Issue 120 - Isaiah Bradley

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  • Intro
    • Shoutout to Mouse & Weens - Julianne & Joelle are two sisters with very different lives, but who have a fun, conversational podcast - all manner of topics - mouseandweens.com
    • Thanks to new patron Brittany - www.patreon.com/capesonthecouch
    • Last call for Reviews4Good - GeekPeak - Ever wonder if your favorite comic book character needed therapy? The answer to that question is most likely yes, looking at you Batman! Capes on the Couch covers the mental health component of your favorite caped crusaders and views your favorite comics through the lens of psychology! Can’t overstate how unique and well researched this show is. There are a lot of comic book podcasts out there but none like this!
  • Background (3:40)
    • Isaiah Bradley created by Robert Morales, Kyle Baker, and Axel Alonso in Truth: Red, White, and Black #1 (January 2003)
    • Story was conceived as an allegory on the Tuskegee Syphilis study
    • Isaiah Bradley is drafted into the Army after Pearl Harbor is bombed, leaving behind his pregnant newlywed wife Faith
    • He’s serving in an all-black platoon in Camp Cathcart, and the men are subjected to experimentation in an effort to recreate the super-soldier serum
    • Five men, including Isaiah, survive the original trials - each of them with increased strength and endurance
    • Unfortunately, between battle and the lingering effects of the serum, only Isaiah is left a short time later
    • He steals Steve Rogers’ costume and another shield, and goes on a suicide mission to a concentration camp to end the German experiments - he’s captured and brought before Hitler himself, who decides to hand him over to Josef Goebbels for experimentation
    • He’s rescued by German insurgents, but when he returns to his base he’s court-martialed for insubordination and imprisoned - although he’s pardoned by Eisenhower in 1960, by this point the serum has left him sterile and brain-damaged
    • Steve Rogers discovers the truth about this program in 2003, and visits Isaiah to reconcile with him
    • Later revealed that while he was imprisoned, his cells were used in an effort to create another super soldier, and after 39 attempts Josiah X was born
    • Has a grandson, Elijah Bradley, who calls himself Patriot and joins the Young Avengers

  • Issues (12:19)
    • Talk about how Isaiah is a blank slate in this story
    • When a monolith truly IS a monolith (32:13)
  • Break (43:30)
  • Treatment (45:30)
    • In-universe - Be a listener, and support Faith in trying to take care of him - join the support network he has
    • Out of universe - (49:11)
  • Skit (62:53)
    • Hello Isaiah, I’m Dr. Issues -*pause* You the doctor?
    • Yup! - *pause again* YOU THE DOCTOR?!
    • *laughing* Oh, I get…yeah, I really am. Full school, same work as everybody else. -More work, right?
    • *sigh* It didn’t feel that way. Times change. -Not for me.
    • Why? -I like people smiling. They’re nice. They say hi. Some cry. Faith says they’re happy too. I get mixed up and sad.
    • Are you sad now? -No. You’re nice, so you make me happy, too.
    • I do my best. -Me too! Do you like comics?
    • Sure! -*sound of papers shuffling, if possible* These are my favorite.
    • You still have some of the originals? That’s amazing! -I don’t show them because it makes Faith sad. She says I don’t understand. I love comics because anybody can do anything.
    • Well…that’s true, in comics. I think Faith is worried about real stuff. -I know. *discouraged* I don’t want to go to jail again. I’m sorry.
    • You didn’t do anything wrong! I made a mistake. -I beat people up. I went to jail. They were gonna kill me. I had to!
    • What you’re doing is catastrophizing. -What’s that?
    • I don’t mean to sound heady, but that’s when you only think of the baddest stuff that can happen. -Everyone died, and I went to jail.
    • *pause* Yeah…*deep breath* yeah. I’m doing this wrong. -Can you fix me, doctor?
    • Isaiah…there’s nothing to fix. You did the right thing. Everybody else was wrong and bad. -Faith is good. Captain America is good. You’re a doctor, so you’re good.
    • Thank you…but not every doctor was good. MOST doctors are good, I think. We all try to do better. I promise. -Sometimes my head hurts. I miss Sarge. I miss a lot of people. The new people only stay a little while. Are you staying?
    • I can’t stay. I have to go and see other patients, then go home. -Do you have to give me any needles? I HATE needles.
    • *truly upset* No, I don’t have to give any needles. - OK. I like you.
    • I like you too, Isaiah. You’re a hero. - Then why did I go to jail? Heroes don’t go to jail.
    • Isaiah, I don’t know how much of this you’ll understand, but you were set up to fail. Everything that was done to you, everything that those people did was because they didn’t want you to win. And you won anyway. You saved people. You were… you ARE a hero. And nothing anyone else says or does can take that away from you. -Thank you. I wish they didn’t take my blood, or my friends.
    • I wish so, too. But, there’s a lot of family around now, right? -Yeah! They bug me so much. Always try to take my stuff! They don’t listen! I tell them “NO” and they all get scared...then they...they cry. I don’t like crying.
    • Is there a way we could make them happy? -A whoooooole lotta snacks. I keep ‘em hidden, just for the kids. You can have ‘em too if ya want.
    • No thanks. *pause* I’m not sure there’s anything else I can do, really. I have to admit my limits. I get starstruck by you, just like with Cap...with Steve. He -YOU KNOW CAPTAIN AMERICA TOO?!
    • Yeah, he -HE GAVE ME HIS COSTUME! I WORE IT!
    • I know...it’s...it’s YOUR costume too, Isaiah. He shares it with you. -You wanna wear it? It’s still good.
    • Um...no, that’s ok. I’m not...I don’t…*changes subject* Can I just take a picture with you? That’ll make ME feel good. Like everybody else. -Ok…*pause* Cheeeeese
    • This is the type of thing that makes me remember why I became a doctor in the first place. Sometimes, all I can do is listen, Isaiah. -You do that a lot.
    • *somber* More than you know. Thank you, Isaiah. It has been an honor to meet you. - Are you going to come back?
    • I hope so. - OK. I’m sad you’re going, but happy you’ll come back. We’ll play again! Bye!
  • Ending (68:29)
    • Recommended reading: Truth: Red, White, and Black
    • Next episodes: Comic book death, Erica Schultz interview, Nebula
    • Plugs for social

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