Friday, February 19, 2010

USA! (gent!) USA! (gent!) USA! (gent!)

It takes some doing to be more immediately grating than the Agent, but you're pulling it off, Simon!
Recently, It'sAllTrue.Net featured USAgent in their latest installment of Most Requested Figures, an endorsement I heartily...endorse. Former replacement Captain America, John Walker would go on to serve with the Avengers West Coast, Force Works, and Alpha Flight; although I have to say I prefer his black costume over his later looks. (For a while, he was wearing a riot cop ensemble that made him look like an angrier Judge Dredd. If that's possible.)

Still, the problem with making John a heroic character, is that in his first appearances under Mark Gruenwald, he was intended to be a bad example: a glory-hound, overzealous and violent, and far more right-wing than the more liberal Steve Rogers. While patriotic, he somehow managed to be a loose cannon and follow orders blindly. When his parents were killed, John also went a bit crazy, killing several men, and convincing himself his folks weren't dead for a bit. Then, when Steve became Cap again, and John took the USAgent title, now the writers had to somehow redeem this character. Or, make him the tool no one liked. Either or.

That's not to say USAgent didn't have any endearing moments, however. He did get to deliver a stout and not completely undeserved thrashing to Hawkeye, who, for good measure, was wearing his terrible armor costume at the time. (I remember Hawk not voting for his estranged wife Mockingbird's Avengers membership, and thinking he needed some thumping.) Then there's this little backup story, from Avengers West Coast Annual #5, "Don't You Daaare Miss It!" Written by Dwayne McDuffie, art by Grant Miehm.

When Wonder Man double-books, he manages to convince his Avengers teammates to cover for him, sending Vision, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and USAgent to...
John's from the South...in case you were wondering. ...a monster truck rally. Only the Agent is enthusiastic; the emotionless Vision is mildly bewildered, while Hawkeye and Iron Man immediately begin plotting revenge...

Since there's only ten pages to this one, the villain shows up, and is dispatched, fairly quickly: the mutant Doctor Goodwrench, who can control machines, but also believes they are sentient and he is the activist of their rights. Vision and Hawkeye point out they aren't, and he isn't, and the Doctor is forced to realize he's "some kind of nut."
Mine either, Vision, mine either.
Even though he's not a guy I would personally want to hang with, USAgent is ripe for a comeback, because he's never been more topical: he's a proud American who is ultra conservative, a bit of a blowhard and a bully, generally not above shouting down opposing viewpoints...sound familiar? Oh, prove me wrong, right-wingers, prove me wrong. He's a bit too gung-ho, but I would be glad to get a USAgent Marvel Legend figure, since he's not entirely without likable qualities. You just have to dig. A bit.

3 comments:

Pastrami said...

What do you mean all of us conservatives are like that? Shut up, shut up SHUT UP!

he.

googum said...

Y'know, and this could possibly be a topic for further discussion if I took anything seriously; but I have a bad habit of assuming comic book readers and creators are probably a bit more on the liberal side. (Mike Baron, one of my favorite writers, is waaaaay more conservative than I would've guessed.)

Why that is, I can't say. Personally, I'm a social liberal, fiscal conservative; and not to sound naive, but I firmly believe a lot of America's problems could be solved by not giving big business a blank check to do whatever. Clamping down on loopholes, while giving incentives to employers that keep jobs in-country, well, seems like an easy fix for starters.

Just while thinking about this post, though, and some other posts on the topic elsewhere; it seemed like Captain America used to be a pretty political book, sometimes, at various points in its history. And I have no idea what, if anything, the Tea Party guys stand for, even after researching it. Or what their slogan means...

plainwater said...

So Vision convinced someone that machines aren't sentient? What was that like?