U.S. Agent: The American Fanatic, the other side of the Dream

U.S. Agent: The American Fanatic, the other side of the Dream

U.S. Agent

There are few characters from the world of mainstream comics who have managed to best represent the American spirit. A small company in which, as expected, Steve Rogers stands out, who both as Captain America and with his alternative identities has been able to grasp the peculiar traits of the American way, idealizing and embodying the Dream, fighting for it and against its aberrations arising from exploitation of the ideals that the Sentinel of Liberty has always defended. If Rogers is the symbol of the positivity of the Dream, another Captain America has had to give life to the exact opposite, namely a cynical and ruthless vision of the corruption of the ideal of stars and stripes. Role fell to John Walker, who deprived of the Shield continued his work as a government agent from the nebulous operated as U.S. Agent, a position that he seems not to exercise, at least initially, in Il Fanatico Americano, a narrative arc signed by Christopher Priest.

Having become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to The Falcon & The Winter Solider, John Walker is a figure that is difficult to place within the Marvel world. When Mark Gruenwald created him during his management of the Cap stories, Walker was presented as the dark version of Rogers, corrupting the genesis of his powers and showing the consequences of a cynical and violent view of the role of the state and the super individual. Walker, who also had the opportunity to take on the role of Captain America when Rogers left, was at the time a perfect narrative contrast to the purity of Cap, an element of criticism of contemporary American society. A task that, of course, did not make him a hero, but not even a villain, as much as a character who in his roots was much more realistic than Rogers himself.

U.S. Agent: The American Fanatic, the other side of America

A realism that concerns the relationship between the character and the perception of the nation of him, a bond that, especially for Rogers, was central since his birth. But while Cap has always wanted to be a spur to follow the ideal virtues of the good American, U.S. Agent has touched the hard task of being the portrait of the vices of a nation, it is the thundering voice of the whispered chattering among the American population, far from cameras and microphones, where the true American sentiment can manifest itself freely. A vision that seeks new life in Il Fanatico Americano, relying on Walker's complex personality.

No more U.S. Agent, Walker is a simple contractor for the American government, who uses his services to carry out missions that must not be tracked, in order to avoid embarrassing clarifications to the upper echelons. Out of spite of a bureaucrat against Val Cooper, Walker is given an atypical assignment: to find out why a small town in rural America is rising up against the local Vertigo office. Company à la Amazon, Vertigo is actually a cover of the SHIELD, which made this installation the facade of a secret base where a secret strategic asset is kept.

Walker, accompanied by Morrie, a mysterious elder who he makes ends meet by delivering pizzas and an expert karateka, arrives on the spot, discovering how the truth behind this assignment hides burning secrets, which will force him to face even personal problems related to his family.

Managing an awkward figure like Walker does not it is certainly simple. The temptation to present him as a dark and cynical version of Cap must be kept at bay, in order to avoid diminishing the value of the character, who is not just the other side of a coin shared with Rogers, but an independent figure much closer to the average American type. As much as we like to see the postcard Land of Freedom in the States, for some time now we have been able to see another reality, far from the fascination of the metropolises and approaching rural America, that unknown nation made up of crises and countries that seem crystallized in the past decades. Whether it's comics like Undiscovered Country or films like Elegia American a, the entertainment world is offering us a more honest and vivid portrait of authentic America, a narrative revolution in which Il Fanatico Americano is also involved.

While showing some fragility in the narrative setting and asking the reader to give too much to the narrator's inspiration, Priest manages to recreate an island of contemporary and lively America, in its atypical nature. The approach to life of citizens, victims of an economic crisis that exasperates an already precarious social condition, best represents the less noble side of the States, which, not surprisingly, is immediately recognized in Walker, seeing him as the Captain. It matters little that it is not Rogers, in him they review their way of understanding the world. It matters little that Walker is racist, violent and unwilling to dialogue, in their eyes he has the necessary power to be the solution to their problems, and that's enough.

The American Fanatic, John Walker 'Rural America

Priest offers a ruthless and caricatured portrait of the American province, uses the cue of the journalistic reportage to give voice to these individuals, letting their sincere ignorance emerge, allowing himself the ironic habit of citing conspiracy hypotheses and making them almost speckles of a political comedy. The intent is commendable and offers the reader interesting points for reflection, but the overall management of Il Fanatico Americano suffers from a forced construction that alternates moments of compelling moral confrontation with paradoxical situations unrelated to the sense of history.

The drawings of Georges Jeanty do not help, who seems to prefer an ironic and at times caricatural approach, which fails to capture the most emotional and socially relevant traits of Priest's story. Unconvincing perspectives and a static nature of the bodies even during the most dynamic phases deprive Il Fanatico Americano of a vitality that would have benefited the enhancement of the plot, on the contrary exacerbating the feeling of having read an adventure that is anything but deserving.

Panini publishes Il Fanatico American or with the usual editorial care, in a solid volume embellished with a cover featuring the John Walker by Marco Checchetto, author of the covers of this miniseries reproduced within the volume. U.S. Agent: The American Fanatic is a reading recommended only to those who want to know every aspect of John Walker, who could forgive Priest and Jeanty the realization of a story that is anything but memorable, unable to grasp the authentic spirit of one of the most controversial characters of the Marvel world.

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