bucky returning from the dead is inevitable but most likely won't happen any time soon. Bucky's body was found and examined by Russian scientists in 1945 in the hopes that he had the Super Soldier Serum in his body. Despite having no memories, he still retained his muscle memories and could move and fight as before. He was kept frozen until 1954 when Project Winter Soldier began. Bucky was fitted with a bionic man and programed to serve their agenda. Passing as an American, the Winter Soldier was able to cross 'enemy lines' and complete his assassination missions. In 1957 it was noted that he was started to get more curious, perhaps trying to fill the gaps in his memory. This was the main reason he was kept in stasis in between missions.

With all the work the Russian government put into creating him, it would be surprising if they didn't have other candidates in mind for the Winter Soldier Program. They would need suitable subjects but only having one soldier would be like putting all your eggs in one basket. Sending out their only soldier and risking him getting killed or captured would be too high of a risk. They might not have had anyone as skilled as Bucky was but it would makes sense if there were some back ups being stored somewhere.

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The more likely scenario has to do with something known as Project Zephyr (mentioned in Captain America #619). When Bucky was held in a Russian gulag, it turned out that he held the secret of the project locked in his brain. Enhanced sleeper agents had been created during the Cold War. Bucky, brainwashed as the Winter Soldier, helped train them. He trained them on advanced weaponry, hand-to-hand fighting, improvised explosives and most importantly, how to act like Americans. They were never used because the Cold War had ended and they remained frozen in sleep chambers in their secret location.

The warden at the gulag, Colonel Rostov, set things in motion to get his hands on Bucky. Bucky was the only one left that knew how to awaken the sleeper agents. It was Rostov's goal to use these human weapons of mass destruction for his retirement fund as he has seen enough destruction in his life. Selling this information to the enemies of America will obviously lead to problems for Captain America.

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We've only seen a little of Cap dealing with the loss of Bucky. Wearing the suit and carrying the shield once again will be a constant reminder that Bucky died (again). It was a vision that Steve had when he was fighting Red Skull that showed Bucky dying in his future, dressed as the Winter Soldier. Steve figured as long as Bucky remained wearing the Captain America outfit, that vision wouldn't come true. Despite this, he still failed to keep Bucky alive. Fighting other Winter Soldiers could be a massive blow to Captain America psychologically. And if these soldiers can easily blend into crowds, finding them won't necessarily be an easy task.

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The other question is where is Bucky's body being kept? The current Captain America series takes place after Fear Itself (since Cap's shattered shield appears to have been repaired somehow). We all assume Bucky will return from the dead somehow but we haven't seen who actually examined his body. Let's just hope and pray that we won't be seeing clones of Bucky as the other Winter Soldiers.

A way to add to the shock of more Winter Soldiers would be if they were other heroes thought to have died, just like what happened originally with Bucky. If Cap had to fight other fallen comrades that had been brainwashed and trained to be sleeper agents, he's going to need some serious therapy after all this. It would make for a interesting twist but it could end up being a little too cliché if others close to Cap suffered a similar fate that Bucky did.

We'll find out in January just what is coming. It's possible there might be an announcement at New York Comic-Con this week. Let's hope Captain America and the rest of the world will be ready to deal with the threat.

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ahgunsillyo

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#1  Edited By ahgunsillyo

I'd honestly rather have Bucky back from the dead (again) than have an army of Winter Soldiers.

I'm sure Brubaker can figure out a way to make this really interesting (the core concept of it is at least slightly intriguing). However, I'm not sure if it'd be as interesting of a storyline without Bucky actually there. If you had Bucky fighting this group of Soviet assassins that he helped train, then there is some new kind of psychological/emotional attachment there, as he (albeit the brainwashed "Winter Soldier" version) was personally partially responsible for the creation of these other soldiers. It introduces the likelihood of more regret on Bucky's part for having been the Winter Soldier and trained these others, as well as the equality of skill-sets between the two sides. This would then create a situation where Bucky would try to get into the minds of those he helped shape in order to figure out their next moves and plans of action. But alas, Bucky's "dead" (until the next big Marvel EVENT brings him back, at least).

Now, if Steve Rogers were to be the one pitted against this group of new Winter Soldiers, I feel like they would just inevitably play up the "BUCKY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" angle all over again. Which, at least for me, isn't really as interesting and has been played out already.

Also, I really hope they don't introduce clones. The clone route rarely ever results in something good when it is taken in superhero comics.

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doordoor123

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#2  Edited By doordoor123

Lets hope this isn't the case. This idea of multiples is SO overused these days.

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TheCrowbar

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#3  Edited By TheCrowbar

Honestly, I'm going to slap someone if the next Winter Soldier is an edgy female that just needs guidance.

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InnerVenom123

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#4  Edited By InnerVenom123

The teaser is pretty blatantly hinting at that possibility.

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Mister_Sensational

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@ahgunsillyo said:

I'd honestly rather have Bucky back from the dead (again) than have an army of Winter Soldiers.

I totally agree with you. Just when I was getting use to Bucky wielding the shield and Steve as the head of...well...SHIELD they go and kill Bucky off just to return to the status quo.

:

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ssejllenrad

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#6  Edited By ssejllenrad

I hate the idea of it...

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VinnyWeapons

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#7  Edited By VinnyWeapons

Not a fan of Captain America at all, but I hope they do this properly. There's huge potential to mess it up.

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feebadger

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#8  Edited By feebadger

I love the possibilities. If handled correctly then this could be an absolutely brilliant idea and story for Cap.

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Eyz

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#9  Edited By Eyz

Can't wait until we see multiple Captain Americas running around again.

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Or35ti

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#10  Edited By Or35ti

Not a fan of this idea yet, but we'll see in a couple days at New York.

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tbpinkfloyd

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#11  Edited By tbpinkfloyd

Could one of the agents be...TORO? We never really saw his death...

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Osiris1428

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#12  Edited By Osiris1428

Why can't Ed Brubaker do something interesting with Isaiah Bradley? He damn near tries to write him out of continuity. Steve doesn't even want to be Cap anymore, and if you can bring a man bad from the dead (again) I'm sure you can restore Isaiah's mind and write some good stories with him.

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GothamRed

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#13  Edited By GothamRed

maybe it'll be revealed that bucky was cloned and the one that came back in 2004 was a clone with supplanted memories and we'll get to meet the original here again

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fodigg

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#14  Edited By fodigg

If they say Bucky-Cap was a clone I will be disappoint.

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Timandm

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#15  Edited By Timandm

OF COURSE, Bucky will be back... ONLY UNCLE BEN STAYS DEAD....

So, whether it's a clone...

  1. Or a clone of a clone...
  2. Or the one that came back was the clone and now the REAL Bucky comes back...
  3. OR the one that came back was a clone, and the one that's going to come back NOW is a clone, and the real Bucky is still on ice somewhere.
  4. OR the first Bucky was a clone of a clone that was cloned from clones....

It just DOESN'T mater... IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!!! Because no matter how many times he dies, he will always come back... They all will. Death means NOTHING in the Marvel Universe. Well, it means a short vacation for the one that dies...

A few names to consider:

  1. Jean Grey
  2. Steve Rogers
  3. Nathan Summers
  4. Bucky Barnes
  5. Betsy Braddock
  6. Clint Barton
  7. Jack of Hearts
  8. Magneto
  9. Half of the X-Men
  10. All of Alpha Flight

The list goes on and on.... But what do they have in common? They have all died AT LEAST ONCE and come back... And they will KEEP coming back... So, the question is never "WILL" they come back... The question is WHEN will they come back and HOW? But even those questions aren't that interesting since the how is explained by some hokey STUPID mechanism like, "Oh that wasn't me, it was a clone" or "The body was switched at the instant before death."

It is pointless to feel bad for characters in the Marvel universe that die because they WILL COME BACK... And this clone, of a clone, of a clone thing.. It's so old and tired...

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movieartman

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#16  Edited By movieartman

@VinnyWeapons:

why are you not a fan of captain america?

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RedheadedAtrocitus

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Either it is old and fallen comrades of Rogers that will be the "other" sleepers, or they are clones of Bucky himself. Either way it can make for a rather cliche story line. Only way to make it interesting is if the sleepers are hardline ex-Soviet agents of KGB or something to give actual edge to the story that will be told. That would be my spin if I were to write this.

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Golden Cod

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#18  Edited By Golden Cod

I feel like they're going to use this as an opportunity to retcon other heroes' deaths. I'll laugh my butt off if this is how they bring back Dr. Druid.

@TheCrowbar said:

Honestly, I'm going to slap someone if the next Winter Soldier is an edgy female that just needs guidance.

Quoted for truth!

@Osiris1428 said:

Why can't Ed Brubaker do something interesting with Isaiah Bradley? He damn near tries to write him out of continuity. Steve doesn't even want to be Cap anymore, and if you can bring a man bad from the dead (again) I'm sure you can restore Isaiah's mind and write some good stories with him.

I want more Isaiah stories too. Maybe throw in Josiah X too.

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pgizinski

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#19  Edited By pgizinski

I would love to see a resurrected Bucky Barnes hunting down more Winter Soldiers.

It'd give him a purpose his spy type skills are set to manage. It'd be cool to see him working for Daisy or hell even Nick Fury.

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EnSabahNurX

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#20  Edited By EnSabahNurX

@TheCrowbar said:

Honestly, I'm going to slap someone if the next Winter Soldier is an edgy female that just needs guidance.

lmao i didn't even think that angle but i could totally see them doing it but it would be soo boring. Just make it bucky again, I don't want another character playing the same person, it happens too often to be interesting.

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Sammo21

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#21  Edited By Sammo21

Just go ahead and bring Bucky back. They totally wrote his death off and he was one of MARVEL's most interesting characters.

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MarvelMan1985

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#22  Edited By MarvelMan1985

I would really like to see Bucky back... I think he was brought back in a great way, and his 'second' death was way to easy and felled rushed. I feel like the writers wanted Bucky dead in time for the Captain America movie :(

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ReVamp

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#23  Edited By ReVamp

@InnerVenom123 said:

The teaser is pretty blatantly hinting at that possibility.

Hope that it's even more blatant than what G-Man is predicting. I want Bucky Back NOW!

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The Impersonator

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#24  Edited By The Impersonator

FOR GOODNESS SAKE! PLEASE LET THIS NOT BE ANOTHER EVENT! WE HAD ENOUGH EVENTS ALREADY!

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homeslice

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#25  Edited By homeslice

While I hope Bucky returns, I also hope that Steve has a major, interesting arc in this as well .

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VinnyWeapons

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#26  Edited By VinnyWeapons

@movieartman:

I don't really know what it is about him to be honest. I guess it's because he's always been a boy scout patriot type - plus I'm automatically against anyone who runs around in a bright blue suit with stars and stripes emblazoned across themselves. I also don't like it how (I could be wrong here, I haven't really been a consistent reader of Captain America) he seems to be able to best anyone in the Marvel Universe (exaggeration) just because he's the embodiment of America.

In saying all this, feel free to correct me on any of this, as I said, he's never much interested me as a character, so I haven't followed him extensively.

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_Zombie_

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#27  Edited By _Zombie_

Already against this very idea as it is, so they better do it damn near perfectly, or I'm going to be pretty upset with Marvel. Winter Soldier is one of my favorite characters, as is Bucky, and one of the best parts about Bucky was that inner struggle he had trying to come to terms with his deeds as WS. So while they did say that the other Winter Soldiers were never used, I'm still opposed to this idea. Way too much room to screw this up, and I'm beginning to tire of Marvel's nearly endless slew of teasers. The whole point of a teaser is to get people excited about something you're going to be doing, not to make them say "Oh look, another one.", kind of counter-productive.

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#28  Edited By SeanNOLA

Bucky did mention that he had trained other sleepers at some point. I bet they've had this idea since before Steve died. (Rogers....not Jobs....)

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christopherwalken

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Sleeping soldiers?

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TheBlueAngel93

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#30  Edited By TheBlueAngel93

Honestly if this were to be what happens, it would be an even bigger slap in the face for all of Bucky’s fans. The one problem with how Captain America #619 ended is that it ends with Bucky telling Black Widow that he knows about the other Russian super-soldiers and goes on about how he doesn’t care if he ends up being a fugitive and that his mission isn’t over as long as those nightmares he helped create are still out there. Brubaker left it off as if Bucky’s story wasn’t over, maybe his story as Captain America, but his whole story wasn’t over as he still had a purpose, a mission. And that’s how the issue ended, and then next thing we see Bucky back in his Cap uniform fighting Sin and then he dies, end of story.

That’s one of the many things I feel proves that Brubaker might have not totally wanted to kill Bucky off and that Marvel pretty much forced him into it because they wanted Steve carrying the shield again for the movie. Brubaker left it off as if he had more planned for Bucky but because of Fear Itself he was unable to do so because Marvel decided to kill him off.

Personally, I think Marvel may actually go this route and have Steve fight these other “Winter Soldiers” as a way to finish what his closes friend was never able to do. But my issue with this is, as a huge Bucky fan, his death was a slap in the face because it was ONLY so Steve could be wearing he flag again for the movie that he dead in the first place. So not only having Bucky killed off because of Steve, now having him fight the battle that was Bucky’s to fight would just make it another thing that Marvel decided to take away from Bucky's character and give to Steve instead…

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daredevil21134

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#31  Edited By daredevil21134

Poor Bucky

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Osiris1428

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#32  Edited By Osiris1428

@Golden Cod said:

I feel like they're going to use this as an opportunity to retcon other heroes' deaths. I'll laugh my butt off if this is how they bring back Dr. Druid.

@TheCrowbar said:

Honestly, I'm going to slap someone if the next Winter Soldier is an edgy female that just needs guidance.

Quoted for truth!

@Osiris1428 said:

Why can't Ed Brubaker do something interesting with Isaiah Bradley? He damn near tries to write him out of continuity. Steve doesn't even want to be Cap anymore, and if you can bring a man bad from the dead (again) I'm sure you can restore Isaiah's mind and write some good stories with him.

I want more Isaiah stories too. Maybe throw in Josiah X too.

Glad I'm not the only one. I could care less for Bucky.

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atdt

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#33  Edited By atdt

Bucky Barnes as Winter Soldiers was so cool. Marvel did a great job on that. Killing more of WS is bad idea instead have them inflitrated in SHIELD & then real story begins

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daredevil21134

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#34  Edited By daredevil21134

@Osiris1428 said:

@Golden Cod said:

I feel like they're going to use this as an opportunity to retcon other heroes' deaths. I'll laugh my butt off if this is how they bring back Dr. Druid.

@TheCrowbar said:

Honestly, I'm going to slap someone if the next Winter Soldier is an edgy female that just needs guidance.

Quoted for truth!

@Osiris1428 said:

Why can't Ed Brubaker do something interesting with Isaiah Bradley? He damn near tries to write him out of continuity. Steve doesn't even want to be Cap anymore, and if you can bring a man bad from the dead (again) I'm sure you can restore Isaiah's mind and write some good stories with him.

I want more Isaiah stories too. Maybe throw in Josiah X too.

Glad I'm not the only one. I could care less for Bucky.

WOW someone actually dosen't care for Bucky

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Sammo21

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#35  Edited By Sammo21

I know we all get stuck on this thing of "but we saw the future in this issue of 'x'", but that was just a possible future...just like in Batman and Spider-Man (remember the future where he was wearing a reversible jacket that turned into a new Spider-Man costume and he died at the hands of the police). I think in Captain America Reborn we just saw a potential future. True, MARVEL has given hints that it could be true with the robot stalkers in Iron Man and what happened in Fear Itself with the (a) Red Skull, but I don't think they are constrained by what they've done already.

Though the kids from future Earth in the first issues of the new Avengers series did mention that Bucky did something pretty terrible, so maybe this lines up with that. I'd like to see him bring some pride to the US Agent title or maybe even come back and take over as lead on Secret Avengers and the team become some spec op Avengers team.

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Antigonist

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#36  Edited By Antigonist

I honestly can't see this as, properly, a Steve Rogers story. The Winter Soldier was the one thing that belonged to Bucky proper, something he originated or something that was being originated for him. The tension with Bucky as Captain America was that he had the two legacies— one to live up to, and one to live down. Steve could understand the burden of being Captain America and take pleasure in seeing his friend conquer his demons, but he couldn't quite understand what those demons were, and why Bucky had to face them.

And so the revelations in Cap #619 were framed as something Bucky needed to take care of, for himself and for who he used to be. Finally, his own purpose.

So it would be a thing to have Steve do it all for him, though I suppose it would let him inhabit the same guilt all over again. I also can't imagine they'd need to launch another Captain America title to explore Bucky's past from Steve's POV. It's possible if this isn't some kind of Bucky resurrection ploy that it has something to do with Nick Fury. The foreshadowing in #619 had Nick in the picture, too.

It's astonishing though that Marvel made that red star so iconic of the Winter Soldier in such a small period of time, especially since he got a new arm not long after he first appeared. Even if this teaser turns out to have nothing to do with Winter Soldier, it's a lot of people's best guess. He really is well-liked.

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mistersarcastic

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#37  Edited By mistersarcastic

Or how about we just bring Bucky back. Screw this crap, gah!

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Paracelsus

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#38  Edited By Paracelsus

I'm not certain that Cap would make a good spy hunter- remember, like counter-terrorism nowadays, counter espionage calls for patience, sublety and tact- NOT the "wham, bang" of super heroics, besides, given that the Soviet Union has been defunct for twenty years this December, any "sleeper agents" will be pretty much comatose(ie become Americans in every sense)!

Terry

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