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Bounding back into comics courtesy of Marvel Comics, the man who once wore the Captain America cowl, John Walker, is returning to the racks in U.S.Agent #1, the start of a new five-issue miniseries arriving in stores Nov. 4 that resurrects the super-soldier fans most love to hate — and SYFY WIRE is delivering a special sneak peek at the premiere issue.
Written by superstar creator Christopher Priest (Black Panther, Sacred Six) and accented with flag-waving artwork from penciller Georges Jeanty, inker Karl Story, and colorist Matt Milla, U.S.Agent #1 begins its "American Zealot" story arc as the former Super Patriot has been stripped of his official U.S.Agent status.
The covert vigilante is now operating as an independent government contractor protecting clandestine government interests. His newest defensive assignment lures him into a clash between a small town and the greedy corporate titan attempting to ruin it. John enlists the assistance of a new colleague, and gets a new nemesis along the way too, all while being haunted by old ghosts and facing grave challenges to his future.
U.S.Agent initially appeared in 1986's Captain America #323 and was then known as Super-Patriot. He'll also be seen portrayed by actor Wyatt Russell in Marvel's first series on Disney+ later this year, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
For Priest, there is nothing perfect about John Walker, and that's what he likes best about the character, his imperfection.
"The challenge to writing a character like Captain America, or, for that matter, Superman, is building tension and conflict within an ostensibly perfect individual," Priest tells SYFY WIRE. "Most human beings, even the best among us, are simply not built that way. Even the best of us try and fail. But there is nobility in our trying, so our best leaders will always inspire us to try, regardless of the circumstances.
"The kind of hope Cap or Supes offers us is palatable but more easily consumed by younger people who have experienced less of the disappointment and rejection most of us encounter as we grow up," Priest continues. "John Walker offers hope to the real world of our adult struggle."
According to Priest, John Walker is a tough character to write due to today's extremely volatile environment, where everyone is high-strung, with thumbs on the Twitter keypads.
"Free speech continues to be eroded as Americans of all value propositions become increasingly intolerant of opposing views and impatient with one another," he notes. "I honestly don’t know who my neighbors are voting for and I don’t care. If their house is on fire, I come running. I know they are there for me. I don’t know what’s become of that, how we have allowed politics and politicians to steal that from us.
"John Walker is not Archie Bunker, but he ain’t Steve Rogers, either," Priest continues. "Much like myself, John Walker fails the Steve Rogers test, but it ain’t for any lack of trying. He is Everyman, hefting Captain America’s shield while demonstrably lacking Cap’s strength of character. He means well, but at the end of the day he’s just Rocky Balboa working the suit.”
Now escape into our four-page look at Marvel's U.S.Agent #1 (out Nov. 4) in the full gallery below, with a main cover from Marco Checchetto and variants by Declan Shalvey, Patch Zircher & Edgar Delgado, and Toni Infante.