The idea for the series first sprung up in a meeting involving Joe Quesada, where Morales was asked to pitch a story. He notes that “I wrote a proposal that was so staggeringly depressing I was certain they’d turn it down. But they didn’t.”
Published from January 2003 to July 2003, the series Truth: Red, White & Black is composed of seven comics: “The Future”, “The Basics”, “The Passage”, “The Cut”, “The Math”, “The Whitewash” and “The Blackvine”.
The trade paperback collecting the series was published in February 2004 and the hardcover in 2009. The book version of Truth contains Morales’s appendix in which he clarifies myth, history and imagination and provides sources for his story.
Set in the Marvel Universe, the series takes the Tuskegee Experiments as inspiration for a tale that re-examines the history of the super-serum that created Captain America. Beginning in 1942, the series follows a regiment of black soldiers who are forced to act as test subjects in a program attempting to re-create the lost formula earlier used to turn Steve Rogers into Captain America. The experiments lead to mutation and death, until only one remains: Isaiah Bradley.
In Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes, Adilifu Nama notes that “Truth admonished the reader to incorporate the experiences and histories of black folk that paint a different picture of the cost and quest for freedom and democracy in America.”
Axel Alonso felt some of the criticism for this series came from “outright racists who just don’t like the idea of a black man in the Cap uniform.”
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, he recalled “When we posted our first image of Isaiah Bradley – the silhouette of an African American man in a Captain America costume – the media latched onto it as a story of interest, but a lot of internet folks lined up against it, assuming, for whatever reason, that it would disparage the legacy of Steve Rogers. By the time the story was done, the dialog around the series had substantially changed. One high-profile reviewer even wrote a column admitting he’d unfairly pre-judged the series, that he now saw it was about building bridges between people, not burning them – which I deeply respected. It’s especially meaningful when you edit a story that functions as a little more than pure entertainment.”