It's said that the only people in comicbooks who stay dead are Uncle Ben, Jason Todd and Bucky. Well, so much for that.
Back in the day,
James Buchanan Barnes was right where every American boy wanted to be - fighting at the side of America's own champion, Captain America. He grew up on a military base, and was raised by his dad's fellow soldiers after being orphaned at the beginning of World War II. By the time he was a teenager, he was already an ideal soldier. After teaming up with Captain America, he battled America's enemies around the globe, alongside the most powerful heroes of the day, including the King of Atlantis and the original Human Torch. Wearing a grin, and constantly cracking wise, Bucky and his pals took on fascists, Communists and terrorists until the very end of World War II when a bomb set by the evil Baron Zemo apparently took his life.
After the introduction of Robin in 1940, it seemed that every superhero scrambled to get a young sidekick. Before Dick Grayson came along, the idea of an adolescent palling around with an adult and going on dangerous adventures was (almost) unheard of, but afterwards,
it was nearly a requirement. Existing heroes picked up sidekicks as they went along, and new creations debuted with them. That's how Bucky ended up on the cover of Captain America #1.
This figure is a slightly reworked Patriot from the Young Avengers box set, but that's fine: after all, Patriot was wearing a version of Bucky's costume - military jacket, domino mask, bright red gloves, all that. So we've simply come full circle. The shoulders seem to have been smoothed out since Patriot's figure - there's less of a visibly sculpted seam along the edge, which is a shame. He does, however, have the folded collar on his jacket, a feature which Patriot's costume lacks, as well as large boot cuffs. Interesting!
Bucky is a skinny guy,
and actually looks like he has the physique of a teenager. His uniform looks like thick cloth, rather than the spandex most heroes wear, so the musculature is more suggested than shown. His utility belt is detalied better than most Batman figures', and the star on his chest is sculpted rather than painted. His face doesn't quite look like a teen's: there are a few too many wrinkles on there for a 16-year-old. Rather, he looks like an adult actor playing a teenager in a movie or on tv. Some folks have said he looks like Burt Ward, who played Robin on the '60s Batman tv show, but that really isn't the case - Ward's face was much narrower.
The paint is generally good, With no real problems that stand out. The blue stripes on the outside of his legs don't quite fill the sculpted space, but when that's your complaint, you're just looking for a reason to be unhappy. The buttons on his jacket are painted crisply, and the detailing on his utility belt is bronze, rather than Patriot's silver.
Articulation is pretty nice, here. Bucky's got the ToyBiz-style joints all over: balljointed head, balljointed shoulders, peg biceps, double elbows, peg gloves, hinges at the wrists and fingers, a hinged chest, a normal waist, balljointed hips with pegs for the thighs, double-knees, swivels at the tops of the boots, those compound ankles and hinges for his toes. Some kind of swivel in the forearms would be appreciated, so Bucky could salute properly.
Bucky doesn't have any accessories,
but he does have a fairly large piece of this series' BAF, the Brood Queen's tail. At about 6" long, the tail is nearly the same size as Bucky himself. There's no articulation or bendiness to the tail, but the sculpt is really impressive, with afull texture on all the overlapping segments.
It's weird that Bucky is the same height as Captain America, but in an action pose, no one will notice. This is definitely a figure no one ever expected we'd get, but it's a nice one to have. It probably doesn't hurt that he's recently escaped death like so many have before him. In the Marvel Universe, his "death" is used as the reason heroes avoid having kid sidekicks today - but there's no reason to avoid this figure.