He's the Soldier - the Winter Soldier. And he's shaking and stirring Captain America's world.
Before the mystery man from the star-spangled superhero's past becomes a major threat in the movie sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier (due April 4), the Winter Soldier stars in his own five-issue James Bond-like pulp thriller, beginning in February.
The miniseries Winter Soldier: The Bitter March sets up future events that will "shatter" the world of Steve Rogers in the pages of Captain America next year, says writer Rick Remender. "At the same time, it is a love letter to (early-period) 007 and Jim Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. comics."
In the story line, set in 1966, two Nazi scientists have developed a top-secret formula that could potentially win the Cold War, and they've fallen into the hands of the evil organization Hydra. S.H.I.E.L.D. sends in secret agents Nick Fury and Ran Shen to collect the scientists, but the Soviets have plans for them, too, opening the "Red Room" and unleashing their own version of Captain America, the enigmatic Winter Soldier.
"He is a force of nature," Remender says, "and when he is tracking you, you are in a bad way."
Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort sees The Bitter March (featuring art by Roland Boschi) as almost a Friday the 13th film, where the Winter Soldier, instead of being the lead, is the unstoppable heavy.
"On some level, I'm not sure that you always know quite who to root for," he says.
There is a lot of inherent drama simply in the story of the Winter Soldier, who is played in the Captain America movie sequel by Sebastian Stan (TV's Labyrinth and Once Upon a Time).
In a Captain America comic-book story line in the 2000s, he was revealed as Cap's old World War II sidekick Bucky Barnes. Long thought dead, Barnes was instead found by the Russians with no memory of his true identity and trained to be their ultimate superspy. (He later learned what had happened to him, and Barnes has even worn the red, white and blue as Captain America in recent years.)
Remender is using the pulp miniseries to build on current story lines in his Captain America series - Issue 13 (out Nov. 6) features both the Winter Soldier and Ran Shen, now a Cap archnemesis known as the Iron Nail. It will also showcase a cinematic, action-packed period during the Cold War when the Winter Soldier was more villain than hero.
"He was a tool who had very little control of his own mind, but I will be exploring how Bucky Barnes is underneath all of it still," Remender says. "Even back then, there was a piece of him trying to stand back up."