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.And then in 2006, 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 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.Played by Sebastian Stan in the live action films Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Voiced in the animated cartoon series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes by Scott Menville (Young Bucky) and Jon Curry (Winter Soldier).
Combat Pragmatist: Bucky is far quicker to resort to less dignified forms of fighting. Playing possum and then unloading a full clip in someone's face, pulling a woman's hair, whatever.
Dark Is Not Evil: For a time, after being released from his Soviet brainwashing, he continued to wear the same black leather costume he did as the Winter Soldier while working for Nick Fury and helping Cap from the shadows. Even his costume as Captain America contains more black than red-white-and-blue, but he's every bit as nice as Steve is.
Dead Sidekick: They used to say; "No one stays dead in comics except for Jason Todd, Uncle Ben and Bucky."
Now it's down to just Uncle Ben, as DC brought back Jason Todd at almost the exact same time Marvel brought back Bucky.
And even Uncle Ben was back for a short while during House of M...
Neuro Vault: In his last appearance as Captain America before his supposed second death it was revealed that the reason why he was extradited to Russia was because he had information on how to locate and activate a team of Deep Cover Agents much like the Winter Soldier subconsciously sealed in his mind, and the warden of his gulag had plans for this information.
The Avengers tie-ins show the members of the team, particularly Hawkeye to be rather affected by Bucky's death. Indeed, the final panel of the last Avengers tie-in has Steve tell the person interviewing him to dedicate the book in which his and the other Avengers' interviews will be compiled to Bucky's memory.
An earlier issue had the Avengers reacting with what amounted to "Yeah, Bucky was killed. You know who that royally bummed? Steve."
Genre Blind: To a level. He knows his way around a battlefield and how to handle a round shield, but having taken Steve's place as Captain America in the main Avengers team, he's pretty much ignorant of their Rogues Gallery (for example, in their first mission, despite Kang being a recurring foe of the Avengers, Bucky doesn't have the slightest idea who he is).
Kid Sidekick: Originally, but eventually subverted by the Ed BrubakerRetcon, which revealed him to be handpicked by the Army to accompany Cap and perform wetworks missions.
Legacy Character: After the "death" of the original during the Golden Age, the Bucky identity was briefly used by Fred Davis, Jack Monroe, Rick Jones, Lemar Hoskins, and Bucky's own Alternate Universe granddaughter Rikki Barnes.
Not Wearing Tights: Averted when he started out as Cap's sidekick, and during his stint as Captain America, but played straight (sort of, he wore a Domino Mask with his jumpsuit) during his time as the Winter Soldier. As the page picture shows, he's back to playing the trope straight again.
Posthumous Narration: This is what his monologues in his new series Captain America and Bucky are shaping up to be, until Marvel gives sufficient explanation as to how and why he's recounting his experiences in World War 2 after dying in Fear Itself
Finally explained , sort of, in Fear Itself 7.1, where it's revealed that he's Not Quite Dead, and will be returning to his Winter Soldier identity. As the Captain America and Bucky story eventually revealed, he was doing some catching up with his now-aged sister.
Red Baron: Nobody knew him by name when he was operating as the Winter Soldier, not even his own Soviet superiors.
Renegade Russian: Aleksander Lukin, CEO of Kronas. The discovery of the Winter Soldier's existence was due to Lukin recommissioning the Soldier after decades of Suspended Animation since the end of the Cold War to acquire the Cosmic Cube and enact a plan to use the Cube and Kronas to destroy the American economy from within. He is a protege of the Soviet officer who had Bucky brainwashed in the first place.
Retcon: Ed Brubaker's retooling of the Bucky character into a teen assassin, brainwashed into becoming a Soviet agent after secretly surviving World War 2, paving the way for his reintroduction into modern day comics is often hailed as one of the most well done Retcons in recent history.
Status Quo Is God: Pretty much the reason why he has faked his death and gone back to the Winter Soldier codename. It's all for Steve to return to his original role as Captain America to coincide with the 2011 movie.
Superhero Packing Heat: Justified as he's a thoroughly unpowered -though in good shape and well trained- hero going against Cap's still-powered rogues gallery.
Weak, but Skilled: Aside from his cybernetic arm, Bucky doesn't have much in the way of superhuman abilities, but he still manages to hold his own quite well against powered opponents, owing to his Combat Pragmatist tendencies.