Agents of Atlas v.2 #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Jeff Parker, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz & Benton Jew
Like many other Marvel readers, I’m thrilled that the publisher finally opted to launch an ongoing Agents of Atlas series. While the first limited series wasn’t one of Marvel’s best sellers, it was highly praised, and for good reason. Despite the stronger link to mainstream Marvel continuity the “Dark Reign” branding brings, Parker’s plot and script for the main story are just as much fun, smart and colorful as this title’s predecessor. Carlo Pagulayan replaces Leonard Kirk as the penciller, bringing a more detailed look to bear. His stuff looks sharp, and he captures the larger-than-life nature of the characters with ease. Kirk’s simpler style struck me as more complementary to the simpler origins of these classic characters, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what we see here in the main story. The conflict is shaping up to be one of the public sector (Harry Osborn’s HAMMER agency) and the private sector (Jimmy Woo’s Atlas Foundation). It’s an encouraging message, in which private citizens rise up to oppose the corrupt establishment.
I love the notion of Parker including occasional backup features exploring the characters’ adventures back in the 1950s. This one pairs them with a certain secret agent named Logan. The plot again is in keeping with the campy appeal of the property. The one aspect that doesn’t quite work is the artwork. None of the characters look quite right, and the Brood-like bugs look awkward rather than creepy or monstrous. Still, it’s a minor gripe about what is otherwise an entertaining super-hero comic. 7/10