As soon as it was announced that the sequel to Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger would be The Winter Soldier, following Ed Brubaker’s storyline that saw the resurrection of Bucky Barnes as a weapon against Steve Rogers, folks began wondering if Chris Evan’s time as Cap was limited. The rumors were bolstered by Sebastian Stan getting a nine-picture deal as Bucky, and even more so by the announcement that the third Captain America flick would be The Civil War… based on the comic book storyline that led to Steve Rogers’ death, and Bucky subsequently taking over the role of Captain America. The Bucky-Cap run is a modern classic, and it seems as if that’s the logical way to go.
But, you know… besides bringing Bucky back from the thought-to-be-dead, The Winter Soldier also introduced an iconic hero from the comics into the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Sam Wilson, the Falcon. If you’ve seen the movie – and please, if you’re reading a Blastoff Comics article and haven’t seen The Winter Soldier, like, six times, I guess I don’t know you near as well as I thought, do I? – you know that Anthony Mackie’s Falcon quickly became the heart of that dark, twisted epic of a superhero film. Even though he’s got the mechanical wings, he’s the humanity – he’s us. Even though he’s fighting alongside of Cap, he’s every bit in awe of the guy as we are watching the film. And that’s kinda just lovely.
Another thing about Sam Wilson… he’s currently Captain America in the comics. Steve Rogers is alive, but is super old after being drained of the super soldier serum that kept him young. Bucky is the Winter Soldier again, and he’s off having an intergalactic adventure in Ales Kot ambitiously bonkers Bucky Barnes: Winter Solider series. So Steve’s most trusted ally is wielding the shield, proudly upholding the mantle of Captain America. And you know what? Even though I’ve only seen Mackie’s Falcon in the one film, I’d be thrilled to see him in stars and stripes. But for now, no matter which way it goes, whether Chris Evans continues beyond Civil War, or if Bucky or Falcon take on the mantle, we always have the comics. So in honor of the upcoming Age of Ultron, and all of the speculation around the fallout, I thought it was a great time to see just how Sam Wilson continues the legacy.
All-New Captain America #1 is written by Rick Remender, penciled by Stuart Immonen (yay!), inked by Wade Von Grawbadger, colored by Marte Gracia and Eduardo Navarro, and lettered by Koe Caramagna. It’s an excellent comic that juggles the story – which is a seemingly straight-forward actiony romp of Sam, on what seems to be one of his first official missions as Captain America, saving a kid from Hydra and Batroc – with the heart of the character – which is Sam’s narration, demonstrating his struggle to do Steve, his country, his family, and himself proud with his new role as Cap, framed by memories of his father, a minister who lived and died trying to help the people in his community. It’s gracefully simple – deceptively so. There’s a beating heart beneath this blaze of asskickery, and it instantly makes me care.
In this story, Sam has a partner: the willful and rash Nomad, who is Zola’s son who was raised by Steve while trapped in Dimension Z. Nomad clearly believes that he should’ve been chosen to become Captain America, which adds some nice tension and quickly establishes his character as well as his twitchy relationship with Sam.
And dang, that art.
Sam Wilson as Captain America is hopeful, smart, and overall a blast to read. It’s a completely different book than Brubaker’s take on Bucky as Cap, which was a darker, brooding noir disguised as a superhero comic. All-New, with Sam as the lead, is bright and fun and… well, very Marvel Studios.
No matter who ends up as the next Captain America on the silver screen, I hope both Sebastian Stan’s Bucky and Anthony Mackie’s Sam stick around for the long run. They’re fascinating characters, in both the films and the funny books, and I can’t wait to see what route they go. No matter what, I’m guessing it’ll be a hell of a ride.
PAT SHAND writes comics (Robyn Hood, Azure, Charmed: Season Ten) and pop culture journalism (Sad Girls Guide, Blastoff Comics). When not writing, he can be found conjuring excuses not to go to the gym.