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Black Panther’s Popularity Shows How Captain America is Failing

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Warning: contains spoilers for Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1!

Sam Wilson’s Captain America protects the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, but his latest foe is not a supervillain or an invading alien, but an idea shared by Americans: that the country pales in comparison to Black Panther’s nation of Wakanda.

The current Captain and former Falcon stars in his own series Captain America: Symbol of Truth, in which Wilson takes on smugglers and terrorists. But he also must solve the problem of Americans who have become disillusioned with their own country – and he has no easy answers. Sam Wilson’s latest adventure begins as he chases a train carrying smuggled vials of the Super-Soldier Serum – but all is not as it seems on the home front.

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Related: Black Panther’s White Brother Calls Out His Racist ‘Savior’ Story

In Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1, written by Tochi Onyebuchi with art by R.B. Silva, Sam Wilson relaxes in New York after a mission with Misty Knight. He sees a nearby group of protestors from the ‘Wakanda Forever Movement’ discuss the merits of Wakanda when compared to the United States – primarily, how black people are horrifically mistreated in America. Wilson is disillusioned with the protestors. “They can’t stand this country,” he says. “Wanna act like paradise is just an ocean away.” But at the same time, Sam realizes the protestors have every right to be angry. “Making this country a place where we can live and thrive, that’s my job. This movement means I ain’t doin’ so hot.”

The Wakanda Forever Movement isn’t an enemy Sam can dispatch with a punch. For everything he’s done to improve race relations in America, this moment proves he still has plenty of work before true equality can be achieved. At the same time, he’s not the first black Captain America (that honor goes to Isaiah Bradley). So progress, however slow, is being made. But how exactly can Sam help others to fight for America when their solution to the country’s problems is to leave it behind?

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There are no easy answers presented, which is appropriate considering the problem. Sam Wilson had to endure plenty of racist bigotry even before he became Captain America (and after), yet he refused to quit on his country. Black Panther’s nation may be idolized in America, but Captain America still believes that the United States – even with its many issues – is worth fighting for.

Next: Captain America Finally Explains Sam Wilson’s Superhuman Fitness Level

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