Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
He’s a mutant, been an adventuring partner and even Captain America, but he’s best known as: Falcon
Appearances in Heroclix: Captain America and the Avengers, Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati, Earth X, Wizkids Marvel 17, Civil War: Storyline Organized Play, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers Assemble, Captain America – The Winter Soldier, Captain America, Avengers, Sinister
First Appearance: Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Team Affiliations: Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., “Defenders for a Day”, Heroes for Hire, Mighty Avengers
Powers/Abilities: Expert bird trainer; Skilled hand-to-hand combatant, martial artist, aerialist, and acrobat; Flight via wing harness; Proficient tactician and strategist; Empathic and telepathic link with all birds
Created by: Gene Colan and Stan Lee
Sam Wilson is born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City to Paul Wilson, a prominent minister, and Darlene Wilson. Sam has a happy childhood and learns he has an affinity for birds. He begins training pigeons and ends up with the largest pigeon coop in Harlem. During his teen years he has several brushes with racism that leave him jaded and angry. When he is 16, he refuses to join his parents’ church because he does not believe in it. Rather than growing angry, his parents gift him books on different faiths and comparative theology. The next night, his father is killed while trying to break up a neighborhood fight. Two years later, when Sam is 18, his mother is shot and killed by a mugger one block from their apartment. Despite these tragedies, Sam continues good work in the community and becomes well respected.
Sam continues his social work into adulthood and eventually meets Captain America and the falcon Redwing on Exile Island. Sam and Redwing form a strong bond quickly. After helping the natives organize a rebellion, Captain America is impressed with Sam and suggests he adopt a persona to further inspire them. Capt. helps Sam design his costume and the pair train together intensely, as well as training the natives, until the day comes. The two heroes lead the natives in overthrowing the Exiles and their leader, the Red Skull. After the rebellion, Sam adopts the Falcon moniker and becomes Capt’s regular crime fighting partner. In a short amount of time, the Falcon meets Black Panther and the king builds Sam a harness that, with wings, grants him the ability to fly.
After several more adventures, the Red Skull is able to convince Sam that he has a past as a crime lord in Los Angeles named Snap Wilson. Red Skull lies that he used the Cosmic Cube to erase these memories so Sam could be a perfect mole for him. Red Skull does try to use the Cosmic Cube to make Sam kill Captain America but Sam’s moral compass is too strong. Even while believing in the lies of his past life, he knows that he is now a hero and helps Capt. defeat the Red Skull. Ssam goes on to lead the Super Agents of SHIELD as well as joining the Avengers.
Falcon rejoins the Avengers after a hiatus and learns that he can form short telepathic bonds with other birds, seeing through their eyes. He learns that the US Secretary of Defense has been pressuring Gyrich, the Avengers’ UN liaison, to spy on the Avengers and give up their secrets. Flacon talks to Gyrich and convinces him to work with the Avengers by feeding the Secretary of Defense, secretly the Red Skull, bad info. They eventually learn the Secretary’s true identity and are able to stop him from launching a biological weapon on the US.
Soon after, Falcon and Captain America are caught up in a plot to create a clone Captain America and a biological weapon by members of the Nazy hierarchy. At the same time, the Scarlet Witch begins to influence reality and forces Sam to begin acting more and more like the false Snap persona. This leads to a number of poor decisions that culiminate in Captain America being shot and seemingly dying. This is shocking enough that Falcon is able to come to his senses. Shocked at what he has become in so short a time, he retires and decides to examine his life.
It takes years and the Superhuman civil war to bring Falcon out of retirement, to support his old friend Steve. After Steve’s seeming assassination, Falson is among those that register with the government. He is assigned Harlem but continues to be in friendly contact with the underground New Avengers. During Daredevil’s building of Shadowland, Falcon begins working with a new iteration of the Heroes for Hire. He also helps She-Hulk contain students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning during the Phoenix crisis. After the Avengers expand their lineup and Steve Rogers is aged into an old man, Falcon is officially chosen as the new Captain America.
Early on in his adventures as Captain America, Sam investigates the disappearance of Joaquin Torres due to the Sons of the Serpent. Sam learns that Joaquin has been turned into a human/bird hybrid using DNA from Redwing. Sam saves the young man but it turns out that due to Redwing having a healing factor, Torres’ condition is not temporary. During the clash with the Sons of the Serpent, Sam is able to telepathically communicate with Joaquin to win the day. Sam allows the young man to become his sidekick and become the new Falcon.
Soon after, Sam is contacted by Rick Jones that informs him that SHIELD is still working on the Kobik project. This leads to Sam and Steve traveling to Pleasant Hill in search of the project. They encounter several villains as well as Kobik herself, who restores Steve to his physical prime. Though they are unable to find Kobik and have to do battle with the villains, they ultimately keep the situation to themselves. With Steve again physically fit, Sam begins to receive pressure to return the shield to his friend. During a press conference, a mercenary attempts to assassinate Steve only for Sam to save him. Steve then announces Sam as the new Captain America.
Sam gives a speech at the funeral of War Machine. He is soon entangled into a confrontation with the Americops and US Agent. Sam aids Steve in a mission to save a Senator and fails. Unbeknownst to him, Steve who has been transformed into a Hydra sleeper agent by Kobik’s reality changing powers, set him up in order to get Sam to return the shield of his own free will. This comes to pass when Rage is arrested and found guilty despite footage proving the Americops provoked the situation. This causes Sam to surrender the shield back to Steve and retire from being Captain America.
Sam spends time soul searching in a desert abode while Captain America reveals himself and helps Hydra take over the US. He returns and immediately saves an Inhuman mother and child from Hydra Enforcers. He soon reunites with Misty Knight and begins helping the resistance. He works with them desperately to find shards of the Cosmic Cube to set things right and are dogged at every turn by Hydra Rogers. After one of their bases is demolished, Sam emerges in his Captain America uniform to inspire the heroes to push on. He again wields the round shield, as Hydra Rogers had discarded it, and brings hope to the oppressed. With renewed vigor, the resistance is able to use the Cosmic Cube shards to free the superheroes and face Hydra’s forces in Washington, DC. Sam feigns surrendering to buy enough time for Bucky Barnes to arrive with Kobik and the real Steve Rogers in tow. Steve is able to defeat Hydra Rogers with the help of the shards and Mjolnir. This is enough to prove to Kobik who the real good guys are and she returns reality to what it was.
With Steve really back, Sam returns to being the Falcon and takes the new Patriot, Rayshaun Lucas, as his sidekick.