When Bucky met Eli and Kate
It's "Captain America Week" on Marvel.com, and, as you'd expect, current writer/genius Ed Brubaker is featured a lot; in an interview about the upcoming #600 and beyond, including some discussion of guest characters. Among those mentioned, "characters from the Young Avengers". I've been expecting/hoping for some of them to pop up in the main title at some point, since Brubaker has written a couple of team-ups between them and Bucky. So, since that got me thinking about them, here they are for the new s_d.
The first of these was Winter Soldier: Winter Kills, a one-shot "Casualties of War" special, one of several produced in the winter of 2006 when Millar and McNiven's illness, etc. set Civil War back a few months. Given impending story developments with Bucky, giving him one for a bit of solo time made a lot of sense in retrospect; honestly, this was the story that really sold me on Bucky as a character (from his return through the end of "21st Century Blitz" in Captain America proper he was mostly a plot device to get reactions from Steve, Sharon et al.; it was only toward the end of the latter story and this that he really started to get some character beats in the present) and it's difficult for me to imagine it not having been made.
Anyhoo, Bucky's doing the traditional "man out of time mope" when Nick Fury interrupts and asks him to go bail out some of the YA (Patriot, Hawkeye II, Vision II), who are about to bust some crooks that Fury doesn't want them to bust, because Fury is monitoring the base as a way to finger HYDRA agents. However, one thing leads to another, and Bucky ends up teaming up with them to trash the place.
The offending word in question was "pansy", which isn't that dated an expression, I thought, but anyway; Bucky heads off to the grave of Jack Monroe (50s Bucky, who he killed while Winter Soldier):
That right there is what comics at their best are.
Bucky then heads off to meet Namor, and it is indeed fabulous. Sadly, he never does get around to having that talk with Steve.
About, oh, a year later, Marvel got around to doing Young Avengers Presents, six issues of different creators taking different characters out for a spin; Eli being a part of the Cap mythos, they understandably went to Brubaker for Eli's, the first issue. The issue opens with Eli in kind of a funk, what with Steve getting gunned down and the pro-Regs running everything (I'm sure he's nostalgic for that now that Normie is calling the shots). After Bucky shows up at his house to pay his respects to Isaiah Bradley, Eli decides to seek him out; Wiccan magics him and Kate to wherever Bucky is (one of the features of both of these stories is Eli and Kate's primacy; Vision and Wiccan are mostly just used to navigate certain plot requirements, ie, identifying who Bucky is and locating him; Eli and Kate, power-wise, fit best into Brubaker's fairly "realistic" feel. Anyway, Eli and Kate crash a fight between Bucky and some AIM guys (the second of the primary Marvel purveyors of hordes of useless mooks; now all they need is to team up against the Hand).
The art on this one is Paco Medina; I wasn't sure about this choice; his cartoony style (which worked great on New X-Men) would be a very solid choice for a standard YA title, but for this sort of introspective Cap legacy story, it's a bit on the bright side.
Truefact: the ladies love angsty grown up former kid sidekicks.
Actually, combine that with the often suspiciously flirty glances Kate had with Clint in her own issue of this, and one begins to suspect she has a thing for older guys.
Anyway, Eli heads off after the tracer, and finds Bucky living in Steve's old place (this was actually the first comic to tell us this is where he'd set up digs; this was published in between Captain America #33, when Bucky fought Iron Man and then decided to become Cap, and #34, his first outing in the costume; I was actually wondering whether Eli and Kate would find Bucky as Cap, but that's probably something that wouldn't make sense to do outside the main title).
I don't know if Heinberg was aware of the original Patriot when he gave Eli the name (it was never brought up in-story, but Heinberg certainly knows his Marvel continuity), but that's the kind of connection that a big Cap nerd like Brubaker can seize on; the sort of connection that shows why the big, bulky growth of history that comics have can be really worthwhile, and not just a hindrance.
Winter Kills was included in both the Civil War: Captain America trade and the Captain America Omnibus v.1; when they get around to v.2, I'd strongly argue that this story should be included there as well. Among other things, it's the first really notable demonstration of Bucky's attempts to elevate himself and be more like Steve.
So, despite being on the shortlist of people who knew about Bucky until very recently, they've never had any interaction with Bucky since he formally became Cap, so that's something to look forward to.