Marvel Comics #1000 Retcons Captain America & Bucky’s Relationship

It looks as though the #1000 special Marvel’s produced couldn’t go without yet more pointless retcons of the past, as Screen Rant’s revealed is the case with Captain America and Bucky Barnes:


The friendship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes is officially one of the most well-known, thanks to Marvel’s Captain America movies. So it’s no surprise that Marvel Comics just quietly changed the origins of Steve and Bucky, to better match the version seen in the MCU as opposed to the original comics.

In that case, it can’t be one of the most well-known at all, if they lack that much faith in themselves to leave the Golden Age origins alone. Obviously, they’re relying on the perception no moviegoer will ever pick up the Golden Age Marvel Masterworks (as far as I know, no Epic Collection’s been produced to date compiling the GA material) available to date, where they’d see a different story than what this new rendition is pretending to be canon, as explained in what follows:


To be clear, it isn’t the kind of retcon that makes Captain America responsible for Wolverine like was recently revealed, throwing years of canon into question. Nor is it the kind of lighthearted Easter Egg that brings the worst Captain America movie into comic canon. Thanks to a flashback in the special Marvel Comics #1000, Steve Rogers was just slyly given a different origin story. One in which Steve Rogers and his friendship with James “Bucky” Barnes goes all the way… to the start. […]

The conclusion of the short story suggests that this is equal parts flashback, a strange premonition from young Steve about the decades-long chill in his future, a memory returning to Steve during that time on ice, or a conjured dream in the same frozen state. The truth of it is entirely ambiguous, but the scene itself isn’t: it suggests that Steve Rogers and James Barnes were children together, before Steve’s deficiencies were even noticeable. Something every fan of the original Captain America comics knows was NOT the case.

And I wouldn’t recommend anybody not in the know of Kirby/Simon’s original tale take this at face value. It certainly shouldn’t be accepted at the expense of what the original writers and artists worked hard to produce in their time. What they’re doing, if it’s really what it’s assumed to be, insults the intellect of moviegoers as much as comics readers, making it look as though they have to accept every new modern rendition and retcon instead of the Kirby/Simon work.


Even if the difference between Captain America and his young sidekick, Bucky, is just four years, this memory doesn’t add up. But more importantly, it’s always been canon that Steve Rogers became a hero during World War II, inspiring the young Bucky to train up as his eventual partner. Making them childhood friends, like this scene shows, erases all of that in favor of the MCU version–in which Steve and Bucky are implied to be friends from childhood. Unless Steve’s frozen mind is creating a fantasy in which the two played as children, which… well, suggests a story that would need more than one page to explore properly.

Thank goodness this is talking sense. If Marvel #1000’s aimed at a wider public audience, as I’ve assumed, then this is not being fair to them, or Kirby/Simon. But then, Marvel hasn’t been respectable of the two late scribes’ memories for ages already. Maybe, in the end, it is just a dream sequence, but it’s an awfully easy idea, and a far better one could’ve been a flashback to Steve’s early life with his family in the pre-WW2 era. If the writers can only think of – and editors only allow them to – rely on obvious ingredients, then it’s no wonder they fail to impress in the end.



Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1