Zemo asks Sam to adopt the alias of the charming African rake Conrad Mack, aka “Smiling Tiger”, but is the Baron trying to take Falcon down?

In the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, “The Power Broker”, Sam and Bucky meet with Captain America: Civil War antagonist Baron Zemo, who charges Falcon with a potentially ambiguous alias. With the growing threat of Flag-Smashers, the show’s titular heroes must get creative with their allies in a hurry. And in this particular case, recruiting the man who orchestrated the Avengers’ self-destruction several movies ago might have come back to bite Sam. After all, as a fervent opponent of all that super-soldiers stand for, perhaps Zemo gave the Falcon a less-than-ideal alias as a subtle blow to his reluctant deliverer.

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After Bucky breaks Zemo out of prison to help them find the source of the super soldier serum, the trio head to Madripoor, a fictional Southeast Asian island divided into Hightown and Lowtown. The latter, a bustling criminal sanctuary, is the domain of the Power Broker and also the location of the trio’s first clue regarding the search for the serum. To integrate, Zemo requires the group to cover up. For him, this is easy, as he fits perfectly into the underworld. For Bucky, he just needs to pretend to be the Winter Soldier one more time. But for Sam, a relatively well-known Avenger, he chooses Conrad Mack, also known as the “Smiling Tiger.” Sam dismisses the character as a pimp, but Zemo quickly defends him for being simply a “fashionable black man.” Perhaps this defense was a ruse.

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Related: Zemo’s Retcon Backstory Creates MCU Timeline Problem

When they finally meet their leader, Selby, she immediately comments that Smiling Tiger is “taller” than she expected. This would suggest that Conrad Mack potentially has little man syndrome, a personality complex in which a short man makes up for his lack of stature by being socially aggressive or dominant. The smartly dressed Mack might have a reputed underworld inferiority complex, all without Falcon’s knowledge.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier Zemo Bucky Sam

That said, there is also ample evidence to the contrary. It can’t be an insult, because it’s already an easter egg from the comics. Conrad Mack, the smiling tiger, debuted in 1992 New Warriors # 19 where he was presented with his characteristic yellow fur with a pseudo-smile design on his face. He made several appearances in Marvel comics, most of the time as a mute and half-savage antagonist. On certain occasions, however, he did join the good guys, even joining the Thunderbolts after the Civil War and officially registering as a superhero.

But the Smiling Tiger that appears in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier it is very far from its comic origins. Zemo describes him as “a charming and sophisticated African rake” rather than a mutant animal hybrid that communicates primarily through growls. His characteristic yellow fur and smiling facial design for which he is named have also disappeared. Perhaps the Conrad Mack / Smiling Tiger reference extends to the name only and was simply an Easter egg for the comic book fans in the audience, while still being a dig from Zemo to Sam.

Whether or not Zemo takes this opportunity to insult Sam Wilson, whom he knows as the Falcon, their relationship could generously be described as tenuous. What The Falcon and the Winter Soldier As you progress, the dynamic between the Baron and his former adversaries turned reluctant allies will be a thread to watch as the threats from Flag-Smashers and Power Broker grow.

Next: Why Sharon Carter Was Not Forgiven After The Civil War

  • Black Widow (2021)Release Date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release Date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release Date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release Date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: March 25, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Thor: love and thunder (2022)Release Date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022

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