In the newest of Disney+’s Marvel TV shows, we learn that, even after years of being an Avenger, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is still tight with the US Air Force. He even receives intel on the whereabouts of the Flag Smashers from his friend, a first lieutenant named Joaquin Torres (played by the Top Gun: Maverick cast’s Danny Ramirez). However, as hardcore Marvel fans should already know, the Joaquin Torres in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is very, very different from his comic book counterpart.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5, Sam tells Joaquin Torres to keep his broken wings, supposedly as a reference to his legacy as the successor of the Falcon moniker after Sam Wilson becomes Captain America in the comics. That moment may also be hinting that we will see Danny Ramirez’s character donning the wings to fight alongside Sam in upcoming Marvel movies soon. Before that happens, allow us to help you brush up on the comic book origins of this game-changing Marvel hero, starting with his cultural origins.
Joaquin Torres Immigrated From Mexico As A Child
Created by Marvel writer Nick Spencer and artist Daniel Acuña, Joaquin Torres technically made his first appearance in the very first issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson in October 2015 in the form of a photograph. The character would officially debut in the third issue of the series, after the star-spangled Sam saved the young man from a very bizarre situation that we will touch upon soon.
In subsequent issues, readers would learn more about the Mexican-born Joaquin Torres’ past and more specifically how he came came to the United States when he was just six years old with his mother and grandmother, whom he grew up with in Sonoita, Arizona. His immigrant background later inspired him to help aid Mexican refugees looking to cross the border by delivering food, water, and medical supplies in his late teens. Unfortunately, this deed would actually result in his kidnapping.
Sam Wilson First Encountered Joaquin Torres On A Mission To Locate The Missing Teen
A racial hate group known as the Sons of the Serpent adducted then 17-year-old Joaquin Torres from the Sonoran Desert by the border where he was helping refugees. Readers would first learn about this abduction before even officially meeting the character as his rescue would become one of Sam Wilson’s first missions as Steve Rogers’ successor to the Captain America moniker in the debut of his self-titled series.
To better aid those he swore to protect, the new Cap set up a national hotline to which bystanders could call in to report necessary Avenging. Joaquin’s grandmother, Mariana Torres, called the hotline claiming that Joaquin was taken by the Sons of the Serpent, which led Sam on the trail of Dr. Karl Malus. The hate group had sold the teen to the scientist to conduct strange experiments on him, which resulted in Joaquin’s unique physiology.
Joaquin Torres Is A Bird/Vampire Hybrid
Another Marvel character with interesting changes from the comics to the screen is Falcon’s sidekick Redwing - originally an actual falcon before his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War as a drone. An earlier story saw Redwing turned into a “creature of the night” by vampiric Marvel villain Baron Blood, so when Dr. Karl Malus chose the same bird for an experiment with Joaquin Torres, he became a creature unlike anything one would have expected.
After he was genetically spliced with Redwing, Joaquin had characteristics of a bird, such as winged arms to fly, enlarged eyes for greater sight, and talons on his hands and feet. On top of that, his vampire physiology would give him additional abilities, such as a regenerative healing factor strong enough regrow severed limbs - which saved him from death after snake-like Marvel villain Cottonmouth bit his head off - but would, unfortunately, prevent him from ever becoming fully human again. The silver-lining of it all is that he would now be the perfect candidate to be the new Falcon.
Joaquin Torres And Sam Wilson Share A Psychic Link
Sam Wilson was a little apprehensive to take Joaquin Torres under his wing (no pun intended), especially after the teenager took it upon himself to become his Falcon successor with consulting him first. However, it would quickly become clear what would make this new Captain America/Falcon collaboration a perfect team-up.
You see, in the comics, thanks to the Cosmic Cube (a.k.a. the Tesseract in the MCU), Sam Wilson has a telepathic link to all birds that was especially strong with Redwing. Now that Redwing is a part of Joaquin Torres, he and Sam now share the same bond, which actually made it possible for Joaquin to save Sam during their brush with Karl Malus. The psychic connection would continue to come in handy as they fought alongside each other as The Falcon and Captain America - or both as Falcon after Sam would later give up the mantle following a few devastating scuffles involving the last person he would expect: Steve Rogers.
Joaquin Torres Became A Member Of The Champions
By now, most who consider themselves Captain America fans should be somewhat familiar with the Marvel Comics moment in which Steve Rogers utters “Hail Hydra” in the Secret Empire storyline. It is later revealed that the now iconic moment, which inspired a chilling comic book reference in Avengers: Endgame, is the result of Red Skull using the Cosmic Cube to screw with time and create an alternate Steve Rogers who works as a Hydra sleeper agent and helps the evil organization take over the United States. Well, Joaquin Torres, among others, was not having that.
The young Falcon would actually become one of the most key members in the fight against this evil Cap, earning him an honorary spot on the Champions - a team of other teenage superheroes, such as Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel and newer Spider-Man Miles Morales, to name a few. That honorary spot would soon become a permanent position that he still holds to this day.
It does not seem too likely that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s iteration of Joaquin Torres, as played by 28-year-old Danny Ramirez, will be a part of the Champions if and when the teen superhero collective is introduced into the storyline. However, I do see a bright future for this character if and when he takes up the Falcon mantle to fight alongside Sam Wilson as Captain America, which could just be the next great partnership in the franchise.