The Captain America sequel “The Winter Soldier” is poised to hit movie theaters March 26 2014. The movie will be about Steve Rogers after the first Avengers movie and his role in the Marvel cinematic universe. What digital graphic novels are essential reading and who exactly is the Winter Soldier? We dive deep into the issue and give you the low-down.
The Marvel cinematic universe is quite different from the other timelines for digital comics published on a monthly basis. Marvel comics, the Ultimates and other franchises all do a different spin on the same major characters and story lines. When it comes to the line of movies like The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor and others, it is officially dubbed Earth-199999.
In the Captain America movie his good buddy James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was one of Steve Rogers old friends, whom was recruited into his strike force to go after the Red Skull. Rogers and his team successfully sabotage various HYDRA operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola, the main scientist. Zola is captured, but Barnes falls from the train to his apparent death.
The Winter Solider will tell the tale of General Vasily Karpov finding Bucky’s cold-preserved body missing one arm. Bucky is revived in Moscow, but suffers brain damage with amnesia as a result of the explosion. Scientists then attach a bionic arm to him to give him added strength. He is programmed to be a Soviet assassin for Department X, under the code name the Winter Soldier, he is sent on covert wetworks missions, i.e., missions involving assassination, becoming increasingly ruthless and efficient as he kills in the name of the state. While a Soviet agent, he also has a brief relationship with The Black Widow, who was also mind programmed to be an assassin at the time. In the recent Avengers film Hawkeye makes reference to having his mind torn asunder by Loki and Black Window mentioned she knows how he feels.
In order to have his loyalty the Winter Soldier was kept in cryostasis, so between missions he is kept from aging. He does various missions over the years, leading to the terrorist attack that puts him back on Shields radar.
If you want to get a firm understanding of all the different events leading up to the movie, you want to get your hands on the digital or normal graphic novels. You would be hard pressed to find the original Avengers comic book #4, which is the first appearance of Captain America and Bucky. About the best you can do is buy the The Avengers Omnibus, Vol. 1, which has the first 100 issues of the Avengers. It is not available as a digital edition so you will have to spend around $72.00 on Amazon. The best comic you could find, written in the modern times was the retelling of the Winter Solider by luminary Ed Brubaker, entitled Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection. There are three different graphic novels in the collection and even goes into The Black Window, essential stuff. Comixology has the later editions you can purchase for around $10.00 each, so it is fairly economical. Comixology has Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter, Winter Soldier Vol. 2: Broken Arrow and Winter Soldier Vol. 3: Black Widow Hunt.
In an interesting trivia note, Bucky’s death has also been used to explain why the Marvel Universe has very few kid sidekicks, as no responsible hero wanted to endanger a minor in similar fashion. Stan Lee also harbored a well-known dislike for boy sidekicks in general. So, it could be posited that when Captain America was revived in the Silver Age, Stan Lee chose not to bring back Bucky. It was not until the last decade that he was brought back as a recurring character.