It’s been a long time coming, but now it’s official. The name “Captain America” will now be shared by two different Marvel Comics characters. Steve Rogers, who has been Captain America since the character’s introduction in 1941, will continue to carry the shield in Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty. And Sam Wilson, who has been Rogers’ high-flying sidekick Falcon in both comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will also take on the name in his own comic book series and his own upcoming film series starring Anthony Mackie. He even gets his own shield.
It’s not the first legacy to have a double duty in Marvel Comics, where superhero titles are often treated as cloaks to be passed on. There have been (at least) two Spider-Men swinging around New York City simultaneously for several years now, with both Peter Parker and Miles Morales handling web-slinging tasks. And “Wolverine” is used by both tough old Logan and his clone / daughter Laura (comics!) In the X-Men series. And tracing the legacy of the various Captain Marvels through the ages is a headache for even the most diligent superhero nerd. DC Comics also juggles two different Batmen (both Bruce Wayne and a future version who is the son of a Wayne Corps employee named Lucius Fox), two Supermen (both Clark Kent and his son, Jonathan) and Wonder Women (both princesses). Diana and a Brazilian Amazon named Yara Flor).
But Captain America comes with extra weight, saddled as he is with the American flag and its accompanying dream. That dream may look very different, depending on whether you look like Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson, and Marvel tried to navigate the complex social commentary in Disney Plus’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series. In that show, Wilson took on the role of Captain America, while also battling the nation’s legacy of racial injustice. No small feat, and the reviews were mixed about how smoothly the issue was handled. But perhaps such legacies can be better handled in the domestic environment of superheroes: comics.
Steve Rogers’ adventures will appear in Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, and drawn by Carmen Carnero, Tochi Onyebuchi and artist RB Silva will handle Sam Wilson. On the movie side of things, Captain America 4 is currently under development with Mackie in the lead role.
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