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Agents of Atlas (Marvel Comics, New Avengers) Hardcover – May 9, 2007
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This is a handsome, extras filled package by marvel in both Hardcover or Soft cover.
The story centers on an odd group of superheroes from Marvel Comics "Atlas" years, the late 40s and 50s. The story is about Jimmy Woo, 50s spy and now aging Shield agent who is involved in a mysterious operation that goes awry and leaves him for dead. But unknown to everyone else including Shield, Jimmy was once the leader of an unlikely team of heroes that answered directly to Eisenhower. The team included Marvel Boy, Venus the Goddess of love, M-11 the Human Robot, and Ken Hale the Gorilla Man. In trying to uncover what happened to Jimmy Woo and his ill fated mission, the team is once again revived. Also revived is their old enemy The Yellow Claw. Over the course of the story all the individual characters origins are revisited in entertaining detail. Some characters are the same; some discover revelations about themselves that they had not counted on nor the reader for that matter.
Writer Jeff Parker weaves a wonderful yarn and has really done his homework on these great obscure characters. The story he tells spans from the post war days of Namor and cousin Namora in 1947 through the 50s, and up to present day. Leonard Kirks art is enjoyable and easy on the eyes.
The trade paperback reprints Agents of Atlas issues 1-6 and has some nice extras. Plenty of text that goes in depth about the stories origins, how the project was developed and profiles on the individual characters in the story. It also includes reprints of the first appearances of the characters in the story. Reprinting Yellow Claw #1 (1956) Menace #11 (1954) Venus #1 (1948) Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (1947) Marvel Boy #1 (1950) Men's Adventures #26 (1954) and What If #9 (1978, the first time the characters were shown as a team). There are also interviews with the creators and character design art.
It may not be for very young readers as the character Venus does go topless (albeit tastefully drawn) for the first half of the story and that may not please some parents. But it is a very fun story full of action, plot twists, humor and suprises with some nice art that I really enjoyed. It has entertaining characters, and was just a fun, lighthearted action story. With the dark tone of comics being rather dominant lately, this was a pleasant and welcomed change of pace. I highly recommend this one.
The story is probably one of the best I have read in years. Don't get me wrong, it's not Watchmen or V for Vendetta. It's not supposed to be. The story is just plain fun and intriguing. Each character feels truly alive and unique. It's what comics used to be about and should be about: ADVENTURE.
Jeff Parker is one of those authors that really understands comic books. He understands what comics should be about. Each issue is it's own little adventure, piecing the team together, till they make their final showdown with the Yellow Claw.
What's great about this collection in particular though is that besides the six issues from the main story, it also comes with a lot of stuff about the way the comic came about and how the characters were designed. In addition, it also has has the original issues in which each character from the team appeared.
A very retro, awesome book.
The very basics of a good comic are missing: story and art. Like I said, the concept was good, just not the execution. The plot is predictable from page one and the art needs to step up to be mediocre.
I'm a long time Marvel fan - 40+ years - so I hate to give a bad review but given all the good collections out there, I'd give this one a pass.