For a time, Falcon had become a new member of the Heroes for Hire, dividing his time between his new team and the old one, the Avengers. When Captain America mysteriously disappeared, Falcon was of course among the ones more committed to find him… and was quite shocked when the hero came back from a pocket dimension, Arnim Zola‘s Dimension Z, as an old man, the Super-Soldier Serum having being purged from his organism after a battle with the Iron Nail. Falcon rushed to his friend’s side, and helped him defeat Zola, who almost blew up New York City with a bomb: to save the city, Falcon almost sacrificed his life. Impressed once again by his partner’s heroism, the old Steve Rogers, unable to operate as Captain America anymore, gave him the shield and the title, stating that there was no better nor fitter man to be the symbol he had been for a century. Honored and humbled, it took Sam some convincing to finally accept the offer, but eventually he decided to trust Steve’s judgement: with an updated version of his costume, his faithful Redwing by his side, and a new sidekick in the form of Ian Rogers, Steve’s son from Dimension Z and the new Nomad, Sam Wilson was ready to dismiss the mantle of The Falcon and to embrace that of the all new, all different Captain America, one who, in his intention, would have represented all American citizens… if they let him, of course. The idea of a black man wearing the stars and stripes, and most of all donning the title of Captain America, was rejected by many, and this new Captain America would have had to work more and harder than his predecessor to win the trust and esteem also of those who mistrusted him for his ethnicity… quite a difficult task to begin with.
Steve Rogers mentored Sam once again, training him in the use of the shield, and monitoring him in his first missions… trying to help him also in getting along with Nomad, who was quite defiant of any authority. Sam’s first mission with Nomad, deep in New York’s underground to free a bunch of homeless kids from the Scarecrow, was almost a disaster, but the two eventually managed to work together, and gained each other’s respect. While the new Cap’s PR was still difficult to say the least, the worst had yet to come: following a trail to Bagalia City after a fight with Batroc the Leaper, Captain America rushed into a building, only to find himself surrounded by a number of deadly foes. Baron Zemo, Crossbones, Sin, Armadillo, Taskmaster, Cobra, Baron Blood, Viper, they were all there, and none of them too happy to see him. Overpowered and outnumbered, Cap was saved only by the intervention of Misty Knight, who had been spying on the villains for a while: she revealed to him that HYDRA had been infiltrating many governmental bodies and superhero teams all around the world for a while, and that their power and influence was growing; most of their master plan also involved an Inhuman boy, Lucas, whose blood was highly toxic. As it later turned out from the investigation, HYDRA planned to use Lucas’ blood to sterilize the entire world population, leaving only the HYDRA loyalists, who had the antidotes, free to repopulate the planet with their “superior” offspring. Such a mad and horrifying plan had to be stopped, but this would have taken quite an effort, as HYDRA had bases in all continents, all of which ready to launch a bomb with Lucas’ blood in the atmosphere. Captain America’s first big mission was also the biggest in his life, and the fate of the whole world rested upon his shoulders… quite some pressure, for his first day on the new job.
Sam Wilson has always been a hero, but wearing the stars and stripes means more for him than it never did being The Falcon: he wants to represent anyone in America, especially those who felt abandoned and left aside all their life, a task made more difficult by all the racism he’s facing from those in power. As Captain America, he retains his flying suit and his telepathic link with Redwing, now expanded to telepathy with any other bird in vicinity, but he’s now armed with Steve Rogers’ shield: this indestructible weapon, along with his mastership of many martial arts (several of them invented precisely for him as “avian” martial arts) and his tactical skills, make him one of the world’s best fighters. Devoted to the people, the new Captain America wants to be close to the last ones, the outcast and the marginalized ones nobody listens to nor care for, and for this he created the Captain America Hotline, a service open to anyone needing a hand from a hero. Being the champion of the poor and forgotten ones, however, often makes you an enemy of the powerful and the privileged ones, a lesson that this Captain America has learnt very soon in his new career…
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