Fans have known that the Captain America limited comic series Truth: Red White And Black would play a huge role in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier with the head writer even confirming as much. The second episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier introduced us to the MCU’s Isaiah Bradley who in the comics is the first Black Captain America.
Bradley was initially teased in the first episode credits. Carl Lumbly, who was long suspected of playing the hero, takes on the ground-breaking role and it’s revealed that Isaiah Bradley is not only tied to Captain America, but Bucky Barnes the Winter Soldier as well.
In Truth: Red White And Black, Isaiah Bradley is the sole survivor of forced experimentation that was done on hundreds of African American soldiers to perfect the super soldier serum before Steve Rogers was given it. The experiments killed most of the soldiers, but even the few who survived the process were left with physical deformities and mental declines before eventually dying, with Bradley being the only one left.
Isaiah Bradley is sent on a suicide mission over enemy lines and steals one of Steve Rogers Captain America suits and shields. Bradley completed the mission, but was taken prisoners by Nazis. After Bradley escapes and returns home he is imprisoned in Leavenworth for 17 years before being pardoned.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MCU AND COMIC ISAIAH BRADLEY
There are already key differences between the Isaiah Bradley introduced in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and the original comics version. In Truth, Isaiah was an active soldier during WWII like Steve Rogers was. Isaiah Bradley is introduced through Bucky Barnes in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Bucky and Isaiah fought against each other in 1951 during the Korean War while Bucky was still active as the Winter Soldier.
Bradley reveals that he was imprisoned for thirty years and while incarcerated he was a guinea pig for the government and Hydra. Another notable difference is that in Truth, Isaiah Bradley has declined to the point that he no longer speaks which is attributed to the super soldier serum, but that was not the case in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.
Part of what makes Isaiah Bradley so interesting is what he reveals about the super soldier program. Captain America is a title that is in truth soaked in innocent blood and a legacy that is a bit more complicated than initially thought. The influence of the real-life Tuskegee Experiments makes the story even more poignant because of its basis in reality. Isaiah Bradley is a hero who was hidden because he didn’t fit the narrative that the U.S. government wanted to tell, in both the comics and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.
In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Isaiah is introduced through Bucky. This likely has to do with the fact that Bradley is being introduced after Chris Evans’ Captain America bowed out, but this sets up some interesting implications in the MCU.
Given that Bucky fought against Isaiah Bradley in 1951 this would seem to indicate that Bradley is a direct result of Steve disappearing, instead of a test subject to perfect the serum before Steve received it. The decision to use African America soldiers, assuming they follow that part of the comics, would be tied to the fact that the government no longer had a working serum or expert like Dr. Erskine.
It has been established in the MCU that the government has been working to perfect the super soldier serum after Dr. Erskine was killed and Steve’s sacrifice, but the implication thus far has been that they were all failures. However, Isaiah Bradley appears to be a long-hidden success. The secrecy isn’t a surprise given the subjects of the experimentation, especially if following in the comics story, were not volunteers.
And the scale of the experimentation, which based on the tease in the credits featuring a partial photo of Isaiah Bradley beside the subject number #02656 was huge. Steve’s sacrifice at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger was noble, but it seems like it may have had horrifying unintended consequences.
Isaiah is obviously tied to the super soldier and by default the Captain America legacy. But now he has ties to Bucky and Hydra, having gone up against them and being used by the Nazi started organization. Isaiah, like Bucky, was used and abused by the system and has to live with the scars that has left both physical and mental.
Hopefully more about Isaiah Bradley’s past will be revealed and come into play possibly with the super soldier serum that is already a massive part of the story with the Flag Smashers and Power Broker. Given Isaiah’s anger when Bucky reveals there are more super soldiers out there and he needs to know how, it wouldn’t be surprising if the tests run on him in prison are connected to the current super soldiers in some way.
But, what may be the most intriguing part of this revelation is how it will affect Sam and his decision to not take on the title of Captain America. Isaiah could push Sam either further away from taking on the responsibility of Captain America’s legacy or it could be part of why he takes back the shield. Isaiah Bradley should have been the second Captain America in the MCU and now Sam has the chance to not only honor Steve’s legacy, but bring Isaiah’s to light.
New episodes of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier premiere on Disney Plus Fridays. What do you think about the MCU’s Isaiah Bradley? How do you think he’ll tie into the rest of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier? Let us know in the comment section below or over on Twitter!