In Marvel new U.S.Agent series, it’s revealed that John Walker’s shield is not nearly as durable as Steve Rogers’ shield, and that means something.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for U.S.Agent #5.
In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ U.S.Agent, John Walker is ruining the legacy of Captain America’s shield by constantly needing new ones. Apparently, the shields he’s been using lately are a far cry away from Steve Rogers’ nearly indestructible vibranium shield, as such, it’s hilariously pathetic how many times the Cap replacement has to replace his busted shields, creating an ironic recurring sequence of symbolism when it comes to John Walker in this new series.
In previous issues of U.SAgent from writer Christopher Priest and artist Georges Jeanty, John Walker received a coded order to look in on a small rural town in West Virginia where an old undercover SHIELD installation had been erected and then abandoned after Secret Empire. Walker found himself face to face with his estranged sister and the new U.S.Agent April Manning, both of whom dosed themselves with a flawed version of the Super Soldier Serum and were planning to use a helicarrier and a monster offshoot of American Kaiju to “save the country.”
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However, the best part of the entire series has been how many times John Walker has had his shield busted. While he used to have an indestructible kind like the one held by Steve Rogers, the government took it back when he was fired as the U.S.Agent. Now, he has a whole array of backup shields with him, and he’s already had to replace the iconic hardware more than a few times before he even had to face the new and corrupted U.S.Agent (who had been given Walker’s old and more durable shield when he was recruited).
Despite the fact that John Walker more or less saved the day (the townsfolk weren’t too happy about the property damages), there’s an ironic symbolism that comes from the fact that the failed replacement of Captain America has shields that keep failing him. The legacy of Captain America’s shield is one that is complex and multi-layered, though a big part of it is the fact that it endures all kinds of stresses, attacks, and pressures, just like Steve Rogers and the core ideals of the country he fights for. This is directly opposed to John Walker’s shields which keep breaking, seemingly mirroring Walker’s prior inability to measure up to someone like Steve Rogers.
However, John Walker did take the indestructible shield back after he took down the new U.S.Agent, and it looks as though he’s determined to be a freelance hero going forward in the Marvel Universe. It should be noted that Walker being fired was essentially a mutual parting of ways, as he had become disillusioned with the government’s processes. Perhaps now, John Walker’s U.S.Agent and his original shield can operate much more like Captain America than he ever has before in Marvel Comics.
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