10 Facts About The Winter Soldier
Most people fell in love with the Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014, but comic book fans have been falling in love with this character since his first appearance in Captain America #1 (January 2005). He was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and made his comic book debut in Captain America Comics #1 (December 1940). We all know that The Winter Soldier is actually just Steve Rodger's best friend, James Buchanan Barnes, who was thought to be dead since his "demise" during WWII. But how well do you actually know this character? Here are 10 fun facts about Bucky and his alter ego that you may not already know!
Bucky actually has a younger sister named Rebecca Barnes
When Bucky was just 10 years old he tragically lost both of his parents. This caused he and his sister to be separated. Rebecca was sent to a boarding school, and Bucky was allowed to stay at Camp Lehigh, where his father had good standing, and where he would soon be old enough to fight in the war. In a pocket reality, Rebecca is actually known as Rebecca "Rikki" Barnes and becomes a hero reborn. You can read more about her journey here.
2. Bucky met Steve on a military base
Unlike the movies, Bucky met Steve when he was already a hero. Bucky was still a young kid on base, and he walked in on Steve changing into his Captain America uniform. Sworn to secrecy, he became a sidekick to the super soldier and helped free Nazi prisoners on his first mission to defeat the Red Skull.
3. The Winter Soldier's wartime ally was Logan a.k.a Wolverine
Bucky and Wolverine have a tainted past in the comics. The Winter Soldier was ordered to kill Logan's wife, Itsu, for unknown reasons nearly killing their unborn child. Although it's later revealed that Bucky helped Logan escape from the Weapon X program, although it's still not enough for Wolverine to forgive him.
4. The Winter Soldier fell in love with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow
Arguably one of the most popular love stories in Marvel Comic history is between Bucky and Natasha. They originally met in 1954 at the Red Room Academy where The Winter Soldier was on site to help train new recruits. They fell in love and although Natasha was already promised to another suitor, she loved Bucky more. However, like most Assassin + Assassin relationships, their love did not last. They often have an off again/on again relationship in the comics, with Bucky protecting Natasha from the shadows.
5. Bucky Barnes becomes Captain America
I know we mostly all know this one, but it's still super important.
After the "murder" of Steve Rodgers, the world needed a new Captain America. Bucky took on the mantle even though there was much backlash due to his terroristic past. During his time as Captain America he was often aided by Sam Wilson a.k.a The Falcon, he received an upgraded suit from Tony Stark, and was even the leader of the Avengers during the historical comic book event Secret Invasion. When Steve Rodgers reappeared, Bucky insisted on returning the shield to him. It wasn't until after Steve witnessed Bucky in battle, and saw how much he has grown as a hero, that he respectfully returned the shield to him and gave him his blessing to carry on with the Captain America mantle.
6. Bucky returned to his Winter Soldier identity after nearly being killed.
Bucky gave up the shield in 2012's Fear Itself comic. He nearly died in battle against the Serpent. He was saved by the Infinity Formula, given to him by Nick Fury.
7. The Winter Soldier was a member of The Thunderbolts
Marvel's Thunderbolts are a team of reformed super-criminals. Originally, the team was created by Baron Zemo for a master evil plan of his, but the team later transformed themselves and became a true force for good.
Bucky joined the Thunderbolts after some time. But he first met them once he was taken into their custody to protect him from an evil plan conducted by Norman Osborn to kill him. The Thunderbolts told him that he could be officially inducted into their group once Steve Rodgers was officially brought back to life.
8. Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier is not really a Super Soldier
One big difference from the MCU's adaption of Bucky compared to the comics is the fact the Bucky was not enhanced by Hydra. Bucky is not considered a super soldier in the comics like he is in the MCU. Instead, like I mentioned before, Bucky gained his later super human abilities from the Infinity Formula at the hand of Nick Fury. However, Bucky is still a skilled assassin with all of those abilities that fit the bill. He also has cybernetic physiology thanks to his bionic arm.
9. Bucky has a pet cat named Alpine
Alpine is a sweet white cat that Bucky adopts in Winter Soldier Vol. 2 #1 in December of 2018. He was created by Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis.
They live together in Shelbyville, Indiana but Bucky normally takes Alpine with him wherever he goes (when it's safe of course).
Alpine has only appeared in 4 comics so far in Marvel history, but he has won the hearts of all the fans!
10. The name "The Winter Soldier" derives from a writing by Thomas Paine
The American revolutionary wrote: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman"
- The American Crisis (1776)
As you can see, the fan favorite character played by Sebastian Stan in the MCU has a lot of differences from his comic book origins. I personally think this only makes the character more interesting and mysterious, just as he is truly intended to be. Throughout the years, in both comics and films, this character has grown and evolved into a person that most fans can relate to. This is what makes Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier so popular. Sebastian Stan does a great job of bringing him to life in the MCU, especially in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series on Disney+. He and Anthony Mackie's (Falcon) chemistry on screen in unbeatable. We as fans can only hope to see more justice be done for this character, and to see him continue to evolve in the future.
If you want to learn more about The Winter Soldier, check out these great comics and stream his collection of films on Disney+!