Marvel has announced plans to launch a U.S.Agent series this fall, from the creative team of Christopher Priest and Stefano Landini.
The first arc, titled “American Zealot,” starts with the former Captain America, John Walker, operating as an independent contractor for the U.S. government. His latest job pulls him into a conflict between a small town and a big corporation, as he suits up in a new costume, recruits a new sidekick and takes on a new enemy.
“‘American Zealot’ is a morality play told in five acts,” Priest said. “John Walker has been fired. Or he quit. Depends on who’s telling the story. Now finding his way as a civilian government contractor, Walker is making more money and taking more risks as he can now venture into places sanctioned agents can’t always follow. However, with limited official access to intelligence data, the now-former U.S.Agent’s missions can and often do lead him into blind alleys he’ll need to MacGyver himself out of.”
John Walker debuted in the mid-1980s in Captain America #323, by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary. First revealed as the super villain Super Patriot, he was sort of an anti-Steve Rogers, and when Rogers walked away from the uniform, the government recruited him to be the new Captain America. Rogers put on a new uniform of his own and started calling himself “The Captain.” This was around the time James Rhodey became Iron Man, and Beta Ray Bill debuted and proved himself worthy of the hammer of Thor.
Eventually Walker gave the uniform and shield back to Rogers, after which he started wearing Rogers’ Captain uniform and called himself the U.S.Agent — a rougher, gruffer version of Captain America. He’d go on to join teams like the West Coast Avengers, Force Works, Invaders and even Omega Flight, a spinoff of Alpha Flight, for a brief time.
“I was thrilled to be invited back to Captain America,” Priest said, “until I realized it was this guy, Cap’s scowling, emotionally damaged misfit cousin. Cousin America. But U.S.Agent presents an exciting writer’s challenge to explore the myriad expressions and aspirations of the American dream, how that dream is fulfilled or not, through the eyes and voices of a nation often at war with itself. John Walker is a man often at war with HIMself, so Marvel knows no better a protagonist for this journey, this stumble, this Parkour carom through the many visions of the greatest nation on Earth.”
For the new series, Landini has revamped the traditional U.S.Agent uniform and shield:
The first issue arrives in November.