By Alex M.
Who is John Walker? Is he a diabolical supervillain needing to be vanquished? As fans are introduced to John Walker in Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the question has been asked, that fans are clamoring for the answer…who is this knock off? Who is John Walker? Many casual MCU fans are unaware of the character that IGN ranked 29th of the Top 50 Avengers in a 2012 list. Already, he has become one of the most disliked characters of the MCU. The comic version of this character is NOT necessarily evil, however, but rather, often manipulated or tricked into going up against heroes like Captain America and Spider-Man. John Walker has a presence in the comics, and after reading this article, one has to wonder if his role in the MCU will continue.
The character was introduced to boost sales, and one of the best-selling covers of the comic was #321, which included the image of Captain America shooting a firearm. Fans might remember Bucky in a similar role as the new Captain America when he sported firearms as well. This variation of Walker as Captain America allowed for a clear difference displayed in this new Captain America – one that resembled Punisher. The fans enjoyed this new interpretation of Captain America, and it was exciting because this iteration of Captain America was unpredictable and more interesting because he was new. From Captain America comic issues numbers 333 to 350, with each issue fans noticed the character become more heroic in nature as time went on.
As time went on, he was given his signature name and costume change, becoming U.S. Agent using a different outfit than of Captain America altogether. John Walker, who also is known by the US Agent moniker as well as Super-Patriot, debuted in 1986 in the issue of Captain America #323. Unlike the Disney+ series, the comic version of the character is southern, hails from a fictional town in the state of Georgia. His older brother was a helicopter pilot, perishing in the Vietnam War. John Walker was inspired to join the military but his service occurs during peacetime, thus he never becomes the hero he envisioned for himself.
Eventually John Walker becomes a corporate-sponsored “hero” known as Super-Patriot. As Super-Patriot he comes to blows with Captain America, with neither man leaving as a clear winner.
Later Walker becomes more well-known when he stops terrorist villain Warhead. This event grants him a celebrity-status. John Walker is no evil super villain – in the comics he seems to be motivated by good, though he can be taken advantage of, tricked, or be carried away by his ego. Red Skull and Tarantula are examples of villains who trick and use Walker to attack other heroes, putting him up against Captain America and Spider-Man.
Walker, as his U.S. Agent persona, participates in the Infinity War comic storyline (Not to be confused with the Infinity War film, which was much preferred to the comic of the same name), as he was part of the team that stayed on Earth to protect it.
To be fair, Walker doesn’t seem to be outright evil, but more of a manipulated hero who means well. In as many ways as he is similar to Steve Rogers in terms of his deep love for his country, he’s also different in other personality traits, for instance, his hot-headed nature or tendency to be more aggressive. He has an abrasive attitude and almost kills the Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman, only stopping when he is grief-stricken thinking about his long history of violence.
U.S. Agent is known for his service as a member of the West Coast Avengers, a team of heroes that includes the likes of Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine, Wonder Man and Tigra. Only time will tell if John Walker’s role gets any bigger for the MCU. After all, WandaVision introduced Monica Rambeau, and that seems to be hinting at a future of that character’s expansion into the MCU as well. One has to wonder if we’ll be seeing more of Walker in the upcoming years.