The Trial of Captain America

Ed Brubaker’s newest arc puts Bucky Barnes on trial for the sins of his past



Bucky as Captain America
By Kevin Mahadeo

America goes on trial this October when James "Bucky" Barnes takes the stand and faces the music for his crimes as The Winter Soldier in writer Ed Brubaker and artist Butch Guice's "The Trial of Captain America," which begins in CAPTAIN AMERICA #611.

Court comes in session following the aftermath of the previous arc, in which Baron Zemo's return ends with the public revelation of Bucky's actions during the Cold War.

"It basically comes down to Bucky being put on trial for the sins of The Winter Soldier," explains Brubaker. "The Winter Soldier was a Cold War Russian hitman and saboteur, so he would be considered by a lot of the world to be a traitor to America and other countries as well. He is a potential huge Cold War criminal and he's been running around in a Captain America outfit and nobody seems to have noticed this."

The writer says he had planned this arc for quite some time, way back when the decision first came to make Bucky the next Star-Spangled Avenger. After all, as Brubaker himself put it, although Nick Fury and Tony Stark brushed the former sidekick's past actions under the rug, cover-ups never last forever.

"It was always going to come up one way or another, whether Bucky became Captain America or not," Brubaker says. "It was always going to be something that he was going to have to face. [Original Captain America] Steve [Rogers] gave him his memories back in issue #14 with the Cosmic Cube and made him Bucky again, but he was the same guy and remembers everything that he did as The Winter Soldier. Even though he was a brainwashed assassin trained by the Russians, he's always been haunted by it, which is something that we've touched on periodically since issue #14. It was always a past he was going to face up to."

Although many readers might not realize it, the activities past and present of many of Marvel's spy-based characters remain unknown to the general public, something the writer says lends itself to reality.

Bucky as The Winter Soldier
"I don't imagine that Black Widow is somebody who most of the public knows about," argues Brubaker. "It's the same thing in real life. There [are] plenty of Russian spies who have become double agents and end up working for America. We have double agents and triple agents and all that stuff. It's a real, believable part of espionage that someone like The Black Widow would change sides and become an agent for America, but it's the kind of thing where no one in the public would know about it. You're not going to see Black Widow on the stand testifying on Bucky's behalf because she's a secret agent. It's going to be a really interesting trial."

Brubaker usually tries to incorporate a sense of realism into his stories, giving CAPTAIN AMERICA a more grounded super hero feel. However, the writer does admit that he walks a fine line when it comes to balancing the two areas.

"Clearly, if super heroes were real and the Marvel Universe was real, New York would have evicted the Avengers a long time ago," jokes the writer. "They rebuilt Stark Tower and Avengers Mansion and living around them wouldn't be like living next a police station where you'd feel safer. I mean, in the first two issues of [writer] Brian [Michael Bendis'] AVENGERS book, Kang shows up and gets smashed through the wall by Thor and then they fix that wall and then Wonder Man shows up and makes two giant holes in the side of the tower. But that's super hero comics for you. I don't want to make it too realistic. It's a heightened altered version of our reality. I do want to make sure there is a certain grounding in our world and I think that's what the Marvel Universe was founded on. I think that's what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's genius was with the creation of Marvel. It's so like our world, but just a few steps away.

"That's the kind of thing with this story especially," he adds. "Where is Bucky going to get tried, in federal court or a military tribunal? What would it be in real life? That's the kind of things I look at. We [have] had the trials of The Falcon and Matt Murdock, but we've never seen anything like this. With all the stuff that comes out publically, I don't think anybody in politics [will] want to do a backroom deal for this guy. So, it's going to be a really interesting and really riveting story because of that."

CAPTAIN AMERICA #611 cover by Marko Djurdjevic
One of the big questions about the story comes down to who will be defending the shield-wielding hero in court. Although Brubaker says he originally hoped to employ the expertise of his old fictional friends Matt Murdock or Foggy Nelson, the characters' current involvement in Shadowland prohibited this.

"I've been going back and forth with this one," Brubaker admits. "I haven't gotten to the point where I have to write his defense team yet, so I'm hoping to figure out who that is soon. It may end up being She-Hulk. Maybe it'll be Red She-Hulk. Is Red She-Hulk a lawyer? Maybe we'll figure out that Reed Richards also has a degree in law. 'Strangely, I never needed Matt Murdock to be our lawyer because I was always a lawyer.'"


For more big Marvel news this week and into San Diego Comic-Con International, keep checking back here on!

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit

Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!

Download SPIDER-WOMAN and ASTONISHING X-MEN Motion Comics now on iTunes! For more information on motion comics, visit the Marvel Motion Comics hub!"

Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men", "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes", and "The Super Hero Squad Show"icon now on iTunes!

Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!

MORE IN Comics See All



Hmmmm does anyone think Steve will come back ?


It's gona be a great story,my opinion is.


Agreed...Kinda like they did with Danny and Korg in World War Hulk: Frontline


I think they used use someone new, to be the lawyer for Bucky and make a little tie-in story for him and also make Bucky his first case. Cause even though it's supposed to be about Bucky they can make where we feel for the lawyer too. But I'm just saying.