What do you get when you take a squad of less-than-scrupulous throwbacks from the Marvel Universe of the 1950’s and mix them up with the X-bearing mutant brute squad with the deepest roster since…well, ever?!
A behemoth beat-down of super-heroic proportions…and all in two issues.
In October, Marvel’s X-Men go toe-to-toe with the Agents of Atlas. Written by Agents of Atlas mastermind Jeff Parker, this two issue slugfest features a two-pronged artistic assault by Carlo Pagulayan and Chris Samnee.
It seems as though the Agents of Atlas have lost a teammate and the X-Men have the means of finding them. Wolverine pokes the Uranian…just kidding. Parker and friends don’t plan to disappoint!
Trying to stay out of the proximity of the collateral damage from this brawl free-for-all, Newsarama contacted Jeff Parker to discuss this eclectic battle of Marvel characters.
Newsarama: Jeff, to start, how did this X-Men/ Agents of Atlas mini-series develop? How did you approach this team-on-team extravaganza?
Jeff Parker: Various folk at Marvel were talking with me about who else the Agents could mix things up with, since the push of this year was to get them running straight down the line into the Marvel Universe. The X-Men seemed kind of natural. They were originally all about being the "weird heroes." And Atlas kind of fill that bill now too.Nrama: The first issue features the Agents in a bit of a compromising position; and now, they need access to Cerebra. So why not just ask the X-Men? Or does this mini-series fall in line with the current situation in San Francisco where the X-Men have moved out onto Asteroid M?
Parker: Someone has abducted Venus, the most vulnerable member of the Agents of Atlas, and they're in an enormous hurry to get her back safely. Bob Grayson (The Uranian) can't reach her with his telepathic scans, but Atlas intel turns up information about a computer system that could expand such a scan on a giant scale- CEREBRA. The Agents have just gotten back into town from China, and San Francisco has been full of mutant-involved riots if you've been reading the X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover. So Jimmy Woo and team don't know what the situation iswith the X-Men and if they can trust them- and they don't have time to risk failure. So they break into Graymalkin Industries while things are being moved to Asteroid M to get Cerebra themselves.
Nrama: What seems like the oddest match-up between the Agents and the mutants? Were you an impartial creator for this fight or did you feel a little partial to having "your" team kicking the crap out of the X-Men a bit?
Parker: The oddest match-up doesn't happen because Venus isn't there. Sadly, we miss out on exactly what kind of make-out fest would happen if she started singing at the X-Men. Don't forget that I wrote the original X-Men for quite a while in X-Men: First Class. I have affinity for them too. They come off pretty well in here. Wolverine does catch some abuse however…I'm only human. (laugh)
Nrama: X-Men Agents of Atlas #2 pits the Agents against the aforementioned original five X-Men; is this a sort of dream match-up for you? Will Agents of Atlas readers see more of the past interactions of the team with the elder class of X-Men in the near future?
Parker: We'll have to see. This part of the whole thing is a little unusual, and I don't want to spoil bits by talking about it too much. Except to say that Chris Samnee completely nailed this story, what a perfect choice for the original X-Men and 50's Agents.
Nrama: With the current status quo of the Agents of Atlas, wouldn't the X-Men seem more likely to commiserate with the team than to shun them?
Parker: If circumstances were calm and everyone had time to discuss things in a measured way, yes. But when is the Marvel U ever like that?
Nrama: Who were your favorite X-Men to write for this mini?
Parker: I really enjoyed writing Dr. Nemesis, Cyclops and Iceman in particular. I know everyone thinks "Cyclops?" but it's fun to push his buttons.
Nrama: Can you share any news with us about any upcoming projects you're working on?
Parker: I'm helping kick off the big WORLD WAR HULKS storyline with WWH: ALPHA and my end story for the 1602 books is starting soon: SPIDER-MAN 1602: The Web Complete. Those feature gorgeous art from Paul Pelletier and Ramon Rosanas, respectively. Non-punching wise, Steve Lieber and I debut our Image adventure comic UNDERGROUND next week. I hope that even readers who are more into superheroes will give that a try because we're very happy with the characterization and action in that.
Nrama: What sorts of things can readers expect to see in the months to come from the Agents of Atlas?
Parker: They can expect some individual special issues that focus on members of the Agents of Atlas, as well as a feature in INCREDIBLE HERCULES. It's not the ongoing title, but you'll see a lot of Atlas, maybe more.
Nrama: How will they continue to "rage against the machine" as the Dark Reign storyline continues across the Marvel Universe?
Parker: There are plenty of threats, and still, their own worst enemy is themselves; i.e.: The Atlas Foundation. There are still many branches of this underground criminal organization working on all kinds of evil that they have to shut down.
Nrama: To close, what do you think is the most exciting aspect of the X-Men/ Agents of Atlas mini-series for fans of both teams? Would this be a good start for new readers to jump on the Atlas bandwagon?
Parker: Yes, I think you get a good sense of what the Agents are like and how they handle a situation from this. X-Men fans get to see a whole lot of X-Men in that big screen approach that artist Carlo Pagulayan brings. It feels like a big budget movie, and it feels very fresh, like you're seeing some of your old favorites in a different light.