Winter Soldier has had a long and roundabout history in the Marvel universe. As Bucky Barnes, he has been portrayed as everything from a bright-faced teenager to suave soldier. As Winter Soldier, he has played the role of an evil assassin, and one of an avenging hero.
Bucky Barnes has been fighting alongside Captain America for almost the hero’s whole existence, and his presence is synonymous with Cap’s.
His demise and reanimation by Hydra in the movies and by the Soviets in the comics was a suprising move that flew in the face of Marvel tradition — it had been said that Bucky was one of the only characters in the Marvel universe that would never come back.
As one of the Marvel universe’s most beloved anti-heroes and sidekicks, Winter Soldier will always hold a special place in the hearts of Marvel fans. However, there’s a lot that people don’t know about him, and a lot that they tend to get wrong.
There are many things about Bucky Barnes that are not obvious at first glance, but a little digging reveals the truth behind the misconceptions.
Without further ado, here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Winter Soldier.
20 He’s Always Hated Tony Stark
Tony Stark and Winter Soldier always seem to find themselves on opposite sides. They face off in Captain America: Civil War when they fall on opposite sides of the inter-Avengers conflict, and they come to blows in the comic book universe as well.
Tony Stark certainly has a very valid reason for hating Winter Soldier. After all, it was the brainwashed fighter that made him an orphan all those years ago.
However, while Winter Soldier wasn’t thinking straight (he was brainwashed at the time) when he eliminated the Starks, he’s certainly no fan of Tony’s.
In the comic book canon, Bucky Barnes takes up the mantel of Captain America after Steve Rodgers’ supposed passing, but he blames Stark for Rodgers’ demise in the first place because Rodgers was in S.H.E.I.L.D custody when the Red Skull orchestrates his assassination.
19 He Doesn’t Just Help Captain America — He Becomes Him
After Captain America’s assassination, Winter Soldier takes up the shield and dons Steve Rodgers’ iconic stars and stripes. However, he is a very different kind of captain than Rodgers was during his tenure.
Where Rodgers was generally a man who put his country and loyalties first, when Bucky Barnes steps into his role, he swears to be an independent agent and doesn’t answer to S.H.E.I.L.D., Tony Stark, or any other kind of higher authority.
While Barnes’ approach is unorthodox, it’s hard to argue with his results.
He stops attempted hits on two presidential candidates, stops the Red Skull from placing a puppet in high office, and helps fight off an alien invasion by the villainous Super-Skrulls.
18 His Relationship With Black Widow Happened When He Was Brainwashed
Natasha Romanoff and Bucky Barnes have had a long and complicated past, and they have been involved romantically on several occasions.
When Barnes was brainwashed by the Soviet Union and Romanoff was an agent as well, they were attracted to one another but their relationship could never be.
While Romanoff was interested in Barnes, she had been brainwashed into falling for a fighter pilot so that their relationship could be used as propaganda.
However, when she slipped out of her brainwashed state, she would return to being attracted to Barnes.
There was another problem, though — when Bucky wasn’t on a mission, he was preserved in cryogenic stasis. It’s a little hard to have a relationship with someone who spends most of their life frozen in a tube.
17 He Didn’t Have A Very Good Upbringing
Winter Soldier has been through a lot. Even before his brainwashing by Hydra and his conflicts with both good and evil characters in the Marvel universe, he had to deal with growing up without his parents.
Barnes' father was in the army, and he perished in a training exercise. Bucky spent his time around army bases, being taken care of by the soldiers he was surrounded by.
While it was obviously a tragedy that Barnes was an orphan, his upbringing taught him a lot about the army.
When it came time for him to enlist, he knew what he was getting into and already knew a lot about army life. Because of this, he became one of the best soldiers in the military.
16 He Was Always In Cryogenic Stasis When He Isn’t On A Mission
Winter Soldier may be one of the most dangerous assassins in the world, but he doesn’t get out much.
Similar to how Captain America was preserved in ice and didn’t age between World War II and modern day, Winter Soldier is kept ready for years of devious missions for Hydra by being placed in cryogenic stasis whenever he isn’t on a mission.
While this process keeps Winter Soldier from growing old and helps him retain his effectiveness in combat, it can’t be easy for him to flash in and out of time like that. Winter Soldier is often seen as looking very disoriented, and this has to be a big reason why. Imagine how you’d feel if every time you opened your eyes months had passed.
15 His Bionic Arm Does More Than Give Him Super Strength
Winter Soldier’s bionic arm is an incredibly effective prosthesis.
Likely made of either titanium or vibranium, Winter Soldier’s arm is very strong and very heavy, and therefore it takes a very powerful person to wield it.
The arm has also been given the ability to reload weapons automatically at incredible speeds. At other times in the comic book canon, Winter Soldier’s arm has become a flamethrower and emitted bolts of electricity.
While the arm is incredibly powerful, it’s also unwieldy, leaving Bucky vulnerable to lighter, quicker opponents.
However, good luck beating him in a battle of strength. Winter Soldier is known as one of the best fighters in the MCU, and his bionic arm is a big part of it.
14 He Isn’t One-Of A Kind
While fans of Winter Soldier may feel like there’s nobody else like him, he’s actually one of many soldiers who were treated with Super Soldier Serum that Bucky stole from the Starks.
In fact, these other super soldiers are far more powerful than Bucky.
To begin with, they start off already the best of the best, which means that they don’t even need the serum to be effective.
Once they’ve been given the serum, one of them easily beats Bucky in hand-to-hand combat.
However, there’s a downside to the serum used on new soldiers — it makes them highly aggressive and unstable.
Eventually, the new super soldiers revolt against their guards which allows Bucky to survive — he may be brainwashed, but when he’s not on a mission, at least he’s under control.
13 He Didn’t Survive His Fall From The Train
If you have a hard time believing that Bucky managed to survive a drop of hundreds of feet from a moving train, that's understandable.
In fact, it’s unclear if Bucky did survive the fall at all.
While in the movies it’s made to seem like Bucky survived and was found by Hydra, in the comics it’s more likely that he perished in the fall, but his body was preserved by the cold until Hydra was able to reanimate him.
His reanimation makes sense because it also led to amnesia — for a long time he couldn’t remember who he was before he fell.
Lucky for Captain America and the rest of the Avengers, Bucky eventually remembers his backstory and returns to the fold.
12 He Is Not A Good Guy
While Winter Soldier eventually ends up on the side of the Avengers and many other famous heroes, it’s surprising that he was given a second chance after all of the crimes he committed.
For starters, he carries out an attack on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in which hundreds perish. He also kidnaps Sharon Carter and takes out the Stark family.
While he is framed for the bombing of the U.N. in Avengers: Civil War, it’s not surprising that he was a suspect. Even though he was brainwashed when he committed those crimes, there are still a lot of people who don’t want to see him on the street.
Winter Soldier is an anti-hero who will always be running from his past.
11 His Bionic Arm Doesn’t Need To Be Attached To Him To Function
The bionic arm given to Bucky by Hydra has many hidden powers, but most impressively, it doesn’t even need to be attached to his body in order to function.
This fact makes sense given that that the arm has many additional powers, including reloading Bucky’s weapons automatically.
It must be quite a bonus in combat to have an arm that takes care of business by itself.
Winter Soldier does not have a fancy suit, Asgardian blood or a wealth of superpowers, but his arm gives him a distinct advantage on missions.
Winter Soldier’s arm gets an upgrade too when he is given sanctuary in Wakanda, so it will be exciting to see what new features were added.
10 His Job Was To Do The Dirty Work For Cap
Captain America may have been the pretty face at the front of the U.S.’s efforts in World War II, but sometimes war gets ugly.
This is where Bucky Barnes comes in. Behind every hero is a great sidekick, and Bucky is one of the best.
He often served as an advanced scout for Captain America, clearing the way for the hero and taking on jobs that might tarnish the shining image of the country’s golden boy.
Bucky didn’t have any presumptions of being a hero, so he was willing to do what was necessary for his friends and country.
After becoming Winter Soldier, Bucky is known to cross many moral lines during his missions, but that might have started even before his brainwashing.
9 Hydra Was Disappointed When His Body Was Found
When Russia (in the comic books) or Hydra (in the movies) found Bucky Barnes’ body, they were excited to get their hands on someone so close to Captain America.
The reason? They thought his body might contain the Super Soldier Serum.
However, they were disappointed when they found out that Bucky had not been enhanced and was just a regular human soldier.
They decided to hold on to his body anyway in order to carry out their nefarious schemes, and eventually developed their own serum that they tested on Bucky.
In some ways, the Avengers were lucky that the Hydra found Bucky and shaped him into the effective fighter that he eventually became.
While it was a traumatic experience for Bucky, the Avengers gained a valuable ally once they helped Winter Solder overcome his brainwashing.
8 His Weapons Are Far From Ordinary
While Winter Soldier’s weapons may seem ordinary to the casual viewer, they’re actually quite special.
Winter Soldier fights with guns that have been specially designed for him.
The former assassin is an incredible marksman and uses weapons that are programmed to his palm and fingerprints. Because of this, he is the only one who can use them.
Bucky has spent years training with firearms, but he’s good in hand-to-hand combat as well. His most powerful weapon is his bionic arm that gives him super-strength as well as a litany of other abilities.
While Bucky certainly would rather his arm not have been severed in his fall in the first place, the bionic arm has gotten him out of many a tight spot, so there’s definitely a bright side.
7 He Didn’t Only Fight On Earth
Winter Soldier has definite ties to earthly politics. He was a soldier in WWII, he was captured by Hydra, and he eventually fought alongside Captain America.
However, he was also known to venture into space to protect the Earth from extra-planetary invaders.
He investigates the demise of Uatu the Watcher, protects the Earth from a Skrull invasion, and eventually takes up the mantel of The Man on the Wall, a mysterious figure described as “the invisible monster who keeps other monsters at bay.”
His status as a protector of Earth was a continuation of a theme in Winter Soldier’s life — he’s willing to do what others will not or cannot to achieve his objectives.
Though Winter Soldier’s origins may have been political, his destiny is cosmic.
6 He Actually Trained Black Widow
Winter Soldier and Black Widow have a complicated past that includes a romantic relationship. They also spent many missions together.
However, something that most people don’t know is that Bucky Barnes played a big role in training Natasha Romanoff.
When Romanoff was undergoing training at the Red Room Academy, Barnes was one of the operatives overseeing the program.
The Soviets took orphaned girls and trained them to be deep cover agents all over the world while convincing them that they were actually being trained as ballerinas.
The girls were given a serum that enhanced their physical abilities as well.
Barnes also assisted with the Wolf Spider Ops program, which tried to carry out the same program on men. However, the subject became too aggressive and had to be imprisoned.
5 He Wasn’t Always A Popular Character
In his first appearance, Bucky was just a kid who tagged along on Captain America’s missions.
Stan Lee didn’t love the character, as he didn’t love the idea of teenage sidekicks.
When Barnes first perished in the comic books, the loss of Cap’s sidekick was given just one page of attention.
Barnes was phased out of Marvel Comics and didn’t appear for years until writer Ed Brubaker, who was a fan of Bucky’s, brought the character back.
Even Winter Soldier’s origin story of being frozen in ice was made up after the fact. It was used as a way for Brubaker to justify bringing Bucky back.
While Winter Soldier started as a sidekick and still somewhat falls in Captain America’s shadow, the character has plenty of his own storylines now.
4 He Had A Sister
Since Bucky Barnes was orphaned as a child, not much thought has been given to his family.
His adopted family was the U.S. army and Captain America, but unknown to him, he also had a sister.
While Bucky never met his sister Rebecca, Captain America met her in modern times at a veterans Christmas party.
She never played a roll in Barnes’ life and only briefly appeared in the comics, but it’s interesting to think about what Bucky’s life would have been like had she been around.
Maybe he never would have gone on so many dangerous missions? Barnes’ life was certainly shaped through tragedy, and as sad as it is to say, if he hadn’t been raised alone, he may never have become Winter Soldier.
3 He Was Originally Supposed To Be A Kid
Bucky Barnes is shown in the MCU as a suave young man who is around the same age as Captain America, but in the original comics, he was a teenager who tagged along on Captain America’s missions.
After befriending Steve Rodgers without knowing that he was Captain America, Barnes becomes obsessed with stories of Captain America.
When he walks in on Rodgers changing into uniform, he soon realizes that his friend id actually the star-spangled hero. Barnes convinces Rodgers that Cap needs a sidekick, and thus the legendary partnership is born.
Barnes was actually one of the only teenage sidekicks in the Marvel Universe, as no hero wanted to put a teenager in danger.
After Barnes perishes in an airplane explosion (in the comics), this point was driven home.
2 He Never Became White Wolf In The Comics
While Winter Soldier takes up the mantle of the White Wolf in Avengers: Infinity War, he never took that name in the comics.
In the comics, White Wolf is an entirely different person who is the only survivor of a plane crash into Wakanda.
After the events of Avengers: Civil War, Bucky is placed in the custody of Black Panther, who is tasked with seeing if his brainwashing is reversible.
The results seem positive, as Winter Soldier fights alongside the Avengers against Thanos in Infinity War. However, in the comics, Bucky is forced to deal with the repercussions of his time with Hydra indefinitely.
Fans of Bucky’s were certainly happy to see him cured, as opposed to living in constant fear that he could be triggered into turning on his friends.
1 He Has A Long, Complicated Relationship With Black Panther
Black Panther and Winter Soldier’s relationship got off to an unfortunate start when T’Challa thinks that Bucky eliminated his father in the bombing of the U.N.
They come to blows many times over the course of Captain America: Civil War.
However, after it is proven that Barnes has been framed, Black Panther takes Bucky to Wakanda and agrees to put him into stasis until a cure for his brainwashing can be found.
T’Challa’s brilliant sister Shuri eventually figures out how to free him from Hydra control once and for all. After that, he helps defend Wakanda from Thanos’ attack.
From mortal enemies to close allies, the relationship between Winter Soldier and Black Panther has certainly had its twists and turns.
Can you think of anything else about Winter Solider that most fans get wrong? Sound off in the comments!