Agents of Atlas #1 / Writers: Greg Pak & Jeff Parker / Art: Nico Leon, Carlo Pagulayan, & Jason Paz / Colors: Federico Blee and Dono Sanchez-Almara / Publisher: Marvel Comics / Published Date: August 7, 2019.
Agents of Atlas New and Old
After the events of War of the Realms, the Agents of Atlas team seems to be a cohesive unit. Although, Brawn is still figuring out what it is to be a leader. During their final clean up of the war, they meet a new “hero” Protector of Pan. He appears in a beam of light, hurts the dragon they were trying to relocate, then disappears. Later that week Big Nguyen Company opens portals to all major Asian cities, calling is Pan. It seems too good to be true and as dragons flood the sky, our heroes find out it is.
We then join the old team-up of Agents of Atlas who have stumbles upon what seemed to be a temple of mercenaries but turns out to be another dragon element. Why are there dragons in the world who seem to be manipulating reality and what is their endgame? How have the Agents of Atlas been controlled and is Jimmy Woo aware?
The Portal City of Pan
Greg Pak’s “The Portal City of Pan” builds on the characters created in the WOTR crossover as well as the recent solo books. He even hints that there may be a love interest in this team. Most notable is Pak’s ability to create fun characters against a backdrop of strife. The danger is real, but the characters still show compassion and individuality. We even see some jealousy from Brawn when the new egotistical Protector of Pan appears. These characters still have the traits we have grown to love.
Especially enjoyable is how Pak is using each character’s power to accentuate the functionality of another. Using Aero, Luna Snow, and Wave to create an atmosphere where the fire dragon will be attracted is ingenious. In the second half of his story, we see all the Agents of Atlas reunited through the portals, showing that heroes can come together, but so can bad guys. Pak’s ability to see the long game and give the reader inklings of clues is exciting, engaging, and keeps us coming back for more.
The art in this section by Nico Leon is great mixed with Federico Blee’s colors. The action sequences, in general, feel fast-paced and treacherous. Not only does Leon draw this action well, but his ability to also make sure expressions on the characters faces can be felt by the reader during those panels is fantastic. You fall for his art instantly. I would say that he should look at how his characters squint as having Brawn, Shang-Chi, and Crescent have the same expression for it looks repetitive. Blee’s colors support this art and add another layer of eye-grabbing pops of color. I especially love Brawn’s shade of green in this book and how Blee adapts the color based on the light hitting Amadeus’ face.
Behind the Veil
Jeff Parker’s “Behind the Veil” story focuses on the old Agents of Atlas. Most of the characters are not familiar to this reader, but Parker allows you to get to know them in an interesting way without exposition. Their disguise is removed allowing us to see these heroes for who they normally are. The pacing of this story is quick and feels loud, as I imagine was intended. Even when Venus is enrapturing the warriors, we can imagine the noise. The story is action-packed but leaves one wishing to know these characters better.
Carlo Pagulayan, & Jason Paz’s artwork is great in this section. They support the story while also creating a gorgeous full-page spectacle of Venus’ effect on the warriors. This beautiful page is made even better by Dono Sanchez-Almara coloring of the mystical against the down to earth tones of the fighters. The team has made a fairy-like, 70’s version risky, enrapturing adventure or manipulation out of one page of art and it is glorious! The dragon is also well created in his smoky fumes and evil grin. This team did a fantastic job allowing the reader to feel like they are there with the characters.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Greg Pak’s writing for the WOTR Atlas tie in as well as the solo books are becoming some of my favorite comics out right now and this book is no exception. I will say that I wish these two stories in one book format would be discontinued. Although, I feel this issue has been the most successful with that formatting. Mr. Pak, although I respect you giving homage to the characters’ roots, you are a fantastic writer and I want to read a full book of these characters written by you! Hopefully, Marvel will agree. Until then I will continue to pick up the solo books and now the rest of this series. This team is refreshing, and I look forward to more from them!
Verdict: 4 out of 5