USAgent #1 (of 5)
"American Zealot" Chapter 1 of 5: John Walker, the former Super Patriot, has been stripped of his official USAgent 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. John acquires a new partner and new enemy along the way while being haunted by ghosts from his past and confronting challenges to his future.
John Walker tries his best but at the end of the day, he’s a real prick and just can’t help himself from doing nearly everything imaginable wrong. At least that is how Priest, Jeanty and company’s USAgent comes across in this new, interestingly timed 5-issue mini-series. As I sit here writing this today, the next President of the United States has still yet to be decided (Nov. 5th) and as such, political tensions all over the map are at an all-time high. That certainly colors a reading of this issue because at its core, it is merely talking about a tragic hero who just can’t seem to crawl out of the self-imposed gutters of an outdated mindset (much like country he represents) but the edges of the commentary lean heavily into a charged political polemic that, while usually welcome in my comics reading, feels somewhat tone-deaf this week.
Make no mistake– the issue, in and of itself, is very solid. If you skipped the title page but have read any Priest books over the years, it would be quickly apparent that Priest wrote this book. The pacing is in his typical jagged sort of style, with his trademarked scene-setting black panels and white font. Jeanty does an incredible job with the expression work on the characters throughout, achieving what I believe is the desired effect of conjuring a specific stereotypical vision of rural, blue collar America (for better or worse here). The problem, I suppose, is that it is very difficult to separate the comics from the culture and perhaps this wasn’t the time to launch this particular book, given just how polarized the nation is at the moment. Sitting here, though, it’s difficult to envision a good time in the near future and it’s hard to begrudge a book in 2020 from trying to speak its truth on a schedule.
Definitely not a book for everybody but for those that enjoy Priest’s particular brand of narrative construction and the politics that accompany pointing out zealotry in some brands of Patriotism, USAgent is certainly a book worth checking out.
USAgent #1 (#Marvel #Priest @KabaLounge @JoeSabino) may not go down as smooth as Johnnie Walker but it is a Red, White, and Blue disaster that fans of the creative team won't want to miss.
USAgent #1 (of 5): This is America
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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