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Agents of Atlas #2

Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2009
By: Charles Webb

Jeff Parker
Carlo Pagulayan & Gabriel Hardman, Jana Schirmer (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Agents of Atlas #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 4.

Plot: In the present day, Jimmy and the gang show the Norman Osborne controlled ATF the firepower of Atlas while in flashbacks a night of drinking leads to a rumble.

Comments: It's only a matter of time before things start to go south for the Agents of Atlas. Jimmy Woo has been forced to take on a second-in-command--Temudjin, the son of the Mandarin--Atlas is in bed with Norman Osborne and H.A.M.M.E.R., and Namora has a short fuse when it comes to M-11 and sheís not explaining why.

This issue involves the members of the Atlas group demonstrating weapons to members of the Osborne commanded ATF (led by ďformerĒ villain Grizzly). It's a chance for Atlas to show off its resources as well as their evil empire rep.

Parker does a great job of showing the members of Atlas as looking cleverer than anyone else in the room--to a fault. After an audacious entrance, a cocky Temudjin explains that Jimmyís plan to exploit the Atlas Groupís image as a criminal organization in transparent and inefficient. This is a clever moment on Parkerís part--he gives Jimmy (and the reader) some doubt about the overall plan and what it hopes to achieve.

In flashbacks illustrated by Gabriel Hardman we see the team during the Eisenhower administration investigating a mystery involving a spooky Russian Mig fighter jet. These sequences form a good counterpoint to the present-day segments, providing contrasts to the teamís present and past personalities.

What keeps the book from being perfect are the awkward transitions between the past and present sequences. They are abrupt and in some sequences not well linked thematically to one another. On their own, these are interesting stories, but beyond the contrasting character moments the parallel stories donít synch up as well as dueling plots of this nature should.

The art, however, is impeccable in both cases. I came out of this chapter wishing there was an ongoing '50s Atlas book with art by Hardman. And Pagulayan excels in big action moments, particularly wowing with a nightmare sequence of Temudjinís worst fear.

Final Word: The second issue falters a little with abrupt transitions, but the characterizations are spot-on and the tension is ratcheted up as we all wait for the other shoe to drop.

If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of the author's work at Monster In Your Veins







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