After giving up the shield of Captain America, the Falcon and his new partner, the Patriot, took off for Chicago, where the two hoped they could do some good in a city on hard times. This is the premise for the new Falcon comic by Rodney Barnes and Joshua Cassara.
While I've been a big fan of the series so far, Falcon #1 stands out for its status as a powerful mission statement and focus on humanity. While it does have its kickass moments of Sam Wilson flying in to stop criminals, it also shows him trying peaceful means to stop potential criminals and end a gang war before it starts. It strives to show that all criminals are not the same and that sometimes people need intervention beyond a punch in the face and a set of handcuffs.
It goes far to remind us that the Falcon can still be a symbol without the shield. While I still think there was a unique power in a black man wielding the shield (and he's still my Captain America), Rodney Barnes does a good job of translating those virtues that made Sam a uniquely compelling and relevant Sentinel of Liberty back into his identity as the Winged Avenger. Plus, Rayshaun Lucas is a great character, and I'm happy to see him as the partner of the Falcon.
Joshua Cassara and Rachelle Rosenberg give the world the gritty and dirty feel that it warrants. Chicago has come under some hard times lately, and you can see and feel it in the comic. The colors are dirtier and muted with the exception of the costumes of our heroes which are allowed to stand out more in this setting.
Falcon is easily one of the greatest things to come out of Marvel Legacy, and I hope this comic as the legs to take it into a long-lived run. As such, it was one of the first comics I thought of when I began making this list, and it deserves its spot at #2.