After losing the secrets of the Super Soldier Serum when Dr. Erskine died from Nazi assassination, the United States Army still wanted to produce more like Steve Rogers aka Captain America. To this end, Col. Walker Price and Dr. Wilfred Nagel took 300 African-American soldiers from Mississippi to experiment upon with variants of the serum. Only a handful of men survived the gruesome process, and only one of them survived the covert missions and assignments: Isaiah Bradley
Bradley last mission was to destroy the German Super Soldier formula research and a Nazi death camp in Schwarzebitte, Germany. Before leaving on the mission, Isaiah took a Captain America costume and shield with him. He was successful, but was also captured. Luckily, Isaiah was rescued by a group of German freedom fighters. Months after Isaiah was rescued from Germany, he was able to finally return home where he was court-martialed and given life in prison for stealing the Captain America's costume. Starting in 1943, Isaiah served seventeen years in solitary confinement. There his body and mind slowly deteriorate due to unforeseen side effects of the Super Solder Serum. He was only released because Faith wrote President Eisenhower a letter every month for three years. In 1960, on the day of Kennedy inauguration, Isaiah was granted a full pardon and swore to secrecy.
During his imprisonment, the U.S. military began experiments to duplicate Isaiah's powers and create more Super Soldier. To this end, they harvested semen from Isaiah (before the Super Soldier Serum made him sterile) and eggs from Faith Bradley during her appendectomy surgery. Thirty-eight failed attempts occurred before Josiah was finally carried to term. A young African-American girl matching Faith's blood type served as surrogate mother, but when she discovered the truth about what the child would be used for, she escaped with Josiah and found Faith Bradley. Faith publicly told the girl she was stupid, that their house was watched, and with Sarah Gail's doll in the basket she sent the girl out, screaming for her to run. Then, late at night Faith and Sarah Gail snuck out of the house and put the infant on a train. Sarah Gail left a note on her brother’s blanket, "My name is Josiah."
Josiah grew up in a Catholic orphanage outside of Boston during the early years of his life. Here he felt hopeless and abandoned by the God he was taught to worship. When Josiah's powers manifested, he shoved Sister Irenia and accidentally knocked her unconscious. Fearing he had killed her, he fled. Not long after, Josiah lied about his age, and under the assumed name of Josiah Smith he enlisted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Serving in Vietnam
Josiah served several tours in Vietnam, becoming a seasoned and experience veteran. His combat unit, made up of primarily black soldiers, was nearly killed on a mission by an inconsiderate and racist officer's order to bomb the area while they were still on patrol. He punched the officer and was court martialed, and sent back to the States to be held in military prison.
While imprisoned, tests suggested Josiah may be the missing Super Soldier baby. Agreeing to what he was told would be minor tests in exchange for his freedom, Josiah willfully allowed his transfer from detainment in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to a secret research facility in Berkeley, California. It was here that blood tests proved he was the missing child and the only known subject that had survived. His surrogate mother, brought in to confirm a genetic match, again helped him escape and told him what she knew about his past, the first names of his genetic parents.
Family and Islam
Four years later, while Josiah was involved with the radical Black Panthers movement, he learned of the Super Soldier experiments on black enlisted men in WWII, and found the names of his parents. Mount Vernon, Virginia, Josiah returned to the Bradley home and met his mother, sister and childlike father. Unable to stay long for fear of being discovered, Faith told Josiah to return when it was time. Faith told him to leave promptly, as they were always being watched, so he left, and waited for a signal to return.
For a time Josiah lived as a mercenary and killed for profit. Eventually, Josiah discovered the Islamic faith and found his purpose in it. He completed the hajj, the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Upon returning to the States, Josiah made his way to Boton to confess the murder of Sister Irenia. To his surprise, she was still alive and healthy, and the two began a deep and meaningful friendship. Upon her retirement, Irenia came to live with Josiah as his housekeeper and mentor.
Josiah became a Muslim minister, and opened a mosque in Little Mogadishu ("The Mog") in Brooklyn. Josiah became involved with James "Rhodey" Rhodes after Rhodey's sister died under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, Josiah came to join Rhodey's "Crew" to bring down the drug-dealing, crime-lord, Triage and his 66 Bridge Gang. As Justice and armed with his father's shield, Josiah determined to no longer turn a blind eye to the criminal activities in his community.
Josiah continued to visit his father and the Bradley family after they moved back to the Bronx, Josiah came to visit periodically to spend time with the family he never had. Recently Josiah had stopped visiting, and has not been seen by the family in over a year.
Justice is has powers similar to his father and Steve Rogers. During his creation his genetic code was monitored with great precision, and manipulated to compensate for the side effects of the unrefined Super Soldier Serum. These powers include:
- Peak Human Strength: Josiah's strength was increased to the peak of human potential. While not superhuman, he was as strong as it was possible for a normal human to be and could lift approximately 800 lbs. Josiah was shown bending rusty iron bars as his powers manifested as a teen at the orphanage.
- Peak Human Speed: Josiah could also run and move at great speeds, capable of reaching up to 30 miles per hour (he has been shown outrunning a squad of soldiers after breaking out of the testing facility he was in).
- Peak Human Stamina: Josiah's musculature produced less fatigue toxins during physical activity than most other humans, though not to a superhuman degree. He could physically exert himself at peak capacity for approximately 1 hour before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood began to impair him.
- Peak Human Durability: While not superhuman, his body was as durable as a normal human's could be. While still subject to all human physical vulnerabilities, he was more resistant to them than most other humans.
- Peak Human Agility: Josiah's agility was also increased to a level that, while not superhuman, was superior to that of any Olympic athlete that has ever competed.
- Peak Human Reflexes: Josiah's reflexes were increased to similar levels and were superior to that of any Olympic athlete.
- Peak Human Healing: He is able to heal broken bones, torn muscles, several gunshot & knife wounds and other severe injuries within of several days and most lesser injuries like cuts, scrapes and burns within hours.It is uncertain if he is capable of regenerating lost limbs.
- Peak Human Senses:Josiah's sense are enhanced to peak human levels,the highest limits possible while being considered human.
- Peak Human Longevity:Josiah's aging is dramatically slowed due to having incredibly healthy cells in his body.
- Peak Human Mental Process: Unlike his father,Josiah's mental performance has been greatly enhanced while his creation was being monitored, allowing his mind to operate in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. One manifestation of this is his tactical genius; the ability to quickly process multiple information streams (e.g., threat assessment) and rapidly respond to changing tactical situations. Josiah also possesses an eidetic memory, meaning that he never forgets anything and has perfect recall. This enables him to remember any military tactic and apply it to any situation
In the course of his many years, Justice has had experience and training as a soldier, a radical activist and as a mercenary. He has learned a variety of martial arts styles, foreign languages and weapons training. Justice is a highly skilled combatant, and virtually undefeatable in hand-to-hand combat against a normal human male
Peak Human Strength
- Chain-mail costume Captain America costume.
- Isaiah Bradley's Shield: Justice carries the scarred battle shield belonging to his father, Isaiah. An unsophisticated concave triangular shield, useful for defense or as an attack weapon. Justice does not typically carry a firearm but has no compunction against using one.
- Since the series cancellation of Crew Vol 1, Josiah has been mentioned only in the pages of Young Avengers Vol 1. Josiah's nephew Eli Bradley, member of the Young Avengers, has to recently revealed that his uncle has not been seen or heard from in over a year by their families. Eli also revealed that the Vision had been aware of Josiah's existence and status as a Super Soldier, having been on the Vision's Avengers Fail-Safe Program's list of potential replacement Avengers.
- Before anyone comments on the history statement that Isaiah Bradley was a victim of experiments to recreate the Super Soldier serum, please note:
- Prior to the start of the experiments, one of the soldiers in "The Truth" was seen reading Captain America Comics #1.
- The story in "The Truth" was set after Pearl Harbor; Steve Rogers became Captain America before Pearl Harbor.
- The final issue confirms that Steve Rogers pre-dates the experiments on the Isaiah and the other black soldiers.
- The presence of "Doctor Reinstein", who dies when Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, at the experiments on Isaiah Bradley, does not disprove this, as "Reinstein" was a codename, and thus could easily apply to more than one person.
- "The Truth" creators Robert Morales and Kyle Baker have reconfirmed that Rogers pre-dates Bradley in the Truth: Red, White & Black trade paperback collection (2004).
- None of this lessens the impact of the U.S. military committing atrocities on African American troops while attempting to create Super Soldiers.
- According to Priest, series writer for The Crew, Josiah is based largely on Malcolm X, and somewhat visually inspired by the Denzel Washington character seen in the film, Training Day.
- Josiah was raised in a Catholic orphanage and was almost certainly baptized into the Catholic Church, but later found Islam and became a Muslim minister.
- 8 Appearances of Josiah al hajj Saddiq (Earth-616)
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- Josiah al hajj Saddiq (Earth-616) at Wikipedia.org
- Characters killed by Justice
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