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Warning: This page contain unmarked spoilers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read at your own risk.
The Winter Soldier: Who the hell is Bucky?Excellent question!James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes is a Marvel Comics character. He first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (March, 1941), created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Bucky was originally the camp mascot at the base where Steve Rogers, the first Captain America was stationed, and when he stumbled upon Steve changing out of the costume, Steve was forced to take him on as a sidekick. Bucky's wartime adventures would come to an end when he and Captain America tried to sabotage a drone bomb bound for the US. While Captain America survived and plunged into the icy waters of the Arctic to be discovered decades later by The Avengers, Bucky was thought dead when the drone bomb exploded with him on board. His death continued to haunt Captain America after the latter's revival in the present.In 2004, Ed Brubaker started writing a new volume of Captain America, and the way the world saw Bucky was changed forever. While once viewed as a joke of a character, he was retconned to be a 17 year-old highly-trained commando assigned by the Army to be Captain America's sidekick to counter the Hitler Youth, but also to serve as a covert assassin, performing operations that Captain America himself could never be seen doing; what was initially believed to be his origin was simply a cover story cooked up by the Army press. Instead of dying due to the drone, he instead lost his left arm and a fair chunk of his memory. He survived submersion in the Atlantic Ocean only to be later picked up by a Russian submarine hoping to rescue Cap for the Allies. While he'd lost memories of his life experiences, he retained skills honed through instinct, including his combat training and several languages, and was thus molded into a Soviet assassin as sort of a sick joke by a humiliated Russian officer. As The Winter Soldier, he went on to become a legend of the Cold War, performing acts of terrorism and sabotage on US soil under Soviet orders.Bucky eventually regained his memories, and has since spent his days trying to atone for his sins as the Winter Soldier; working for Nick Fury, and following Steve's death, serving as Captain America himself and as a member of The Avengers.For a long time, it was fondly accepted among comic book fans that Bucky was one of the few comic book characters that actually stayed dead, along with Jason Todd and Uncle Ben. Since Jason also took a rain check on the Grim Reaper about the same time Bucky did, well...
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