Samuel Thomas Wilson
The Falcon originated as a hoodlum known as "Snap" Wilson. One day, on the way to Rio de Janeiro, he crash-landed on Exile Island. There, he was found by the Red Skull, who used the Cosmic Cube to turn him into an ideal partner for Captain America as part of one of his schemes. They defeated the Skull, and the Falcon became Cap's partner for a long time, later helped when the Black Panther created a harness for him which allowed him to fly. The Falcon ultimately left as Cap's partner when he was named the leader of the SHIELD Super Agents.
Later, as one of the few black superheroes active, he was drafted to join the Avengers by Henry Peter Gyrich to fill a quota. Resenting being a "token," he quit at the first opportunity.
At one point, a Sentinel chased him believing him to be a mutant, but this was later debunked and the Sentinel is presumed to have been malfunctioning.
Recently, the insane Scarlet Witch accidentally destabilised the Falcon's mind, pushing him back towards his "Snap" persona, and while he continued to work with Captain America, their relationship became strained, until, finally, Cap felt that he had no choice but to stop working with him. While Falcon argued, a man who the "new" Falcon had forced from his home to use as a safehouse shot Cap in the back (while aiming at Falcon). Thinking Cap dead, Falcon cleaned himself up and went after the so-called "Anti-Cap," who had been causing problems for them both. When Cap recovered, he spent six weeks looking for the pair, but when he finally caught up with the "Anti-Cap," he was told that Falcon was dead by the AC's hand, before the AC himself committed suicide. Shortly after, Cap found Falcon's abandoned costume in a field, further implying the Falcon's death.
With nothing explaining his reappearance, he has been subsequently seen in House of M #1 on the way to Genosha, in Captain America v5 #12, and in Civil War #1 however.
Powers & Abilities
The Falcon's only super-power is his empathic link with his bird Redwing endowed by the Red Skull using the Cosmic Cube (although he once showed an ability to extend this to other birds, he has not shown this ability before or since).
For a long time he flew using a specially built harness that resembles wings. Recently, after its destruction, the Black Panther supplied him with a new harness based on 50-foot wide hardlight wings.