This week's Fear Itself 7.1: Captain America teases out the January release of a new series from writer Ed Brubaker with art by Butch Guice.
...and it's a Winter Soldier ongoing starring Bucky Barnes, who'll be setting out to clean up some of the messes he caused during his period as a brainwashed assassin for the Russians. It's a curious direction to go for the character, who took up the mantle of Captain America shortly after Steve Rogers' "assassination" post-Civil War as a form of penance for his time as the Winter Soldier. On top of which, just how did Bucky survive being killed on-panel during Fear Itself?
I did a fair amount of grumbling before the third issue of Fraction and Immonen's recently-concluded series was even released, placing my bets that Bucky was the character being teased as getting the axe. And I can't say that I've understood the move in the months since, particularly given how expertly Brubaker has reintegrated Bucky back into the Marvel U over the last few years.
Seriously, who would have thought five years ago that Brubaker (or any writer) would successfully bring back one of the most important "dead is dead" characters in comics, make us care about where he's been all these years and actually have it drive the current stories in a compelling way, and then make him such an interesting Cap that (some of us, at least) were kind of let down when Steve Rogers slipped the costume back on earlier this year?
Two more things before I wrap up: first, the tagline for the teaser image that Marvel's been floating around for a couple of months now: my guess is that Bucky might be going up against other "inductees" into the Winter Soldier program.
Second, a broader question for what this means for Bucky as a character: going forward with the new series, what will he be defined by? It seems like he might be looping back around to the guilt and self-doubt that marked the beginning of his stint as Captain America, but Brubaker--who we typically expect pretty well-developed characters from--might have other plans in mind. We'll see when the book launches in January.