The majority of the MCU storylines have avoided how heroes deal with their inner demons. Rather than showing us the side we don’t get to see in the movies, they have portrayed it perfectly in their mini-series so far. With WandaVision being their first project for a mini-series. It dealt with how superheroes feel the pain of losses and how they go through with it in their lives. The closest to a superhero handling their mental state with immense difficulty would be Iron Man in his third movie, where he has to confront his PTSD and anxiety attacks. Now we get a look at the Black Captain America that fought in the same timeline as Steve Rogers.
This article has spoilers for the second episode of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Please refrain from scrolling down if you haven’t caught up yet.
Marvel seems to do something similar with its new mini-series, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. The latest episode reveals the PTSD that is left behind with the soldiers in the war. It also does not hold any punches when it comes to racial discrimination that seemed to be a major problem until recently in the US.
To show the lengths they will go to for making the message as clear as possible. They have introduced Isaiah Bradley, The Black Captain America from the comics. Picked fresh from Captain America’s lore.
Introduction to the Black Captain America:
In the second episode of the mini-series, Bucky tells Sam to join him in meeting a guy who would have intel regarding the super-soldier serum.
That guy turns out to be a war veteran, Isaiah, who also happens to be a super-soldier similar to Captain America and The Winter Soldier. He had met Bucky during the Korean War, where he tore off Bucky’s metal arm in a fight. Even with his strength and willingness to serve, he lived his life imprisoned for 30 years. They continuously ran tests and took his blood for those years while he was behind bars.
His character in the comics was set during World War II. Since the government wanted as many soldiers as Steve, they had black soldiers experimented on. A German scientist by the name of Dr. Wilfred Nagle experimented on 300 black soldiers, 295 of whom died.
The ones who had survived the experiment were killed along with their families and close friends. All in order to cover up the dirty hands behind the experiments. Isaiah Bradley was one of the soldiers who managed to survive through all of this and gain powers equivalent to Steve Rogers.
He led missions all across the world, one of them which so happened to be running into Bucky. When he returned from completing all his missions, the government locked him up upon the accusation that he stole the shield, which was frozen with Steve during that time. By the time he got his freedom back, his mental state had severely deteriorated.
The reality behind the pages:
This was in fact, a very real situation that took place in our reality from 1932 to 1972. Creator Robert Morales, artist Kyle Baker, and editor Axel Alonso used the very real incident of the Tuskeegee Syphilis Study in the 2004 limited series Truth: Red, White, and Black. It was a Public Health Service which started with 600 black men from poverty-stricken areas of Alabama. They were promised free treatment and that this entire operation will last not more than 6 months. To make matters worse, the so-called free treatment led to hundreds of Black men suffering from the horrible effects of syphilis.
Coming back to the Black Captain America, after being released, he became an underground hero for the black community. He kept himself so hidden that only the black heroes such as Luke Cage, Monica Rambeau among others know of his existence. These heroes not only know Isaiah but hold him in high esteem after what he has been through. In the comics, his story does not have a happy ending as the serum that was thrust upon him was imperfect. It made him lose his mental strength and gains a condition similar to Alzheimer’s.
Let us know what your thoughts are on Marvel introducing the idea of a Black Captain America into the MCU in the comment section below: