Ostrich V. Clinic (manager, doctor)
Stark Industries (research scientist)
Paul Wilson (father, dec.)
Darlene Wilson (mother, dec.)
Gideon Wilson (brother, dec.)
Sarah Wilson (brother, dec.)
Daniel Woods (brother-in-law, dec.)
Keisha Woods (niece, dec.)
Jody Woods (niece, dec.)
US Army Special Forces medic
Ultimate FF/Ultimate End
I'm not scared of what you're gonna tell me •
And I'm not scared of the beast in the belly •
Fill my cup with endless ambition •
And paint this town with my very own vision
Sam was born in Harlem, the oldest of three children born to a minister and a library assistant - not lucrative professions, but ones that at least equipped his parents to instill in him values that have stuck with him his whole life. It was clear early on that he was smart, but unlike many gifted children who get into the habit of coasting on their intelligence his parents made sure to focus on reinforcing hard work as a virtue, rather than simply getting the answers right. And while other Sam Wilsons suffered the loss of their father at a young age, he had both parents as a constant support through his childhood and adolescence, shaping him with their presence rather than the symbolism of their absence. Better yet, it provided a stable base from which he was able to earn academic scholarships that gave him opportunities he simply couldn't have had otherwise.
Still, higher education is expensive. He earned his pre-med degree, but when it came to what was next? He just... wasn't sure he really wanted to actually be a doctor, and that was the sort of thing you really needed to be sure about before you committed to the intense workload and buckets of student loans. Instead, he decided to take a break from pure academia to join the military for some real world experience. For their part, the military was pretty happy with this decision, too.
He ended up staying for a five year contract before bowing out and moving back into research. He was a different person now - older, more mature, more aware of the real extent of life's ugliness. It seemed amazing to him that life could be such a complex combination of systems and parts all working together perfectly, when at the same time it was so easy to simply end it with barely even a conscious thought or intention. He was fascinated by function, and with current understanding of the inner workings of major parts of the human body essentially amounting to a very intellectual-sounding ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it was clear he had plenty of ground available to cover.
He still had some contacts from his military days, though, among them the now-Colonel Nick Fury. The two reconnected when Sam was in his late 20s, and from then they remained in intermittent contact. The mission to Tunguska was not the first time Sam had been back in the field; he had already more than proven himself to Fury. In a world characterised by the sheer bedlam of mutants, human experimentation and unstable personalities with too much power, Sam was refreshingly grounded (no pun intended) and, well, sensible. He had the all-too-rare ability to focus on what needed to be done, to be driven without letting his ambition compromise his judgement or ethics, to be a realist without letting cynicism overwhelm him.
At the base of it, after all, he's motivated by a fascination with life that, while it expresses itself largely in a more mechanically-inclined fashion, has been tempered by parents steeped in the humanities. He isn't just interested in how the Kree were able to genetically engineer such dramatic transformations as to allow a member of their own race to pass as human; he's also genuinely interested in Mahr-vehl as a person, winning the alien over simply by treating him as more than a specimen but as someone with higher thought and feelings, who deserved to be called by the correct name. And equal to that, he wants the same for himself. He demands that people recognise him as an individual, a privilege often not granted to those with his build and shade of skin, while tempering it with a much more low-key assertiveness than most nominally straight men in America would be familiar with. He can't risk being seen as physically threatening in the same way that men like Steve Rogers can, so he's learned to downplay it in favour of a kind of amiable openness tinged with sarcasm, all the sharp edges blunted by an invitation to join him in the joke. He comes across as cool more than angry, not the type to get too het up by the petty life dramas that often engulf the Ultimates. His pride is malleable and strong enough to survive temporary suppression when needed. He carries with him an awareness of just how fleeting life is that reminds him that sometimes the best way to win is simply not to play - but when you can, you play hard to make up for the ground you lost in between.
Given everything he's been through in the last ten years or so and the fact that he believes the entire timeline to have been completely destroyed at around the same time he was brought to Goodland, it would be a miracle if Sam had come out of 1610 with no psychological scarring. Rather, now that he's away from there he's starting to really process all of the trauma and grief that he wasn't entirely able to before. This has had a decidedly negative affect on his current mental state; in fact, it would probably be safe to say that he's fairly depressed at this point, though it doesn't express itself in the most recognisably stereotypical ways. He is more prone to anger than normal - something that's more common in males - but can equally easily seem as though he's detached in a way that gives the impression that something doesn't actually bother him that much at all. From his perspective it can often feel as though he's simply deciding to stop caring about something that isn't benefitting him, but it's certainly not a healthy emotional response, particularly as it leads him to isolate himself emotionally rather than processing his grief and learning to reckon with the prospect that he might lose still more people that he cares about.
Sam has an IQ of 167, justifying his inclusion in the science-focused Future Foundation team - while Tony once named him as the second smartest person in the world, this was mostly just to needle Reed Richards, and in reality he's only near the top of the list. (Not that IQ actually measures much more than one's aptitude at passing IQ tests.)
During his time in the Army Sam served as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant, one of the longest and most specialised of the Special Forces 'Q Course' training programs. During this training he gained a "language specialisation" in Farsi, and picked up some Arabic during his time in the service as well.
As well as the EMT-P qualification gained from his Special Forces training Sam is a legitimate doctor, with academic qualifications centered around the study of biotechnology and cybernetics. Though he hasn't practiced medicine since his Army days he is fully capable of doing so in the absence of a more experienced medical doctor, and has done extensive research on the functions of the human body and how it can be augmented with technology. His thesis was on synthesising previous articles documenting accidental nerve damage during surgery into a consistent and reliable treatment for phantom limb syndrome, which led to further work on doing the reverse to treat some forms of paralysis.
Like all proper Marvel scientists, Sam has of course experimented on himself. He has nanotechnology embedded in his nervous system that interfaces with his specially designed wingpack, allowing him incredible control over it so that the wings function almost like extra limbs rather than something external to him. Since arriving in Goodland he's further upgraded the wings by fusing a baseplate along his spinal column from which a newer nanotech version can unfold, eliminating the need to carry the pack with him.
Tunguska When a world-wide broadcast began threatening to drive the entire world mad through sheer demented WTFery Nick Fury put together a small team consisting of Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, himself and Sam Wilson. This was his first contact with any of the Ultimates and he was brought in as a technological specialist who also had the military background required to make sure he wouldn't be a weakness in the field. As well as gaining both Steve and Natasha's respect, this was the mission where he first encountered Vision, who at that point was a partially dismantled robotic lifeform with highly limited ability to communicate. Fury set him to study it, thus kicking off one of the most influential relationships of his adult life.
9/11 Sam was about to turn 23 when the Twin Towers went down, and already in Special Forces training in the military, on track to be a medical sergeant due to the pre-med degree he'd earned before joining. Before this, though, he was expecting mostly peace-keeping, training, and limited combat missions - East Timor, Cambodia, Kosovo. That changed very, very quickly at 8:46 on Tuesday morning when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It would be less than a month before the first troops entered Afghanistan; at the time, he didn't even know for sure whether the crash was deliberate or not. By 9:03 when the second plane hit, he knew he'd be going to the Middle East. It was a very different kind of service than he'd expected when he joined the military - he always knew it wouldn't be pretty, but an active war zone was a whole different beast. He saw things, fam. Ultimately he might never have left the military to pursue further scientific research if he'd had a different kind of service experience, but as things were he saw too much death - and worse, too much survival through things worse than death - to remain where he was. Instead he set down a path to understand the nature of life and the human body in a way no one had understood it before, to learn what life was on more than a purely mechanical level, to truly comprehend the boundaries between life, death, and the merely unliving.
Flight The first time he flew under his own power was breath-taking. It was unlike anything he'd ever experienced... for about five seconds before he crashed into the ground by angling himself the wrong way. Human bodies aren't particularly designed to fly, and even if they were it takes a whole different kind of movement to do it effectively; it's not something you get right straight away. Even though it wasn't strictly within his main field of interest, though, it was addictive enough for him to keep working on, and designing the nanotech that gave him greater control did tie in neatly with gaining a greater understanding of the brain. Call it his favourite side-project, a pure indulgence that he turns to whenever he's stuck on something else and needs to just put it aside and let it percolate in the back of his mind. He loves the freedom it gives him, the edge, making him into more than just another vet or smart guy. To him it's something of a symbol that he doesn't have to be shackled by anyone else's expectations. He can do anything, if he really thinks about it.
The world of 1610 is different from the MCU and 616 most significantly in the relationships between the characters. Several well-known heroes in the other universes are not nearly so noble in 1610, so I'm including a handy reference for Sam's past experiences with other popular Marvel characters. For more background info see the timeline.
Steve Rogers: The Not Best Friend
Steve and Sam have worked together several times, but Sam wouldn't necessarily call them friends. Coworkers, yes. Colleagues. Acquaintances. They've had a few venting conversations about how weird the job gets, but nothing really deep. It matters to Sam that Steve respects him, on a professional level, but truthfully he thinks Steve is arrogant and self-righteous - without the more endearing qualities to make up for it.
Tony Stark: The Work Pal
Their paths have crossed before, but they worked together most closely as members of the Future Foundation. Mostly their relationship was fueled by mutual respect masked by mutual snark. Their fields are similar enough to allow a certain degree of collaboration, but different enough to avoid too much unhealthy competition.
Natasha Romanoff: The Traitor
In one of the most notable departures from consistent alignment, Natasha in the world of the Ultimates committed a heel-face-turn shortly before her wedding to Tony Stark, murdering Jarvis and attempting to gain access to his financial accounts before he was able to disable her through a failsafe he'd built into the Iron Man-style suit he'd gifted her. She was then murdered in her hospital bed by a vengeful Clint Barton, whose family she'd killed. Sam has misgivings about how it all went down - he'd genuinely respected her when they were on mission in Tunguska - but is fully aware that she was responsible for her own choices and certainly wouldn't hesitate to throw down if she were to suddenly return from the dead.
Nick Fury: The Ultimate Contact
While Sam would never want to work for Nick officially, he loves being on the guy's call-list. They have certain common life experiences, being black men whose physical abilities are often mistaken as overwhelming their mental ones and holding some amount of power and reputation in the US intelligence and superhero community despite being essentially normal humans.
Vision: The Wife
Sam first encountered Vision as a partially-dismantled robot intelligence buried deep in a bunker in what Pietr Rasputin termed "the Outback of Russia". He was assigned to study he/it, and as Vision's faculties were restored he/it eventually made the decision to present with more of a feminine form. Their relationship didn't turn romantic until later, when Vision was temporarily grounded during an altercation with AIM's Dr Tarleton and his attempt to hook himself up to a discarded Gah-lak-tus module. Subsequently Vision remained on Earth for some years, and though they didn't legally marry (for starters, Vision had no official identity paperwork) they were essentially common law partners and he's been referred to as widowed since her/it's death confronting 616's Galactus.
Bucky Barnes: The Who?
In 1610 Bucky did not become the Winter Soldier. He's significant mostly for being the member of the Howling Commandos that Sam used to mix up with singer Jimmy Barnes.
PB Anthony Mackie