Captain America

From Bucky to Falcon: 5 More Captain Americas

Sam Wilson's not the first super hero to step in for Steve Rogers!

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In case you missed last week's big news, Sam Wilson will be the star of a new ongoing series starting this fall—but he won't be taking center stage as the Falcon. No, Sam will be soaring into the spotlight as the titular hero in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA by Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen!

But Sam Wilson's not the first person to pick up the shield after it's been set down. He's actually the latest in a long line of Captain Americas stretching back over the past 75 years of continuity! Here's a look at just some of the other men that have donned the red, white, and blue suit over the years!

1. William Naslund

Originally introduced as the Spirit of '76 in INVADERS #14, Naslund retroactively became Cap in one of the very few canonical WHAT IF? stories ever published. Following Steve Rogers and Bucky's apparent death at the end of World War II, the United States government approached Naslund about becoming the first replacement Cap. He carried the shield for a few missions before dying tragically in action.

2. William Burnside

School teacher and American history buff William Burnside took his obsession with Captain America to a whole new level. He received a version of the Super Soldier Serum and even changed his face to look like Steve Rogers. Burnside became the Cap of the 1950's, but the artificial Super Soldier Serum started to make Burnside a little bit psychotic. He became the super villain called Grand Director after some mental nudging from the mad scientist Doctor Faustus.

3. John Walker

When Captain America stepped away from the role again in the 1980's, the government turned to a hero called Super-Patriot. A tough-as-nails former military man John Walker became the new Captain America, and he hasn't let go of a shield since. When Steve Rogers returned to the role, Walker took on the identity of U.S. Agent to fight alongside other heroes on the West Coast Avengers and Thunderbolts.

4. Bucky

With Steve Rogers dead, his old sidekick Bucky reluctantly changed his name from Winter Soldier to Captain America. The makeover didn't come easily for Bucky; after all, he'd spent the past few decades as a brainwashed KGB assassin—not exactly the inspirational backstory befitting a Sentinel of Liberty. But Bucky rose above his traumatic past to become the Captain America for a lengthy stretch of time, making him the longest-serving Cap after Steve Rogers.

5. Sam Wilson

      Sam Wilson's tenure as Cap begins this fall in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA, so the details of his ascension and adventures remain stories yet to be told. Falcon did briefly serve as Captain America back in 1999 during two issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY. Odds are his next tour of Cap duty will last longer—and be even more spectacular—than his first.

      Sam Wilson becomes Captain America in ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA #1!

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      20 comments
      spkathrine
      spkathrine

      Bucky served as Cap in canon for less than two years. Jeff Mace (Patriot) served as Captain America after the death of Bill Naslund for longer than that. 1946 to 1950 if I remember correctly. So he's actually the longest serving Cap after Steve. It's somewhat disappointing that you remember John Walker of all the terrible characters, but didn't include Mace.

      KUMA-NIN
      KUMA-NIN

      Here are a pair of facts for you "fans" to consider: Bucky was only Captain America, after Steve's return, was simple: Steve wanted to save Bucky from his fate, and being Captain America was his opinion on doing just that. And Clint will become nothing more than a potential U.S. Agent because Steve stated Clint had two flaws: Clint relied too much on his weapon, and he never did grasp the concept of strategizing while fighting in hand-to-hand combat.

      Then we have "Marvel NOW!" Captain America. For the last two years, the writer introduced both Ian and his sister. Both are no longer in Dimension Z, but Steve faced other enemies that resulted in one outsmarting our favorite tactical genius. Which means he needs a successor, temporary or otherwise, that knows how he has handled the role. NOT to be the next permanent Captain America, but to take up the role while prepping up Ian for said role. Because think about it. The Falcon knows everything there is needed to be Steve, when it comes to being Captain America. Tactics, attitude, everything. Ian doesn't, and also has a lot of good things to learn while being Nomad. In other words...

      - The Falcon becomes the "All-New Captain America" while training Ian.

      - If Steve recovers, the title can become the "All-New Captain America and The Falcon" (which would bring back how Marvel handled the original series in the 1970s).


      - If Steve does not recover, or even dies, Ian would have to take his place... And he is somebody that would want to make his adopted father proud by the time that happens. The title then either continue with Same getting his own title, or become a new team-up title (see above, just because it makes sense).


      Either way... The writer is using the Falcon to turn Ian into the next Steve-type Captain America. Much like how the writer of both Thor: God of Thunder and Thor is trying to say that Lady Thor may or may not become the wife of Odin'son (and the mother of his children). And that if his plot works out, that series will transition from being Thor to something else. It is not all about being diversified or "politically correct"... It's about both fleshing out future for these characters and making sure that they end up having proper successors if and/or when future Marvel writers need to make said changes.

      OXNARDM
      OXNARDM

      You forgot about Roscoe, I forget his last name, back when Steve became Nomad, Roscoe was killed. Still hate the uniform Barnes wore.

      Monsoon28
      Monsoon28

      I guess Isaiah Bradley is Marvel's version of Rodney Dangerfield: No Respect.

      jim78
      jim78 plus member

      Jeffrey Mace the Patriot?

      SmoothCatt
      SmoothCatt

      *sigh* was really hoping that Ian Zola would receive the shield next, but Sam Wilson has long been a faithful ally to Steve Rogers. This change seems less about looking at the massive roster of potential candidates and arbitrarily picking "the most logical choice," its about FINALLY progressing a character that has always been fantastic but no one's favorite. 

      serfius
      serfius member

      I don't understand: WHY NOT Isaiah Bradley? HE should be the new captain america; he CARRIES the super soldier serum because of his grandfather. Falcon is already is a good spot, I'd say all Captain America fans like Sam as he is... and he truly doesn't need a fking shield to shine.

      cimikat
      cimikat member

      Isaiah Bradley was also cap

      OXNARDM
      OXNARDM

      @KUMA-NIN Face it, Remender does not like this character, he claims Steve is too "rigid". My old man was in WW2, he was't rigid, he had certain things he believed and he stressed those things, dependability,self-reliance, honesty and a solid work ethic. These are not things that make character difficult to write, they are the foundation of the character, the major points around which his story is built. Perhaps Mr. Remender does not understand these things and that is what makes the character difficult to write for him.

      Perhaps he should read "Crack-up on Campus" issue 120, maybe then he would see that the character is not the one who is rigid.

      spshu
      spshu

      @OXNARDM A number of people impersonated but were not recognized as Captain America at that time.

      Robinson132
      Robinson132

      So true i guess he's the cap the government is still trying to cover up

      Monsoon28
      Monsoon28

      I think you mean Eli. Esaiah is the grandfather.

      SpatulaDP
      SpatulaDP member

      @serfius for some strange reason, they simply had him disappear w/no explanation in last years run of young avengers.  sam wilson's not a bad choice, but patriot would have been my first.  misuse of characters.  my guess, more people know who falcon is, especially because of the cap 2 movie, and they'd like a bigger fan base for a new cap.  newbies don't know patriot from hulkling.

      spshu
      spshu

      @Robinson132 Isaiah is mentally incompetent and never was official Captain America. Just wore a Captain America costume. It would be like claiming the Acrobat is also Captain America. (The Acrobat was a Human Torch villain who impersonated Captain America in Strange Tales as a test run for his return in Avengers.)

      spshu
      spshu

      @Monsoon28 Isaiah is the grandfather and he has Alzheimer's. Eli Bradley is the grandson and the Patriot who lied about getting the super soldier formula in a blood transfusion from his grandfather, instead got it from  Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH). Rogers would turn over the title, costume and shield to neither.

      serfius
      serfius member

      @SpatulaDP @serfius Indeed. Anyway, as far as I am a Captain America fan, I really enjoyed the Bucky era and in my opinion he could have stayed as captain or received the shield back! Why Rogers changed his mind now and has recruited Sam instead of Bucky? It does not make sense if you followed the Brubacker's cap comics: It was clear that Steve would like Bucky as his successor in the letter. In any case, I do understand winter soldier is very popular nowadays, but Sam as cap is disappointing, Hawkeye would make more sense than Sam. Of course everyone knows Marvel is trying to change their roster for nowadays context with afro-descendents and women (like the future "She-thor"). They are making a good move, but in the wrong direction. Everyone should read more about Isaiah and learn what america did to afro-descendents in the world war 2 to develop the super soldier serum.

      KUMA-NIN
      KUMA-NIN

      @serfius There is a contradiction to your claim. You excused these changes because you put the idea of "diversity" before the very fact that the writers involve have plotted out things long ago. I mean, Thor: God of Thunder and Thor are written by the same writer, and appears to be co-existing with each other. Which means that the identity of "Lady Thor" might be tied closer to Thor's current series than The Mighty Thor.

      Hint, hint... He has kids and grandkids. Which means Lady Thor might be somebody he has (or had) an emotional connection with. Think about that.


      And on the subject of Captain America, sorry but you are more of a contradiction than a true fan. You dismissed the fact that Steve told (I believe) Maria Hill that Bucky was only allowed to keep the role for one reason: To save himself from his fate. Even the Romanov-Rogers child from an alternate future cited that Bucky faced a terrible fate in his future. Which means he was trying to prevent that reality from ever happening. And with Clint, it was stated that Steve had issues with how Clint fought. As in he relied on his weapons than his own skills, and did not fight with any tactics at hand. Which means that he would be OK with either one being the next U.S. Agent... But not Captain America.

      Point being that the writer in question plotted this out in 2012. He even cited that his decision was based on a tactical plan, as Steve is a tactical genius. As in he chose Falcon because Sam is also a tactician. Sam also knows Steve better than any other Avenger, which also means his role is to also TRAIN the new Nomad into becoming the next Captain America. As in the fact that if Steve dies, he has his adopted son become his chosen successor's successor. And this allows the Falcon to continue his tradition as being Captain America's PARTNER (as he was in their team-up title during the 1970s).

      Try to argue that, dude. Because Marvel is saying that they are having one character be fleshed out in a similar tradition as Beta Ray Bill... As well as possibly be tied to Thor: God of Thunder. Which means they are not removing the God of Thunder for his female counterpart. And they are using Falcon as a means to build a true successor to Steve Rogers legacy with the help of the one person who is closer to Steve than any other male character ever has.

      serfius
      serfius member

      @KUMA-NIN Point taken! Thank you for your thoughts but I still disagree: Does Sam Wilson need the "Captain America tittle", or the shield to do something worth? It could be way better if we have a caps missing and some issues showing the Sam mentoring the successor. I know, they need to sell but it is not a good move IMHO.

      KUMA-NIN
      KUMA-NIN

      THANKS. HOWEVER, I DO WANT TO POINT OUT THAT YOUR ARGUMENT IS BASED ON PREFERENCES AND NOT PRACTICAL STORY WRITING. Because your argument requires 40 years of Steve/Sam history to be removed (ala retcon), a 2 year story arc to be completely rewritten, and every AXIS-based plot point that requires this to be removed. That, and have Steve hand the shield back to Bucky... Despite the fact that Bucky Barnes is getting his own series, which allows him to be him.

      Also, BRAND NEW DAY was done in a similar manner. One of the editors I got to meet said that it was one of the worse moves in Marvel history. And the ones who did it followed your logic. Which is why I say that even though you got one of your major facts wrong, use this to follow Bucky's series. Because this change are made for the fans, and you sound like Bucky is more your hero than Steve is. ;)