Bucky Barnes Is Not Dead (Continued)


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You all knew this was coming. Based on the overwhelming response to my previous article on why I think Bucky Barnes is not dead, I have decided to explore some of the theories presented by readers as to how Bucky returns. As readers of Marvel’s comic book event Fear Itself will know, Bucky was (supposedly) killed defending his friends from the new Red Skull. Given the character’s enormous popularity, it seems odd Marvel would kill Bucky off so cheaply, so I’m convinced there is more to come from the former Winter Soldier.

1) The Blackest Night Theory

As DC comic fans would have surely noticed, there are some uncanny similarities between DC’s Blackest Night and Marvel’s Fear Itself event. Blackest Night had black power rings corrupting fallen heroes, where as Fear Itself has magic hammers corrupting those who can wield them. What’s interesting is that Blackest Night ended with a mass resurrection of fallen characters. Fear Itself looks to be heading the same way. One reader pointed out how the son of Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, Franklin Richards could be the one to resurrect Bucky. Franklin is yet to show the potential of his reality warping powers. Given that he was one that freed The Thing from his enchantment, there’s a good chance we’re going to see Franklin involved with the end of Fear Itself in someway. My only concern with this is that a supernatural resurrection for Bucky would be weak compared to his brilliant resurrection in the Winter Soldier arc. A supernatural resurrection wouldn’t appear too weak; if it was that the defeat of the Serpent brought everyone killed by hammers back to life. It’s very Blackest Night, but it could work.

2) The Life Model Decoy (LMD) Theory

This is another theory that readers have strong confidence in. The idea is, is that Bucky was never killed by the Red Skull (Skadi). Instead he put a life model decoy in place to fake his own death. This theory makes the most sense considering Bucky had become a wanted fugitive after his crimes as the Winter Soldier were released to the public. Given that he was sentenced to prison in a Russian Gulag, Bucky’s death would free him from the law, and allow the character to return to his more black-ops style. He also has a strong association with Nick Fury, who made usage of LMDs famous in the Marvel universe.

3) The Super Soldier/ Russian code word Theory

What if Bucky was actually given a dose of the super soldier serum back in WW2, but it was kept secret so that he was able to do the killings Captain America couldn’t be seen doing. It would further explain how he was able to survive the original explosion that blew his arm off and sent him into the sea. It’s a long shot but it could work. Another suggestion was that Barnes has a pre-programmed OFF switch left behind from his Winter Soldier days. The switch would render Barnes’s body to near death state, making it look like he had died.

So there are the main theories as to how Bucky returns, but apart from the wishes of fans, what more is there to suggest we haven’t seen the last of Captain America’s former sidekick. Well, there are unanswered threads from Bucky’s Gulag story arc. Before his escape from the Russian prison, Bucky discovered that there were Soviet sleeper agents that he trained as the Winter Soldier still in existence. It would seem odd for Steve Rogers to hunt these agents down, so I’m sure there’s some sort of Bucky/Winter Soldier miniseries on our way.

One reader also pointed out something very interesting. Could the new Cap & Bucky series be connected to an upcoming Winter Soldier arc? The new Cap & Bucky series has a mysterious narrator that’s set to be revealed soon. This narrator comments on Barnes’s life just like Bucky did. Credit to Brubaker, this would be a fantastic plot twist, as I’m sure we’re going to find out that Barnes is well and truly alive.

So there are my theories as to how I think Bucky survives. Marvel has taken a lot of criticism in recent years for their over-usage of character deaths and status-quo shifting events. Considering the amount of mediocre characters (Cable, Jean grey, Wonder Man), that get killed off and later revived, it only makes sense that Marvel bring back one of their most popular characters in an effective way for a change.

  1. I wonder if Cap himself took him off the grid, so he would no longer be hunted. I suspect we are going to find out very soon.

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