Agents of Atlas #1 is published by Marvel Comics and is written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Nico Leon, colored by Fredrico Blee, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino with a backup story written by Jeff Parker, penciled by Carlo Pagulayan, inked by Jason Paz, and colored by Dono Sanchez-Almara. During the events of War of the Realms, Jimmy Woo formed a new team of heroes including Brawn, Silk, Aero, Wave, the Sword Master, Crescent, Luna Snow, and Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu to battle the forces of Sindr, the Queen of Muspelheim.
The first issue of Agents of Atlas finds the team pulled back together again when philanthropist Mike Nguyen utilizes technology that merges several of Asia’s biggest cities together. In a backup story, the original Agents of Atlas team-Venus, the Uranian, the 3-D Man, Gorilla-Man, M-11, and Namora-discover a hidden temple, as well as a deadly secret.
Even though the team doesn’t fully reunite until the end of the issue, Pak keeps you invested with sharp character work and an intriguing story hook. Brawn and Silk’s friendship is the main focus of the issue, and it is a treat to witness. Amadeus is brash, outspoken and wears his heart on his sleeve, while Cindy is more open-minded and thinks before she acts, especially when her Spider-Sense comes into place.
Pak, a Korean-American writer, wonderfully intertwines the heroes and their different cultures together. Brawn and Silk are Korean-American, Luna and Crescent hail from Seoul, Aero and Sword Master reside in Shanghai, and Wave is Filipina. It’s wonderful to see such a mix of different cultures and beliefs, especially when the city of Pan is formed. While Amadeus predicts that the citizens of each city will panic, they instead wander around, introducing themselves and staring in awe at the various buildings and restaurants.
Leon’s artwork brings an animated flair to Pak’s scripts, especially where the characters’ expressions are concerned. One page finds Brawn, slurping noodles, consider the fact that his outlandish personality is an attempt to get people to like him. Then his face scrunches up as he asks “Is that really a bad thing?” Then his eyes widen in shock as a flash of light goes off behind him.
From Aero’s all-white costume complete with a transparent coat to new character Issac Ikeda, the self-proclaimed “Protector of Pan” who looks like he stepped out of an episode of Sword Art Online, each character is also uniquely designed. Blee’s colors add vibrant hues to each page, particularly in the opening scene where the Agents subdue a fire dragon.
The backup story featuring the original Agents is fairly solid. Parker and Pagulayan, who have written several comics, reunite and the result is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones flick. Readers’ mileage may vary based on their familiarity with the characters, but I enjoyed it.
Agents of Atlas #1 is an excellent reimagining of an obscure superhero team, with a creative team willing to do the work when it comes to proper representation of Asian superheroes. Even though this is a limited series, I look forward to the remaining issues and hope that sales are strong enough to justify a transition to an ongoing series; Pak and Leon more than deserve it.
Agents of Atlas #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Agents of Atlas #1
Agents of Atlas #1 is an excellent reimagining of an obscure superhero team, with a creative team willing to do the work when it comes to proper representation of Asian superheroes.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.