The Falcon and the Winter Soldier aired its second episode this weekend and introduced us to several new characters. Some of the most interesting new additions were the grandfather and grandson, Isaiah and Elijah Bradley. They were only on the screen for a short time, but who are the Bradleys?
Who is Isaiah Bradley?
The grandfather is Isaiah Bradley and he is portrayed by Carl Lumbly. It was revealed in episode 2 that Isaiah is a former super-soldier. Exactly who he is and what he was is not completely revealed, but any comic book fan will know him.
During World War 2, Isaiah was taken by the government along with 299 other African Americans. They were injected with an alternate version of the Super Serum that was used on Steve Rogers as part of an experiment known as Project Rebirth.
Of the 300, only Isaiah survived. He stole a spare costume intended for Captain America and headed off to Germany in an attempt to destroy the Nazi’s who were planning to recreate their own serum. During his mission, he was able to assassinate the German scientist running the experiments but was eventually captured by German soldiers.
He was taken captive and due to the Germans interest in the super-soldier serum, he was taken before the Führer himself. The Führer wanted to dissect Isaiah to reverse engineer the formula for the serum and send him back to America in pieces. That was until a group of German insurgents managed to free him. Upon his return, he was court-martialed by the U.S government for stealing the Captain America costume and was held in captivity from 1943. He was later pardoned by President Eisenhower in 1960 and released.
Isaiah was then somewhat an underground legend in the African-American community and was often called the Black Captain America. He was largely unknown outside of the Black community.
He was invited to attend the wedding of Black Panther and Storm as a special guest where several African-American superheroes were awestruck. Some of those included Luke Cage (who described him as the first me), Falcon, Goliath and Monica Rambeau. Wolverine, who was born in Canada, was completely unaware of his identity and importance.
Isaiah Bradley in the MCU
While the scene containing Isaiah in episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is brief, there are a few details we learn of his character. This version fought in the Korean War and actually defeated the Winter Soldier. He was imprisoned and experimented on by both the government and Hydra for 30 years.
Isaiah Bradley’s Powers
Isaiah himself has no powers of which to speak, but due to the Super Serum his strength, speed, endurance, agility and reflexes are at peak human levels. These abilities are at levels beyond even the most talented Olympic athletes. He has immunity to disease and a slowed ageing process.
Isaiah carries a triangular shield which he uses for both defense and offence.
Who is Elijah Bradley?
Isaiah’s grandson Elijah Bradley, is more commonly called Eli Bradley and goes by the superhero name of Patriot. He is played by Elijah Richardson in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He is a member of the Young Avengers and in the comics is the second of three characters to use the name, Patriot.
In the comics, Eli’s mother was conceived before Isaiah received the Super Serum, so he did not receive his grandfather’s abilities genetically.
When Iron Lad began his search for members to form the superhero team the Young Avengers, he went to Isaiah’s house looking for his son Josiah. Josiah had been missing for several months but Elijah claimed to have powers since he had a blood transfusion from his grandfather. This was untrue.
Eli later gains superhuman abilities through an illegal street drug call Mutant Growth Hormone, MGH. The drug gives its users brief periods of superhuman abilities. Eli left the Young Avengers when it was discovered that he had lied about his powers. He later rejoins the Young Avengers after Hulkling is kidnapped by the Super-Skrull. He was gravely wounded after taking a blast from a Kree weapon. In order to save his life, he was given a blood transfusion from his grandfather which caused him to receive powers from the Super Serum.
Elijah Bradley’s Powers
While using MGH Elijah’s powers are actually superior to that of a super-soldier, but with a massive mental and physical cost. After having the blood transfusion from his grandfather, however, he has genuine powers like those of a true super-soldier. He was able to outrun a helicopter, jump 100ft into the air, and even shrug off a hail of tranquillizer darts.
Elijah carries a heater-shaped shield similar to the original shield used by Captain America. He also carries white painted throwing stars shaped like those on the American flag.
How both of these characters will develop in the MCU is yet to be seen, but we can safely say that fans are hoping we get to see a lot more. Especially of Elijah as he was a founding member of the Young Avengers.