During Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we witnessed the Winter Soldier do everything from attempt to eliminate Nick Fury to go head to head with Captain America, destroy Falcon's flight suit to be recognized by Steve Rogers as his long lost best friend, Bucky Barnes. There's quite a lot of time that's passed since we last saw Bucky Barnes fall to his demise during World War II, though, and much of it was pure evil. We don't blame Barnes for the work that Winter Soldier did and we get that the pure evil came straight from HYDRA and not from charming Bucky himself, but that doesn't change the fact that Steve's BFF has a lot on his conscience to unpack, both as the man finally allowed to exist outside of cryotasis as well as T'Challa's White Wolf.
To be fair, most of Barnes' time in the decades since Rogers last saw him was spent frozen in suspended animation, so it's not like he was running a muck causing chaos every day. But that doesn't change the fact that he performed many evil acts against his will that will forever impact his life, as we've witnessed in Civil War. Bucky may be able to live as "normal" a life as superheroes are allowed but he's bound to suffer some major wrath from the families of his victims as well as intense personal demons, likely even PTSD, as he recovers his memories.
From stealing weapons to stealing lives, here are the 20 Most Wicked Things Bucky Did Between First Avenger And Winter Soldier.
20 A Ton Of Property Damage
This is something that even the best of superheroes does, and between this fact and his mind control, we can't truly fault Winter Soldier for the massive amounts of property damage. Still, many heroes are able to express remorse for the damages they've done, which is at the heart of Captain America: Civil War. The Winter Soldier has no ability to feel remorse as an active HYDRA operative, since his consciousness is wiped before he's frozen in time, rendering him unable to remember, let alone assess his own actions.
The property damage may not be as wicked as the other terrible acts attributed to the Winter Soldier, but plenty of people experienced pain as a result of the damage.
19 Took Out Wolverine's Wife
If there's one mutant among the X-Men you don't want to mess with, his name rhymes with Pulverine. While it's not one of the worst things that the Winter Soldier did in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his canon actions in the comics include him taking out one of Wolverine's wives, a woman called Itsu Akihiro. Years later Barnes revealed that the attack on Itsu was a complete Women in Refrigerator moment to draw Wolverine out, wasting her life just to trap the mutant because that's often the only purpose that girlfriends and wives have in comic books (particularly and thankfully older comics books).
Of course, Itsu served another purpose in bringing Logan's terrible and villainous child Daken to the world, which ended super well.
18 Became Captain America's Dark Counterpart
Many point out the differences between Bucky and Cap, such as the fact that their missions are just as polar opposite as their masks. Cap's covers his face, leaving his mouth revealed, while the Winter Soldier's mask does the opposite, displaying how little say he has in his existence. There are also many parallels between Steve Rogers as Captain America and Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier. Both best friends were enhanced to be used as weapons and both were frozen in time, which required them to adapt to a new, rapidly changing world.
Staying unnaturally young without his memories, however, made the Winter Soldier much easier to manipulate by HYDRA, causing him to complete acts without remorse and become the agent of violence we've all seen.
17 Stole Weapons
In Captain America: Winter Soldier, we witness the operative steal weapons in order to carry out his mission, and can assume that he's done this many times in the last 50 years. In fact, it stands to reason that the Winter Soldier often found obtained weapons at a crime scene while disarming his enemies, using them as "found weapons" against his opponents.
Once again, this parallels with heroes who manage to do the same thing in the face of danger. Even if the intent differs, that doesn't change the fact that heroes have more in common with villains than we often believe.
16 Was The First Winter Soldier
Bucky had zero control over HYDRA's actions after they located his broken body, conducted experiments on him, and turned him into a cold-blooded operative whose only compensation was memory erasure and a lot of long naps. That doesn't change the fact that he was the first Winter Soldier, pioneering a dangerous and effective HYDRA program that resulted in many lost lives.
What's incredibly sad about this is that it's the opposite of everything Bucky stands for. He joined the military to combat evil, and is as heroic as Steve in his own way. Once Bucky realizes what he's done, the pain he felt must have been unimaginable.
15 Stole Super Soldier Serum From Howard Stark
While the Winter Soldier has done much worse to the Stark family than steal, that doesn't change the fact that he was tasked with acquiring the Super Soldier Serum from Howard Stark, used whatever means necessary to steal it, and provided HYDRA with the means of creating more super soldiers like himself.
This wasn't only an act of theft but of dangerous theft, as the serum is a perilous substance which, obviously, can do great damage when it falls into the wrong hands or is used on the wrong subjects, both of which the Winter Soldier made possible. Not only that, but do you recall what Johann Schmidt said to Arnim Zola regarding the solution? "His serum is the Allies' only defense against this power we now possess." That makes HYDRA's acquisition of the compound even more troubling.
14 Broke the Cosmic Cube
When Bucky discovers that he's been an agent of HYDRA all this time, it's understandable that he might experience great distress. While the Winter Soldier was stealing the Cosmic Cube, Captain America, desperate for his friend to recover his own lost identity, decided to use the Tesseract on him, freeing him from the mind control that he'd been under for so many decades.
This obviously caused Bucky a great deal of stress and in his rage, he crushed the cube, which seemed to destroy it. It's an act that can't be attributed to him being Winter Soldier anymore, since the Soviet programming was undone, but it's under intense emotional strain. The cube still worked, however, as it transported him across space and time to his old military base.
13 Served as The Fist Of HYDRA
Serving as the "Fist" of any organization implies being the brute muscle of that agency. That's exactly what the Winter Soldier was known for as he carried out each order from HYDRA, effectively and permanently punching out the organization's enemies with effective, if sometimes a bit sloppy, brute force.
"Fist of Hydra" isn't Bucky's only moniker; he's also known as The Asset, a ghost, Prisoner #56898, Soldat, the Manchurian Candidate, and a few other nicknames, but it's the New Fist of HYDRA that really delineates who he's become. In fact, Zola informs him, "Sergeant Barnes... the procedure has already started. You are to be the new fist of HYDRA!" just before he becomes the Winter Soldier.
12 Trained Other Winter Soldiers
Not all of the Winter Soldier's work was as direct as taking lives and attacking other countries. Some of the worst things that he's done were behind-the scenes, including training other Winter Soldiers. HYDRA used a serum that's very similar to the Super Soldier Serum responsible for Captain America's abilities, which is part of why the pair are generally so evenly matched.
While James "Bucky" Buchanan was the first Winter Soldier, he was far from the last, and one of his duties for HYDRA was not only to acquire the serum in order to create more soldiers but also to train the soldiers personally until they were able to beat him in combat.
11 Took Out Politicians
In the comic books, the Winter Soldier is famous for taking out a number of influential people and political figures-- some of them even real politicians! While he's obviously not the true culprit of any actual conspiracy theories, the operative's missions against key politicians are no surprise to any fans of Marvel comics. Many comics feature a politician being threatened, particularly after being at the helm of some controversial legislation, and requiring protection from heroes that the leader often doesn't even like.
HYDRA sending their violent puppet after any political figure who might stand in their way, or to use him to frame others for the loss of a politician, is certainly wicked, but not surprising in the least.
10 Eliminated top Scientists
While attacks on politicians seem pretty mainstream for an operative like the Winter Soldier, he was also sent after scientists who posed threats to HYDRA's missions. As they are not public figures like politicians, it was even easier for the Winter Soldier to maintain his ghostlike presence on these missions.
Of course, no one deserves to be taken out by an assassin, and a single scientist could be even more influential on society than a plethora of politicians, especially if that scientist were privy to military, medical, or technological advances that might help the government fight HYDRA.
9 Became A "Ghost Story" To Intelligence Agencies
To become so elusive that not even the Black Widow or any number of intelligence agencies can track you down is something only a top-level operative could pull off, but that's exactly what the Winter Soldier did. Natasha reveals this information to Cap when she says she knows who took out Fury: "Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. The ones that do call him the Winter Soldier."
People like this pose the biggest threats. It's not just the quiet ones you have to watch out for; it's the ones who are so sneaky and efficient that they can't be detected, largely because they are otherwise frozen in a glass container in between missions, that are the biggest threat to society.
8 Trained Niko Constantin In The Wolf Spider Ops Program
The Winter Soldier's training experience wasn't limited to the other Winter Soldiers. In fact, it's comics canon that he and Black Widow were not only an item but that he trained her during her time in the Red Room, which is how their relationship developed. The Winter Soldier was also the trainer of Niko Constantin in the Wolf Spider Ops Program, the male equivalent of the Red Room.
Constantin was the only trainee in the program, and while the Winter Soldier's training helped him become an efficient soldier, no one in the program could control the man's volatile behavior, which led to the scrapping of the Wolf Spider Ops.
7 Planned To Eliminate Nick Fury
There are plenty of deeds that the Winter Soldier has carried out that we probably won't even know about until later in his comic series, but we do know from his eponymous film that he planned to eliminate S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. He was under the impression that he'd succeeded in his mission, too, since Fury's always been adept at faking his own demise.
While the actual attempt on Fury's life did occur during the events of the Winter Soldier film, the preparations for the attack were obviously carried out immediately prior to it. There may have been additional wicked acts that the HYDRA agent executed prior to this mission in order to carry it out as well.
6 Sent Black Widow And A Nuclear Scientist Over A Cliff
During Captain America: Winter Soldier, Black Widow reveals much of the information we know about the Winter Soldier in the MCU. One of the details she shares about this ghostlike criminal is that he was sent to take out a nuclear engineer whom she had been tasked with keeping safe. During the mission, the Winter Soldier demonstrated how he has no cares regarding collateral damage, since he shot out their tires near Odessa, sending the pair over a cliff.
The fact that the Winter Soldier was able to even able to get to someone who had Romanoff's protection is astounding, but so is Natasha telling Cap that going after the Winter Solier is useless. She's the kind of person who can get to anyone and her inability to find the Winter Soldier drives home the danger he presents.
5 Shot Black Widow to get to his target
The Winter Soldier had a thing with Black Widow that was much more real and relevant than her ties to Bruce Banner. Like many of Natasha's exes, the Winter Soldier also attacked her, nearly offing her in the process. To take out the same scientist we just mentioned, the mind-controlled HYDRA puppet took whatever opportunity he had in the moment to complete his mission: in this case, that meant shooting right through Black Widow's stomach in order to hit the doctor.
Not only does this prove that the Winter Soldier will do anything to carry out his orders, but that he coldly and callously does not recognize a person who was so important to him. The history may not be there, given that it's an MCU moment rather than a comic arc, but it's still pretty scary.
4 He Offed Nick Fury's Love
Nick Fury isn't an innocent man. Like many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, he's committed his own wicked deeds that end up backfiring back onto him. That doesn't mean he deserved any of the attacks aimed at him by HYDRA, nor did his love and stellar field agent La Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. The worst thing about the Winter Soldier's attack on Fontaine was the disservice it did to her memory.
On Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Fury recalls the loss of several "good men" during a mission against the Winter Soldier, and the loss of the character is portrayed in a random flashback without any goodbye or honoring of her character. Adding her to the episode only to off her was an insult to the agent.
3 Destroyed The Starks
One of the most evil acts that the Winter Soldier has ever carried out is the one that any Marvel Cinematic Universe fan already knows and mourns. Watching Bucky coldly take out Howard and Maria Stark without mercy or remorse was one of the hardest things fans have had to endure over over a decade of Marvel movie goodness. Many fans found themselves siding with Tony in his thirst for revenge, despite knowing that Bucky was never in control of his actions and often did not even recall them due to the the constant memory tampering and cryogenic freezing that he endured over the years.
If anything, we should sympathize with Bucky just as much as with Tony after witnessing Bucky being used and abused as an unwitting agent of HYDRA.
2 International fear tactics
While we could argue night and day regarding whether or not the Avengers with good intentions are actually criminals due to their deeds, which was the entire reason the Marvel Civil War came about, there are several Avengers who have undoubtedly been foreign criminal agents, and one of those is the Winter Soldier. While under the control of Arnim Zola and HYDRA, he carried out international attacks that not only left people completely terrified, but also resulted in loss of life.
In the comic books, in particular, the Winter Soldier's wicked activities are easy to find. The horrible fire bombing of Philadelphia under the orders of General Lukin is one prime example of his aggressive fear tactics.
1 Completed Over Two Dozen Eliminations In 50 Years
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow informs us that the Winter Soldier has been responsible for over two dozen terminations in the past 50 years. Obviously he was able to execute so many missions due to his residence in the cryotasis chamber we've seen, as the machine maintains a body temperature of absolute zero and holds each person suspended in time and animation.
It's quite likely that the Winter Soldier completed many more such crimes over the years that we don't even know anything about due to his ghostlike status and how little anyone, including multiple intelligence agencies, knew of him throughout his decades of activity. His dark deeds continue to follow him to this day, from the MCU to his own Winter Soldier Marvel comic.
What other wicked things did Bucky Barnes get up to before Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Let us know in the comments!