Obviously there are going to be some major and some minor spoilers for 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' in here. Proceed with caution if you've not seen episode one yet.
After an opening episode which flipped between an extremely Marvel Falcon-versus-helicopters action sequence, a family finance drama and a My Name is Earl-style personal quest for redemption after a lifetime of murdering, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended with a classic Marvel closing flourish. Here he is: the new Captain America! Who the hell is that! What's wrong with his ears!
He looks quite pleased with himself, certainly. He's played by Kurt Russell's son Wyatt, but who exactly is he? There are a few clues even in the few seconds that he's in during episode one.
"We need a real person who embodies America’s greatest values," says the guy on the podium who introduces New Cap. (The President? Plausibly. Looks a lot like late period Sean Connery.) What that means for this post-Blip America is a white dude with a gun and, judging by his supremely annoying face, a lot of misplaced confidence in exactly how much a white dude with a gun can get done. (Yes, Steve Rogers was in World War Two, which was quite tricky to get through without a gun. He switched to just clouting people with his shield quite quickly though.)
This guy, whoever he is, sounds like he's going to be an avatar for the more – ahem – traditional American values. Namely, brute force. That sounds a lot like the Marvel superhero US Agent, alias John Walker. He turned up in the mid-Eighties as the intensely InfoWars-sounding Super-Patriot, who functioned as a black mirror of Captain America: his love of country is aggressive, fractured and blindly loyal rather than optimistic and questioning.
Christopher Priest, who wrote a five-comic miniseries about US Agent which arrived last summer, called him "Cap’s scowling, emotionally damaged misfit cousin" and he did take up the mantle of Captain America for a bit in the comics. He's there to force everyone circling the vacant Captain America gig to actually think about what the Captain America gig should be about: loyalty to the state and a yearning to shoot your way out of every problem, or perhaps something a bit more high-minded.
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