Falcon and Winter Soldier's Forgotten Captain America: The Vile History Behind Isaiah Bradley

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Published on 9 Apr 2021, 15:00
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is quickly shaping up to be one of the darker MCU projects to date. As the dust of Avengers: Endgame settles, the world needs Captain America more than ever. But as Sam Wilson discovers in Episode 2, the same government that created Captain America has some skeletons in its closet, and one of them is named Isaiah Bradley (played by Carl Lumbly) -- a Black Captain America who also received the super soldier serum, or a version of it, as an attempt to recapture the success of Project Rebirth.

Who is Isaiah Bradley, and how does his MCU debut foretell dark days ahead for the friends and admirers of Steve Rogers in Falcon and the Winter Soldier? In this video, we explore what we know and why the series is revealing the dark truth behind the myth that is Captain America.

The Isaiah Bradley origin also ties into the Young Avengers and the hero known as Patriot, a.ka. Elijah Bradley. Isaiah is the main protagonist of 2003's Truth: Red, White & Black. Written by Robert Morales and drawn by Kyle Baker, the series reveals Steve Rogers was far from the only soldier the government attempted to transform into a superhuman propaganda tool. Because the formula for the Super Soldier Serum is lost when Dr. Abraham Erskine is killed by a German spy, the scientists of Project Rebirth have no choice but to attempt to recreate it through trial and error. They do so by experimenting on hundreds of African American soldiers, men seen by the eugenics-obsessed Dr. Josef Reinstein as expendable tools for the cause. This in time leads to the creation of the first Black Captain America.

The series draws heavily on the real-world Tuskegee Syphilis Study, an infamous program wherein researchers studied the long-term effects of untreated syphilis in hundreds of African American men without their full knowledge and consent. Similarly, Truth shows hundreds of soldiers being subjected to experimental serums without fully understanding what they've been recruited for or the significant risks involved. Isaiah is one of only five test subjects to survive the process. The remaining untreated soldiers and researchers are executed, ensuring only a handful know the origin of these new super-soldiers. And after his comrades are killed in the line of duty, Isaiah becomes the only survivor and the only living proof of this twisted attempt to create a new Captain America.

We delve into all this and more in this video!