BY MATT TUCK
As we head into the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, those John Walker keys are as hot as ever. Here’s your market update.
Love him or hate him, Walker has been a breakout star of FATWS. I argue that Baron Zemo overshadowed him, but Walker has become more integral to the plot. At the end of Episode Five, the former Captain America was stripped of his title and rank and discharged from the military. That only made him more susceptible to the charms of Contessa Valentina Allegro de Fontaine, aka Madame Hydra in the comics.
What has viewers ready for the season finale were those closing shots of Walker forging what we can assume will be his U.S. Agent shield and costume. That has raised the bar for his key issues, particularly his first appearance as well as his debut as U.S. Agent.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #323
This has been the big key since last year when Walker was first announced for FATWS. Now that he is on the cusp of becoming U.S. Agent, his first appearance has reached the next level of FMV after a record-high $1,800 was paid for a 9.8 just yesterday. That is double the previous high of $900, which was set at the end of March. Prior to this year, it had never sold for more than $300.
Depending on how he is used going forward, that first appearance could go even higher, especially if we see him commanding the Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers.
While the 9.8’s jump in fair market value is impressive, the rest of the grades are much more reasonably priced. The 9.6, for one, drops to a $275 three-month average. You can even have a 9.2 for less than $100 at this point.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #327
With the way the market is gradually shifting more towards first cover appearances versus the in-story debuts, this issue of Captain America has a lot of potential for growth. Again, it all depends on how Marvel Studios utilizes Walker going forward. If he is put in another major role, then his first cover on the front of Cap #327 could eventually become a valuable key to own.
At the moment, the sales are sparse. So far this year, there has not been one sale of a graded 9.8, and only two sold last year for an $82 average. That just makes it more of a bargain.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #337
As fans await the appearance of Walker’s red and black uniform, interest in this issue has gotten the rub. Here we see Steve Rogers, who had cast aside the stars and stripes and spandex out of protest, sport the new look, calling himself “The Captain.” While readers yearned for Steve to return to the Captain America costume, this look became a fan favorite, even after Walker took it up.
What does not hurt is the homage to Avengers #4 cover art from the legendary Mike Zeck. Only this time, that edgy red and black is front and center rather than Old Glory. Last month, a 9.8 sold for a new record of $307. Since then, the price has come down to $191, which is still more than last year’s record of $133.
This will be the real test of how crazy the comic market has become. When we do see the U.S. Agent costume in the final episode, if prices suddenly jump to four figures, then we can say that things are officially out of control.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #354
Next to Walker’s first appearance, this is the key you need. Despite his smug demeanor and violent temperament, Walker built a following in the late 1980s, and it was enough not only to bring him back into the fold but christen him as the U.S. Agent. Once again, it is all about those cover appearances, and here we have the cover art debut of John Walker in his iconic red and black.
The 9.8 is breaking records. Over 16 sales in 2020, it topped out at $500 and had an FMV of $269. While there have only been two sales this year, it has suddenly hit $1,400 on April 13. Even the 9.6 has set a new record of its own, reaching $600 on April 9.
AN MCU FUTURE?
Since the Contessa was clearly recruiting Walker for a role on another team, it is hard to believe that FATWS will be his last bow. That is not to say that he won’t die in Episode Six, but it appears Marvel Studios has bigger plans for the soon-to-be U.S. Agent.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.