After making a thunderous announcement on The View this Monday that Marvel’s brawny, blonde God of Thunder, Thor, would be deemed unworthy to wield his mythical hammer Mjölnir and subsequently replaced by a woman, the Internet exploded, leading to some of the most horrific comment sections I’ve ever read. Tonight, Marvel continued its press tour on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, and announced that another of its Big Three heroes would be undergoing a major change, namely the identity of Captain America.
Perhaps the single most iconic character in This announcement comes on the heels of Captain America #21, which saw Steve Rogers sapped of his Super Soldier Serum after a brutal attack by Iron Nail. The assault left Steve Rogers a fragile husk of his former self, a man who finally looked his age. Naturally, there was no way he could continue on as the nation’s embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way. “Without Steve Rogers, who’s going to keep those Guatemalan kids from crossing our southern border?” asked Colbert. Indeed, a successor must be selected.
The answer came courtesy of Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, who appeared on the program to announce that the shield would be taken up by none other than Sam Wilson, a/k/a The Falcon.
Audiences will recognize the character as the fan-favorite played by Anthony Mackie in this spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The first African-American superhero and Steve Rogers’ longtime teammate, The Falcon is a natural pick to fill Cap’s red, buccaneer-style boots, and was what many comic book fans, myself included, suspected when we first heard that Marvel would be announcing a new Captain America. Other eagle-eyed readers put it together when Marvel teased the cover to Avengers #35, which showed Cap obscured by shadows.
This seismic shift will lead to a brand new series this fall, All-New Captain America #1 by Rick Remender and artist Stuart Immonen. In a post on Marvel.com, Remender explained the change: “I’ve been having a lot of fun writing Sam. It’s a completely different attitude. The fact that he’s not a soldier shifts things up a bit. Sam’s not going to be Steve. Steve can be very rigid. That can be kind of joyless at times, whereas Sam is absolutely not that.”
Editor Steve Brevoort chimed in on the differences between Steve Rogers’ and Sam Wilson’s approach to the heroic role. “While Sam shares many of Steve’s beliefs in a general sense, he’s also a very different person with a very different background,” he said. “He didn’t grow up in the 1930s, he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century,” Brevoort continued. “For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he’s got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself.”
For those of you wondering what Marvel was thinking, you should know that this isn’t the first time another person has taken up the mantle. Most recently, Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, took over for Captain America after he was killed in the aftermath of Marvel’s Civil War event. For that matter, Wilson isn’t the first black Captain America either; that honor belongs to early Super Soldier program subject Isaiah Bradley. Still, if Steve Rogers has to be replaced, Wilson is a terrific choice and one that I’m excited to hear more about
You may be wondering who will take over for Sam Wilson as The Falcon? Well, fortunately for all of our sakes, Quesada offered the job to Colbert, and even included an artist’s rendering by Kris Anka.
For his first official task as Captain America’s partner-in-crime-fighting, he coined a brand new catchphrase: “Why did the Falcon cross the road? For justice, motherf*cker.” To quote another classic Marvel line, “‘Nuff said.”
What do you think of Sam Wilson as the Falcon? Let us know — and keep it civil — in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.