Captain America’s one-time sidekick will be boldly going where no Marvel hero has gone before in the new BUCKY BARNES: THE WINTER SOLDIER series coming in October.
Penned by SECRET AVENGERS writer Ales Kot with artwork by Marco Rudy who drew MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN and the recent NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL, Bucky's new series spins out of ORIGINAL SIN and throws the troubled hero into the world of intergalactic espionage.
“[Bucky's] on a new planet, captured, about to be killed,” Kot says of the character’s status at the start of the first issue. “And then his soul will…no, I won't tell you more about that last part.”
While the author refuses to go into further details about that particular piece of the puzzle, he does explain a few of Bucky's stops along the way as the series progresses.
“WINTER SOLDIER will consist of mostly single, self-contained issues that will form a larger whole,” Kot says. "This concept is similar to my series Zero—but as Zero transforms into its second stage, I am able to play with its initial format here. We will hit a few different planets and diligently explore space in #1, while Bucky learns more about his new role. In #2 we go to Asgard. In #3 we find the vast plains of Mer’Z’Bow, and a princess who doesn't necessarily see the point of being a monarch, and a space race that has come to the point of becoming fully pacifist—and we realize the plains contain a mystery."
Kot explains that he and Marvel worked closely together to develop the concept of Bucky in space for the new book:
“When we began talking about WINTER SOLDIER, I loved the initial idea the series would come with, and I built on it in a way that felt naturally expansive,” he explains. “I wanted to make a story that would become truly intergalactic, a story that begins with the themes of identity, murder and shadow play in space—and naturally progresses towards the vastness of human and non-human experience. The shadows in WINTER SOLIDER are not just grey, they have all colors of a Mer’Z’Bow rainbow. And the Mer’Z’Bow rainbow has many, many colors.”
For Bucky, this journey will not only introduce him to a much wider universe than he's used to, but also explore some heavier topics.
“It's a chance to discover the truth of the universe,” Kot says. “He might not realize it immediately, but that's what it is. And we're with him for the ride.”
Discovering the truths of an ever-expanding series of galaxies might seem like a huge task for anyone, but especially a man like Bucky who has been a soldier, a brain-washed murderer and plenty in between.
“Bucky has undergone brutal, numbing experiences,” Kot reminds. “He became a killer after his mind got wiped out—repeatedly. He got thrown into a meat-grinder and somehow he survived. But surviving isn't living.
“I want to take the survivor and show him the universe. It’s so easy to forget how astonishing life is. How often do you stop and consider the wonder of where we are? We are on a gigantic rock that is flying through space. Somehow our feet stick to the ground most of the time. There are other rocks flying around, each with a different system. In a universe so vast and complex, why and how do we create survivors instead of fully living human beings, and how can the survivors rediscover the totality of their possible experience? That’s what I'm interested in.”
Kot promises that the series will also feature plenty of action and well-crafted fight scenes to go along with the headier elements.
“I am also interested in his capacity for making humans and non-humans gasp,” he notes. “So, action, will there be action? Plenty. Just wait until you see the first five pages. Yet in this new role, Bucky's also got new responsibilities, and the thing is, can any sort of a role ever be enough when you want to truly live? What happens when we run out of roles to play? This is what Bucky faces.”
With so much going on, it should come as no surprise that Kot has long term plans for WINTER SOLDIER.
“This will be a big storyline—think at least two collections,” the writer says. “Imagine issue by issue of exploring the vast possibilities of Marvel Universe with Winter Soldier, all drawn by Marco Rudy with art style changing with each issue, all parts connecting together and snapping and showing you something new, a story that will be unlike any I have told before. I understand how I have to write it in order to be true to myself, true to my personal evolution. I am dedicated to infusing WINTER SOLIDER with a sense of genuine awe.”
He goes on to credit Rudy, who he hand-picked for the project, with bringing that sense of awe to the proceedings.
“I requested Marco in part because he's a style chameleon; he switches things up in order to fit the story,” Kot says. “Considering the format of WINTER SOLIDER, this made him our ideal candidate. I am allowing myself to be fully informed by his artwork, and I am open to changing things as we go along, responding to what Marco draws. We understand that we're equals and we dive and explore together, so this is an ideal creative partnership for me. It's also very fitting considering the core theme of the comic is diving into exploration. We are inspired by the Heavy Metal Magazine, Moebius, 60’s book covers for authors such as J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick. I am working with one of the most interesting artists working in comics today. I feel very lucky about that.”
BUCKY BARNES: THE WINTER SOLIDER #1 takes off for the stars in October—stay tuned to Marvel.com for more news!