Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rayboy's Review: Agents of Atlas #1 (Marvel Comics)

I haven't been regularly picking up too many comic books (on a monthly basis) for several years now. For the most part, I only keep an eye out for stuff that appeals to me in the same way that most comics did in my wayward youth, but I don't believe that I do this primarily to "re-experience" simple nostalgia. In my opinion, much of what passes for comic books these days is utter crap. I am not at all a fan of the majority of currently "hot" creators, whether writers or artists, because most of them exist under the spell of a bong-sucking, psychotic muse.

I can get into comics that are specifically geared towards an adult audience, but the last several years worth of spin-the-bottle, event-driven, weekly-oriented, "Marketing-Is-God", comics pros as "rock stars", politically correct pablum, Hollywood trump-card dreck, has adequately demonstrated to me that earlier decades publishers attitude of targeting the bulk of their comics product for a "general" audience, was a much better path to follow. Direct comics shops (and their primarily older/aging clientele) have just about killed off comic books, and I don't think that was what the direct market was meant to accomplish.

I dropped by the local shop yesterday and picked up a small stack of four books (plus one freebie), and that's alot for me these days. I plan on commenting on all of them over the next few days, so bear with me as I kick off "Rayboy's Review" of Marvel Comics new, on-going Agents of Atlas #1.

Art Adams terrific cover launched AoA #1 in fine fashion, and the opening splash page had a fun feature, "Gorilla Man's Continuity Catch-Up" which succinctly & hilariously brings new readers to the point where this issue starts off.

In the first of two separate stories within, writer Jeff Parker immediately tosses the Agents into battle with the forces of Norman Osborn, led by field-leader (another old Spider-Man foe, unless I'm mistaken) Man-Mountain Marko. Marko and company quickly fall to the Agents, as we shift to Osborn himself in Avengers Tower, where Venus literally stops the Sentry in his tracks, in order to extend an offer of cooperation from Agents head honcho & Atlas Foundation master, Jimmy Woo.

Once a tentative truce is hashed out, Marko's team are allowed into the inner sanctum of the Atlas Foundation, where the unfortunate Mr. Marko makes a surprising discovery and then suffers the fatal consequences of this revelation.

In the second tale, Parker reveals the facts behind a late 1950's team-up of original Atlas members Woo, Gorilla Man and M-11 with the X-Men's own Logan (aka Wolverine). Longtime X-Men readers will recognize the bug-like alien threat which draws these characters together, and Logan (in his pre-Wolverine days) is just as formidable as you would expect him to be.

New regular artist team of penciller Carlo Pagulayan (& inker Jason Paz) are nice replacements for the sadly, unavailable Leonard Kirk, who drew the AoA mini-series a couple of years ago, and even back-up strip artist, Benton Jew turns in a good job on the second story.

Give Agents of Atlas a try, it's a little bit "old-school-heroics", but that's exactly my point - we need more of this kind of stuff from Marvel - not less.


Wayne Skiver said...

I WANT to like this series. I'll def. give it a look when i head to my comic shop tomorrow.

cash_gorman said...

I didn't like the final issue of the mini at all, from just plain bad writing to being a bad concept. This is pretty much more of that: formerly really colorful heroes all done as more mundane and colorless, by taking over a terrorist organization, it makes them into traitors and pretty much willing accomplices in all the murders the organization has and continues to commit. This very issue implies they've been feeding helpless prisoners to their dragon "ally" and barely bat an eye when he eats one in front of them.

Chuck Wells said...

I agree with you on how the AoA mini ended, Cash.

I have to admit that I hadn't really considered Mr. Lao's dietary needs too closely, and thus I must agree with you on that point also.

I hope that the AoA as terrorists isn't an element of the series that sticks around too long.