Falcon: Captain America's greatest ally

Falcon: Captain America's greatest ally
In the first few minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain Steve Rogers, during his Jogging session, meets Sam Wilson, a young boy with a past as a paratrooper who volunteers in the Veterans Association for Soldiers in Suffering of post-traumatic stress. Sam, while on active duty in the army, took part in a mission in Afghanistan equipped with an experimental weaponry that will come in handy as the film continues in helping Cap in his battle with The Hydra: a winged propeller backpack. With it, Wilson will become a member of the Avengers and one of the Captain's most precious allies, to the point of inheriting his shield in the ending of Avengers: Endgame: Falcon. That's all we know about the character in his theatrical version, but what is the story of the character in the comics who next year will be the co-star of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the upcoming Marvel television series produced for Disney +? br>

The origins

The origins of Falcon are among the most bizarre and "reworked" in the Marvel universe. We first meet him in Stan Lee and Gene Colan's 1965 Captain America # 117. The stars and stripes hero, following an evil plan by the Red Skull, finds himself imprisoned on a Caribbean island together with the Exiles, a group of Nazi villains (parody of true Nazi-fascist dictators) once allies of the Skull. The thing would not be a problem for Cap if it were not that his nemesis, with the power of the Cosmic Cube (not to be confused with the cinematic Tesseract) had swapped Cap's body with his own, leaving him almost defenseless against his old allies.

It is only thanks to Sam's intervention that Steve manages to save himself from the attack. The boy, unaware that he is facing the Living Legend of the Second World War, shares his story with him. Social worker originally from Harlem and always passionate about birds, during a vacation in Rio (in which he meets for the first time his faithful Redwing hawk) he reads an advertisement of the Exiles looking for a falconer. Once he arrived on the island and discovered the inhuman conditions in which the population found themselves, he decided to help them revolt against the bloodthirsty dictators. Steve takes a liking to the young man and helps him prepare for the revolution, training him and suggesting that he create a disguised identity that could frighten his opponents and be a symbol for the population. Thus Falcon was born. After defeating the criminals and recovering his appearance, Cap decides to return to the United States with his new ally who, in a short time, becomes very popular among African American readers. With the number 134 the magazine is renamed Captain America and The Falcon and the hero (already frequent presence in the cast of supporting actors), becomes a real co-protagonist.

The dark past of “Snap ”Wilson

Over the years Falcon has become a respected member of the superhero community and earns the respect of another Cap-related character equally admired by young black readers: Black Panther. The ruler of Wakanda gives the hero a pair of mechanical wings (which would later become "solid light") powered by solar energy which would later become the symbol of the character. At the height of his fame and his relationship with Cap, however, Falcon is faced with the first twist on his origins. The Red Skull, in fact, reveals after years that Sam was not a harmless social worker as everyone (including Sam) had believed until then, but a Harlem hitman known by the nickname of Snap Wilson who was shipwrecked on the island where Cap l 'he had found following a mission given to him by his bosses. The diabolical Nazi had used the Cosmic Cube to give him the ability to communicate and telepathically control birds (hence the very strong bond with the Redwing hawk) and to erase Snap's dark past from his mind.

In this way Sam would have been in effect the typical young idealist that Steve would have respected and trained for, thus becoming a serpent in the bosom ready to be unleashed when he least expected it. The manipulation of the Cosmic Cube, however, was more effective than the Red Skull expected. Falcon is now completely redeemed and too attached to Cap and justice. He then manages to free himself from the evil's mental yoke and decides to take responsibility for his past actions as Snap Wilson, agreeing to go to trial. Even the judge will recognize how he has become a different man and will decide to set him free. The fact that, shortly before, the hero had saved everyone from a joint attack by Stilt-Man and Trapster certainly did not influence the verdict! Snap Wilson's evil personality will only re-emerge many years later. Scarlet, crazed and about to unleash the attack that would destroy the Avengers, uses her reality-altering powers to slowly wear down her companions. She plunges Tony Stark back into alcoholism, sentimentally deceives an already confused Captain America and, precisely, brings out the evil side of Falcon, leading him to distance himself from his friend. Only an attack by a Cap imposter will restore the hero's lucidity and permanently erase the shadow of his past.

Falcon, the new Captain America

Although he was also a valiant member of the Avengers (group in which, the first time, he was forcibly inserted by the United States government to make it appear more inclusive) and has had many solo adventures, it is with Cap that he has formed the most lasting working partnership. In fact, he remains loyal to Steve Rogers when he, disappointed by the American government, briefly stops the role of Captain America and wears those of Nomad. In that period, moreover, he becomes the mentor of Roscoe Simmons, one of the many who tries to become the new Captain America, until the young man is not killed by the Red Skull, leading Steve to reconsider the idea of ​​abandoning his role as symbol of the United States.

He is also the first hero to side with Cap when the latter, contrary to the Super Heroes Registration Act, decides to go underground (the famous Civil War). This loyalty to Cap will be rewarded in 2014 when Steve, drained of the Super Soldier serum that had made him young and strong all these years, suddenly finds himself in the withered body of a 90-year-old. Although the Winter Soldier had previously taken on the mantle of Captain America, it is to Sam that Steve passes the shield and the role of the Sentinel of Freedom. Sam Wilson's period as Captain America is certainly one of the most difficult for the character. After learning from Sin (the daughter of the Red Skull) that her "true" origin and Snap Wilson past were actually bogus (an attempt by the villain to make the boy adhere to a sad racist stereotype), Sam tries to live up to a role bigger than him and learn in spite of himself how every decision, wearing the mantle of Captain America, has a strong impact on the American people. Openly taking sides against S.H.I.E.L.D. (guilty of having attempted to recreate a Cosmic Cube to be used as a weapon) and the decision no longer to act for the government, but following the direct reports of citizens, will split public opinion in two, having someone label it "Capitan Socialismo".

Things will get complicated when Steve Rogers, rejuvenated and "transformed" by the Cosmic Cube into a Hydra emissary, starts plotting to publicly discredit his image, leading the people not to to consider Sam the real Captain America and to order him to return the shield to its rightful owner. The straw that will overflow the camel's back, however, will be the unjust condemnation of Rage, a young black hero framed by the Americops (a group of private policemen with fascist methods) for a theft committed by Speed ​​Demon and Marko. the Mountain Man.

In prison Rage will be beaten up and sent into a coma. Feeling responsible, Sam decides to get away from everything and everyone in order to clear his mind about him being a hero. The pause for reflection, however, will not last long. When Captain America (now openly supreme leader of Hydra) takes power, Falcon will join the rest of the heroes and will be able with the help of Kobik (a sentient Cosmic Cube in the form of a child) to bring the real Steve Rogers back into battle. and to defeat the wicked. With the return of his friend, Sam takes over the old role of Falcon (with a new costume created by the great Alex Ross) and decides to devote himself to all the crimes that are not conventionally faced by superheroes.

Le the origins of Falcon and the Winter Soldier can be found in the book Marvel-verse: Falcon & Winter Soldier

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