DC Comics has set a record time race-swapping, as just one month after his last appearance as a white man, the publisher’s Captain America homage, American Crusader, has been replaced by an apparent black successor.

Source: Justice League Incarnate Vol. 1 #1 “The Worlds Outside Your Window” (2021), DC Comics. Words by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, art by Brandon Peterson, Andrei Bressan, Tom Derenick, and Hi-Fi Design.

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First introduced by Grant Morrison in his aptly titled guide to DC’s 52-Earth multiverse The Multiversity: Guidebook, American Crusader hails from the Marvel-inspired Earth-8, a world where “great power comes with great responsibility, and heroes often pay a high price for their dedication to justice.”

An obvious tribute to Captain America, American Crusader was originally conceived as a white-man clad in an outfit reminiscent of those worn by the Knights Templar and wielding a hard-light shield.

Source: The Multiversity – Guidebook Vol. 1 #1 “Maps and Legends” (2015), DC Comics. Words by Grant Morrison, art by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair.

Making his first full appearance since his introduction in the November 30th issue of Justice League Incarnate Vol. 1 #1, American Crusader is sadly seen falling in battle to the Earth-8 version of Thanos, Tartarus.

Cradling the dead hero in his arms as Batman approaches to offer medical assistance, Earth-8’s version of The Falcon pushes him away, confirming, “He’s dead now too, you $#@!”

Source: Justice League Incarnate Vol. 1 #1 “The Worlds Outside Your Window” (2021), DC Comics. Words by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, art by Brandon Peterson, Andrei Bressan, Tom Derenick, and Hi-Fi Design.

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However, the character would undergo a drastic change ala Sam Wilson’s run as the Star-Spangled Avenger just one month later.

In January 4th’s Suicide Squad vol. 7 #11, an apparent new version of American Crusader debuts when the Retaliators respond to the sudden appearance of the Suicide Squad inside of a bank vault on Earth-8, wielding a similar hard-light shield and Knights Templar-themed costumed to his predecessor, but possessing a drastically darker skin tone.

Source: Suicide Squad Vol. 7 #11 “One Last Job” (2022), DC Comics. Words by Robbie Thompson, art by Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Dexter Soy, Marcelo Maiolo, and Allen Passalaqua.

Though the race swapping of American Crusader appears to be intentional, there’s also a chance that the discrepancy in his appearance is the result of an editorial failure.

This theory is based on the fact that both Machinehead (albeit in green armor) and Behemoth appear alongside the Retaliators in battle against the Suicide Squad, despite the fact that they were previously killed – rather explicitly, in fact – by Tatarus and Darkseid, respectively.

Source: Justice League Incarnate Vol. 1 #1 “The Worlds Outside Your Window” (2021), DC Comics. Words by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, art by Brandon Peterson, Andrei Bressan, Tom Derenick, and Hi-Fi Design.

While it’s possible that there may be an in-universe explanation forthcoming, such as the mantles of American Crusader, Machinehead, and Behemoth being taken on by other individuals in the wake of their deaths, as of writing, there has been no indication in any DC book that such a passing-of-the-torch has occurred.

In the case of American Crusader, the man underneath the mask may be the Silver Falcon, seen above cradling the first American Crusader’s body. However, due to stylistic differences in coloring, it’s unclear if DC’s version of The Falcon is also black or just tanned-skin.

Source: Infinite Frontier Vol. 1 #5 “Infinite Multiverses” (2021), DC Comics. Words by Joshua Williamson, art by Xermanico and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

What do you make of DC’s apparent race swap of American Crusader? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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