Falcon (Character)

Falcon- The All New Captain America
Falcon- The All New Captain America

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Created by: Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan

1st appearance: Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)

Facts: The Falcon is best known as the OTHER sidekick of Captain America but he also happens to be the 1st African-American superhero and the second Black Superhero the first being Black Panther (debut 1966)

Aliases: Samuel Thomas Wilson, Abraham Wilson, Abe Wilson, Abe, Blackbird, Snap, Sam Wilson, Captain America, Wingman For Hire, All New Captain America

Team Affiliations: Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Heroes for Hire

Legal Status: U.S citizen with no criminal record

Height: 6’2              Weight: 240 lbs

Eyes: Brown                   Hair: Black

Relatives: Paul Wilson (Father, deceased), Darlene Wilson (Mother, deceased), Sarah Wilson Casper (Sister), Gideon Wilson (Brother), Jody Casper (Nephew), Jim Wilson(Nephew, deceased),

Skills and Abilities:  Falcon has an affinity for training birds in addition to martial arts and gymnastics training from S.H.E.I.L.D and Captain America [Captain America Vol.1 #118].

Powers: Sam can telepathically command and control birds, he also has a special link with his pet Red Wing.

Equipment: His original Green and Orange costume was just a regular suite made from normal materials. Upon returning to the states however insulation was added to it as well as a wrist mounted grappling hook (Which he called the Hawk Hook) which allowed him to swing across roofs [Captain America Vol.1 #139].

When he tried to become a solo superhero he created a red, white and yellow costume with all the features of the original including the claw like grappling hook [Captain America Vol.1 #144].

He later works with T’challa the Black Panther to upgrade his Red ad yellow costume with Wakandan technology which allows him to fly and offers a degree of resistance to injury. The cowl allows him to see into the infra-red spectrum, offers night vision and lastly telescopic vision. One version of the costume used hard light constructs for the wings.

Biography

Samuel Wilson was born to Baptist minister Paul Wilson and his wife Darlene. Sam was the youngest of three children; elder siblings included sister Sarah Wilson and brother Gideon Wilson. As a boy growing up in Harlem he had a natural affinity for birds and was reported as having the “largest Pigeon coop on any rooftop in Harlem” [Captain America Vol.1 #117].

As a teen he experienced Racism and all its trappings, which made him doubt his “faith”. His parents however were very supportive and provided him with alternatives to their own religion. Happiness would not last however as his father who he adored and followed everywhere died breaking up a gang fight which traumatized him [Captain America Vol.1 #277]. This “change” manifested as Sam spent all his time after school at the church community center guiding the younger kids, reaching out to the old people….always giving so much of himself to everyone [Captain America Vol.1 #277].

Sam Wilson's Traumatic life from Captain America #277
Sam Wilson’s Traumatic life from Captain America #277

Then came the second turning point in Sam’s life. On a night just like any other he was walking home with his mother and sister they ran into a random mugger. The mugger was so upset that his mother had nothing but a few dollars in her purse so he shot her [Captain America Vol.1 #277]. Initially Sam cried and cried for days. Then he became wracked with resentment and anger lashing out at his siblings. With so much conflict brewing inside him that he snapped. In that moment he created a new personality. Sam blocked out his father, his dreams, his ideals and became a totally new person, cold, self-serving, that was “Snap”. He traveled to Los Angeles where he got in with the local mob and christened himself “Snap Wilson”. As snap he was involved in crime, gangs and even pimping [Captain America Vol.1 #186].

The first appearance of the Falcon from Captain America Vol.1 #117, story by Stan Lee art by Gene Colan
The first appearance of the Falcon from Captain America Vol.1 #117, story by Stan Lee art by Gene Colan

Rising through the ranks he was chosen as their representative to got to Rio to deal with their business. He accepted but when the plane was returning from the transaction he decided to knock out the pilot and commandeer the plane to keep the contraband and break out on his own. Things did not go as planned and he struggled with the pilot resulting in the plane crashing. He washed up on the shore while the pilot apparently died [Captain America vol.1 #186]. On the island he befriended the locales who were under siege by the criminals known as the Exiles, who were Nazi sympathizers who had worked with the Red Skull during World War II. After being betrayed by the Skull the Exiles had begun enslaving the natives while making the island their new base of operations. While working with them Sam rescued and befriended Redwing who becomes his best friend [Captain America Vol.1 #117].

 

Birth of the Falcon

Being drawn into the Red Skull’s plot to destroy Captain America his bond with the Falcon was made even stronger, resulting in a Super-normal link with himself and Redwing. This power would later give him telepathic power over birds. This was done with the Cosmic Cube a weapon which allowed the holder to alter the very fabric of reality. With the cube in hand, the Skull rewrote Sam’s past memories so that “Snap Wilson” and the Sam’s criminal endeavors never actually happened [Captain America vol.1 #186]. In the new timeline: Samuel was a man wanting to lead a change, so he became a social worker and community volunteer to better those around him. He was lured to the island by the Exiles where his plan crashes and he joins with the natives to liberate them from persecution.

Origin of the Falcon Captain America 186
The Origin of the Falcon from Captain America vol.1 #186, June 1975 story by Steve Englehart art by Frank Robbins.

Befriended by a disguised Captain America he is eventually trained and convinced to become a symbol to inspire rebellion, thus the Falcon is born [Captain America Vol.1 #117]. The duo defeats both the Skull and the natives and save the islanders [Captain America vol.1 #18-119]. Upon returning to the United States Falcon continues his life as a crime fighter but now locally in Harlem [Captain America vol.1 #120]. Captain America would be drawn back into his life when Falcon tried to take down the “Diamond heads” a black supremacist group akin to the KKK. When Falcon was cornered by the feds Cap had to come to his rescue by having Sam change into his Captain America costume. Cap helped him take down the gang which had framed him and revealed a connection to the Maggia crime syndicate [Captain America vol.1 #126]. He would officially become Captain Americas partner when the duo battled Modok [Captain America vol.1 #133]. Together they would battle Stone face  all while he continued being a social worker and helping children in Harlem [Captain America vol.1 #134]. They faced the Gargoyle [Captain America Vol.1 #140-141]. When cap was thought dead after he was seemingly vaporized while facing the racist “Sons of the Shield”, he took up the mantle of Captain America. His main enemies were of course the “Sons of the Shield” during his time as Captain America he used a replica shield. When the real Captain America showed up under mind control he was forced to battle his friend. He was badly injured though he managed to free his friend [Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #9].

His stint as a solo hero lead to complacency as a “sidekick” so he tried to escape Cap’s image by creating a new costume. He remained Caps partner however after saving his life [Captain America Vol.1 #144-145].

Falcon first appearance of flying costume from Captain America vol.1 #170
Falcon first appearance of flying costume from Captain America vol.1 #170

After meeting with the Black Panther the two joined forces to create his first  “winged suit” which granted him the ability to glide on air currents allowing him to fly [Captain America Vol.1 #170]. This new ability came in handy as the duo teamed with Black Panther and faced Moonstone [Captain America Vol. 1 #171]. They later teamed up and faced the X-men [Captain America Vol.1 #172 and #173]. Other notable battles include facing the Secret Society [Captain America Vol. 1 #174-175] and Lucifer [Captain America Vol. 1 #177].

When the original Cap becomes Nomad he partners with Roscoe who becomes the new Captain America [Captain America Vol. 1 #181-182]. Red Skull soon returns and Roscoe is killed in action forcing Steve Rogers back into the Captain America mantle [Captain America Vol. 1 #183]. They would continue battling the Skull who would reveal the true origins of the Falcon and use him against Captain America [Captain America Vol. 1 #184-186]. During battle with Cap the “Snap Wilson” persona briefly manifested. They also battled Deadly Nightshade [Captain America Vol. 1 #189].

After these events Sam was tried for crimes he committed as snap and became a S.H.I.E.L.D agent to serve out his sentence [Captain America Vol. 1 #191].  This eventually led to a spot on the avengers. As a renewed symbol of hope for community he continued to be a very strong activist there in Harlem and as a civilian remained a social worker.

When he ran for congress with help from his sister Sarah and girlfriend Liela his “Snap” personality manifested [Captain America Vol.1 #277-#278]. 

Marvel Now

In modern Marvel he joined the Anti Registration heroes during Civil War where he briefly led the group when Captain America was injured. He was also a pallbearer at Cap’s funeral.

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Caribbean born college lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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