BY MATT TUCK
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s second episode introduced what could be the groundwork for two key elements going forward, Isaiah Bradley and his grandson, Elijah.
In the events of Episode Two of FATWS, Bucky takes Sam to a rough neighborhood in Baltimore where viewers meet Isiah Bradley. While Steve Rogers was frozen in the arctic, it is revealed that the United States government attempted to replicate the results by giving the super-soldier serum to Bradley. It worked, and he was transformed into a Captain America for the Korean War during the 1950s. In his time in Korea, Bradley reveals, he was the only assassin sent to kill the Winter Soldier who came back alive.
During the show, we find that, even in his elderly state, Bradley is strong enough to throw an ashtray into a wall. Then his tragic tale is revealed as Bradley served his country as both a soldier and an experiment only to be incarcerated and tested for three decades. Robbed of his youth, he is left traumatized by what was done to him in that jail cell.
I have no doubt that we will see more of Isiah Bradley and his time not only as Captain America in the 1950s but also his suffering at the hands of the U.S. government. But there is a bigger picture at work that centers on his grandson, whom we can assume is Eli Bradley. In the comics, Eli would become Patriot, and that is clearly where this story is heading as Marvel Studios continues to put the pieces in place for a live-action Young Avengers.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three issues that are impressing collectors more each day.
YOUNG AVENGERS #1
This comic has been hot for over a year after Kevin Feige alluded to having his eye on them. With each passing day, it appears more obvious that will come to life on Disney+. After all, we have Kate Bishop debuting in Hawkeye, Echo and America Chavez are their getting her own respective series, Wiccan and Speed were already featured on WandaVision (and I am certain that they will be brought back as teenagers in the not-too-distant future), and now it looks like FATWS is introducing the world to Patriot/Eli Bradley.
That is why this comic went from red hot to white hot very quickly. The most recent sale of a standard cover graded at a 9.8 saw it bring $810. That was nothing compared to the $1,270 an earlier sale netted on March 21. That one could prove to be an outlier for the time being since all the sales before and after were more in the $700-$800 range. Still, that is a considerable amount for a comic that averaged $314 over 249 sales only a year ago.
The real money lies in the Wizard World Los Angeles edition. That one, at a 9.8, averaged nearly $600 last year, and it has now surpassed the $1k mark. More specifically, the last two copies that traded hands brought $1,250 on March 26 and $1,100 on March 27. If you don’t mind the grade dipping to a 9.6, the price is a much-more affordable $483 based on the last sale.
TRUTH: RED, WHITE, AND BLACK #1
A year ago, there was not much interest in this issue. At a 9.8, it averaged $132 over a dozen sales. Before that, it had a fair market value under $100 in 2019. Then came the rumors of Isiah in FATWS, and the prices began to rise, and the 90-day average rose to $272. Now that he has premiered in live action, that FMV has gotten quite the dose of super-soldier serum.
From January 4 to March 6, that same 9.8 sold six times for anywhere from $200-$250. Suddenly, it has jumped to $500 after the last sale on March 27.
It is too early to say how much more Marvel will do with Isiah’s character, but there is so much fertile ground for a great story to be told that I can’t see Marvel Studios leaving it untouched. More than likely, it will be told through FATWS, but Isiah could make for an interesting lead in a series of his own.
TRUTH: RED, WHITE, AND BLACK #4
Another issue worth collecting is Truth #4. While it is not the first appearance of Isiah Bradley, it is in these pages that he dons the Captain America costume for the first time. If we ever see him wear the suit in a flashback, then investors and speculators may gravitate toward this comic. At any rate, it is worth having because it is a cheap investment at the moment. While there are no graded sales to report, the eBay sales for raw copies has it selling for around $15-$20 at the moment.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
From a writer’s perspective, there is so much story left to tell for the Bradley family. From Isiah’s harrowing experiences as Captain America in the Korean War to his 30 years’ torture at the hands of the government, Marvel will definitely bring his story to life. Then there is Eli, whom we will see take a much larger part in the MCU. We all know the Young Avengers are on their way, and Eli will likely play a major role on that team, and I anticipate that series making a huge splash.
The future for the Bradleys is very bright, and they will quickly build a mainstream fan base in the process, which will only make their key issues that much more valuable.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.