‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Are the Flag-Smashers in Marvel Comics?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is introducing a new group of villains into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the season continues, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes will face a masked terrorist group called the Flag-Smashers. 

They are unlike any supervillains we’ve seen in the MCU. So, who are the Flag-Smashers, and are they in the Marvel Comics?

Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'
Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ | Marvel Studios

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ picks up with Bucky and Sam after the blip

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up with Marvel superheroes Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) five years after they disappeared in Thanos’ Blip. And at this time, the two are mourning the departure of their mutual best friend, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who bequeathed his Captain America shield and title to Sam in Avengers: Endgame

The series will follow the duo as they take on an anti-patriot terrorist organization called the Flag-Smashers. The premiere episode finds Sam working for the U.S. Air Force alongside First Lieutenant Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez). 

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Torres warns Sam about an emerging underground group called the Flag-Smashers who believe that the world was better off during the Blip. He revealed that the group operates through message boards and apps and wants to create a “unified” world without borders. 

When Torres shows up for a Flag-Smasher’s meet, he encounters a masked man who appears to have superhuman strength. And upon trying to apprehend him, he gets bashed in the head, leading to an orbital injury. 

Are the Flag-Smashers in Marvel Comics?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier version of the Flag-Smashers is new. But the singular villain, Flag-Smasher, does appear in Marvel Comics. 

The first Flag-Smasher, Karl Morgenthau, appeared in Captain America #312 in 1985. After his father was killed in a riot, Morgenthau began believing that the world was better off without the concept of nationalism. 

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Flag-Smasher created his own army, a terrorist organization called ULTIMATUM, an acronym for “The Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind.” He remained one of Captain America’s most formidable foes. And he fought other superheroes like The Punisher, Deadpool, and Ghost Rider. 

When Morgenthau was killed, an ULTIMATUM member named Guy Thierrault took up the mantle of Flag-Smasher. Like his predecessor, he also faces off with Deadpool, as well as Venom.

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While the masked villain in the premiere episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier may appear to have superhuman strength, Flag-Smasher’s abilities were limited in the comics. He had no superpowers but was a highly-skilled fighter, martial artist, and strategist. 

In the comics, Flag-Smasher was a recurring nemesis for Captain America. And this new plural iteration, which features Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau, may become the defining foe for Sam Wilson, as he assumes the title of the new Captain America.  

There’s still a lot more in store for Bucky, Sam, and The Flag-Smashers as this season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier continues. New episodes air Fridays on Disney+.