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The Falcon, Sam Wilson Reading Order

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Sam Wilson is The Falcon

Rick Jones wasn’t Captain America sidekick anymore, but a new one was about to be introduced in September 1969. In Captain America #117 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, Sam Wilson made his debut as he was trying to convince people to fight the Red Skull’s forces. That’s how he met Steve Rogers who led him to call himself the Falcon and to create a costume (a green one). They won their fight against their common enemy, of course. Soon after, Sam Wilson became Captain America’s partner.

Sam Wilson is the first Afro-American superhero at Marvel. His origins were retconned—from a social worker in Harlem to a thug whose life was changed by a Cosmic Cube, he was also revealed at one point that he was a mutant until that was changed—but his most important evolution was going from sidekick to headliner, and from Falcon to Captain America.

Sam Wilson fought alongside Captain America, The Avengers, The Defenders, the S.H.I.E.L.D., Winter Soldier, and more. He has a telepathic bond with Redwing, his bird, and later realized he could also control other birds and see through their eyes. Of course, he also flies, using mechanical wings. And he was trained in hand-to-hand combat by Steve Rogers—he also knows how to use Captain America’s shield.

And of course, he is now Captain America. In fact, he has been first appointed as Rogers’ official replacement as Captain America during the Marvel Now! era (2012-15). He kept the title for a while, but constant events and relaunches forced a return as the Falcon, but also after that another stint as Captain America. We’ll explore that in this article.

Sam Wilson Reading Order:

Sam Wilson is The Falcon, Captain America’s partner

For a long time, Sam Wilson as the Falcon only appeared in Captain America. His first storyline was in Captain America #117119. After that, he quickly came back with #126 and became a regular starting with #132 (to 220). In fact, the book was retitled “Captain America and the Falcon.”

All these issues were collected in multiple editions, from TPB to omnibus, you can find them listed in our Captain America Reading Order.

In issue #231 (collected in Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Vol. 13), Sam Wilson thanks Captain America for everything, but states that he wants to “fly” alone. This didn’t last long as Cap asked him to join the Avengers–the team needed to diversify its roaster. He only stayed with the team for a short while (#184 to 194).

Sam Wilson, the guest-starring Falcon

Sam Wilson came back in Captain America #272 (collected in Captain America Epic Collection: Monsters and Men) in which he decided to make a career change (going into politics), but with his backstory coming back to haunt him, this was derailed (as we learned in Captain America #284). Then came the first Falcon miniseries by Christopher Priest that introduced his mutant origins.

After that, Sam Wilson still occasionally appeared in Captain America (we learned the results of the election in #290) as a guest star. He also joined force with other Marvel Heroes like Power-Man and Iron Fist.

What follows is only a selection of books collecting enough of Sam Wilson’s adventures to justify being listed. He did appear in more issues as a guest star, but all those apparitions are not collected in an easy-to-read way.

With #408, Sam Wilson is back for a short period of time as a regular character in the Captain America series.

With the Onslaught Saga (see full reading order for more details), the Marvel Universe was… changed. Following the apparent deaths of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Doctor Doom, Marvel asked the Image Comics founder to come back to relaunch their heroes. This led to the Heroes Reborn era. Sam Wilson as the Falcon is part of Captain America’s story in the pocket universe where all the heroes went during this period. Of course, he was also part of the return trip.

  • Heroes Reborn: Captain America
    Collects Captain America vol. 2 #1–12; “Fantastic Four” (1996) #12, “Avengers” (1996) #12, “Iron Man” (1996) #12, “Material From Heroes Reborn” (1996) #1/2.
  • Heroes Reborn: The Return
    Collects Heroes Reborn: The Return #1-4; Heroes Reborn: Doomsday, Ashema, Masters Of Evil, Rebel, Remnants, Young Allies And Doom.

After that, Sam Wilson’s appearances were limited. He didn’t join Captain America during Marc Waid’s run, but he was back for a few issues with Dan Jurgens’, collected in:

Sam Wilson, From the Avengers to the Civil War

Sam Wilson rejoined The Avengers during Geoff Johns and Chuck Austen’s run on the title. At first, he was a regular, but he became less visible at the end of the run as he teamed up again with Captain America before Brian Michael Bendis took everything over and “Disassembled” the Avengers.

  • Avengers Disassembled
    Collects Avengers (1998) #500-503 and Avengers Finale #1 (read this book after Captain America and the Falcon #8).

As you may know, Bendis’ era is composed of a series of events. After Disassembled came House of M during which Sam Wilson was not a big player, but still appeared in a few issues, then came the Civil War in which he was a lot more present.

It’s The Civil War! The U.S. Government proposed the Superhuman Registration Act, intending to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction and requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the government and subject themselves to federally mandated standards. Heroes had to choose between rallying behind either Iron Man’s pro-registration forces or Captain America’s opposition. The Civil War began., go to the reading order.

Sam Wilson, Falcon to two Captains

As you may know, Captain America “died” at the end of Civil War, but his book didn’t. Instead, the stories were about Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Black Widow. It’s the Ed Brubaker run, see the reading order for more information about the overall story.

Of course, Steve Rogers quickly came back…

  • Captain America Lives! Omnibus
    Collects Captain America vol. 5 #43–50; Captain America #600–601; Captain America: Reborn #1–6 
  • Captain America: The Trial of Captain America Omnibus
    Collects Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield?; Captain America (2005) #602–610; Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4; Captain America (2005) #611–619, #615.1; Captain America (2011) #1–10.

    • After Captain America #605, the event Siege took place and Marvel entered the Heroic Age (in Cap #606).

Be afraid of Fear Itself! Once again, Sam Wilson is a supporting character in the 2011 crossover event. The entire planet has been seized by Fear and only chaos reigns. The Serpent, Asgard’s most ancient evil, has awakened and is feeding off the fear of Earth’s populace. Don’t be afraid, the Reading Order is here.

Once everything calm down, Sam Wilson was back next to Captain America and appeared as a guest stars in other series.

The Avengers and the X-Men go to war in Avengers vs. X-Men! This 2012 crossover event involved the return of the Phoenix Force and the subsequent war between the Avengers and the X-Men. For a more comprehensive look at the event, go to the reading order.

Sam Wilson, once again an Avenger

The Marvel Now! era began with Jonathan Hickman taking over the Avengers and his team included Sam Wilson. You can find a detailed reading order for this series in our Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers Reading Order.

  • Avengers by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus Vol. 1
    Collects Avengers (2012) #1-23, New Avengers (2013) #1-12, Free Comic Book Day 2013: Infinity #1, Infinity #1-6, Infinity: Against The Tide Infinite Comic #1-2, Astonishing Tales: Mojoworld #1-6, Material From Shang-Chi: Master Of Kung Fu (2009) #1.

After the Infinity event, Sam left the main Avengers book to join Avengers World. Meanwhile while also appearing in Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers.

Original Sin! The story began when Uatu, the mysterious space-god who’s been watching mankind from the moon for as long as we can remember … is found dead. But who shot the Watcher? More information in the reading order of the event.

What comes next is important for Sam Wilson, even if he’s still a secondary character in Captain America–but this is about to change!

Sam Wilson is Captain America

In Captain America vol. 7 #25, Sam Wilson took over the mantle of Captain America from Steve Rogers and is joined by new partner Nomad to tackle threats including the fearsome Scarecrow, Batroc and Baron Zemo’s newly ascendant Hydra! Plus: Sam Wilson assembles a new team for the Mighty Avengers and works with Spider-Man and the Inhuman.

  • Captain America: Sam Wilson – The Complete Collection Vol. 1
    Collects Captain America (2012) #25, All-New Captain America: Fear Him (2015) #1-4, All-New Captain America (2014) #1-6, Amazing Spiderman Special (2015) #1, Inhuman Special (2015) #1, All-New Captain America Special (2015) #1, Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) #1-6.

Logo Avengers for the Jonathan Hickman's Avengers Reading OrderAvengers: Standoff! Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson find themselves in a standoff with high and very personal stakes. And this tense conflict quickly escalates out of control, drawing in several Avengers teams! But it all begins in the small town of Pleasant Hill, an idyllic community with friendly neighbors…and a terrible, dark secret.

  • Avengers: Standoff
    Collects Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1, Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2016) #3-4, Uncanny Avengers (2015) #7-8, All-New, All-Different Avengers #7-8, New Avengers (2015) #8-10, Captain America: Sam Wilson #7-8, Illuminati (2015) #6, Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015) #6, Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1.
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson – The Complete Collection Vol. 2
    Collects Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) #7-24, Captain America (2017) #25, Generations: Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America (2017) #1. 
  • All-New, All-different Avengers Vol. 2: Family Business
    Collects All-New All-Different Avengers #7-12.

After Captain America: Sam Wilson #8, It’s the Civil War II! A new Inhuman emerges, with the ability to profile the future, and the ramifications ripple into every corner of the Marvel Universe. Lines are drawn, bodies fall, and the Marvel Universe will be rocked to its very core. Both Captain America series have tie-ins to this event, though Captain America: Steve Rogers is more essential. See our Civil War II reading order for more details.

After Captain America: Sam Wilson #13, following the event of Civil War II, a new team of Avengers was created with Sam Wilson in it:

Secret Empire! Captain America is living a lie! The Cosmic Cube has remade him into a secret true believer in the cause of Hydra! Now, Steve Rogers makes Hydra’s ideals a reality—and changes the landscape of the world dramatically! For more, go to the Secret Empire Reading Order.

Sam Wilson: Falcon Again (Marvel Legacy)

In the aftermath of Secret Empire, Sam left the Shield to Steve Rogers and assumed again his Falcon identity.

Marvel Fresh Start, From Falcon to Captain America

For a little while, Sam Wilson was less visible, but he came back to team up with Winter Soldier and, once more, fought alongside Captain America.

Captain AmericaSam Wilson and Steve Rogers decide two Captain Americas are better than one, kicking off a new age for the Captain America saga. Tochi Onyebuchi and R.B. Silva penned Sam Wilson’s new life chapter as he picks up the shield once more.

The story continues…

Did we forget an important issue? Did we make a mistake? Let us know in the comments!

Last Updated on September 8, 2023.

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