Marvel’s Well-Meaning Mistake

Among the many changes Marvel is making to its characters in the Marvel Now! line, the most recent is the announcement that Steve Rogers is laying down the mantle of Captain America (for what I believe to be the 247th time), and his replacement is said to be Sam "The Falcon" Wilson.

I have a problem with this, and it’s not the one you might expect.

I’m pro-added diversity in comics. Thor’s a woman now, great! The Ultimates version of Spider-Man is Miles Morales, great! And while I have a personal attachment to Steve Rogers, if there’s going to be a new Cap, I not only don’t object to, but celebrate, the fact that he’s black. (Even if his new mask is kinda goofy looking.)

But it should not have been Sam.

Oh, it makes sense from an in-character perspective. Sam Wilson’s one of the good guys, someone Steve knows well and trusts. My problem is with the meta-narrative.

Sam Wilson–the Falcon–may not be as big a name as Storm, or the Black Panther. The fact remains, though, that he is one of the few black superheroes to have built his own successful, popular identity. He was a success story, on a very limited list of success stories.

Making him Captain America is taking that away. It’s the opposite of diversifying the line, because it’s taking a minority character who made it on his own, and turning him into another minority character who had to build on the name of a straight white male.

I realize it’s too late, but… if by some miracle someone at Marvel sees this, please. By any and all means, give us a black Captain America–but let Sam remain the Falcon. He’s earned it.