Bucky Barnes might still be on ice during Black Panther this February, but a new prequel comic to Infinity War explains exactly what happens to him in Wakanda between the events of Captain America: Civil War and the next Avengers.

As it turns out, the smartest person in the MCU experiments on his brain.


Spoilers follow for Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #1.

Released Wednesday, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #1 is the first of a two-part series that checks in with many of the MCU’s characters before Thanos assaults Earth this May. Hawkeye retires; Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow hunt down terrorists that buy Chitauri weapons; and Iron Man designs a new suit. But the most interesting plot thread pertains to Bucky’s brain reboot at the hands of T’Challa’s sister, Shuri.

In case you didn’t know yet, she’s the smartest person in the universe.

Here’s the last we saw of Bucky at the end of Captain America: Civil War in Wakanda, one arm down and going in for a deep cryo freeze:

Sebastian Stan, the actor behind Bucky Barnes, publicly confirmed that he wasn’t in Black Panther back in July of last year. But the new tie-in comic, Infinity War: Prelude, features a scene where a main character from Black Panther, Shuri, figures out how to de-program his extremely traumatic conditioning.

To start, Shuri fashions a “one-to-one digital representation” of Bucky’s brain, which is like cloning a human brain into a distinct A.I. construct.

Remember JARVIS, FRIDAY, and even Ultron, to an extent? Shuri made one of those, but she did it by copying Bucky’s fractured mind.

Shuri creates a digital representation of Bucky's brain — basically an A.I. clone.

In the months between Civil War and Infinity War, Shuri experiments on this digital brain and somehow creates an algorithm that erases the influence that the various triggers words had on Bucky, effectively rebooting a human brain.

Shuri is the smartest person in the MCU.

A convenient bi-product of her experiments leads to advancements in Wakanda’s own A.I. programs as a result. Maybe we’ll see the fruits of this labor as soon as Black Panther?

Even if we don’t, this makes us more excited than ever to see what Shuri is capable of in Black Panther.

Black Panther will be released on February 16, 2018. It’s the last MCU film before Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.

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