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Off My Mind: Bucky Barnes and Espionage in the Marvel Universe

There are some threats that need to be taken care of discretely.

Bucky Barnes isn't the man he used to be. He was once a teenage sidekick thrust upon Captain America during World War II. Captain America was the only Super Soldier and readers were meant to believe that an average kid could put on a costume and fight evil along his side. He lost his life doing what he believed in, trying to save the world.

Bucky was later given a little update. He wasn't just an average kid living on an Army base. He had some actual training that made him better suited to face the threats he did. After his death, he was programmed and rebuilt to be a weapon of the Russian government. As the Winter Soldier, he was a cold and deadly tool, kept in suspended animation between missions and training sessions.

Bucky eventually found his freedom. Came to terms with what he had been forced to do and even filled in for Captain America. He seemingly gave his life again during the Asgardian battle in FEAR ITSELF. Now able to operate unbeknownst to the general populace, he continues his mission of fighting the evil forces of the world. This is exactly what the Marvel Universe needs to see more of.

== TEASER ==

The idea of spies are cool. As comic book readers, most of us love the idea of heroes in tights and capes. But spies get to be sneaky. They can go where the heroes can't in order to kick the butts of the bad guys. Superheroes may often have secret identities and dual lives but it's not on the same level that spies deal with.

Because the Marvel Universe (and comic books in general) are rooted more in fantasy, the opportunity for hidden agendas increases exponentially. Supervillains sometimes keep their plans secret until they're ready to unleash them but they often announce them to the world. That shouldn't always be the case. With the variety of evil in comics and the tools they have available to hatch their schemes, there would be no doubting that a lot is going on beneath the surface.

In the pages of WINTER SOLDIER, Bucky and Black Widow are trying to track down three sleeper agents. These aren't just average soldiers they're looking for. Just as Bucky was an extremely dangerous tool as the Winter Soldier, these sleeper agents from the Zephyr program are deadly in their own right. With Bucky having trained them while under his captor's programming, the sleeper agents are that much more dangerous.

One of the agents is used in an assassination attempt on Doctor Doom while at the Latverian Embassy in New York. The idea of sending an agent to try to assassinate Doom is almost absurd. But there clearly is more to it than a simple assassination attempt. There is more going on than it seems. It's this sort of thing that makes espionage necessary.

Nick Fury is the master of subterfuge. He is the #1 super-spy in the Marvel Universe. It was his careful planning that allowed his survival before and after the Skrull's Secret Invasion. He has the foresight to ensure he was always prepared.

As one of the few that knows Bucky is still alive, he could prove an asset to Bucky and continue to be one to the world. He has the years of experience, the connections and the determination to rid the world of the evil bad guys.

Captain America, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, etc are all heroes but they also act as symbols. Their flashy presence gives assurance to the populace that they can be safe when a threat arrives. Flashiness and throwing super-powered punches isn't enough to always save the day.

It's hard to say how long Bucky's current mission will last. He has three sleeper agents he's trying to track down. They have already started resurfacing and Bucky and Black Widow are getting closer to finding them. The hunt could continue for several issues but if he can wrap things up soon, he should continue this method of operation. With the world believing he's dead, that gives him the perfect cover and freedom to operate.

Bucky and Black Widow are the perfect team in dealing with secret threats. They have both had training from different governments that gives them an edge in dealing with the enemy. They aren't operating in the hopes of being heroes to the world. They are simply concerned with getting the job done, unseen.

Besides secret sleeper agents, there has to be more deadly and unknown threats in the Marvel Universe. Proper protocol might not allow the average superhero to waltz into a foreign country and stop the bad guys. Sometimes the rules need to be bent or even broken. The Marvel Universe needs more spies. We know there are more than enough covert agencies out there operating and up to no good. We can only hope that after Bucky deals with the Zephyr program, Fury will find some more secret missions for Bucky and Natasha to go on.

Posted by LB70145

I like where Bucky is going despite the "death" they had him go through to get there.

Posted by Mercy_

I love this book so damn much. Brubaker is one of my favorites and this doesn't disappoint.

Posted by VioletPhoenix

You gotta love a solid book, especially one that looks like it'll only get better every issue

Posted by Swiffer

@LB70145 said:

I like where Bucky is going despite the "death" they had him go through to get there.

I agree with this guy. At first I was all "awh they killed Bucky again" then I was like "What they hell they brought Bucky back again...already!" but now I'm cool with it

Posted by Lvenger

Whatever happened to those video editions of 'Off My Mind' G-Man? I really liked those ones. Anyway, Brubaker is a brilliant writer who has a terrific handle on Bucky's character so can always write great stories involving him. The covert edge to these tales is perfectly suited to Bucky's character and Brubaker's style so this book can only go on getting better.

Posted by blur1528

I would have liked to see Bucky die in the Gulag right as Black Widow was getting there opposed to him dying in Fear Itself.

Posted by WildValentine

@blur1528 said:

I would have liked to see Bucky die in the Gulag right as Black Widow was getting there opposed to him dying in Fear Itself.

TRAGEDY. Wow, that would be heart wrenching, especially for Natasha.

Edited by WintersSoldier

art work just gave me a headache, please fix

Posted by thanosrules

This is a fantastic series so far and I can only see it getting better. I think the espionage aspects of it really play out nicely with the parts of the Marvel U it is set. It is fun to see this type of story in all the familiar places we always see the usual super-heroics.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Make this into a movie now!

Posted by Sammo21

@LB70145: yeah, but to set up this type of story arc...I don't see how else they could have done it.

Posted by skaarason

later on id like to see him on the secret avengers 

Posted by frozenedge

I was really pissed Bucky "died again" but when it was really just a plan to allow him to do uncover work, I was excited because now he could go back to being the Winter Soldier and kick some uncover ass again

Posted by VenomMelendez

@blur1528: You mean fake his death in the Gulag.

Posted by The Impersonator

@Doctor!!!!! said:

Make this into a movie now!

Edited by Eonidas

Marvel's Nightwing

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Spies really are a wonderful factor in the world of comics. With regard to Bucky, I so want to try this now from what I've seen.


Brubaker is one of the best writer.I own most of this book(sleeper,criminal,incognito,iron fist,fatale,etc...) and I love them all.


I don't read this comic but from what people are saying it sounds really good. I like the fact that were invited to see the marvel universe from a differnet point of view. instead of surface bad guy trying to take over and superhero or herione stops him. besides most of the best stuff happens without public knowledge anyway.

Posted by Paracelsus

Does this mean that we will see more of those heroes/heroines who are trained to operate covertly as spies(or "intelligence officers" if you want to be formal) like Seraph or Airstrike(I'm already writing anovel about them in which they team up with Captain America)?


Posted by Titus_Groan

For someone who has been out of comics for a while, where would I need to start to read Bucky's return to the present? Mostly, Captain America?

Posted by ThexX

@Titus_Groan: The Best place to start for Modern Bucky is Captain America: Winter Soldier Story Arc. And then just continue to read CAptain America. And also start to read The Winter Soldier Series out right now

Posted by BlackWidowBoy

So far I must say I'm enjoying the Winter Soilder book more than I expected. I worked at a comic shop for a couple of years back durring many of the marvel major crossover events that were going on including the Death Of Cap. I heard fantastic things of the Bucky's run as Cap and enjoyed his appearences in books i was reading at the time. though most Obviously i'm appreciative of the partnership that has been displayed between he and The Widow. I enjoy picking up any book she's in although it does make a serious differences when she written seriously as opposed to a thrown in to a team because of all the cross promotional material for the movies.

But how does everyone else feel about this Dr. Doom filler and again why is he everywhere right now? And I'd really love it if someone could tell me when and where Nick Fury began acting like...well Nick Fury, and what agency are they all working for? Is SHIELD back or is it just, i dont know, "we'll get to that stuff after this AvX thing is over"