MARVEL'S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE artist overcomes the intimidation factor for this tie-in.

Sure, everyone’s excited about the holiday season we find ourselves in, but plenty of fans can’t help but look forward to May 4 when Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” blasts into theaters.

To help make the wait a bit easier, Marvel’s releasing a pair of MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE issues with the first debuting on January 24. Written by Marvel Studios’ Creative Research Manager Will Corona Pilgrim and drawn by Tigh Walker!

The issue features Captain America and Winter Soldier attempting to track down a terrorist. However, they’re not the only ones and Iron Man soon shows up as well. The issue promises to offer plenty of first looks and surprises for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans.

We caught up with Walker to talk about the intimidation factor that comes along with a project like this, working with Pilgrim and playing in this different Marvel sandbox. How does it feel to be working on a book like this that sets up such a highly anticipated film?

Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what I mean?

I think in an early e-mail to [editor] Mark [Basso], I used the word “intimidated” about 73 times. He responded, asking why I’d sent him an e-mail that just said “intimidated” 73 times without any context and I told him that it’d make sense later on when I was talking with TJ, and not to worry about it. So he sent me back a GIF of an alligator making cupcakes and we both laughed and I wasn’t so intimidated anymore, but I was slightly obsessed with alligators making cupcakes from that point on.

Also, I was really excited and honored to be a small part of it all, I mean… it’s Avengers! Did I mention it felt intimidating? How was it getting an early peek at what the characters would look like in the film and translating that to the page?

Tigh Walker: How doesn’t it feel, TJ? Know what–wait–sorry, got my answers mixed up, let’s try that again. It was super cool getting to see a little bit of what’s to come for these characters.

And it was fun but challenging to translate them to the page, because you want something that’s representative of what they are and will be, but you also want it to be a bit of a different flavor because it’s not the same medium, if that makes any sense. Did any of the costumes or characters give you more trouble than others when figuring them out?

Tigh Walker: Yes, absolutely! Iron Man’s costume was tough to figure out from certain angles for sure and Captain America’s torso/chest design-y bits were a little tricky at first, but once you figure them out, it’s smooth sailing.

Really, the Winter Soldier’s beard was the toughest out of all of them. Is it a beard? Or is it more of a 5 o’clock shadow thing he’s got goin’ on? Is it a beard junior? Needless to say, I toiled over it, made lists, diagrams, apple pie charts and then I chugged three Cherry Coke Zero’s, threw a goat into a lake and said to myself “Maybe don’t think about it so much? Maybe it’s more of a feeling than a beard?” And that’s really when it clicked for me and I knew just what to do. What can you tell us about the way characters like Captain America and Iron Man react to one another in this story? They didn’t exactly leave each other on the best terms when last they met on the big screen.

Tigh Walker: Well, we start with a conflict you’ve seen in the recent films as a lead-in to some of the new status quo for our heroes.

I’m not sure what I’m allowed to reveal here (Mark?) but we do see a bit of (ahem, Mark?) Cap, Winter Soldier and T’Challa chatting about (Mark-I need you now more than ever!) y’know…stuff and things. And we get a glimpse of Tony’s mindset that leads us right into his actions for the next film. How was it working with Will on this gateway to “Avengers: Infinity War?”

Tigh Walker: Working from his script was a ton of fun! It was written “Marvel-Style” which was interesting creatively for me–being fairly unaccustomed to working that way–but I found that I really liked it. It gives you a bit of room to try things out that you might not otherwise have thought of because you’re sort of in a different head-space.

Like when I decided to start drawing all the characters as potatoes, but dressed in their proper costumes… Mark had to reel me in on that one, but having the leeway to turn characters into potatoes, if my heart wanted it, was quite freeing.

Get your first taste of “Infinity War” on January 24 with MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PRELUDE #1 by Will Corona Pilgrim and Tigh Walker.

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In theaters May 4.

There was an idea…

The first official trailer for Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” has finally arrived. We began our Marvel Cinematic Universe journey together back in 2008. All roads lead to Thanos next year. Get your first official look at “Avengers: Infinity War” right here on above.

Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers as we know it no longer exists. Lines were drawn; sides were chosen. The Avengers is nothing more than a team name without any team members. Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes put aside their differences and unite once more? Do they even stand a chance against the Mad Titan who delights in their failure and desperation? Can they stop his thirst for power and chaos as he begins to collect the Infinity Stones?

The trailer packs as many super heroes as it can in a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and so much more.

“You can fight it. You can run from it. But destiny still arrives.” We know the trailer brought a smile to your face as much as pain and suffering put one on Thanos’ face. Now excuse us while we watch the trailer a thousand more times!

See the culmination of the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when “Avengers: Infinity War” opens in theaters on May 4, 2018. Stay tuned to, follow @Avengers on Twitter, and Like “The Avengers” on Facebook for the latest on the Avengers and the rest of the MCU as it develops!


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Matthew Rosenberg sends Hawkeye and Winter Soldier on a personal mission!

This December, Matthew Rosenberg takes over a Marvel title that hasn’t seen shelf life since the late 1960s. That would be TALES OF SUSPENSE from the writer and artist Travel Foreman. The original run of the series featured work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introducing characters like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and The Mandarin—so no pressure!

Taking place after the events of Secret Empire, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 showcases a team-up of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier with the duo interested in finding the person responsible for killing the late Black Widow’s enemies. Did we mention both men used to date the Widow?

Arriving on December 20 for the first time in nearly 50 years, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 promises a triumphant return for the genre-themed Marvel title. To get a better idea of this watershed moment, we hit up Matt who told us about taking over a piece of history, the friction we can expect between Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton, and the cathartic process of rebuilding the Marvel Universe. Right off the bat, TALES OF SUSPENSE is pretty attention grabbing. What was the process like of writing a story to match the title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, first of all I had to go back to my original story idea and add more suspense! But seriously, TALES OF SUSPENSE has a rich history at Marvel. It was the place where Black Widow and Hawkeye first appeared. It’s where Iron Man first appeared. M.O.D.O.K. and The Mandarin too. And it’s the title that would later become CAPTAIN AMERICA. But more than that, it speaks to a time when Marvel had genre themed books, which is awesome. I think that is the thing we are really trying to lean on here. TALES OF SUSPENSE is a love letter to these old, thrilling super hero stories that have these wild cliffhanger endings. It’s our pulp serial story full of spies and super heroes, intrigue, and excitement. The TALES OF SUSPENSE label was originally a showcase for the talents of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. It must feel pretty cool to be getting a shot at the same title.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, it’s surreal for sure. Stan Lee. Roy Thomas, Gene Colan. One of the things I love most about working at Marvel is the legacy of it all. The idea that these are characters and stories that existed before I was born and will continue long after I am done with them. Even on a book like SECRET WARRIORS, which has a relatively short pedigree, I am still carrying on the work of so many great creators. But, for a title like this, a book that hasn’t appeared on racks since 1968, it’s really a piece of history that I am adding to. To be honest, I try not to think about it too much or it gets kind of overwhelming.

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto The idea of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier teaming up to track Black Widow’s “ghost” is awesome. Can we expect some friction between the two? If so, is it a machismo thing among two ex-boyfriends or something more?

Matthew Rosenberg: Friction may be putting it lightly. They don’t like each other. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye and Bucky have very similar backgrounds—bad guys turned good, they both died and came back, they have both carried multiple mantles in their time as heroes, been on multiple teams. But in the end they approach things very differently. And that is what is at odds here: How they approach a mission, what they are willing to do, that is a big thing in the book. Hawkeye’s lighthearted approach that masks his determination and intensity. Bucky’s quiet ferocity that hides his self-doubt. All of that plays out in really fun ways. They are the Odd Couple of super hero team-ups. It’s dysfunctional. It doesn’t work well. But they keep going because they both want the same thing.

And then there is the element of Natasha. They both cared about her, obviously. But this isn’t some sort of romantic competition. Not really. This is two heroes trying to defend the honor and the memory of a teammate. And obviously who they are and how they felt about her gets tangled up in that in some ways, but mostly they just want to do right by Natasha and who she was. I don’t want everything to be spoiled too early, but how much can you give away on whether or not Natasha or really dead?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead. How does it feel to be coming off the heels of Secret Empire? What kind of vestiges from that major event—other than Natasha’s apparent death—are we looking at here? 

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Secret Empire did an amazing job of setting up the coming status quo in the Marvel Universe. We have these characters that everyone knows, that everyone loves, and what Secret Empire did is just push them. It tested each and every one of them. Probed them, tested them, looked for weaknesses. It was this tremendously dark time, this real low point for the Marvel Universe. And now we get to rebuild it. That’s what I love about these characters. They get to the edge and then they come back. They get pushed farther than they have before, and then they come back. And that is what we are doing here. This is Bucky and Hawkeye trying to get closure, trying to come back. I think that’s really important for them, for readers, and for me too. I want to see how they come out of this, how Secret Empire hurt them, and who they will be on the other side. I hope that, after all they have been through, all the trials and tests, we find that they come back stronger than ever. That’s why we all look up to them, right? Well, now we’re going to see that up close. This is the story of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier healing, or trying to. And I really hope people are as excited about that idea as I am.

Matthew Rosenberg and Travel Foreman delve into TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 this December!

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Jim Zub traces this Kirby creation from boy sidekick to Winter Soldier!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Way back in 1941, Jack Kirby took on the Herculean task of penciling every single page of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1. Not only did that iconic issue feature the future Avenger slugging Hitler on the cover, but it also introduced the world to Steve Rogers, his pal Bucky Barnes, and their enemy The Red Skull—and that’s just the issue’s first eight page tale!

Many years later, Stan Lee and Kirby brought Captain America back for AVENGERS #4 and made him a regular player while also expanding on his adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, which he shared with Iron Man. While some of the SUSPENSE issues focused on then-current adventures, many took a look back at Cap’s battles during World War II, which included his presumed dead partner Bucky Barnes, thus reintroducing readers to a character who had been off the radar for decades.

“Right from the start Bucky was shown as a fighter who never gave up,” notes writer Jim Zub, who handled a version of the character when he wrote THUNDERBOLTS. “His inner strength defines him, no matter what other things he has to endure as The Winter Soldier.”

In TALES OF SUSPENSE #63, Lee and Kirby expanded on the origins of both heroes. When taking on the responsibilities of writing the current version of Barnes in THUNDERBOLTS, Zub looked to this issue—by way of a reprint in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1—to get a sense of the character who, even without powers, decided to assist Captain America in the field upon literally stumbling on his secret identity.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #63

Tales of Suspense (1959) #63

  • Published: March 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Don Heck, Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

“It would be easy to say that Bucky was naive when he dove into becoming Steve’s partner, but I don’t think that’s the case at all,” the writer opines. “Captain America represents an ideal, a call to service. Yes, the Super Soldier serum gave Steve incredible abilities, but the moral and strong-willed person he was started the whole chain of events. Bucky’s in the same boat. Deep down he’s a good person with a desire to step up and do what’s right.”

Of course, for decades, many believed the story initially told in AVENGERS #4: that Bucky perished thanks to an explosive drone created by Baron Zemo. During writer Ed Brubaker’s epic run on CAPTAIN AMERICA in the mid-2000s, though, we learned that, like Steve, Bucky fell into the water, still alive. Eventually the Russians fished him out, took advantage of his amnesia, mentally programmed him and turned him into The Winter Soldier.

Down the line, Steve used the Red Skull’s busted-up Cosmic Cube to give Barnes all of his memories back. Since then he’s taken over for Rogers as Captain America, ventured into outer space, and recently escaped death once again to assist Namor in Secret Empire. `

“In THUNDERBOLTS #11 we can see Bucky struggling with his memories of Steve and their close friendship set against the troubled assassin he will become as the Winter Soldier,” Zub relates. “The optimistic young boy shown in Kirby’s original story is still there, but it’s tempered with so many more traumatic memories.”

Stay tuned to for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Jim Zub brings Bucky back to a key moment in his past!

Like all of us, Bucky Barnes has had some dramatic, defining moments; experiences that set off a chain reaction of cause and effect in his life.

In the upcoming THUNDERBOLTS #11 on March 29, Bucky will revisit one of those moments, and explore what led him to become the Winter Solder. He’ll also confront the truth about Steve Rogers.

We caught up with writer Jim Zub about what we can expect from this exciting story. The THUNDERBOLTS and CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS storylines have led to this point where it makes sense for Bucky to start to figure out Steve’s secrets. Can you tell us a little about the experience of bringing the story to this dramatic moment?

Jim Zub: It feels great to contribute to something that has been slowly and carefully built over such a long period of time. We really had the space to mold the relationship between Kobik and the rest of the team, especially with Bucky, and now all that will pay off with emotional intensity as Secret Empire kicks into gear. Through each part of “Return of the Masters,” our THUNDERBOLTS anniversary story that leads into [the event], we’ve got big revelations and payoffs. This issue takes Bucky back to one of his most infamous moments: when he jumped onboard a plane carrying a bomb during World War II that ultimately led to his assumed death and becoming The Winter Soldier. Why did you make that choice, and what can Bucky hope to accomplish?

Jim Zub: Once I found out that Kobik, a living cosmic cube, would be on the team and I learned about her abilities, I started thinking about the most intense thing she could do to “help” Bucky. Sending him back to World War II so he could try and change his fate stuck in my head, and I felt thrilled that we could make it a part of the bigger story. It brings James back to his roots and shows how far he has come. The truth of Steve’s past has become a huge issue lately, and now we’ll see Bucky looking at his own past and what led him to become The Winter Soldier. Do you see any significance in having Steve and Bucky’s stories parallel each other in this way?

Jim Zub: Steve and James have an incredible bond, but at crucial points in their stories they’ve gone down similar, but ultimately very different paths that define them. Exploring how those fit together and the decisions that made them who they are deepens our understanding of their heroism, or now, in Steve’s case, his role as a villain.

Thunderbolts #11 cover by Jon Malin

Thunderbolts #11 cover by Jon Malin Steve and Bucky had a recent run-in at S.H.I.E.L.D. And their friendship always seems to run into stumbling blocks. What do you think we can expect for the two of them in the near future? Will they ever get to just have fun being BFFs?

Jim Zub: I know where Secret Empire will go and I’ll tell you that we’ll head deep into the darkness before we’ll see any possibility of pushing through to the light. Cap and Bucky’s friendship—and their loyalty to each other—has never faced a test like this. Whatever happens, they won’t come out of it the same—if they come through to the other side. We can see Steve and Bucky as, in a lot of ways, mirror images of each other, with Steve as the perfect hero and Bucky as, in some ways, the black sheep that Steve could have become if things had gone a little differently for him. But lately, we’ve seen their roles somewhat reversed, with Steve as the one keeping secrets and Bucky as the “man on the wall” and the moral compass of the Thunderbolts. Has that played into this story at all for you?

Jim Zub: That contrast factored into our plan right from the beginning. The Winter Soldier has taken on a heroic leadership role, albeit with a group of sometimes-villains, and we see Steve now acting in a more clandestine way and hiding his true nature from everyone who has trusted him for years. We’ve got a fun bit of push and pull as we test what makes these characters so great, and we keep readers guessing where it all leads. Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Jim Zub: I’ve had such a blast writing the Winter Soldier and the rest of the Thunderbolts because I see these characters as incredibly flawed people trying to find their way in the world. Like the best Marvel characters, their flaws make them more relatable and, even when they mess up, you can’t help but root for them to come out on top.

Relive a key moment in Marvel history with THUNDERBOLTS #11 by Jim Zub and Jon Malin, coming March 29!

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Cap is reunited with one of his long lost friends!

With a little downtime, Captain America reminisces on the good ol’ days with his war buddies. It’s hard not having anyone from his past around. What’s Cap’s version of the best day out when he finally gets reunited with Dum Dum Dugan?

Find out now 
in the latest episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?!

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Jim Zub sets an agenda for Bucky and his crew of ex-cons!

By Sarah Cooke

If you’ve been keeping tabs on Bucky Barnes lately, that means following the ongoing exploits of Winter Soldier and his new team in THUNDERBOLTS.

Between protecting Kobik, fighting the Inhumans, and trying to stay off everyone else’s radar as much as possible, these guys have a lot on their plates. We caught up with writer Jim Zub about his take on the team as they head into Marvel NOW! You represent Bucky as both a strong leader, and someone who can demonstrate a lot of sensitivity, especially toward Kobik. What was your thought process when you were planning the development of his character?

Jim Zub: Bucky, as someone who has progressed from his role as Captain America’s sidekick all the way to his position as the Winter Soldier, has so many wonderful layers as a character. He has endured so much, and I wanted to show how those past experiences made him a deadly combatant but also gave him some clarity about the toll this difficult life takes. He sees some of himself in Kobik, since they’ve both been used as weapons by government agencies, but he still feels she’s innocent and he’s trying to protect that. Buck still has some idealism left beneath his hardened exterior. The storyline has potential for crossover with CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS, since it’s Kobik who has been making Steve think he’s HYDRA. Is there anything you can tease there?

Jim Zub: I learned about Steve’s big secret and Kobik’s part to play in it during the initial development of the series, so we planned this quite a while ago. The Red Skull assumes Kobik has disappeared but, due to the events of THUNDERBOLTS #3, Steve learns that she’s with Bucky. Needless to say, that’s going to change their plans and conflict is inevitable. Cap, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Inhumans, the Avengers, the Squadron Supreme—everybody wants to track down our team of outlaws and their dangerous cosmic kid.

I can’t say much more than that without tipping our hand. Keep reading! The Thunderbolts have a lot of complexity. They have criminal histories, yet they also try to do the right thing in many ways. How does that factor into the your storytelling?

Jim Zub: It plays a huge role in my working process on the series. When I received the offer to work on THUNDERBOLTS I did some extensive reading through the archives because I wanted to have a strong sense of the cast and how they’ve evolved over the years. I try to reflect their experiences in the way they deal with their problems and with each other. The original Thunderbolts know each other so well and it’s both an advantage and a disadvantage. They know how to fight together and have a strong sense of shared purpose, but they also make a lot of assumptions and have bad habits that have built up over the years. In THUNDERBOLTS #3, the team had a run-in with the Inhumans, who have to put out fires left and right these days. What appealed to you about including the Inhumans?

Jim Zub: The Inhumans forcefully changed the whole planet and face tremendous pressure from foreign governments, corporations, super heroes, and super villains alike. The only way they can hope to stay unified is to stand strong in the face of intense adversity, and that kind of situation has a lot of potential for drama. I wanted to show how a simple misunderstanding could set off a hair trigger situation. The Inhumans now have the Thunderbolts on their radar and Medusa won’t forget this insult any time soon. Bucky finds himself in the position Nick Fury used to be in as the one who has to keep an eye out for potential threats to Earth. How do you think that will change his character and cause him to evolve or grow?

Jim Zub: Serving as the “Man on the Wall,” defending Earth from powerful threats from this world or beyond, is a massive responsibility that would weigh heavily on anyone. Drafting the rest of the Thunderbolts into his mission is a risk, but the upshot is they can do more as a team than Nick could on his own. That said, at the end of the day, the buck stops with Bucky—excuse the pun. Ultimately, he bears the burden, and if he lets himself get distracted by anything—like, say, Cap’s situation—nasty stuff may slip by and we’ll all pay the price.

Follow along with each issue of THUNDERBOLTS by Jim Zub and Jon Malin continuin with #4 on August 31!

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The former Bucky and Nomad meets a tragic end!

Every day we celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives and going through some of Steve Rogers’ most thrilling adventures. Happy diamond anniversary Sentinel of Liberty!

Though Ed Brubaker’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA designates the return of Bucky Barnes, it also leads to the death of many people associated with Steve Rogers including Jack Monroe. The Bucky of the 1950’s who became Nomad meets his untimely end in issue #3, but the full story comes to light in #7 by Brubaker and John Paul Leon.

A year before his passing, Monroe hears from Doctor Jane Foster that the version of the Super-Soldier Serum in his system continues to fail, which messes with his immune system. His past also includes mind altering procedures, attempts by S.H.I.E.L.D. to fix those alterations, and also nanites used to turn him into Scourge for a time. All of that combined results in a worsening condition that will take his mind before it takes his life.

Not wanting to burden Cap with his latest batch of problems, Jack heads out on his own. Along the way he remembers how his teacher, an avid Cap fanatic, got his hands on a version of the Super-Soldier Serum which they both took. Before long, they became the Cap and Bucky of the 1950’s until the serum began driving them mad and the government placed them in suspended animation.

Awoken and sent after the real Captain America, Jack’s Star-Spangled Avenger killed himself, but the boy lived to receive treatment. Seemingly cured, Jack took on the Nomad identity and became one of Steve’s closest compatriots for a time. He returns to the costume 10 months before his death, but the results remain mixed at best.

Captain America (2004) #7

Captain America (2004) #7

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A trip to see his one-time adopted daughter Bucky leads Jack to a bar in Pittsburgh where he thinks he overhears a drug deal being set up at her school. Outraged, he declares war on those trying to poison the youth of today, one he fights savagely. In reality, though, he’s losing his mind and taking on regular people who did nothing wrong.

As his grip on reality continues to slip, Jack wonders if there was ever any originality to him as he always seemed to take on other peoples’ abandoned identities. A Bucky seems to be growing inside of him that he can’t control, so when he sees Bucky outside the bar, he’s not surprised when he pulls the trigger.

What Jack never finds out is that the Winter Soldier—the brainwashed Bucky Barnes—murders him in order to plant his prints on the sniper rifle that killed the Red Skull in CAPTAIN AMERICA #1, all of which fits into General Lukin’s plan to utterly demoralize and destroy the Sentinel of Liberty.

While Lukin’s plan ultimately fails, this issue goes a long way to show the tolls that the super-soldier life can take on a normal person. It also reinforces just how impressive Steve Rogers continues to be on a genetic, moral, and mental level by offsetting him with the tragic case of Jack Monroe.

Cap Declassified

Secretly put into suspended animation at the end of his NOMAD series, Monroe eventually returned in the pages of THUNDERBOLTS, though not under the best circumstances. Henry Gyrich brings Jack back only to make him the latest Scourge of the Underworld, a mantle worn by many who dedicate their lives to cutting the criminal population down. Driven to act by nanobots in his system, Jack sees every bad thing he does, but can do nothing to stop it thanks to the nanites. 

Next, Captain America and his teammates take control of the planet during a time of chaos in the World Trust story from AVENGERS #57-60 by Geoff Johns and Kieron Dwyer.

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Bucky and Black Widow get put through the wringer!

Every day we celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives and going through some of Steve Rogers’ most thrilling adventures. Happy diamond anniversary Sentinel of Liberty!

After Bucky’s stint as Captain America and apparent death at the hands of Sin in Fear Itself, he decided to let the world think him deceased while running around in the shadows with Black Widow to clean up some of the messes from his days being manipulated by the Russians.

WINTER SOLDIER #114 by Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, and Michael Lark mainly revolves around our hero trying to track down a trio of Soviet sleeper agents who Bucky trained in the old days. In the first arc, he and Widow uncover a plot by former Latverian Prime Minister Madame Lucia Von Bardas and Red Ghost to kick start a war between the United States and Doctor Doom.

Bucky actually teams up with Doom to stop a reprogrammed Doombot from leading to World War III, but the conflict still leaves one of the sleepers unaccounted for: Leo Novokov. Accidentally awoken 12 years prior during an earthquake, Leo wandered for over a decade, but eventually came to understand some of his programming.

Winter Soldier (2012) #1

Winter Soldier (2012) #1

  • Published: February 01, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 03, 2013
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Ed Brubaker
  • Cover Artist: Lee Bermejo
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Enraged by the manipulation, Leo takes aim at Bucky and Black Widow, who both helped shape him. Along the way, Leo gets his hands on Widow and brainwashes her into thinking she’s been a sleeper this whole time and also making her forget everything about her time with Barnes.

S.H.I.E.L.D. helps bring Captain America, Hawkeye, and Wolverine in to track down Natasha and get her back safe. Leo wants to keep everyone off their game, partially by targeting Widow’s ex, Daredevil, but ultimately the good guys rush in to bring in their friend and teammate.

However, the victory fails to bring much joy to Bucky as the S.H.I.E.L.D. brains come up short in restoring Natasha’s memories of him. Even though Cap insists on bringing in the likes of Doctor Strange to see what he can do, James tells him not to bother because he’s already brought her so much pain and danger. “She’s better off without me,” he says before walking away. 

Cap Declassified

Even though Ed Brubaker left the book with WINTER SOLDIER #14, the series continued on with the creative team of Jason Latour and Nic Klein through #19. The next year Rick Remender and Roland Boschi focused on Bucky’s time as the Winter Soldier in the 60’s with the five issue limited series WINTER SOLDIER: BITTER MARCH. Eventually, he gets caught up in Original Sin and then spends a stint in space in BUCKY BARNES: THE WINTER SOLDIER by Ales Kot, Marco Rudy and Langdon Foss. These days he’s leading a team of fellow former bad guys in the pages of THUNDERBOLTS by Jim Zub and Jon Malin.

Next, legendary creators Roger Stern and John Byrne put their stamp on Steve Rogers with CAPTAIN AMERICA #251-255.

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Cap's partner gets the spotlight to explore his origin tale and more!

Every day we celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives and going through some of Steve Rogers’ most thrilling adventures. Happy diamond anniversary Sentinel of Liberty!

Writer Ed Brubaker revolutionized the character of James “Bucky” Barnes during his long tenure crafting the adventures of Captain America. He not only brought him back to the land of the living, but also introduced another tragic character into the Marvel Universe looking for redemption. In order to continue building him up, Brubaker eventually looked back at Bucky’s past in greater detail in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #620624 with co-writer Marc Andreyko and artist Chris Samnee.

The old story—recounted by Steve Rogers himself in CAPTAIN AMERICA #109—goes that young Camp Lehigh mascot Bucky Barnes ran into Rogers’ tent as he changed into his Cap duds and asked to be his partner, but that would be a pretty irresponsible beginning to a kid’s military career. In a story related by Bucky to his sister Becca, James remembers his early days trying to keep his anger in check after his mother died. He lived with his dad and sister at Camp Lehigh, but after his father died in an accident, she went off to boarding school and he stuck around the base.

After getting into a series of brawls, Bucky meets Major Phillips, who puts him on a mysterious special assignment that includes heading over to England to train with the S.A.S. in all manner of battle skills. Soon enough he discovers the true purpose: to become Captain America’s partner.

Officially offered the job—and costume—by Cap himself, the two become fast friends, even brothers, as they ferret out threats to the United States at home. During a mission to save a group of soldiers on a train station, Bucky kills his first man and deals with it the best he can, but it leaves an impression on the youngster.

Captain America and... (2012) #620

Captain America and... (2012) #620

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Other stories revolve around Bucky dealing with his human status among his fellow Invaders. Feeling less than equal to the Super Soldier, android, Sea King and mutant fireball, he still perseveres in an effort to save his teammates from a Nazi scientist, earning Namor’s respect in the process.

#623 features a moving tale focusing on Bucky and Toro’s discovery of a concentration camp while saving an American spy and the horrors therein that many soldiers didn’t know about during the conflict. He promises to return, but doesn’t have time before Zemo’s plane exploded.

The rage Barnes feels about what he saw reflects the feelings he has about his Winter Soldier days which he recounts in #624, but also some of the more positive elements like meeting the Black Widow and starting to remember who he truly is under all that Soviet programming and memory loss.

The next arc focuses on another Bucky, Fred Davis who served with William Naslund after Cap and Bucky disappeared. Though he didn’t get frozen in ice and turned into a weapon, Fred’s life proves less than stellar as no one believes he waged war as a hero. It doesn’t help that a robot tries to kill him during CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #625628, but the true Captain America and original Human Torch appear to help save his skin. In other words: Buckys don’t exactly lead the most glorious lives!

Cap Declassified

The title formerly known as CAPTAIN AMERICA changed to CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY until #629 when writer Cullen Bunn took over and brought in other heroes like Hawkeye, Iron Man, Namor, and Black Widow. At the same time Ed Brubaker continued on in a newly launched CAPTAIN AMERICA series with artists like Steve McNiven, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Alan Davis, Patch Zircher, Mike Deodato, Scot Eaton, and Butch Guice. Brubaker’s run on the title ends with #19, but we’ll get to that one soon.

Next, Peggy Carter and Howard Stark team up in the 1950’s to track down a potential alien threat in OPERATION SIN by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis. 

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