Who are the Super Soldiers of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier?

Super Fi

WARNING: This article contains spoilers and speculation for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Proceed at your own peril.

Selby:The Super Soldier Serum is here in Madripoor. Dr. Wilfred Nagel is the man you want to thank. Or condemn, depending on which side of this you’re on.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, “Power Broker” (Season 1, Episode 3)

The MCU is done with Captain America, but they aren’t done with his supporting cast. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has brought together most of Captain America’s allies, enemies, and adjacent characters into one show. Heck, I’m half expecting the Serpent Society and the Asthma Monster to show up at this rate.

Most of the new characters are super soldiers, possessing either advanced technology or superpowers. Not all of them are good guys, either. So who are these super soldiers? Let’s find out.

U.S.Agent

Played by Wyatt Russell

U.S.Agent: Someday there is going to be a reckoning and I’ll prove to the world that I’d make a better symbol of America than him…”

Captain America #323

Steve Rogers is Captain America, but that doesn’t mean he always agrees with the government. He once gave up the identity while having a crisis of faith, leading to the birth of a new anti-hero: U.S.Agent.

The U.S. government felt there had to be a Captain America and searched for a replacement. Nick Fury was too old. Falcon was rejected because they didn’t want a black Captain America. They eventually gave the title and costume to Jonathan Walker, a soldier who had fought crime as Super-Patriot.

The new Captain America was harsher than his predecessor, focusing on American laws and interests instead of its ideals. He was also willing to kill villains if he was pushed too far.

Walker slowly mellowed while striving to live up to Steve’s ideals. He eventually relinquished the title back to Steve, who he considered the better Captain America. Walker then adopted the identity of U.S.Agent to perform black-op missions for the government.

U.S.Agent was empowered by an arms dealer called the Power Broker, giving him superhuman strength, speed, and agility. He uses a high-tech gauntlet that creates shields out of energy. He also has several physical shields in case the gauntlet is broken.

U.S.Agent is a through-and-through jerk, but he isn’t evil. He refuses to put his missions above saving lives, and it takes a lot to push him to kill. That said, he is implied to be bigoted, especially against indigenous people.

Battlestar

Played by Cle Bennet

Sam: “I see a guy hanging out of a helicopter in tactical gear, I need a lot more than “Lemar Hoskins.”
Hoskins:I’m Battlestar. John’s partner.
Bucky: “Battlestar?” [to the driver] “Stop the car!” [walks off in disgust at the name.]

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, “The Star-Spangled Man” (Season 1, Episode 2)

Most super soldiers debut as superheroes, but D-List character Battlestar began as a sidekick named Lemar Hoskins.

Debuting in Captain America #323, Hoskins joined the Bold Urban Commandos, the Buckies for short, who were sidekicks of Super-Patriot. After the other Buckies died, Hoskins underwent the Power Broker enhancements with Walker to gain superpowers.

When Super-Patriot was chosen to become Captain America, Hoskins agreed to become the second Bucky. He was convinced to change his codename when it was pointed out that “Buck” is a slur used against African-Americans. Kinda weird Hoskins didn’t realize that when he’s black. Writer Mark Gruenwald later admitted he didn’t know it was a slur and changed the character’s name to Battlestar as soon as it was pointed out.

Battlestar’s powers are roughly equivalent to U.S.Agent’s. He wields a nearly indestructible Adamantium shield and has mastered Captain America’s fighting style with help from the villain Taskmaster.

Isaiah Bradley

Played by Carl Lumbly

Agent Spinrad: “Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of Isaiah Bradley — The Black Captain America!?

Truth: Red, White, and Black

Research can cost money, resources and lives. It is often the “undesirables” who have to pay that last one. The real life atrocities of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study inspired the creation of Isaiah Bradley, the Black Captain America.

Shortly after the debut of Captain America, the U.S. government tried to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. They kidnapped 300 African-Americans and experimented on them. Only five of the men survived the experiments and subsequent massacre to cover up the kidnappings. Isaiah Bradley was one of them.

The surviving super soldiers were sent on suicide missions to destroy concentration camps, slowly killing them off until only Isaiah was left. Before leaving for his final mission, he stole a Captain America costume and replica shield. He survived the suicide mission, but was court martialed and arrested when he returned to America.

Isaiah was sentenced to solitary confinement for seventeen years. He was eventually freed when it was discovered what had happened to him, but the damage had been done. Even worse, the Super Soldier Serum was unstable and caused his mental faculties to deteriorate. He emerged from prison with the mind of a child.

His hero days might be behind him, but Isaiah is a legend in the Marvel Universe. In the years following his release, several prominent black figures visited him, from Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali to Colin Powell and Richard Pryor. Isaiah was even a special guest at the wedding of Black Panther and Storm.

Flag-Smasher

Played by Erin Kellyman

Flag-Smasher:What?! I’m not a Communist. Weren’t you people listening? I hate what the Soviet Union stands for as much as I hate what America stands for!

Captain America #312

Not all Super Soldiers are good guys, but even the villains can have good motives for their actions. Even someone like Flag-Smasher.

Karl Morgenthau was the son of a Swiss diplomat and spent his formative years moving from place to place. He planned to become a diplomat himself, but Karl’s plans changed when his father was murdered by a xenophobic mob. 

Karl blamed nationalism for his father’s death and decided that the world would only become peaceful when there were no more nations to divide people. He used his wealth and connections to become the anarchist freedom fighter: Flag-Smasher.

Flag-Smasher is an expert in Shotokan karate and can fluently speak a dozen languages. He wields a variety of machine guns and a flamethrower, but his signature weapon is a mace. Can’t easily smash something with a gun now, can you?

Flag-Smasher is the only super soldier to not get an exact counterpart in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Instead of one misled freedom fighter, there is an entire terrorist organization called the Flag-Smashers, led by Karli Morgenthau.

Patriot

Played by Elijah Richardson

Patriot:When Iron Lad told me he was in trouble, that he needed a super soldier, I lied and told him he had found one. Then I did what I had to do to become one.”

Young Avengers vol. 1, #8

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has a lot of super soldiers, but the final one hasn’t become a superhero. Not yet.

Eli Bradley is Isaiah’s grandson. He was recruited by a time travelling hero called Iron Lad to create the next generation of The Avengers. Despite not having powers, Eli claimed he did and took a super steroid called Mutant Growth Hormone to fake it.

Eli began calling himself Patriot and formed the Young Avengers alongside Iron Lad, Scarlet Witch’s son Wiccan, and the half-Skrull Hulkling. They quickly learned about his deception, and he took a break from the team. Patriot assisted Captain America in a fight and was critically wounded. His grandfather gave him a blood transfusion, giving Patriot the superpowers he had lied about.

Patriot has superhuman strength, speed, and durability. He doesn’t seem to suffer from the mental deterioration his grandfather had, but that might take a few years to settle in. Patriot uses Captain America’s original non-Adamantium shield and throwing stars. He is also an expert at parkour and strategy.

A seemingly powerless Eli Bradley made a cameo in the second episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. It is a safe bet that he will become Patriot by the end of the season, especially when you consider that the Disney+ shows are building up to a Young Avengers series. But time will tell.

Who is your favorite super soldier in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments.

Photo by Chuck Zlotnick and courtesy Marvel Studios. (c) Marvel Studios 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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