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Quote1.png Don't it make you curious? I mean, this comic came out more'n a year ago, but it pretty much got our whole story -- It has Doc Reinstein, the drug we got, and this Steve Rogers fella the brass is so high on...But this is happening now, right? Not last year, so...? Quote2.png
Isaiah Bradley[src]

Isaiah Bradley[3] aka the Black Captain America[1] was one of 300 African-American soldiers who were used as test subjects at Camp Cathcart as part of the Project Rebirth's attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. Bradley, the only survivor, took on the mantle of Captain America and traveled to Europe to fight in the war.[4] This was seen as treasonous by the military, who sentenced him to life in prison as punishment, although he was released after 17 years.[5] His legacy remained a secret to the world at large but became a legend and a hero to the black community.[6]


Early Life

Isaiah Bradley grew up in New York City. When he met Faith Shabazz, the two fell in love and were soon married in 1940. They spent their honeymoon at the World's Fair in Queens. Unfortunately, the two were soon parted when, after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, the United States of America entered the war, and Isaiah joined the the army. This parting was compounded by Faith's pregnancy[7] with their first daughter, Sarah Gail Bradley.[8]

Super Soldier

After losing the secrets of the Super Soldier Serum with the death of Dr. Erskine, the United States Army still wanted to produce more Super Soldiers like Steve Rogers.[9] Col. Walker Price and Dr. Wilfred Nagel forcibly recruited Isaiah and 300 other African-American soldiers to serve as test subjects to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. To keep the operation secret, families were sent letters informing them of the soldiers' deaths.[4] Although, Faith refused to accept Isaiah's death, and continued to look for the truth.[10]

The Black Super Soldiers

Of the 300 African-American soldiers, only a handful of men survived the gruesome process. These survivors became a convert black-ops team. After only a few missions, only Isaiah, Maurice Canfield and Sgt. Luke Evans remained.[11] While waiting in Sintra, Portugal for the arrival of Captain America, Maurice discovered the truth about his parents' death. Enraged by the information, coupled with PTSD and an exaggerated thyroid gland, Maurice was led into a confrontation resulting in his death, the death of Sgt. Evans, and the severe injury of Isaiah and Pvt. Merritt.[10]

Isaiah Bradley, the black Captain America

Bradley’s last assignment was a suicide mission to kill Doctor Kosh, stop the development of the German Super Soldier formula, and destroy a Nazi death camp in Schwarzebitte, Germany. Before leaving on the mission, Isaiah took a Captain America costume and shield with him. His mission was successful but was also captured. Luckily, while being transported, Isaiah was rescued by a group of German freedom fighters. Months after Isaiah was rescued from Germany, he was able to finally return home where he was promptly court-martialed and given life in prison for stealing the Captain America costume. Starting in 1943, Isaiah served seventeen years in solitary confinement. There his body and mind slowly deteriorate due to unforeseen side effects of the Super Soldier Serum. He was only released because Faith wrote President Eisenhower a letter every month for three years. In 1960, on the day of Kennedy inauguration, Isaiah was granted a full pardon and swore to secrecy.[5]

Josiah X

In 1953, years before Isaiah was released, Faith briefly moved with her young daughter from the Bronx to Mount Vernon, Virginia. It was here that a young girl appeared claiming to have her son. The girl explained how the U.S. military had harvested semen from Isaiah (before the Super Soldier Serum made him sterile) and eggs from Faith during her appendectomy surgery, and about the thirty-eight failed attempts that occurred before Josiah was finally carried to term. Faith kept the child, but for the safety of herself, her daughter and her son, she had to abandon him on a train.[12]

Josiah playing with Isaiah

Twenty-five years later, still in Mount Vernon, Josiah returned to the Bradley home and met his mother, sister, and childlike father. Unable to stay long for fear of being discovered, Faith told Josiah to return when it was time. Although the Bradley family moved back to their home in the Bronx, Josiah came to visit periodically to spend time with the family he never had, and grow closer to his dad.[12] Recently Josiah had stopped visiting, and has not been seen by the family in over a year.[13]

The Legend

Though they were sworn to secrecy, the legend of Isaiah Bradley, The Black Captain America began to spread through among the Black community, via the Blackvine.[8][5] Numerous members of the Black community began and continued to come and visited Bradley as a sign of respect and, in many cases, hero worship. Some notable visitors include Malcolm X, Richard Pryor, Muhammad Ali, Angela Davis, Alex Haley, Nelson Mandela, and Colin Powell.[5] Outside the Black community, however, he remained largely unknown. When Bradley arrived as a special guest at the wedding of Storm and the Black Panther, several black superheroes (such as Luke Cage, Goliath, Pulsar, Triathlon and Falcon) were awestruck while white superheroes (like Wolverine) were totally unaware of Bradley's identity or importance.[6]

Faith telling Cap about Isaiah's WWII missions

When Phillip Merritt's property was seized due to his incarceration, a tattered Captain America costume was discovered. Steve Rogers was notified, and he began a journey to learn the truth about Isaiah Bradley, his comrades and the attempts to recreate the Super Soldier formula.[14] Rogers met with Faith,[15] presented Isaiah with his old uniform, and took a photo with Bradley for his wall.[5]


Isaiah providing a blood transfusion for Eli

In addition to caring for Isaiah, Faith helped care for her many grandchildren, and when Sarah Gail remarried and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, she allowed her grandson, Eli, to live with her to finish out high school.[13]

Without his grandparents' knowledge, Eli became a founding member of the Young Avengers, lied about gaining Super Soldier powers from a blood transfusion from Isaiah, and began using Mutant Growth Hormone to simulate Super Soldier powers. When Captain America confronted her with information in an effort to disband the Young Avengers, Faith was shocked.[13] Later during a battle between the Kree, the Skrulls forces, the Young Avengers and the New Avengers, Eli used himself to shield Captain America from gunfire and was severely injured. After the battle Captain America rushed to the hospital to give Eli a blood transfusion only to discover "the other Super-Soldier", Isaiah, had already given Eli his blood. Since the transfusion, Eli gained the physical attributes and powers of a real Super Soldier.[16]


Power Grid[19]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Some Training:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/None:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Enhanced:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Superhuman (800 lbs-25 ton):Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Slow or Impaired


After receiving the experimental recreation of the Super Soldier Serum, Isaiah gained peak human abilities, including:

  • Peak Human Strength: Isaiah's strength was increased to the peak of human potential. He was stronger than normal humans. While not superhuman, he could lift up to 800 lbs.[4]
  • Peak Human Speed: Isaiah was faster than normal humans, which makes him run and move at great speeds. He was capable of reaching up to 30 mph. [4]
  • Peak Human Stamina: Isaiah's musculature produced fewer fatigue toxins during physical activity than most other humans, though not to a superhuman degree. He could physically exert himself at peak capacity for up to 1 hour before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood began to impair him.[4]
  • Peak Human Durability: Isaiah was more resistant to injury than that of normal humans. While not superhuman, he was able to fall from several stories like 100 ft and withstand to certain amounts of blows from superhuman opponents. For example, if a person beats him with an ironwood baseball bat, the bat will easily break and he would show a little discomfort.[4]
  • Peak Human Agility: Isaiah's agility was also increased to a level that, while not superhuman, was superior to that of any Olympic athlete that has ever competed.[4]
  • Peak Human Reflexes: Isaiah's reflexes were increased to the levels that were superior to that of any Olympic athlete.[4]
  • Peak Human Healing: He was capable of healing from giving a certain amount of blood to Eli after he suffered massive blood loss within a matter of minutes. Isaiah was able to heal broken bones, torn muscles, several gunshot & knife wounds and other severe injuries within several days and most lesser injuries like cuts, scrapes, and burns within hours.[4]
  • Peak Human Senses: Isaiah's senses are enhanced to the peak of human potential.[4]
  • Peak Human Longevity: The Super-Soldier Serum has dramatically slowed Isaiah's aging due to having incredibly healthy cells.[4]


Isaiah was trained in unarmed combat by the US Army.


Unforeseen side effects of the experimental recreation of the Super Soldier Serum include:

  • Mental Deterioration: Isaiah lost much of his cognitive functioning while not receiving treatment in solitary confinement for seventeen years. This neglect left him with the mind of a child.
  • Sterility: Isaiah was made sterile by the formula.



The Double V Shield

  • Captain America's Uniform
  • Isaiah Bradley's Shield: Isaiah carried a concave triangular metal shield, useful for either defense or offense, which he decorated with the Double V Campaign eagle crest. For protection he wore a loose chain mesh shirt over light padding, the shirt was capable of blunting the impact of most small arms fire.


  • Both Isaiah and Steve Rogers' mothers were named Sarah.
  • Isaiah's origin story is based on the real-life events of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, one of the most unethical known medical experiments in US history, where 600 African-American men from Alabama were lied to under the promise of free healthcare from the government into receiving no treatment of syphilis so the consequences of the disease when untreated for 40 years could be observed.[17]
  • Clarifying the timeline for Isaiah Bradley and Steve Rogers — and who predates whom — Robert Morales states in his appendix to the Truth: Red, White & Black trade paperback collection (2004):
"Truth was originally planned to be outside of the Marvel Universe’s official continuity. The editorial decision to place it into continuity meant explaining Timely Comics’ first publication of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Captain America in 1940 — a full year before Pearl Harbor and the true start of our story."
  • Truth co-creator Kyle Baker further clarified the respective timelines of Bradley and Rogers in an interview:
"With Captain America, people get on my case for ‘changing’ Captain America. We got a lot of grief from the Captain America fans on that series until the fifth and sixth issues came out; when it turned out that we hadn’t tinkered with the continuity. Before that, everybody was very upset, because our story started with Pearl Harbor, and everybody knows that the first issue of Captain America took place before Pearl. Somewhere in the middle of the series, it's revealed that Cap already existed, and we hadn’t tinkered with the timeline, and suddenly, the book is okay.”

See Also

Links and References


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