Falcon ( Samuel Thomas “Sam” Wilson ), Falcon in Spanish, is a fictional superhero who appears in comics published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan, and introduced in Captain America # 117 (September 1969). As the superhero Falcon, Wilson uses mechanical wings to fly, and has limited telepathic and empathic control over birds. Following Steve Rogers’ retirement, Wilson becomes the new Captain America and leader of the Avengers.

The character is the company’s first African – American superhero. The previously introduced Marvel character of Black Panther is African, hailing from the fictional country of Wakanda. Falcon followed him the first African American secondary character of the company, the non-superpowers soldier of World War II, Gabe Jones, and the first regular secondary character, Joe Robertson of The Amazing Spider-Man. Falcon debuted nearly three years before Luke Cage, Marvel’s first African-American protagonist, appeared, and nearly six years before the African character of Storm., the first colored superhero. Falcon is also the first African-American superhero to not have the word “black” as part of his superhero name, preceding Green Lantern John Stewart by more than two years. (The first African – American lead character in the comics is the gunman of the Old West, Lobo, from Dell Comics, and introduced in 1965.)

Falcon’s late nephew was the Hulk’s once sidekick, Jim Wilson, one of the first comic book characters to be HIV-positive. Jim Wilson’s father, Gideon Wilson, would go on to join the Gamma Corps. Gideon is probably Sam’s older brother. Sam also has parents named Paul and Darlene Wilson, a sister named Sarah Casper, a nephew named Jody Toby Casper, and an unnamed niece.

FIRST APPEARANCES

The character was introduced by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan in Captain America #117 (September 1969), and was the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books.

POWER and ABILITIES

Wilson’s original Falcon wing harness featured detachable jet-powered glider wings made of lightweight titanium ribbing and Mylar. The wings were covered with wafer-thin solar power receptors that convert sunlight into electricity to power miniature high-speed electric turbine fans in his uniform and boots. The wings detached and reattached to his uniform cybernetically. 

ORIGIN STORY

As part of a plot against Captain America, the Red Skull uses the Cosmic Cube, a creation that allows its user to alter reality, to mentally fuse Wilson with Redwing, creating a “super-normal mental link” that would, with time and concentration, give Wilson broad powers over all birds. Next, the Skull uses the Cube to rewrite the past and erase the years Wilson had spent angrily living as Snap Wilson. In this new history, Wilson was an upright and cheerful social worker who is eventually lured to the Exiles’ island and organizes the natives to fight for their freedom.

Steve Rogers (Captain America) befriends him there and convinces Wilson to adopt a persona to inspire the natives in their rebellion. The two create the costumed persona the Falcon and train together extensively before attacking and defeating the Exiles and the Red Skull.

ENEMIES & ROGUES

Falcon tends to be a support character who clashes with Captain America’s rogues.

ALLIES

Sam Wilson is a staunch ally to Captain America and Bucky Barnes. He is allied with  the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Heroes for Hire, Mighty Avengers, and the Avengers Unity Squad.

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