Make Mine Marvel

Make Mine Marvel: U.S.Agent

A love letter to the real American hero of the Marvel Universe!

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By Arune Singh



[Welcome to Make Mine Marvel, a bi-weekly series of articles devoted to all the things we've loved about Marvel over the past 60 years. From toys to video games, movies to trading cards, Underoos to stamps and more, we embrace it—warts and all. Kick back and enjoy Marvel's merry past with us.

]

 

I can't remember the first time I read about Marvel's most underappreciated super hero. I do, however, remember all my friends telling me that super heroes shouldn't have abrasive personalities, shouldn't fight with other heroes, shouldn't use lethal force and shouldn't fail. Still, to this day, my favorite Avenger (and founding member of Force Works) of all time is everything above and still the embodiment of a real hero.


Joining the
Avengers

His name is U.S.Agent.



For those of you who don't know much about John Walker, he made his debut in 1986 as the brother of a fallen soldier. Walker honored his brother's memory by joining the military and later gaining super powers to fight crime stateside. As the Super Patriot, Walker clashed with Captain America and even assumed the mantle for some time. Later he'd become U.S.Agent, joining the Avengers and working for the United States government in various capacities.



Sure, his costume was dark, which only made him "cooler" to the younger version of me; however, it soon became apparent that John Walker was a truly different type of hero. These days I'd describe him as "The Jack Bauer of the Marvel Universe," but as a kid I saw him as a super hero who made sense. He didn't bother with false humility, political correctness or letting the villains get a second chance. His main concern—seemingly his only concern—was making sure America was a safe place. Problem was that everyone

Force Works

seemed more concerned with his attitude than his deeds.



Walker also got beat up. A lot. Physically and emotionally, U.S.Agent has been a punching bag for most of his career, from getting ousted out of the Avengers to being forced into Omega Flight. Some might view him as a second rate Captain America, but I see U.S.Agent as a resilient hero, one who had it harder than most other heroes and continued nonetheless. All he wanted was to serve his country, to be like Captain America and to be a success. No matter how hard he tried, U.S.Agent found himself on the receiving end of life's toughest challenges and fighting to just survive. Other heroes had people to support them, families who loved them and recognized their strength. The strength of U.S.Agent came from his ability to persevere.



I think that's what captivated me the most about John Walker: every time I found a comic starring U.S.Agent, he was in a different situation and had a new problem. Life kept dumping on Walker but he didn't

Getting tough

give up—he just did the best he could and moved on. Take away the costume and suddenly John Walker seems a lot like us, fighting to get through the day and hold onto our dreams, even when the world keeps telling us to give up.



Some people call U.S.Agent a Captain America wannabe and while there's a lot of reasons to make that comparison, it ignores what makes Walker so different from any other Marvel hero. He's not the most popular guy in the room or the one who gets the credit. He's not the guy who'll rally the Marvel Universe or the key to saving the world.



U.S.Agent is the guy who won't give up because all he wants is a better tomorrow for every one of us who believe in truth, justice and honor.



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Comments

11 comments
madmonks
madmonks

I think they should take U.S. Agent and alot of other second rate hero's and make them into the resistance in Marvel Zombies. He would make a great leader in an apocoliptic world. Make them immune to the virus and have them protect whats left of the humans....I agree with all of you. Very under used character in the marvel world...

BlackSamurai
BlackSamurai

I agree that Walker is good enough to carry a series, but if most are honest with themselves, he's not likely to get the big break that will define him outside of Cap. Bucky does, however, and right now, it is easier to give him high profile treatment instead of [risking] battling it out with Walker's yea and naysayers. On top of that, Bucky himself may be tired of government agent/killer work, but if you are familiar with 24 and Jack Bauer, you'd know just how easy it is to be dragged into the lifestyle when the need arises, the caring is there and the skill-set is second nature; and we all know that once a writer thinks it's a good idea, many absolutes mean nothing and Buck will work for the HIS government, once it is on the up and up (in his perception) with him. A poster elsewhere mentioned an idea that Steve may return in another role, he figures SHIELD director. That would be an interesting way to keep him in the world of Cap and still have Bucky be Cap. It would also allow for Bucky trusting enough to work for someone outright (although I don't recall him being overly on the outs with Nick if he regained the post) but I'd have to see this happen to believe that Steve would be anything but Cap at the end of the day (interesting idea though - and it would certainly fend off the issue of who Bucky would be if not Cap). Marvel's answer to the Death of Superman, since Steve embodies that noble hero figure also held by Clark.

redlitez76
redlitez76

i dont agree with you on this one i think john walker could carry a title by himself. And bucky is great. John has more appeal, And bucky i think is tired of the government agent who kills thing.

BlackSamurai
BlackSamurai

If we want to look at coincidences (or ...inks) we might as well draw the conclusion few might be thinking of right now. Much as Walker is(was) unique, he is also marred by the fact that he uses Cap's gimmick. If he is being spotlighted right now, and they want to reinvigorate the (cool) moniker USAgent, there are few cooler ways to do that than by replacing him with a hero that already has 'cool' (understated) in his name, the Winter Soldier. If Steve comes back from his jumps through time fit for duty, and Bucky feels it time to step out of the Cap garb, I think it's highly possible that, to avoid reverting to Winter Soldier (with all the bad attached to the i.d., even though it's a great one), he may become U.S.Agent. They'd solve a few problems in the act. They'd revamp the moniker, do away with a 'joke' Walker can't shake continuing in that garb, have the opportunity to move away from the disk-shield motif since Bucky is comfortable with guns - and has a robotic arm that they might as well build a different type of shield into (maybe U-shaped extensions from the forearm and upper arm, if they must have some type), and have the chance to tell the very same Jack Bauer type stories with people wanting more Bucky-as-Cap stories without him having to be Cap.Bucky would be way more Bauer-esque than Walker, especially to lead a new series if it's titled 'U.S.Agent'. That's also because Walker would be the harder sell of the two; however, they need not kill off Walker to effect the transition. Just injure him (would need to be worse than he was by Omega though) long enough to let Bucky assume his duties from whatever agency handles U.S.Agent (since Walker is an agent regardless and would have government interest directives) until he can return in a supporting role as the Super Patriot (to be the 'Tony Almeida' or 'Curtis Manning' to Bucky's 'Jack Bauer'). If Marvel is thinking something along this line, they also have an opportunity to make use of all the underused Cap associates, and occasionally, Cap himself. There'd be a place for Bucky: post-Cap, Walker, Falcon, this new female Nomad (that is getting a lame-reasoned series), Patriot (who might present a conflict of interest for bring back Walker as Super Patriot, so he might indeed be killed off), Sharon Carter, even D-Man, the actual recently killed off male Nomad (if it gets revealed that his 'assassination' was too a test of the time-stop 'bullet' used on Cap - unlikely since that was pre-Doom's involvement), and Kate Bishop/'Lady' Hawkeye (just to go with the trend that in the light of no ongoing Young Avengers series, the graduation to two YA's to Mighty can be echoed). The more I type the more this is blending into fan-fic, and chances are if this is not already a plan, it surely won't be picked up from a messaging board. My original suspicion stands, that spotlighting John Walker at this time makes it suspect for him being possibly permanently taken off the board.

heroineaddict
heroineaddict

To me he'll always be Captain Hand-Me-Down. Seriously, as the "Super Patriot" he might have had some originality. But since then he's been getting by on Captain America's old uniforms and shield gimmick. Give him his [u] [i] own[/i] [/u] symbolic outfit, and quit ripping off Cap, and maybe, just maybe, I could take him a little more seriously as a character. It is unlikely, but at least he'll [u] [i] finally[/i] [/u] be his [u] [i] own [/i] [/u] man and not some flippin' copycat.

wyvern9
wyvern9

I agree ful-heartadly, USAgent is a hero if ever there were one. And do they realy blurb out dink?

silentprocess
silentprocess

U.S. Agent can be a great character if written correctly. I thought he was written awesome when he was Cap and still remember his issues fondly. I'm glad he's (or was since I've stopped reading monthlys) part of the Mighty Avengers.

Iron_Sait
Iron_Sait

since when is d i n k a swear word?

Iron_Sait
Iron_Sait

Arune Singh is OneManDynasty from the secret cabel of marvel staff people. im convinced. they both describe u.s. agent as "The Jack Bauer of the Marvel Universe" bit of a co-inky-dink hmmmmm???

jtd3
jtd3

Maybe Life would quit dumping on him, if he ditched the second rate costume. Everyone knows what happened to the Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) due to his poor choice of a sleeveless hoodie, he's probably dead.