Thursday, August 03, 2006


You Need This - Agents of Atlas

I'll make this easy for you. Tell me you can resist a comic with a lineup like this...

The Secret Agent. The Robot. The Mythic Beauty. The Spaceman. The Gorilla. The Mermaid.

Who are they? Why, the Agents of Atlas, of course. But does it even matter? It's a robot, a gorilla, a mermaid, and a spy!

Writer Jeff Parker (whose The Interman was a splendid bit of fun) and artist Leonard Kirk are the brains behind the new Marvel miniseries, Agents of Atlas. The first issue hit the stands yesterday, and it's exactly as advertised.
"In the late 1950'’s, The U.S. Government let FBI Special Agent Jimmy Woo forge a team of unlikely heroes: Together they stormed the fortress of a criminal mastermind to rescue President Eisenhower, and the group disbanded soon after. Now almost 50 years later, an unauthorized S.H.I.E.L.D. mission goes down in flames--and from the ashes arise forces from the GOLDEN AGE OF MARVEL!"
If the lineup, and the concept for that matter, seem slightly familiar to readers of bronze age Marvel comics, it should come as no surprised. This particular assortment of gorilla, robot, spaceman, and beauty first appeared in the pages of What If #9, published in 1978. In "What if... the Avengers had been formed during the 1950s?", Marvel golden age characters Marvel Boy, Gorilla-Man, Venus, 3-D Man, and the Human Robot came together to act as a precursor to the Marvel superteam, the Avengers. It seemed to be a secret history, except there was a broad hint at the end that we were viewing some alternate history, instead.

Now, under the auspices of editor Mark Paniccia, Parker and Leonard revisit the concept, running with the conceit that something like that What If story actually did occur in the Marvel Universe, only in secret. And that now, decades later, circumstances demand that the erstwhile teammates regroup. (No 3-D Man this time around, I'm afraid. Maybe in the next miniseries.)

While the first issue just came out this week, Marvel has been hosting a "Temple of Atlas" blog for the last few months, presumably written by Jeff Parker. I've held off digging too deeply into the story unfolding in the blog, but now that the issue's out I'll definitely go back and check it out. Also, newsite the Comic Wire has been running a series of "agent profiles" and interviews with the creators that I'll be checking out (part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six).

So how good is Agents of Atlas? Good enough to make me break my "no Marvel miniseries" rule. (Briefly stated, the rule holds that I won't buy any Marvel miniseries in individualissuess, since they'll invariably be available in trade collections almost immediately.) I just wasn't willing to wait six or seven months to see how it all plays out. Anyone who enjoys the kind of pop culture I typically natter on about would likely be well served to seek it out.

Completely forgot that came out this week. Wonder if my shop still has copies...
Of course, the only store in Huntsville didn't order any copies.


I'll have to get some next week in Austin.
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