Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review: Agents of Atlas

This review could have been passed off as another of my 1970's Flashbacks, because way back in June 1978 Marvel Comics published What If?#9, in which several heroes from unrelated stories they had previously released back when the company was called Atlas Comics [1950's] gathered to combat some Cold War villains (including an early incursion by alien Skrulls). Gorilla-Man, Marvel Boy, Venus and the Human Robot (currently referred to as M-11) all originally appeared in post WWII publications of Atlas/Marvel. Alongside retro hero 3-D Man [who had first debuted in Marvel Premiere #35-37; 1977] these oddball heroes were presented as an out-of-continuity group of 1950's Avengers.

Skipping ahead to October 2006, these characters were revived in a popular six issue mini-series set both in continuity AND in the present day Marvel Universe. With the exception of the absent 3-D Man, all of the above named characters returned, now joined by FBI agent Jimmy Woo and Sub-Mariner's Atlantean cousin, Namora.

The newly christened Agents of Atlas, reform after having been disbanded following an event involving President Eisenhower in the 1950's. Gorilla-Man, now an agent of the super-spy agency called S.H.I.E.L.D., rescues his aged comrade Jimmy Woo, who was severely injured in a raid on the secretive Atlas Foundation. Gorilla-Man [the former Ken Hale] has recruited team-mates Marvel Boy and M-11 to aid him in restoring Woo to his younger self and they engage what might be their old nemesis the Yellow Claw.

Writer Jeff Parker, and artists Tomm Coker & Leonard Kirk recapture the magic of simpler times and take the reader on a wonderfully fun adventure that plays comfortably with characters and situations from the past, but set firmly within today's modern story structures. Check out Agents of Atlas which is available in a collected trade edition ... asap.

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