REVIEW: ‘John Walker: US Agent,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

John Walker: US Agent #1

John Walker: US Agent #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Christopher Priest, art by Georges Jeanty, inks by Karl Story, colors by Matt Milla and letter by Joe Sabino. Having left service, Joh Walker is finding work as a private contractor. While life has been relatively quiet for the failed super-soldier, things look like they are about to get a bit more exciting.

John Walker has, in my experience, always been the gruff, rough around the edges version of the Star-Spangled Man. Always a bit too eager to crack skulls, Walker has often been quicker to cause situations to explode than to diffuse them. However, as I read through John Walker: US Agent #1 I found its titular character had sunk much lower than I am accustomed to. And it does him no favors.

From the moment I saw the story’s title was “American Zealot,” I had a bad feeling about what I had gotten myself into. Follow that up with a series of interviews with some Virginian locals, whose accents are written so thick I struggle understanding them, and things only got worse. As I wrestled with their recap of how a large Amazon-style distribution center moved in, summarily killed their town, was then blown up,  and Walker was somehow involved, I hoped some sense would come after this disjointed intro was over. I was disappointed. Instead, the story cuts jarringly to a federal agent who, upon learning of the bombing, dispatches Walker to look into it.

Now, at this point, John Walker: US Agent #1 just had me confused. If Walker is already involved, why is the agent dispatching him? If this is a jump into the past, why is there no cue informing me of such? Either way, the cut is sloppy.

Jump again and we find our titular character providing protection for someone, who is never made clear. Apparently, this protection is comprised of ordering pizza and then assaulting the delivery personnel as they arrive. It makes no sense to me. This goes on for a short bit until Walker receives one more order, brought to him by a sixty-year-old Asian man, who proceeds to throw Walker around his apartment. It’s a concerningly racist trope employed here, having a random sixty-year-old Asian person versed enough in martial arts to throw around a chemically enhanced super-soldier.  The dealings between Walker and his new companion don’t get better as the comic moves on.

The lowest point for John Walker: US Agent #1 was when, having received his signal to investigate the bombing threat, Walker brings his new pal along and refers to him as “Charlie Chan.” While his clear bigotry toward this guy is called out, it still just feels gross. Given all the crassness and poor dialogue here, it serves as the lowest point in an all-around poor story.

While the story of John Walker: US Agent #1 was lacking, the art does a fine job for its part. The entire art team delivers a respectable performance. The events of the disjointed story flow as clearly as possible, and everything from the linework to colors help the presentation.

Lastly, this adequate presentation is finished off with a clear and well-executed lettering performance. The story, such as it is, never fails to be easy to follow, at least not because of the lettering.

When all is said and done, John Walker: US Agent #1 feels like a hard fail to me. Its overall abrasive and openly-bigoted main character, coupled with some unclear story flow, combine to make a story I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

John Walker: US Agent #1 is available now, wherever comics are sold.


John Walker: US Agent #1
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TL;DR

John Walker: US Agent #1 feels like a hard fail to me. Its overall abrasive and openly-bigoted main character, coupled with some unclear story flow, combine to make a story I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.