Quote1.png Well, at least they got it half-right. ... Barnes is way too tarnished now to carry the shield. But never wanted it anyhow. He just wouldn't let anyone else have it. And after that...he was only tryin' to impress you. Quote2.png
-- Nick Fury


Appearing in "Gulag part 4"

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Synopsis for "Gulag part 4"

Black Widow works on a haphazard plan to break Bucky Barnes out of the Siberian gulag. She makes a deal with a shady ex-KGB contact to dismantle a competing gun-running operation in exchange for weapons and a helicopter. Natasha flies the chopper to the woods outside the gulag and stealthily takes out the guards patrolling the area. She pulls a rocket launcher out of her weapons bag, ready to blow up the gulag’s outer wall, but when she crests the hill, she is shocked to see the prison is already burning.

Earlier that morning, Colonel Rostov explains his plans for the Winter Soldier as a drugged Bucky is strapped to a table, screaming in pain. Rostov wants access to Project Zephyr, a Cold War-era operation that saw the Winter Soldier train three enhanced Russian agents in his own methods. The agents were then embedded in the United States decades ago, but with the end of the Cold War were never activated. Rostov wants the activation key hidden in Bucky’s mind so that he can auction the agents off on the black market and retire.

Later, the warden visits Bucky in his cell. He says Rostov is allowing him to throw Bucky into one more fight that night against someone the warden claims is unbeatable. The cocky warden gets too close and Bucky headbutts him. The guards respond immediately and beat Bucky ruthlessly, but Bucky is finally determined to escape no matter what.

That night in the “arena”, Bucky comes face to face with his opponent - the Unicorn, who now sports a glowing third eye in his forehead from which he can shoot his power blasts. Bucky avoids several blasts and picks up a heavy chain. He knocks the Unicorn off his feet, directing his beam upwards, where it destroys the outer wall of the warden’s office as the warden watches the fight. Bucky continues to keep his distance from the Unicorn, baiting him into blasting holes in the prison wall and, finally, into destroying the tanks that store methane gas from the gulag’s sewers. The tanks explode and cause a chain reaction that sets the entire prison ablaze.

Bucky disarms a guard amid the chaos and is about to face down several more when Black Widow leaps into the fray, much to Bucky’s surprise. They escape over the fence and make it to the helicopter. As they fly away, Bucky changes out of his prison uniform and decides that fugitive or not, it’s on him to clean up the messes the Winter Soldier made.

Back in the States, Steve Rogers finds Nick Fury at Avengers Tower admiring his old Captain America gear. Rogers has just returned from briefing the President and other officials on his and Nick’s mission related to the dead Soviet spies involved in Bucky’s extradition. He reported that they tracked the man’s movements to an old warehouse, where they encountered and engaged several soldiers in Titanium Man armor. The government officials, however, are more focused on Bucky’s escape from prison. At Steve’s protestations that Bucky was set up, the President relents slightly and tells Steve to send him the information he’s gathered. But he insists while the country needs a Captain America, Bucky can no longer wear the uniform.

Fury agrees and pushes Steve to consider the President’s offer. For his part, Steve only commits to clearing Bucky’s name, as he stares at reminders of their time during World War II.

Solicit Synopsis

The events of Fear Itself collide as our two stories reach their stunning conclusion. From his cold Russian prison cell, Bucky makes a decision that will change his life forever. And in the Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier back-up, the first repercussions of Bucky's actions may destroy everything Steve has worked so hard for. It's the stunning conclusion you won't believe!

Notes

  • This is the final issue of Captain America, with the next issue, the title becomes Captain America and Bucky #620, with the same numbering.
  • This story is reprinted in Captain America: Prisoner of War.

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