YMMV / Bucky Barnes

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Generally speaking, until Ed Brubaker came up with own Alternative Character Interpretation of Bucky as a wetworks-type operative who killed so Captain America wouldn't have to, Bucky was seen as a joke character by many. Most writers portrayed him as a joke character, a parody of 40s era teen sidekicks or as an overtly pure soul whose death served as a major source of angst for Captain America.
  • Author's Saving Throw: According to Ed Brubaker, a lot of people were pissed at the way Bucky died in Fear Itself #3, especially since it wasted a lot of the character development he'd put in for a character he had recently brought back from the dead. Cue Issue 7.1 where Brubaker reveals that he survived and that he'll be returning to the Winter Soldier identity in his own ongoing series in 2012.
  • Broken Base:
    • Not so much the character, but his actions at the end of Brubaker's run on Winter Soldier, where Bucky decides that no further effort should be make to restore Natasha's lost memories of him, without asking her what she wants. Fans are split between hating this and ignoring it, and not minding because he did it out of love.
    • In Bendis's New Avengers during Bucky's stint as Captain America, he encourages everyone on the team to pick up assault rifles. A fair take on the character, or Flanderization of him using a gun?
    • Whether or not the big changes made to his character in the films counts as Adaptation Decay.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: While not all that loved during his introduction, Bucky became one as the Winter Soldier, who went on to become a Breakout Character under Brubaker's pen. Him taking over as Captain America was so beloved that for a while, he remained Captain America while Steve Rogers operated without a codename. When it comes to the movie fandom, this got turned Up to Eleven after Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Bucky is currently one of the most popular characters in the MCU.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Calling Bucky a villain in the movie fandom. Notable because every single interview with Sebastian Stan includes a question like "What was it like to play a villain?" and Stan has gotten to the point where the question is visibly frustrating to him.
  • Fan Nickname: BuckyCap or Captain Bucky when he's under identity of Captain America.
  • Genius Bonus: His codename. While the in-story explanation is that he was kept on ice between missions, it also references the "Summer Soldier" described by Thomas Paine as one who shrinks from service in the time of hardship. The Winter Soldier is thus one who endures.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When Steve came back to life, Bucky assumed he would also return to being Captain America. We see him in his loft designing a new costume and identity, because he "doesn't want to go back to the whole Winter Soldier thing". Fast-forward to 2012, and sure enough, he's in a series literally titled Winter Soldier.
    • Harsher still, in All-New Invaders, he tells Namor and Jim that his name is Winter Soldier now, and "time we all got used to it."
    • The twist that Steve has been working for HYDRA the entire time means that Steve worked for the people that turned Bucky into the Winter Soldier.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Whenever an interviewer calls Winter Soldier a villain, Sebastian Stan disagrees. At first, he'd just give his own interpretation of Bucky as a victim of circumstance, albeit one who always had the potential, but as the Cap 2 press tours wore on, he's graduated to making exasperated faces. Then Avengers Assemble comes along, and Winter Soldier is a mostly-lucid, non-amnesiac, vengeful villain (albeit still willing to set his weapons on stun for Steve).
  • Ho Yay: With Steve, primarily in the MCU. While Steve/Bucky (or Stucky, as it is commonly known) does have some traction in the comics, it utterly pales in comparison to the huge amount in the MCU. Their Undying Loyalty to one another eventually became the most important overarching theme of the Captain America films. The amount of pain the two go through and the entire world seemingly intent on separating them, makes their relationship resemble a Forbidden Romance, which only a increased the pairing's popularity. At this point, Stucky is arguably the Fan-Preferred Couple of the MCU.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: Steve goes AWOL all on his lonesome to save Bucky, attacking a HYDRA base all by himself in the middle of enemy territory.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The programming of the Winter Soldier starts to break after seventy years, and that was after Steve said his name once. Steve, for his part, allows Bucky to beat the utter crap out of him, with the heavily implication that he'd let Bucky kill him, all because Bucky was his best friend and Steve would do anything for him.
    • Captain America: Civil War: Steve takes on the entire world for Bucky. That includes splitting up the Avengers, desecrating his name and legacy, and becoming a fugitive, all just to protect Bucky.
  • Iron Woobie: Bucky was orphaned at a young age, fought in one of the worst wars mankind has seen, lost limbs and his memory, was made to betray his country and act as an assassin for sixty years. When he began a relationship with a young Natalia Romanova, he got put in a jar. He eventually got his memories back and he saw his best friend killed. It got better after that, until he was hung out to die by his government, convicted for treason, extradited to Russia , and eventually faked his death.
  • Memetic Mutation: Bucky Bear, baby Captain America's closest companion in A-Babies vs X-Babies. Fans started making their own Bucky Bears and there's more than one photograph of Sebastian Stan posing with one.
  • My Real Daddy: Ed Brubaker all the way.
  • Relationship Sue: Ventolin Xtal from Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier has been hit with accusations of this. The comic plays up her relationship with Bucky as an epic, multiverse spanning romance, complete with the pair dreaming of each other, despite the fact they've only just met. Needless to say this has not gone over well with a lot of fans, particularly BuckyNat shippers.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Averted. Bucky's run as Captain America was so beloved that even after Steve's return, the fans still wanted a little bit more of him. It's somewhat notable that it seems expected he'll take over as Cap in the films, and pretty much all interviews with his actor, Sebastian Stan, tend to talk about the possibility of him doing so.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: He wasn't a Scrappy, but you'd be hard pressed to find Bucky fans ten years ago.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In Original Sin, it becomes apparent that Bucky wasn't very well-liked by anybody other than Steve and Natasha while he was a superhero. May be a case of Depending on the Writer, since this isn't shown anywhere else.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The art in Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier. Full Stop.
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