Comics
Published April 26, 2021

When Sam Wilson Became Captain America

The complete comics history behind Sam Wilson's turn with the shield. Read the full story on Marvel Unlimited!

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READ SAM WILSON’S STORIES ON MARVEL UNLIMITED!

Sam soars high as Captain America!
ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA (2014) #1

Sam Wilson has had many occupations throughout his lifetime: licensed Super Hero, social worker, urban planner, and, as the longtime friend and partner to Steve Rogers, the Avenger known as Falcon. But arguably, one of his most important roles was becoming Captain America.

But what are Wilson’s roots, how did he become the Sentinel of Liberty, and what happened when he embodied the responsibility of such a title? Read his origin stories below, and join Marvel Unlimited today to read for yourself how Sam Wilson: Cap flies in the face of danger!

WHO IS SAM WILSON?

The first appearance of Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #117.
The first appearance of Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #117.

Let’s start at the beginning. After losing his parents to crime, Samuel “Sam” T. Wilson became disillusioned, seeking recluse and a new life on the faraway island called Exile. But when he had a run-in with the Nazi Red Skull, the villain used the wish-granting Cosmic Cube to fashion Sam into the ideal partner for his archenemy Captain America, a ruse to later have Wilson betray Rogers. Instead of succumbing to the Red Skull’s influence, Sam rescued Cap instead, securing a place by his side as the costumed crimefighting partner Falcon. He eventually became an Avenger, a social worker, and a trusted partner to Captain America. Sam broke also the Red Skull’s programming once he discovered the truth behind his manipulations, and chose to be a high-flying hero instead!

DOES SAM HAVE POWERS?

Sam's telepathic bond with Redwing in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA (2014) #1.
ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA (2014) #1

Yes, indeed he does! In addition to inspiring Sam’s “Snap” Wilson persona, Red Skull also used the Cosmic Cube to grant Sam avian telepathy, giving the phrase “bird’s-eye view” a whole new meaning. As for his peak human strength and fighting prowess, those abilities stem from extensive training in gymnastics and unarmed combat with Steve Rogers. He maintained his fighting skills by sparring with private detective Misty Knight, his ally against the new Hydra.

HOW DID SAM BECOME CAPTAIN AMERICA?

The new Captain America is named in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2012) #25.
The new Captain America is named in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2012) #25.

Just perusing Sam’s history as a hero has the answer, but if you’re looking for the exact moment, we’ve got you covered! When the villainous Iron Nail drained Steve Rogers of his Super-Soldier Serum in Dimension Z, the former Captain America aged rapidly, and could no longer wield the shield. Then, as Arnim Zola began an invasion of Earth from Dimension Z, the Avengers, including Sam, intervened. Zola had planted a bomb, but Sam saved everyone by flying it into the atmosphere, nearly killing himself in the process. Sam’s near-sacrifice was just one of many reasons why Rogers gave him the mantle of Captain America.

WHO ARE THE SENTINEL OF LIBERTY’S ENEMIES?

For the children in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA (2014) #4.
For the children in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA (2014) #4.

Red Skull’s daughter, Sin. The new Hydra. Batroc. Baron Zemo. Baron Blood. A veritable rogues’ gallery! And that was just his first titular solo. After beating all those baddies and making a name for himself as the new Captain America, the public’s response to the shield bearer was a battle in itself! Sam even fought the hate group Sons of the Serpent, saving Mexican teenager Joaquín Torres from Doctor Karl Malus, who turned the young man into a human-falcon hybrid!

WHO ARE HIS ALLIES?

Cover to CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #9.
Cover to CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #9.

Of course, falcon sidekick Redwing goes without saying! But when Sam donned the stars and stripes to fight tyranny as Captain America, Steve’s adopted son from Dimension Z, Ian Rogers AKA Nomad, joined his cause. Sam also partnered with Misty Knight to take down Hydra. During their mission, they got a little closer than close, which made Sam blush! Read all of Sam’s second solo series as Captain America to see how his relationship with Misty evolves.

Fighting alongside the Winter Soldier in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #7.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #7

His allies don’t stop there though. Sam also joined forces with the Winter Soldier, Rogers’ former partner and a former shield bearer. Sam even banded together with the All-New, All Different Avengers to take down Warbringer—an alien enemy attempting to bring the Chitauri to Earth. It was during this period as an Avenger that Wilson gained a new partner in Joaquín Torres too, who went on to take his former codename, Falcon! That’s what they call full circle.

HOW LONG DOES SAM CARRY THE SHIELD?

Versus U.S.Agent in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #13.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (2015) #13

For as long as he could! When Steve Rogers’ youth and strength were restored by a sentient Cosmic Cube, he agreed to let Sam continue on as Captain America. Though the public did not support this decision, and even John Walker, AKA U.S.Agent, was sent to take back the shield. Little did Sam know, it was Steve that deployed Walker, and Steve wasn’t really Steve at all! During the SECRET EMPIRE event, it was revealed that a dark, Cosmic Cube version of Rogers was a longtime sleeper agent for Hydra, amassing influence and trust amongst Earth’s heroes. While Sam eventually walked away from the mantle following its stained reputation, he did take a stand against the villainous version of Rogers because he’s a true hero through and through.

Sam rallies the Avengers in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2018) #25.
Sam rallies the Avengers in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2018) #25.

It’s clear that no matter who or what he’s up against, Sam Wilson: Captain America soars above expectations. Don’t forget to check out all of Sam’s appearances as Cap on Marvel Unlimited now.

 

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Captain America: Sam Wilson
After Steve Rogers was reverted to his natural age, he entrusted his shield to longtime friend and partner Falcon. Continuing the legacy of a now-decommissioned Rogers, Falcon wore the flag his own way while the Sentinel of Liberty.
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