Perhaps he stands for something in American politics, like for the Democrats to Cap's Republicans? But if that were the case, why name him John Walker, as in after the Scotch Whiskey? He's even got "Jack Daniels" listed as one of his aliases. Seriously. Someone was obviously drinking when they came up with his secret identity.
But I've always been a sucker for characters that seem like a poor man's version of the real thing.
I mean, Optimus Prime is my favorite Transformer but Ultra Magnus is so annoyingly lovable for the Wannabe he is. I love Captain Marvel (Shazam!) out of DC, who started out as Fawcett comic's answer to Superman. I like Captain America as much as the next guy but U.S. Agent? There's something bootleg about him that I dig. Yeah, it's all about piracy. GAARRRRR!!!
So uh, yeah...Yeaheaheaheah, party in the U.S.A...gent?
Dislike: That because of his bulky torso, his arms can't come down to his sides. Ah well, I'll take the good with the bad. ;)
Like: His ugly mug! Ok, so it's not ugly per se but he does look mean and proud (to borrow a phrase from young X-Men: First Class Mystique. ;P). The icing on the cake? His down-turned lips, which are just the perfect touch for his tough-as-nails sneer. It's stuff like this you look for in figures. They make you wanna buy the hell out of 'em although you might or might not be familiar with the character.
Like: His shield, which is a fancy eagle crest. The best part? It opens up like it can be tossed as flying blades or some such. The other best part? The star comes off so it can be tossed like a ninja death star or some such. Intentional? It very well might be, seeing as how US Agent is always portrayed as quite a bit more aggressive than ol' Stevie Rogers. He's like Bizarro Cap or something.
I haven't seen anything to indicate its been used in comics before, but this new shield is rather eye-catching though not always practical. And we know practical is the first thing you need to be to become a super hero. That's why they all wear spandex. :P
Toy-wise, the shield's got a collapsible post which allows him to peg it into his back. The same post folds down so that you can clip the shield on his wrist. :)
Like: His colors. Though they're mainly black, it's a good solid black (like there can be any other.) The semi-shiny/semi matte finish really brings out the white and red of his costume, making the figure pop quite a bit when next to his fellow superheroes.
His shield is plastic gray except for the shiny red paint on the swivel "blades." And you'll want to watch out for the paint rub at his swivel hinge elbows--the forearms are sculpted red and painted white, so plentiful/vigorous rotation will wear out the white paint like it did mine.
Dislike: No wrists. Again. Sigh. But if you're buying into this line you'll have to get used to it--most of the figures are missing this PoA.
Dislike: Limited head movement. Once again, he's bulky torso restricts some movement. His thick neck prevents him from looking up and down too much though swiveling as always is no problem.
It's perfect for U.S. Agent because it's just the type of weapon he'd use--one-handed for the shield and automatic because he doesn't wanna waste time pulling the trigger more than once on the baddies.
Like: His chest pivot. Thick as his torso is, he can crunch forward and sideways, as well as arch back. Hasbro continues to impress with this joint.
Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - His uniform is great, especially his shield, which has so much detail sculpted into it it's a pity they didn't choose to paint it up more. On US Agent himself, the paint is sharp enough, though not all the figures are consistent. The main sculpt itself is the best aesthetic feature, with the face and its expression priceless. :)
Poseability: 7.5/10 - No wrists, no points. But he's got the greatest leg joints ever made for figures in pants. All the other "basic" PoAs that we've come to know and love are there as well, saving the figure and probably the whole line from just being "kids stuff"--like a certain other hero from the DC Universe that's got a movie out in theaters right now...
Fun: 8/10 - He's been part of the Mighty Avengers, he's been part of Omega Flight. He's even been Captain America before. Yeah, this guy's been around. And generic as it is, I always thought his name was fun. Both John Walker and U.S. Agent. Not so much that his initials are U.S.A, but that they seemed to have chosen "Agent" for his name just in case you missed the acronym and said it out loud "Yoo Ess Ayy--gent" and then realized "ZOMG! His name's got "USA in it, and he's a gent!!!"
Value: 8/10 - I paid S$18 for this figure, which is $US13.80 these days. For that, you get his stylish new shield, a rare 3.75" scale Uzi, some excellent sculpting, and a figure that'll be sneering at you for the rest of your life. Value for money.
Overall: 8.0/10 - It's a keeper! I don;t know when we'll see another U.S. Agent figure, if ever. That alone makes him worth getting, especially for all you fans of his out there (I know you're out there ;]). Poor Man Hero fans like me will also want this guy, which could have been even better if he only had wrists.
But as he is, U.S. Agent is an excellent offering from the Captain America first Avenger movie line. The best part is that he's not even in the movie, as far as I know. But by creating its own sub-lines with the Movie, Comic and Concept Series, Hasbro has found a way to bring C/D-listers to us. And by using the parts that are meant for A-listers like Captain America mixed in with a couple of unique tools, U.S. Agent gets to be a great figure as well!