Comics

Seeking an Alternative

Sam Wilson leads the charge of the Marvel Universe’s other aliases!

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Some days you just do not feel like yourself. Other days you just cannot be yourself.

On June 14, Sam Wilson has a little of column A and a little of column B to deal with in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #23.

Thankfully, heroes, unlike the rest of us, can take on a different name and costume when they’re feeling a bit off. As Sam does just that with some modified Falcon gear, we take a look at some of the other identities heroes used to escape their usual costumed lives.

Nomad and The Captain

Sam Wilson actually follows in the footsteps of his formerly virtuous predecessor and mentor Steve Rogers in the trading of one costumed identity for another.

Back when the Secret Empire meant something a bit different, Rogers learned of connections between it and the President of the United States. Unable to represent a country ruled over by such a man but equally unable to not be the hero, Rogers turned to the blue and yellow togs and adapted the role of the wanderer Nomad until America could be returned to the hands of the not outright evil.

Corruption again drove Rogers out of the stars and stripes, this time when bureaucracy tried to dictate to him what fights needed fighting and what ones did not. Unwilling to compromise his beliefs or to make the Captain America uniform a symbol of the rejection of the United States Government, he instead rechristened himself and dressed in the black, red, and white uniform we now associate with USAgent as The Captain.


Jack Batlin

Matt Murdock, seemingly always in search of new and different ways to make his secret identity a complicated mess, did not adopt a new crime-fighting persona when it seemed he might be exposed by an ambitious former intern of Ben Urich’s. Instead, he doubled down on the Daredevil ID, faked Murdock’s death, and became small-time con Jack Batlin.

Before long, DD’s mind fractured under the stress of being cut off from his supports and living a lie. Working through intense visual hallucinations and dissociations, he emerged from the other side Murdock once more and Batlin has not been heard from since.

Binary

After a not yet heroic Rogue robbed her of her powers, Carol Danvers struggled to adapt to a newly unpowered life. Never one to just sit back and take it easy though, she eventually found a way to tap into a new set of abilities while in outer space with the X-Men. Unable to take back the Ms. Marvel identity at that time because of the trauma it still held for her, Danvers christened her new powerset-driven signifier Binary and called herself that until she lost much of that ability.

Ronin

Ronin, the heavy blue and green samurai inspired costume, has provided refuge for more than one hero seeking to hide from ongoing issues. Whether the suit contained an Echo anxious to shake her Kingpin-stained past, a resurrected Clint Barton who no longer felt much like Hawkeye, a Red Guardian trying to commit state assassinations without any baggage, or a Blade who just wanted to keep things on the DL, evidently, the Ronin identity seems to be a way station for those who just need a short break but don’t want to develop a whole new persona.

Yellowjacket

Less an escape from external pressures than a succumbing to internal ones, Hank Pym became Yellowjacket in the midst of a drawn out manic episode. Although he has returned to it now and then, this more confident version of himself will forever be tainted by the alter ego’s recklessness, self-centeredness, and cruelty, and the actions he perpetrated while calling himself Yellowjacket, most significantly and horribly an incident of domestic assault against the Wasp.

The Slingers

With Spider-Man framed for murder, Peter Parker found himself being hunted by scores of pursuers, costumed and otherwise. Unable to move about in his familiar red and blue costume to un-frame himself, he abandoned the Spidey mantel.

Instead, he took on four new costumed alter egos, each representing a different aspect of himself and his powers. Ricochet had been built around Spidey’s motor mouth and impressive agility, Dusk his Spider Sense and ability to use it to avoid danger and detection, Prodigy the strength and speed, and, finally, Hornet laid claim to Parker’s scientific genius.

Eventually, these new selves allowed the Wallcrawler to clear his name and let the Slingers, a quartet of teen heroes, to take up the costumes and fight crime themselves.

Go undercover in the Secret Empire with CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #23 by Nick Spencer and Joe Bennett, available June 14!