Wednesday Nov 10th 2014 will be the debut of a new Captain America. Sam Wilson (The Falcon) the longtime friend and wing-man (Yes that is a pun) of Steve Rogers will now wear the mantle of Captain America.
|Scottie Young variant|
How did Falcon becomes Captain America?
In a battle with a foe called Iron Nail the super hero serum in Steve Rogers blood loses its power. He then ages rapidly to his real age. Now a very old man Steve can no longer fight on the front lines and has taken up a back up role. Rogers passes on his mantle to Sam Wilson (AKA the Falcon).
Having an African American take over one of the most important mantles in Marvel comics is a very big moment. It is up there with a female taking over the formerly male mantles of Thor and Captain Marvel. Let take a moment to figure out where this story will go down in history.
Falcon has always been historically important as he is the first African American Super Hero. Black Panther is the first Black super hero however he is an African not an African American.
Looking below you can see that very few black characters precede Falcon making him historically very important.
First appearances in Marvel Comics of African/African American Characters:
Robbie Robertson - 1951 - In the Amazing Spiderman #51
Black Panther- 1962 in Fantastic 4 #52
Gabe Jones -1963 - in Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos
Falcon - 1969 in Captain America #117
Luke Cage- 1972 in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire
Blade - 1973 in The Tomb of Dracula #10
Storm -1975 in Giant Size X-Men #1
Some non Marvel characters of note:
Lobo - From Dell comics - 1965 in Lobo #1
John Stewart Green Lantern - From DC Comics - 1971 Greenlantern #87
Falcon will not be the first black Captain America
|Isaiah Bradley fighting in WW2|
What is interesting is that despite how old the Falcon is, he is not the first Black Captain America. The first black Captain America is a man by the name of Isaiah Bradley.
Bradley is from a an experiment to recreate the super hero serum which is basically project Rebirth #2. This is an experiment based on the real Tuskegee Syphilis Study, where African American's were experimented on against their knowledge. The only survivor of the group that is experimented on is Bradley. At one point he steals a suit meant for Rogers and goes on a suicide mission against the Nazis. He is captured and brought into a Nazi lab to be dissected. He is freed by a German rebel group. Bradley's story is shown as not being well known by most of the Marvel heroes. However, many of the African American heroes like Luke Cage consider him a legend.
Elijah Bradley who is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley also donned a patriotic themed costume and called himself the Patriot. He served as a leader of the Young Avengers. While, not called Captain America. Elijah did serve the same role on the team and looked very similar.
Not the first but different
Falcon's Captain America is going to be different than the Bradley version. Falcon is going to be known throughout the world as Captain America. He will not be a hidden secret of the United States Government. He will be a headliner on the Avengers, he will be the one dealing with SHIELD, and the US government.
He will also face the moral burden of wearing the Captain America, the mantle that is often seen as the moral compass of the entire universe.
When there is a disagreement in the Marvel Universe everyone looks to where Captain America is standing and for the time being, that Captain America is going to be black. This is different, this is unique and no this has not happened before.
I don't think the writers at Marvel are going to make the transition easy for Falcon. Don't expect a big coronation and smooth sailing. Everything is likely to be thrown at Sam Wilson. Threats, physical and moral, and always choices. It is the choices that Captain America makes that make him an interesting character to watch.
What will Sam's choices be?...We will find out this Wednesday!