Isaiah is a super soldier, who was secretly granted his abilities. He fought Bucky Barnes, during the Korean War, and was one of the few soldiers to best him which garnered him a fearful reputation, by HYDRA, to the likes of Captain America.
Isaiah Bradley was created by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker.
Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: Isaiah's physical strength is enhanced to considerable superhuman levels.
Isaiah was an American soldier, and one of the individuals to take on one the various forms of the super soldier serum, under the belief that it was tetanus, inadvertently transforming him into a super soldier. In 1951, during the Korean War, Isaiah had a skirmish with Bucky Barnes. There were whispers of the Winter Soldier, present on the Peninsula, and none of his teammates, sent to apprehend him, returned. Isaiah was delegated, and the pair had an encounter, which took place in a bar in Goyang. Isaiah bested him, taking half his metal arm. He and his teammates were sent on missions, even though some of them weren't stable, and began dying off. When members of his group were captured, his higher ups were in talks to destroy the POW camps, to hide their evidence, so Isaiah escaped out of the facility, to return his team home, and was taken captive, and tortured in the process. Isaiah was sent to prison for thirty years, where people entered his cell, ran tests on him and took his blood, with members of HYDRA working on him. While imprisoned, Isaiah wrote letters to his partner, though they never made their way to her, and she died, while he was held captive. A nurse, working at the facility took pity on Isaiah, and had him declared dead, so he could leave, and gave him the letters he sent. Following his release, he went to live with his grandson, Eli, in Baltimore, where he became reclusive.
Eli informs his grandfather, than a man he had history in Goyang with, has arrived, and he allows the two to enter. Bucky Barnes enters, accompanied by Sam Wilson. Bucky introduces the pair, and informs Sam, Isaiah was a hero. Isaiah recalls their shared history together, in which he fought him, and took half his metal arm, noting how its returned. Isaiah tells them, he wanted to see if Bucky had gotten his arm back, or if he was there to kill him. Bucky informs him he isn't a killer anymore, and Isaiah questions his new chosen identity, stating it doesn't work like that, though maybe people like him have the luxury of doing so. Bucky notifies Isaiah that there are more individuals, like them, but Isaiah refuses to talk about it, and throws a metallic box with his enhanced strength. He tells Bucky of the traumas he faced, following their encounter, and demands they leave his house.
One night, while Isaiah is watering the plants in his back garden, Sam arrives with Captain America's shield. He begins to unpack it, but Isaiah insists he keep it covered, as it's symbol doesn't represent anything good to him. Sam tells Isaiah he needs to understand, but Isaiah believes he already does, as a black man. Sam interrupts him and refers to him as bitter, but Isaiah snaps back that if Sam isn't bitter, he's just blind. He admits he doesn't understand what went wrong, and Isaiah confesses he used to be like Sam, until he opened his eyes and saw the Red Tails, fight for America only to face racism once they returned home. Sam compares Isaiah to Steve, due to both having taken the serum, and believes he could've been the next Captain America, but Isaiah interrupts him before he can finish his sentence, in disbelief that he could have ever taken on the mantle. The pair go indoors, and Isaiah shares the letters he sent to his partner with Sam, which never made it to her, as she believed him to be dead, and died herself after. He apologizes for getting emotional, and shares with Sam that a handful of his team were dosed with the serum, without the knowledge of what it was. He also adds how he was taken captive, for saving his teammates, and experimented on for the next thirty years, in an attempt to figure out why the serum worked on him, until a nurse helped him fake his death, allowing him to escape. Sam holds the letters Isaiah wrote to his wife, and he divulges how much he loved her. Sam insists his story be told, but Isaiah wants to stay incognito. Sam tries to convince him the world has changed, but Isaiah doesn't hold the same opinion, and believes he would be killed if his story was made public, as they've already erased him. He believes that a black man will never be allowed to Captain America, and nor would any self-respecting one want to be.
Later, both Isaiah & Eli are seen watching Sam's speech to the rescued GRC members, asking them to be better and acknowledging the hardships he's going to face by being Captain America. Sam later returns to Isaiah's House, where Isaiah acknowledges Sam as no longer being the Falcon, but as Captain America. He commends Sam, because his words got the GRC to reconsider the Patch Act. Isaiah tells Sam that he's "no Malcolm, Martin, or Mandela", and that taking the mantle is going to be hard, which Sam acknowledges, but says he needs to keep fighting, especially after everything African Americans have gone through, Isaiah included. Sam then takes Isaiah & Eli to the Smithsonian, revealing that an exhibit has been erected in Isaiah's honor, with details regarding his exploits during the Korean War, photos of him and his comrades, and a statue dedicated to him, so the world will never forget his heroic deeds. Isaiah, overwhelmed by receiving his long since due recognition, tearfully embraces Sam.
- The plaque in the Smithsonian for Isaiah states:
- Isaiah Bradley is an American hero whose name went unknown for too long.
- Isaiah was one of a dozen African-American soldiers who were recruited against their will and without their consent for participation in human testing in pursuit of the super soldier serum. Most did not survive. The few who lived through testing were sent on secret missions during the Korean War. During the conflict, against all odds, Isaiah Bradley rescued his fellow soldiers and 28 other POWs from behind enemy lines.
- However, fearful of the ramifications of a Black super soldier, some individuals within the government tried to erase Isaiah's story from history. His family was issued a falsified death certificate, and for decades the truth of his unflinching bravery was buried.