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.