Sam Wilson grew up in a tough Harlem neighborhood. His father, a minister, had been killed trying to stop a fight. Sam did his best to try and do the right thing, but his grief and anger eventually led him down a criminal path. He took on the name of "Snap" Wilson while working for the mob.
After an assignment, on the way to Rio de Janeiro, Sam's plane crashed on a remote Caribbean island named Exile where the Red Skull and his henchmen were hiding out. The Red Skull sought to use Wilson as a pawn to attack Captain America (who was currently on the island) with. He used the Cosmic Cube to revert 'Snap' into Sam, and give him the ability to telepathically communicate with birds, especially a bird that Wilson had bought named Redwing. After their initial skirmish, Cap was able to free Wilson from the Skull's programming. Together they defeated the Skull, and the Falcon became Cap's partner for a long time.
Wilson received help from the Black Panther, who created a harness for Wilson, allowing him to fly. When Rogers briefly abandoned his Captain America identity, others attempted to take up the mantle, including a young man named Roscoe whom the Falcon mentored. When the Red Skull eventually killed Roscoe, Rogers again became Captain America.
The Falcon ultimately left as Cap's partner when he was named the leader of the SHIELD Super-Agents.
Later, as one of the few black superheroes active, he was drafted to join the Avengers by Henry Peter Gyrich to fill a quota. Resenting being a "token," he quit at the first opportunity.
Then at another point, a Sentinel chased him believing him to be a mutant, but this was later debunked and the Sentinel is presumed to have been malfunctioning. Shortly following this incident he came across, fought and defeated the super villain named Electro.
The insane Scarlet Witch accidentally destabilized the Falcon's mind, pushing him back towards his "Snap" persona, and while he continued to work with Captain America, their relationship became strained, until, finally, Cap felt that he had no choice but to stop working with him. While Falcon argued, a man who the "new" Falcon had forced from his home to use as a safehouse shot Cap in the back (while aiming at Falcon). Thinking Cap dead, Falcon cleaned himself up and went after the so-called "Anti-Cap," who had been causing problems for them both.
He helped Cap track down the Winter Soldier. He was the first to join with Captain America against the Superhuman Registration Act, and played a leadership role in the Secret Avengers. Following Captain America's assassination by the machinations of the Red Skull, the Falcon registered with the government and was made responsible for Harlem, although he remained in contact with the underground New Avengers.
Afterward, S.H.I.E.L.D. recruited the Falcon and agent Sharon Carter to investigate the Captain's assassination by locating the Winter Soldier and tracking down the Red Skull.
He later rejoined the Avengers in Tony Stark's initiative to expand the team's roster and become bigger.
After the Super-Soldier Serum within Captain America's body was neutralized in battle against the Iron Nail, he aged rapidly into an old man. Following an attack on New York from Arnim Zola, Steve decided to appoint Sam Wilson as his successor.
Telepathic link: Sam was given the ability to telepathically link with birds endowed by the Red Skull using the Cosmic Cube. This link is strongest with his companion Redwing but he is also able to extend his empathic link to other birds making it possible for him to see through their eyes. He has also shown the ability to control birds. These abilities apply to the entirety of birds.
Master Martial Artist: Sam has been trained by Captain America in multiple martial arts making him a dangerous combatant. His skills enable him to defeat some of the greatest trained and skilled martial artists in the world such as multiple elite Spetsnaz soldiers at a time and superhumans as strong as the Wrecking Crew members.
Master Acrobat: He was was a skilled athlete in his youth to young adulthood and later underwent rigorous training in gymnastics and acrobatics with Captain America and his skills are roughly on par with Steve Rogers.
Master Aerialist: Sam is also an extraordinary aerialist due to his training with Captain America and to his own experimentation with his "hard light harness". Due to his abilities and experience in martial arts and aerialism, he is one of the best aerial fighters in the world exceeding the skill of other flyers such as Iron Man and Ms. Marvel.
Peak human range. Falcon possesses the strength of a normal human of his age,build who engages in regular intensive exercise. Falcon is strong enough to lift about twice his body weight and can press lift up to approximately 480 lbs.
Falcon's Wings: Black Panther supplied Falcon with a new costume and wings. An emitter array on Falcon's back creates holographic "hard light" wings with a maximum wingspan of up to 50 feet (15 m). Controlled by a cybernetic link, the wings can be instantly reconfigured into "dozens of different cruise configurations". A "magnetic drive", in turn, provides the thrust needed to get Falcon airborne. The emitter also possesses GPS Jamming Devices that prevent satellite tracking, while the hard-light wings interfere with infra-red tracking. A Vibranium microweave was added to the costume itself, making Falcon resistant to small arms fire. The entire system is controlled mentally through cybernetic circuitry in the Falcon's mask. The costume has in the past featured a hidden "talon," a cybernetically controlled grappling line built into the gauntlets of his costume which he uses to entangle opponents, hook objects, or for swinging and climbing when his wings are detached. The costume's visors come equipped with various capabilities, including infrared lenses, giving him the ability to see objects by their infrared signature at night, magnification capabilities, and remote imaging sensors that allow a full 360 degree of vision when activated. The cowl also has a wide band receiver and transmitter with an unspecified range. The suit was originally built by Wakandan scientists, with costume modifications by Desmond Burrell.
The Falcon (Sam "Snap" Wilson) was created in 1969 and frequently teamed up with Captain America and later joined the Avengers.As the protector of Harlem, the Falcon has come into conflict with Harlem crime-bosses Stone-Face and Morgan.
The Falcon initially started out as a non-flying superhero with a trained falcon, Redwing, but eventually he had wings made of Wakandan design, which he has retained over the years.
The Falcon has been a frequent partner of Captain America, and has intermittently been a member of the Avengers, having first been brought in by Henry Peter Gyrich in an attempt to make the group more racially integrated.
The Falcon is one of the first African American superheroes. His nephew was the Hulk's sometime sidekick Jim Wilson, one of the first openly HIV-positive Marvel characters (now deceased).
Wilson is the to date only publicly known black successor Captain America (as established in Captain America Sentinel of Liberty 6-8.) Bradley was never officially recognized in the role of Captain America, though some list Bradley as the "black" Captain America.
While the public of the Marvel Universe knows that there was a black successor Cap while Rogers was injured, none know that it was Wilson who succeeded Rogers in the role. While Rogers even told Wilson to continue on in the role with his blessings, Wilson returned the role to Rogers feeling inadequate in the role. This would explain why Wilson continues to avoid returning to the role whenever the opportunity to succeed Rogers comes up, Wilson continues to avoid it and allow others to assume the role.
Captain America #170 (February 1974) - The Black Panther and Wakandan scientists create artificial wings for the Falcon, providing him with the power of flight
Avengers #181 (March 1979) - The Falcon is drafted into the Avengers under orders from Henry Peter Gyrich, in order to satisfy a racial quota
Falcon Vol 1 (November 1983-February 1984) - four issue miniseries by Jim Owsley (a.k.a. Christopher Priest); falsely implied that Sam Wilson is a mutant
Onslaught: Marvel Universe (October 1996) - Bruce Banner (minus his Hulk persona), Dr. Doom, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers (including the Falcon) are presumed to have been killed by Onslaught. In reality, they begin a year-long sojourn on an alternate "Counter-Earth" subconsciously created by Franklin Richards
Captain America Vol 2 #1-12 (November 1996-October 1997) - On Counter-Earth, Sam Wilson is shot and gravely wounded, but Captain America saves his life by giving him a transfusion of the Super-Soldier's own blood. Consequently, Wilson gains superhuman abilities comparable to those of Captain America. His military nickname, "The Falcon", becomes his superhero code name ("Heroes Reborn" series)
Avengers v3 #1-3 (February-April 1998) - The Falcon and every other living Avenger (past or present) are part of a medieval reality ruled by Morgan le Fay (his Super-Soldier powers from "Heroes Reborn" are gone)
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #9 (May 1999) - In a flashback tale that predates his receipt of the artificial wings from the Black Panther, the Falcon temporarily replaces a seriously wounded Steve Rogers as Captain America
Avengers v3 #64 (April 2003) - Spotlight on the Falcon, who confronts Henry Peter Gyrich after years of resentment; power to see through the eyes of avian lifeforms is revealed
Avengers v3 #65-70 (May-September 2003) - "Red Zone" - The Falcon and the Avengers foil the Red Skull's plot to frame the nation of Wakanda for a biological terrorist attack upon the United States
Captain America and the Falcon #1-14 (May 2004-June 2005) - ongoing series by Christopher Priest; marks the first time that the Falcon shares equal billing with Captain America in both name and importance to the plot
Ultimate Nightmare #1 (October 2004) - first appearance of the Ultimate Universe version of Sam Wilson, a brilliant scientist who has served in the intelligence community with Nick Fury
Ultimate Vision (January-February 2006) - In the Ultimate Universe, the sentient extraterrestrial robot known as "The Vision" explains the history of Gah Lak Tus to Sam Wilson, and warns of its approach toward Earth (presented as a six-part back-up story in Ultimate Spider-Man #86-88, Ultimate X-Men #65, and Ultimate Fantastic Four #25-26)
New Avengers #21 (August 2006) - The Falcon becomes Captain America's first ally against the Superhuman Registration Act