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Truth: Red, White & Black

(Truth: Red, White & Black #1-7)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  718 ratings  ·  127 reviews
In 1940, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America, a frail patriot who was transformed by a "super-soldier serum" into a physically perfect specimen to champion freedom, an American alternative to the Nazi uebermensch. Now, writer Morales pursues this idea and also draws inspiration from U.S. government experiments in the 1930s that left unwitting African-Americans ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published February 4th 2004 by Marvel Comics Group (first published February 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  718 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a radical story, made during an experimental time at Marvel. It's even canon in the "Marvel Universe" now. It's kind of incredible Robert Morales got away with writing such a comic.

This graphic novel confronts some very uncomfortable truths about American history, utilizing real-life stories of the government treatment of African American soldiers during WWII and creating a metaphor for this in the superhero genre. This is precisely the best of what superhero comics can be.

Nothing is suga
James DeSantis
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
So this is a perfect example of where comics can have downfalls. Comics are 50/50 to most people. Good art work + good storytelling = Key to an amazing comic. However, when one is vastly better than the other, we in trouble.

So Truth: Red, White, and Black is taking true events with a fictional world. What if, back in WW2, we took black soldiers and tested them? Now that actually HAPPENED. Now say we did that in Marvel universe with the Captain America formula? This is really a character piece a
Bogi Takács
May 28, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bogi by: Noah Berlatsky
This is a powerful take on Captain America, Black erasure, and the parts of American history white people don't like to talk about. Noah Berlatsky recommended it to me in the wake of the Captain America Hydra plot twist (I got it from the library - apparently I got lucky because many libraries don't have it) and I was very surprised and pleased to find that it was part of the Marvel canon.

I really appreciated the afterword with historical resources, and I liked the dynamic artwork style. The onl
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
Robert Morales' powerful story of the Army experimenting on African American soldiers to (re?)create the perfect soldier - with disatrous results - is mitigated by the incongruous art by Kyle Baker. Now I don't know Kyle Baker as an artist, but I seem to understand that he varies his style from one story to the next (am I wrong?). What I can't get my head around is why he chose this particular style for this project. The serious subject matter doesn't fit with the cartoony art, but not at all. T ...more
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book has been on my list, but I wanted to read as soon as I watched The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Truth is, as its name suggests, unsettling and hugely important. Morales and Baker reveal the first Black Captain America, Isaiah Baker, and his fellow Black soldiers were experimented on without their consent, unlike Steve Rogers. It redefines Captain America’s legacy, as it should. Morales based the story on the Tuskugee Study, a horrific medical experiment on Black men which ran for 40 ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
The book is about the secret origin of Captain America. His powers come from an experiment applied to him during World War 2, and it only worked perfectly on Steve Rogers. Of course, there had to be lab rats before it was used on him. In comes Robert Morales' tale of the African-American test subjects that went through experiments before Steve benefitted from them.

While the concept is absolutely brilliant, the execution left a lot to wish for. There's a whole lot of filler, and a whole lot of no
The premise and the story are excellent.
The subject matter, black men being experimented on during WWII is completely believable.
Sadly, Kyle Baker`s art is completely innapropriate for this sort of story.
Don`t get me wrong Baker has done some great stuff, his Cowboy Wally Show and Why I Hate Saturn is some of the best comedy out there, and had he used the sort of art used in these books for this one, it might even have been more fitting. But the sketchy-cartoony style used here is completely not
Note - I read this as the seven issues instead of the combined volume. This series was one of the Marvel free books after the lynching of George Floyd. If you can read it, you can see that there were multiple reasons for this.

Truth: Red, White & Black is a story where Captain America is not the only American who had super serum. What Morales and company do, is look at not only why African-American men would join the army to fight for a country that treated (and still treats) them as second class
May 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This was a powerful read! The second half in particular was excellent, once it started focusing more on Isaiah. Worth a read, for sure! 4/5 stars.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did. The plotting and dialogue were fine but I kept getting pulled out of the story by the art.

The character design leaned towards caricature; the inking was sloppy; the coloring looked slapdash; and in many places the posing was bafflingly melodramatic (in one panel the white Captain America hears something which surprises him; he seems to be twisting away from the other person with his left arm pulled back, and his head is tilted in a way which looks equally u
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Books written by POC
One of the best things I've read in a couple of years is the seven-issue Marvel series Truth: Red, White, And Black by Robert Morales (art, which is nowhere near as good as the writing, by Kyle Baker). It's the story of the Black Captain America -- or rather, the Black soldiers who served as test subjects for the super-soldier serum that created Captain America, and it's horrifying and fascinating and heartbreaking and all too realistic, given how America has treated its people of color over the ...more
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful and moving story of the origins of the super soldier program that produced Captain America. A story that draws inspiration from the sad story of the Tuskegee experiments. The sad truth is, if there really were a super soldier program it probably would have been handled like this. This book brings questions of race and equality into the Captain America mythos. Excellent writing and superb artwork!
Miss Susan
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
absolutely brilliant story. morales retcons the captain america story to say that the government conducted tuskegee style experimentation on black soldiers to perfect the formula that empowers steve rogers. it's extremely plausible and a smart truthful commentary on us race relations

as literally everyone has mentioned, the art doesn't live up to the writing but what can you do. american comics are always a grab bag that way

4 stars
Aug 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Does Marvel even realize what it actually suggests when writing such comics?

This comic series had a good basic premise with its topic of human experiments to create the Marvel Universe's iconic hero, but the execution is really lacking and I cannot take this thing seriously or regard it as anything but a failure.
Plus like so many stories about this time in fiction this here feels hollow to me. Not least due to the fact that Captain America basically looks exactly like Hitler would have wanted a
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wish we had more Marvel books like this, that recontextualize their grand superhero mythology as it stands side by side with a more honest perspective of history. Everyone knows the story of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, but Robert Morales and Kyle Baker take the Super Soldier Serum experiments and parallel them with the actual experiments performed on Black soldiers. As the brutal serum transforms the soldiers, killing many of them, and leaving them discarded by clandestine operations th ...more
Alicia Riley
May 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
The "truth" is blant out lie. Steve Rogers was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Steve Rogers/Captain AMerica as always the first real Captain America and supported canon fact for decades that Steve Rogers been the first. ...more
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Marvel did a great job of illustrating some of the horrors that black World War II soldiers experienced, as well as examples of the United States’ long and complicated history of institutional and scientific racism. A gripping story, at times hard to stomach. And I loved the artwork!
Amal El-Mohtar
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I'm sad that I only came across this as a consequence of Robert Morales' recent passing. It's an incredible and harrowing book that provides a crucial context to Captain America as a character and as an entity in comics.

To go from seeing THE IRON PATRIOT in Iron Man 3 to seeing Isaiah Bradley was to be reminded (if one can be reminded of something so constant) of how the abuse of black people in America is barely even history at this point in at least two respects: it is not history because it
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book revealing the less than stellar racial past of the Marvel Universe. The story of Isaiah Bradley and his fellow soldiers during WWII makes for a good entry point for characters like Bradley and his grandson who would later become the Patriot. The look on Steve Rogers' face when he finds out the actual truth about his black counterparts was priceless. The sight of Rogers who has seen and done it all staring at photos of Bradley posing with various black celebs was also moving ...more
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really loved the story. I really wished that Baker hadn't of phoned in the art. He set the bar, I didn't. ...more
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
This was a tough read. I can’t believe that Marvel, at one point, decided to be bold enough to rewrite its own comic history, and delve into the real history of Black erasure, experimentation on Black bodies and the segregation of Black soldiers and veterans. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but what surprises me is that way back in 2004 Marvel were willing to course correct their own ignorance about racial dynamics in the US, but now the company just seems to double down on ignoring its marginaliz ...more
Apr 29, 2021 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Like a lot of people recently, I was introduced to Isaiah Bradley's story through "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," and the snippets of the character's story, as well as Carl Lumbly's poignant portrayal of him, left me wanting more. As a big Marvel fan, I was surprised that I had never heard of "Truth" before. I was eager to read Morales' book.

The result is a mixed bag. Parts of this story are very affecting and successful, drawing on echoes of the
Graham Barrett
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Like everyone else, I checked out "Truth: Red, White & Black" because of the Disney+ show "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier". More specifically because of the show's subplot about Isaiah Bradley, the first Black Man to wear the mantle of Captain America who had been experimented on and imprisoned in a manner reminiscent of crimes targeting Black servicemen like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The show is dependent on "Truth" for the character and subplot and due to curiosity born out of this plot ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story does a fantastic job of introducing us to some real, flawed men and women, just trying to love a life as good as they deserve.

And the book pulls no punches when it comes to telling the stories that rarely get told, of the second tier - the back room - the urinal behind and outside the officer’s club - that black folks have had to endure just to live their lives.

And honestly? Of *course* this is how the US Army would’ve treated black soldiers - cannon fodder, experimental subjects, d
True Sankofa
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
This is my fav comic book story ever. Despite some confusion as to the maker of the serum and what feels like some missing plot points (many people thought Bradley was the first Captain America after reading this when it first came out), it's just a very powerful story inspired by the very real Tuskegee experiment. Some confusion may be due to this originally being an "Elseworlds" type story outside of the canon continuity of Captain America that they eventually had to fit by making some of Cap' ...more
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Morales was ahead of his time when this book premiered in 2003. Fresh from from 9/11 age, this was a bold time to add to the history of Captain America’s time of isolationist society. The Great North Migration also created these communities in DC, New York, Cleveland and other northern cities of industry.

Morales puts us there with these characters and they make do with smiles and resignations that this society left them with, but the war brought opportunity in various ways. This gave scientists
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Incredible concept, brilliant and powerful initial execution, and compelling protagonists. However, while the series starts strong and ends on a decently sweet note, the ending is also underwhelming and doesn't go hard enough in the attribution of guilt and harm committed by the American government and military. This is compounded and pretty much wholly represented by (view spoiler) ...more
Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I had read this a ways back, but the show Falcon and the Winter Soldier reminded me of it again. The story is excellent and the way the author lays it out was clever. Instead of the usual back and forth between the past and present, we start out with the past for the first half or more of the book. We then do the switching for a bit before landing in the present for the end.

The writer also takes inspiration from some America's darker history. It also references directly things like the Immigrat
The art work in this 7 book series wasn't very good, but the oh man. I had never heard of this until E2 of Falcon and the Winter Solider introduced a version of the main character: an African American super soldier, like Captain America, who was used brutally by the government then discarded. This is a dark, and horribly realistic, story about the treatment of black men by our government. I think the author was riffing on the Tuskegee syphilis study that was conducted in the last cen ...more
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Truth: Red, White & Black (7 books)
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #1
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #2
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #3
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #4
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #5
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #6
  • Truth: Red, White and Black #7

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