A WARNING: The article contains spoilers and speculation about the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Proceed at your own risk.
Selby: The super soldier serum here in Madripour. Dr. Wilfred Nagel is the man to thank. Or condemn, depending on which side you’re on.
The Hawk and the Winter Soldier, Power Broker (Season 1, Episode 3)
The MCU is done with Captain America, but it’s not done with the supporting cast. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier brought most of Captain America’s allies, enemies, and related characters together in one series. At this rate, I expect the Serpent Society and the Asthmatic Monster to show up.
Most of the new characters are super soldiers with advanced technology or super powers. They’re not all good, either. So who are these super soldiers? We’ll find out.
Played by Wyatt Russell.
American agent: One day there will be a reckoning, and I will prove to the world that I am a better symbol of America than he is…..
Captain America #323
Steve Rogers is Captain America, but that doesn’t mean he always agrees with the government. He once renounced his identity when he went through a crisis of faith that led to the birth of a new anti-hero: An American agent.
The US government thinks there should be a Captain America and is looking for a replacement. Nick Fury was too old. Falcon was rejected because they didn’t want a black Captain America. Eventually they gave the rank and suit to Jonathan Walker, a soldier who fought crime as a super-patriot.
The new Captain America is tougher than its predecessor, focusing more on American laws and interests than on his ideals. He was also willing to kill the bad guys if it went too far.
Walker slowly melted away, eager to meet Steve’s ideals. He eventually relinquishes the title to Steve, whom he considers the best Captain America around. Walker then approved the identity of an American agent to perform black missions for the government.
The American agent was licensed by an arms dealer called Power Broker, who gave him superhuman strength, speed and agility. He’s using a high-tech glove that generates energy shields. He also has physical shields in case the gauntlet breaks.
The American agent is an idiot through and through, but he’s not bad. He refuses to put his missions ahead of saving lives, and it takes a lot to get him killed. Nevertheless, it is implicitly associated with sectarianism, particularly with respect to indigenous peoples.
Clee Bennett played
Sam: When I see a man in tactical gear in a helicopter, I need more than Lemar Hoskins.
Hoskins: I’m Battlestar. John’s partner.
Bucky: Battlestar? Stop the car! (Walks away from the name in disgust.)
Falcon and the Winter Soldier, The Man with the Stars (Season 1, Episode 2).
Most Super Soldiers start out as superheroes, but the D-List character Battlestar started out as a henchman named Lemar Hoskins.
Hoskins makes his debut in Captain America #323 and joins the Bold Urban Commandos, Buckies for short, who are followers of Super Patriot. After the death of the other Buckeyes, Hoskins underwent a Power Broker upgrade with Walker to gain super powers.
When Super Patriot is chosen as Captain America, Hoskins agrees to be the second Bucky. He was convinced to change his code name when it was pointed out to him that Buck was an insult to African Americans. It’s odd that Hoskins didn’t realize this when he was black. Writer Mark Grunwald later admitted that he didn’t know it was a derogatory comment and changed the character’s name to Battlestar after it was pointed out to him.
Battlestar’s performance is about equal to that of an American agent. He has a nearly indestructible adamantium shield and has mastered Captain America’s fighting style with the help of the villainous Taskmaster.
Played by Carl Lambly
Agent Spiderwheel: Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Isaiah Bradley, America’s black captain?
Right: Red, white and black
Research can cost money, resources and lives. Ungrateful people often have to pay for the latter. The true-life horrors of Tuskegee syphilis inspired Isaiah Bradley, Black Captain America.
Shortly after Captain America’s debut, the U.S. government tried to recreate the super soldier’s serum. They kidnapped 300 African-Americans and experimented on them. Only five survived the experiments and the subsequent carnage to cover up the abductions. Isaiah Bradley was one of them.
The surviving super soldiers were sent on a suicide mission to destroy the concentration camps, slowly exterminating them until only Isaiah remained. Before he left on his final mission, he stole a Captain America costume and a copy of the shield. He survived the suicide, but was court-martialed and arrested upon his return to America.
Isaiah was sentenced to seventeen years of solitary confinement. He was eventually released when it was discovered what had happened to him, but the harm was done. Worse, the super soldier’s serum was unstable and caused his mental faculties to deteriorate. He came out of prison with the mind of a child.
His heroic days may be behind him, but Isaiah is a legend in the Marvel universe. In the years following his release, he received visits from several prominent black figures, from Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali to Colin Powell and Richard Pryor. Isaiah was even a special guest at Black Panther and Storm’s wedding.
Executed by Erin Kellyman
Flag breaker: What? ! I’m not a communist. Haven’t you been listening? I hate what the Soviet Union represents as much as I hate what America represents!
Captain America #312
Not all super soldiers are good, but even bad guys can have good motives for their actions. Even someone like Flagstaff.
Carl Morgenthau was the son of a Swiss diplomat and spent his formative years moving from place to place. He had planned to become a diplomat himself, but Carl’s plans changed when his father was murdered by a xenophobic gang.
Charles blames nationalism for his father’s death and decides that the world will not be at peace until there are more nations to divide the people. He used his wealth and connections to become an anarchist freedom fighter: Flag breaker.
The flag bearer is an expert in Shotokan karate and is fluent in a dozen languages. He has a number of machine guns and flamethrowers, but his main weapon is the mace. It’s not that easy to break something with a gun, is it?
Flag Smasher is the only super soldier that doesn’t have an exact equivalent in Falcon and Winter Soldier. Instead of one misguided freedom fighter, there is now a terrorist organization, the Flag Breakers, led by Carly Morgenthau.
Played by Elijah Richardson
Patriot: When Iron Guy said he needed a super soldier, I lied and said he found one. So I did what I had to do to become one.
Young Avengers. 1, #8
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have a lot of super-soldiers, but the latter has not become a superhero. Not yet.
Eli Bradley is Isaiah’s grandson. He was recruited by a time-traveling hero named Iron Guy to create the next generation of Avengers. Although Eli had no powers, he pretended to have them and took a super steroid called Mutant Growth Hormone to simulate them.
Eli starts calling himself Patriot, and along with Iron Boy, Scarlet Witch’s son Wiccan, and the half-breed Hulkling, they form the Young Avengers. They caught on to his deception quickly and he took a team timeout. Patriot helped Captain America in battle and was seriously injured. His grandfather gave him a blood transfusion that gave Patriot superpowers, which he lied about.
The Patriot has superhuman strength, speed and endurance. He doesn’t seem to be suffering from his grandfather’s deteriorating mental state, but it may take a few more years. The Patriot uses Captain America’s original ill-mannered shield and launches stars. He is also an expert in parkour and strategy.
Eli Bradley, seemingly powerless, starred in the second episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s safe to say he’ll be a Patriot by the end of the season, especially since the Disney+ series builds on the Young Avengers series. But time will tell.
Who is your favorite super soldier in Falcon and Winter Soldier? Is there anyone better than him? Tell us about it in the comments.
Photo by Chuck Zlotnik and provided by Marvel Studios. (c) Marvel Studios 2020. All rights reserved.
Jared Bunakos wrote for 2016.
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