The hero you love to hate is back… but is he still a complete jerk? Your Major Spoilers review of U.S. Agent #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
U.S. AGENT #1
Writer: Christopher Priest
Penciler: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Karl Story
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 4, 2020
Previously in U.S. Agent: John Walker, the former Super Patriot, has been stripped of his official US Agent status and is now operating as an independent government contractor protecting government covert interests. His latest protection detail draws him into a conflict between a small town and the corporate giant trying to destroy it…
In the small coal-mining town of Ephraim, West Virginia, the locals are being interviewed about some sort of recent incident. We flashback a bit to find John Walker standing in the remains of the local Virago (read: Amazon) delivery hub, with everyone calling him an idiot. Flashing back a bit more, we find a young pizza delivery man trying to drop off his order, only to be thrown into the basement and held captive. His would-be kidnapper is John Walker, the U.S. Agent, now cut loose from any of his governmental duties and working as a bodyguard for the house’s owner. When the next pizza arrives, the delivery man is Morrie Watanabe, a sixty year old man whose knowledge of martial arts not only keeps him out of the basement, it gets him some pizza for himself. Within a few quick scenes, the would-be pizza assassin is foiled and U.S. Agent and Morrie are off following leads, only to get shot down… by John’s own sister?
I LIKE MORRIE
This issue is very much a Christopher Priest story, from the in-media-res opening to the droll back-and-forth between Morrie and Walker to the interviews with bystanders who all think that the title character is either Captain America or a moron, both of which are… kinda true? Jeanty and Story create an interesting art style that reminds me a bit of John Romita, Jr. It certainly isn’t reminiscent of Jeanty’s work on ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, but it’s not bad, especially a sequence involving a motorcycle jumping out of a crashing Quinjet. The art has an excellent sense of place and tone, making it clear that Ephraim is a town on the way out, making for some fun moments with the locals. The sudden and puzzling last-page cliffhanger moment with its built-in retcon is likewise a pure Priest moment, one that would have been recognizable even if the rest of the issue wasn’t a wild buddy comedy about a mismatched pair of belligerent protagonists.
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS A BIT LIKE A MARVEL MOVIE
Still, the man knows how to write a first issue, which means that U.S. Agent #1 is pretty good across the board, with nice art and a fast-paced story that powers past any moments of confusion to deliver a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. Add in a cool new look for our main character/jerk, and you’ve got an issue with a lot going for it.
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U.S. AGENT #1
It's a story as Priest as Priest can be, with art that succeeds in showing us the mundane moments, but stretches a bit for the wild battle sequences. Plus, Morrie Watanabe is the sensational character find of 2020.