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Just how can Bucky Barnes play a part in Avengers: Infinity War? After all, he voluntarily signed himself into cold storage at the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
Fans are getting their answer — or part of it, at least — in this week’s first issue of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic book series.
It turns out, in fact, that Bucky wasn’t actually going into cold storage at all — instead, he was preparing for a life-changing operation. In a moment that teases next month’s Black Panther as well as May’s Infinity War, T’Challa’s sister Shuri — described as “the most gifted [scientist] in Wakanda” — plans to “reboot” Bucky’s mind, freeing him of the trigger phrases that transform him into the unthinking killing machine seen in Civil War. Along the way, she explains, she’ll be able to use similar techniques to create Wakandan-exclusive artificial intelligence, reminding the audience just how further advanced the African nation is to everything seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.
Shuri boasts that she’s smarter than Tony Stark — a claim that might be underscored by the fact that the issue sees Stark confessing that he “got distracted. Didn’t focus on the real threat that’s coming,” while planning his next Iron Man armor. (In the background of this scene is the Spider-Man costume he unveiled in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will be worn in Infinity War. It really is all connected.)
Meanwhile, Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson and the Black Widow are still at work, albeit in disguise, as they track down terrorist cells trying to use technology from the Chitauri attack at the center of 2012’s The Avengers — a sign of things to come in Infinity War, or something else entirely?
Avengers: Infinity War Prelude No. 1 is available now digitally and in comic book stores; the second issue will be released next month.
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