Sunday, March 15, 2009

Agents of Atlas TPB

As expected, I loved this book. Jeff Parker weaves a tale that embraces the weirdness of the Marvel Universe and still is a rocking action story in its own right. Gorilla Man is my favorite new (to me) character in quite some time. I loved his sense of humor and even his general interactions with his teammates. His concerns about the space-toilet on Marvel Boy's spaceship was fantastic, down to his ominous comment about how if it didn't work, it wasn't his fault. Marvel Boy was pretty interesting, I liked how Parker got him back into continuity after my only exposure to him as a villain in Mark Gruenwald's Quasar. Namora was enjoyable too, even if she was pretty much Namorita with a dash of Namor's pretentiousness. Venus was neat, I loved how she changed her hair color because she didn't want two blondes on the team. I had read about her in old Champions issues, and Parker explains that history in one of his excellent backup features. Jimmy Woo was always a neat character, and this really picked him up per his status quo in Jim Steranko's old Strange Tales when the Yellow Claw was a major foil for SHIELD. The relationship with the Human Robot was pretty fun too.

Parker does a great job with Derek Khanata, the SHIELD handler for the team. Well, in fact he is about to be a new Director of SHIELD here, he just falls in with the team. I know I've seen him around the Marvel U a bit in the past few months, and I hope we get more of him. I'm hoping Parker is using him in the ongoing Agents series now, with HAMMER replacing SHIELD, I don't think there is a place for a principled guy like Khanata.

The story itself was a ton of fun. One thing I loved was how there was never a tremendous sense of urgency like there is in most stories. The team basically just meandered along until they arrived at Atlas and Jimmy was able to achieve his destiny. The whole concept behind Yellow Claw's fascination with Woo was original too. I was a tad surprised that Parker threw out all those Atlas-related ideas so shortly, surely some of them could have been story arcs in a regular title.

Leonard Kirk's art was great. He's one of my favorite artists, and he has established a fantastic look for the series. Gorilla Man looked like a real gorilla! I do think Venus should have kept her topless look though, the "see-through" wasn't quite as titillating.


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