Agents of Atlas #1We’ve spoken with Agents of Atlas writer Jeff Parker about the new ongoing series launching from Marvel in February that stars some of Marvel’s legacy (and by “legacy” we mean pretty old) characters. But we felt like there were rocks left unturned – questions for readers left unanswered.
Despite the fact that the original Agents of Atlas miniseries and specials were critically acclaimed, they found a relatively smaller audience than most Marvel titles. So how do we try to counter that? We sat Agents of Atlas editor Mark Paniccia down to ask the dumb questions. The ones that you might be wondering about if you’ve never picked up an issue, or only ran into them in the preview in select Marvel books last week. Don’t worry – we’ll take the bullet for you.
So – without further ado – here are the ten things you need to know about Agents of Atlas.
Aren’t these heroes old – like way old? How are they here and now, looking young-ish?
Mark Paniccia: Yes, they formed in the 1950s, but through the wonders of comic book science, none look a day over 25. FBI agent Jimmy Woo had actually aged like the best of us, but Marvel Boy restored him to his last psychic impression (shameless plug: see the critically acclaimed mini series for more details).Agents of Atlas #1, page 8 And I have to say that, even though these characters hail from back when Marvel published comics under the Atlas imprint, they have a certain mojo that makes them work in the present day—a team dynamic that’s as magic as the best of the Avengers or X-Men rosters.
Starting with the big monkey, who are they?
MP: The big monkey seems to be a fan favorite. Gorilla Man AKA Ken Hale is a former soldier of fortune who was cursed to immortality in an incredibly hairy but super strong body. With looks like that, he’s probably the most cynical Marvel character this side of Ben Grimm. Jeff tells me there’s a heart of gold somewhere below all that hair, though, and that we’ll see the more human side of him as we get further into the series.
Marvel Boy AKA Bob Grayson spent the last half a century off world and is the most alien of team. There’s a diner scene in the original mini-series that had readers talking for weeks. This guy had been living with the native Uranians for the past 50 years and they ain’t nothing like us. You have to wonder how much humanity is left in him, and if that’s something the team needs to worry about.Agents of Atlas #1, page 9 Jimmy Woo was working with the FBI back in the 50s and is what one would call a master spy. As I mentioned, Marvel Boy restored his youth but the Uranian technology rebooted his mind as well. So Jimmy only has memories of life up until the last time he and Marvel Boy saw each other. He’s a natural leader and a cunning strategist and now he’s in prime physical condition. A rather formidable opponent to anyone in the current Marvel U.
M-11, the Human Robot, is one of my favorites. He looks like something from a B-movie but he’s probably one of the most deadly machines in the Marvel Universe. I won’t get into what Jeff has in store for him, but don’t let this “silent type” fool you. There’s more going on in that silver dome of his than you’d expect.
Namora, vengeful (and gorgeous) daughter of the seven seas. She’s Prince Namor’s cousin and the powerhouse of the team. Most recently readers have seen her guest star in Incredible Hercules and she fought beside him during World War Hulk. In Agents she’ll still be smashing buildings and skulls, but you’ll see that her daughter’s death (in Civil War) is tearing her apart inside.
Venus is not the actual goddess of love but what was known in myth as siren, one of those monstrous beings that lured the sailors of old to their deaths through beauty and song.
Are they good guys or bad guys? Or does that even matter anymore in this topsy-turvy world of “Dark Reign?”Agents of Atlas #1, page 16 MP: That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Jimmy has inherited a vast and unique criminal organization. If you’re someone who’s spent most of your life fighting crime and you hit a lottery like this, you might think that you can change things from the inside. But how far he’s willing to go to fight evil with evil remains to be seen, and things could get pretty ugly.
How do they get along with Norman Osborn?
MP: You’ll see in Agents #1 that things get off to a rocky start. But Norman, being the opportunist he is, will see there’s an advantage to being in league with such a powerful organization.
What “class” for lack of a better word are they in? Are they on par with the Avengers? X-Men? Defenders? Not Ready for Prime Time Players?
MP: The other editorial offices wouldn’t be happy if said the Agents were on par with their guys, so I’ll let the fans decide. The buzz on the series is more than I hoped for. You guys tell us, is this the new New Avengers?
How well known are they in the Marvel Universe? Who knows they’re out and about?
MP: They’ve been under the radar up until now. The only reason people know about them is because they’ve leaked their existence as part of a master plan. Very soon they will be mixing it up with some of the Marvel Universe’s heaviest hitters.
Does Jeff Parker just always have an Agents of Atlas story ready to go? He seems to have really clicked with these characters…Agents of Atlas #1, page 22 MP: When I ran into an online entry of them while doing research, I immediately sent Jeff the link and called him and we talked about it for a loooong time. The characters play to Jeff’s strengths. He was born to write them! I think, whether you are a Marvel or DC fan, you’ll really enjoy this series and you can see fundamental influences from both companies in Jeff’s writing.
Where’s their headquarters?
MP: The Atlas Foundation has an underground facility—a secret city—but, because of the nefarious nature of the people they must work with, they feel most comfortable in Marvel Boy’s super cool flying saucer. It’s like the comic book equivalent of the Apple store (I don’t know about you, but I’d like to live there).
Finally, what gets the ball rolling in issue #1?
MPA sting operation gone awry. An explosion. A battle. A confrontation with Osborn. An unexpected meal. We set up the status quo and introduce new elements that show just how dangerous a super hero undercover operation can be.
Add this series to your pull list. You won’t regret it!
Agents of Atlas #1 is due in stores on February 4th.Marvel's Dark Reign Coverage
- Brian Bendis: Wrapping it All Up, and Starting Dark Reign
- Making them Mighty: Dan Slott on The Mighty Avengers
- Reunited: Jim McCann on Hawkeye and Mockingbird
- Gage: Taking The Initiative Under a Dark Reign
- Best Shots Extra: Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
- Iron Man, Hero No More: Talking to Matt Fraction
- Thunderbolts vs. Deadpool: FIGHT
- Andy Diggle: The Future of the Thunderbolts
- Jeff Parker: Mixing the Agents of Atlas into Dark Reign
- Mark Brooks: Crafting The Initiative #20 Cover
- Matt Fraction: Explaining Emma
- Jonathan Hickman: Secret Warriors and More