Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Vc Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jesus Saiz
Editor: Alanna Smith
Rating: 9/10 Music References
How do you go from being Captain America to Falcon again? I remember asking myself that while working at my local shop and seeing the announcement for Rodney Barnes’ upcoming series on the high flying hero. At this point, I hadn’t even picked up any issues of Sam’s run as Captain America, but the idea of a long time character in the Marvel universe, as well as a person of color, stepping down from one of the biggest mantles in comics, that had my curiosity. I remember the day I finally got my hands on the first issue and how powerful Barnes’ first issue was. It left me feeling overwhelmingly moved and a strong sense that I took Sam Wilson as Captain America for granted (I quickly picked up the entire All-New Captain America with Sam after). These are my thoughts on the entire run and why Falcon has become one of the most important characters in the Marvel Universe for me. Warning. High flying spoilers are dropping in.
Following the fallout of Civil War II, Sam has given up the shield and taken flight once more as Falcon. Having a big name like Captain America doesn’t stop Sam Wilson from taking on some of the world’s biggest threats though as Barnes’ pits Sam against, gangs, vampires, demons, and the country’s failing infrastructures in this run. Who is Falcon to rise up to meet these challenges? Who is Sam for that matter? Throughout most of the first arc, we explore Sam’s history and the lessons he was taught while also questioning the choices he’s made throughout his costumed career. Every hero has gotta do some soul searching some time, and maybe even have to have their friends go searching for his too (literally). I found Barnes’ exploration of a character who has spent so much time looking back at what he’s been doing and instead of forward very powerful when it comes to the names we make for ourselves.
It’s important to remember that just because you have a solo series doesn’t mean you have to go at it solo. This series features a lot of great characters to support Sam in his fight against evil, most notably Shaun, the new Patriot. While his time spent with Sam comes across as the least familiar, the dynamic however between the two is fantastic as a mentor and protege. Shaun is eager and willing to be a hero but has Sam to keep him level headed when necessary and teach him everything he learned from Steve while Shaun provides absolute support and adoration for Sam and who he is. It’s the connections that Sam has with Shaun and others that help along his road to rediscovering himself as well reconnecting with those who mattered to him he lost along the way.
This run of Falcon was a very deep exploration of a character with a rich history, trying to find his way while also going up against a demon who is using man and their hypocrisies against themselves. For this kind of story, you can’t really have it all bright, colorful and fun and Joshua Cassara was the perfect artist to nail the tone. His line work on characters really details the roughness of their features. From the furrowed brow to the smiles on each face (not to mention the detail he puts into those veins), you got the sense that real time was put into each panel and expression to really drive home the emotional tone of this read. Action scenes were fantastic, showcasing (and clearing up any questions I had before) how even without the shield, Sam kicks a lot of ass. Also, Redwing is a champ! To go with Cassara’s art, Rachelle Rosenberg provided a beautiful pallet of colors to this read. Almost every page in the first of arc of Falcon that is featured outside, mostly presented with tones of oranges, reds, and yellows. For me, the color choices lent to the story in symbolizing where Sam was at the start of this story to where he ended in the first arc, dusk to dawn. Sam’s journey of discovery brings him back into a new dawn as he is looking ahead to a bright tomorrow.
I picked up this series with a question, looking to see what kind of person Sam Wilson was to have stepped down from one of the biggest titles in the Marvel Universe, and what he would possibly do next. What I found though was a hero who’s beliefs and mission reached out and resonated with me. Barnes’ truly soared at displaying those outstanding qualities of this character and their beliefs to do good as well as lift each other up. I’m left asking when we will see another Falcon series in the future. Until then, don’t let this series fly past you and check it out.