Truth: Red, White, and Black by author Robert Morales, Illustrations by Kyle Baker
The Marvel universe has been trying for some time to introduce more diversity into their heroes. Unfortunately, a lot of this has been in the form of taking existing characters and making female, gay, black, etc versions of them. This has however, worked more often than it should. Truth: Red, White, and Black demonstrates how an adept writer can make a trite premise work.
I was previously introduced to the idea of the original Captain America when I read Young Avengers. This is the full story.
Any Marvel fan knows that Captain America gained his powers from a military invention known as super soldier serum. What many people may not know is that this serum went through some dark experimental phases before it reached Steve Rogers.
In a parallel to real American history, the super soldier serum was tested on unwilling black soldiers before it was given to “all-American” white soldiers for field use. Our very first successful super solider was actually a black man named Isaiah.
Successful as in he didn’t immeditely die from complications of the serum. He does, however, have long term physical and mental side effects that have left him a burden on his family.
Truth: Red, White, and Black deals with the current Captain America going to officially recognize the sacrifice that Isaiah made for his country. Steve Rogers is the goodest boi and is respectful and sincerely apologetic to Isaiah but it is too little too late to make up for the ethical nightmare that he went through.
It’s nice to see a comic that gives a valid reason for a hero suddenly being a different race. This short run is a compelling story with depth and thought provoking ties to our own history.
It ends abruptly though and could have really used an additional issue or two to really make its point. I am glad that this story is canon and they continued it through the Young Avengers’ first run with Isaiah’s grandson picking up the mantel.
Marvel veterans and novices alike will enjoy Truth: Red, White and Black and should not shy away from some of these diversity gambles.
4/5 American Flags 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
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Buy it here: Truth: Red, White and Black (2003) 1