The New Captain America's New Costume: A Closer Look

Sam Wilson will be Captain America starting in October, and come November, writer Rick Remender and artist Stuart Immonen will launch All-New Captain America, a new title that will see Steve Rogers relegated to backup status as the former Falcon takes the cover photo for himself.

The fact that there's a new Captain America and that he's -- gasp! -- not white has overwhelmed the discourse so much that the usual complaints about changes to the costume have largely been left for later.

Designed by Carlos Pacheco, the costume will see publication first from Immonen. It's Immonen's work that's been made public so far, the cover of All-New Captain America #1.

Starting with the little things: that belt buckle. The downward-facing triangle has long been a staple of Sam Wilson's various Falcon costumes, sometimes on his head, sometimes on his chest. It's a clever way of integrating one of the most recognizable elements of Falcon's look into the Captain America uniform without it seeing too intrusive. Of course, ironically, the last time they reinvented Captain America (when Bucky was in the suit), they had an even more pronounced triangle. That suggests they could have gotten away with more if that had been their desire, but also reinforces the idea that they manage to pull off the homage to Falcon without actually undermining the fact that this is, overwhelmingly, a Captain America costume.

That Steve Rogers recently retooled a bit probably helps, too: this looks as much or more like the most recent Rogers costume than that costume looked like his classic "buccaneer boots" look.

That he removed the "A" from the forehead (and indeed any protection of the head at all) is arguably the most questionable element here. Falcon's mask is just fine, but it doesn't particularly look like it belongs on a Captain America outfit and, frankly, there's a little element of a kid wearing his dad's smoking jacket if you look at it for too long. Still, there's a functionality to the way his mask works for his flying powers that would have required some rethinking if it were to be done on Captain America's suit. While some have always liked the Captain America look where he had a World War II-style helmet and goggles, it never worked for me and certainly wouldn't have as a uniform for a character with a contemporary skill- and power set.

And it could be worse: We could lose the mask entirely, since the temptation to evoke the look and feel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty strong in many of Marvel's recent launches.

The loss of the "A" on his forehead is somewhat less onerous because Wilson has re-added the "wings" at the side of the star logo, like what Captain America wore during the Steve Rogers, Super-Soldier miniseries and, more crucially for marketing this reboot, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While it appeared in the movie as it does at left, featuring the "A," for most of its comic book life the costume had no headpiece at all and certainly no "A."

You'll note that some of the texturing and such looks a lot like the movie version, too; the boots and pants especially, although the red-and-white stripes in the belly area have been restored for Sam Wilson (as have the white sleeves and red gloves).

UPDATE: One thing that's been confirmed since we posted this article: Pacheco's redesign does include Falcon's wings.

You can see the image above, courtesy Pacheco's Facebook page. Since it's black-and-white, though, one thing that I've wondered remains unanswered: Will they alter his wings to be alternating red and white in keeping with the Captain America color scheme, rather than the solid colors that his wings typically have been depicted as having? It doesn't look like it, but a black and white picture could go either way and the move would make design sense.

In the full-cast poster above, it appears as though Sam's costume features black stripes on the sides (a la the "Last Son of Krypton" look from The Reign of the Supermen), but it doesn't look like it in the larger image of Cap only. It could very well be that this is an effect of the inking or coloring and not actually something that will play into the costume design (it doesn't seem to show up on the Immonen image). Either way, the top of the costume is slightly too busy for my liking. It has those unnecessary seams like the New 52 Batman design, but in addition to that they put in white "ribs" that run from the seam in the front to one on the back, with a blue (or is it black?) area over top of them leading to Sam's armpit. Given where it is on his body, and the idea that Wilson has both a shield and wings, it seems unlikely this will be much of a distraction, though; it isn't as though anybody will spend a lot of time looking at that part of the costume when he's in action.

That said, the darkening around the edges might work as a modernization of the look but it does seem -- much like people have said about the Superman costume in Man of Steel -- to miss the symbolism of Captain America somewhat. Still, I guess the blue in the flag isn't sky blue, bright and cheery...