The fall of John Walker
While some details have changed when transitioning from page to page, John Walker’s basic character arc has (so far) turned out to be very similar in both versions. We have already taken a dive into the walker’s comic book, but the bottom line is that he temporarily took over Captain America’s torch after Steve Rogers abandoned him in Captain America # 333. Where Steve is true to the American Dream, not the US government, Walker is fanatically patriotic and too happy to answer the call of duty.
If there’s one thing to take away from Walker’s tenure as Cap in the comics, it’s that powers don’t make the hero. Despite being physically stronger than Steve and receiving world-class training from Taskmaster, Walker finds himself increasingly torn between his sense of duty and his desire to live up to his tendencies. darker. At one point, he even accidentally beats a villain named Professor Power to death, proving that super strength and a violent temper are a bad combination.
Much like in the MCU, Walker is ultimately driven by the death of a loved one. Although in the comics, this incident occurs when his secret identity is revealed publicly, leading to the murder of his parents. Like many characters, Walker does not keep an identity secret in the MCU, so The Falcon and the Winter Soldier instead uses Battlestar’s death as the incident that prompts Walker to cross an unforgivable line.
Either way, the end result appears to be the same. The new Captain America has shown his true colors to the world and may have permanently tarnished a once sacred image of American power and righteousness. In the comics, Steve finally returns and gets Cap’s coat back. It won’t be an option in the MCU. So the real question now is, will Sam finally feel compelled to honor Steve’s request to redeem Captain America’s legacy, or is Walker’s crime proof that Captain America? shouldn’t continue to exist?
From Captain America to the American Agent
Walker’s fall as Captain America is actually just the beginning of his story in the comics. The government fakes his death and installs him in a new identity as “Jack Daniels” (yes, really). However, it doesn’t take long for Walker to resurface in a new costumed identity. He returns as an American Agent, sporting a suit and shield similar to Cap’s and serving as a bridge between the Avengers and the government. Over time, the US Agent gradually proved his superhero courage and earned the respect of his fellow Avengers, even though he tends to be a bit of a fool.
Will we see Wyatt Russell’s character follow a similar path? It seems quite likely at this point. Walker’s time as Cap seems to have already passed. The purpose of crowning a new Captain America was to give the American people a symbol of hope and strength in very chaotic times. Having this symbol stuck all over the Internet, beating a helpless man to death, defeats the purpose. Walker is going to have to ditch the suit and shield whether he likes it or not. But he’s still a well-trained soldier who now has all of Captain America’s powers. The military will almost surely have a use for a living weapon like John Walker, but now as a more stealthy assassin rather than a patriotic symbol facing the public.Still, that assumes there aren’t more twists to come with Walker’s past and true motivations. In the comics, his strength is bestowed by the Power Broker, immediately placing him in debt to a powerful underworld figure. The Power Broker has been working behind the scenes on the MCU series, but at this point we don’t even know their true identities or if they may have been able to collaborate with Walker beforehand. We don’t even know for sure that Walker will survive the end of the series. Given Zemo’s hatred of super-soldiers in all their forms, he won’t be satisfied until Walker, Karli Morgenthau and Bucky Barnes are all off the table.
If the show follows the comics, however, Walker will ultimately be the one to convince Sam to take the shield, just as he forces Steve to take up the torch in Captain America # 350. If there is any good left in John Walker, he won’t want to. not that Captain America ends because of his mistakes.
The MCU’s Sokovia Chords
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier deals a lot with the concept of responsibility. Who are superheroes actually responding to? What is the real human cost of creating these super soldiers? Who should be allowed to choose the hero who represents an entire nation? Should Captain America be a law-abiding representative of a common man’s government?
In many ways, that makes this series the most direct sequel to Captain America: Civil War in 2016. Civil War was all about the conflict between responsibility and freedom. Iron Man believed heroes should have rules and answer to government power, while Cap feared what could happen when the Avengers were prevented from saving lives due to political concerns. In the end, the Iron Man team won and the Sokovia Accords became the law of the land.
At this point in the MCU timeline, we still don’t know if the deals are still in effect, let alone enforced. The new Captain America is a tool of the US government. Even Falcon is now working with the military after spending two years on the run, while Bucky has struck a legal immunity deal. Does that mean they both signed the agreements after refusing in 2016? And did they essentially run away for helping and encouraging Zemo?In the comics, the Civil War led to the creation of the Superhuman Recording Law, but that law and its impact on the Marvel Universe quietly dissipated after a few years. The MCU could use the Blip as an excuse to similarly suppress the Sokovia Accords, but it could also take the opportunity to continue to explore this conflict. The events of Infinity War showed the world what happens when the Avengers don’t have the freedom to act as needed. And the wave of support for Flag-Smashers shows that much of the world is disillusioned with old systems of power. Where the American public might once have supported the idea of licensed, fully trained superheroes, they may feel a little different five years after the Blip.
More than just revealing the identity of the new Captain America (even assuming there will even be a cap to come), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will hopefully answer those lingering questions and the role of superheroes. in this post-Blip world. John Walker shows us a very different hat from Steve Rogers – one who puts loyalty to the government over responsibility to the people. He’s clearly not cut out for his new job. But if the shield is to now pass to Sam Wilson, what kind of Captain America will he be? Does he follow Steve’s lead and reject John Walker’s path, or is there a third way?
For more on the series’ comic book roots, explore (the lack so far) post credits scenes in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Check essential comics to read related to the show and find out more about the seedy town of Madripoor and its connection to the X-Men.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.