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Agents of Atlas is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first lineup was composed of characters originally appearing in unrelated stories published in the 1950s by Marvel's predecessor company, Atlas Comics. The characters debuted as a team in What If #9 (June 1978) and starred in the 2006 limited series Agents of Atlas, written by Jeff Parker[1] and with art by Leonard Kirk.[2]

Agents of Atlas
Variant Cover of Agents of Atlas #1
Art by Carlo Pagulayan
Group publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceAgents of Atlas #1 (October 2006)
Created byJeff Parker (writer)
Leonard Kirk (artist)
In-story information
Type of organizationTeam
Base(s)Marvel Boy's spaceship
The Temple of Atlas, San Francisco
The Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted, Mumbai
Atlas Secret Bunker 394B, Seoul
Leader(s)Jimmy Woo (Head of the Atlas Foundation)
Derek Khanata
Mr. Lao
Temugin
Agent(s)New Team:
Aero
Brawn (Team Leader)
Crescent and Io
Giant-Man
Luna Snow
Shang-Chi
Silk
Sword Master
Wave
White Fox
Original Team:
Gorilla-Man
M-11
The Uranian
Namora
Venus
3-D Man
Agents of Atlas
Series publication information
ScheduleMonthly
Format(vol. 1)
Limited series
(vol. 2)
Ongoing series
(vol. 3)
Limited series
Genre
Publication date(vol. 1)
October 2006 – March 2007
(vol. 2)
April – November 2009
(vol. 3)
May 2019 – present
Number of issues(vol. 1)
6
(vol. 2)
11
(vol. 3)
9
Creative team
Writer(s)(vol. 1 & 2)
Jeff Parker
(vol. 3)
Greg Pak
Artist(s)(vol. 3)
Nico Leon
Penciller(s)(vol. 1)
Leonard Kirk
(vol. 2)
Carlo Pagulayan
(vol. 3)
Greg Hyuk Lim
Inker(s)(vol. 1)
Kris Justice
(vol. 2)
Michael Jason Paz
Letterer(s)(vol. 1)
David Lanphear
(vol. 2)
Nate Piekos
(vol. 3)
Clayton Cowles
Colorist(s)(vol. 1)
Michelle Madsen
(vol. 2)
Jana Schirmer
(vol. 3)
Federico Blee
Creator(s)Jeff Parker (writer)
Leonard Kirk (artist)
Editor(s)(vol. 1)
Nathan Cosby
Mark Paniccia
Joe Quesada
(vol. 2)
Nathan Cosby
Mark Paniccia
Lauren Sankovitch
(vol. 3)
Tom Groneman
Mark Paniccia
Collected editions
Agents of Atlas HCISBN 0-7851-2712-7
Dark Reign HCISBN 0-7851-3898-6
Turf War HCISBN 0-7851-4276-2
War of the Realms TPBISBN 1-3029-1877-X

In 2019, the team's lineup was revamped as a new team made up of Asian and Asian American superheroes as The New Agents of Atlas,[3] written by Greg Pak and art by Gang Hyuk Lim.[4]

Contents

Publication historyEdit

 
The original Agents of Atlas. Art by Leonard Kirk.

This group of heroes, which was not a team in 1950s comics, was established through retroactive continuity as having been formed in the 1950s. They had appeared as a group in the non-canonical What If #9 (June 1978)[5] and then reappeared in Avengers Forever (1998–2000 miniseries).

The limited series Agents of Atlas #1–6 (Oct. 2006 – March 2007) was set in the present day and likewise set in mainstream continuity. The series emerged from what writer Parker called "a huge editorial hunch" at Marvel, and said the revival of the characters "is something that [editor] Mark Paniccia was looking at and [for which he] thought specifically of me, and asked me what I would do with it".[6] Paniccia says the idea came to him when he picked up a copy of the What if? story and found the cover "intriguing".[7]

The team made a brief appearance in "The Resistance", an eight-page story that was part of the Secret Invasion crossover story arc.[8] Parker and editor Paniccia said in July 2008, that the former will write an Agents of Atlas ongoing series[9] which is one of the titles launching as part of the Dark Reign storyline.[10][11][12] That series ended after eleven issues but the title relaunches as part of the "Heroic Age" under the title Atlas because, according to Parker, it not only makes for a smaller logo but it is a "natural progression to what most people call the book and the team."[13] The series was cancelled with Atlas #5.[14]

During War of the Realms a new iteration of the Agents of Atlas debuted in the War of the Realms: Agents of Atlas mini-series.[3] This new team, along with the classic roster, will be featured together in a new, 5-issue Agents of Atlas limited series.[15]

CharactersEdit

The original team, with the individual characters' debuts in chronological order, consists of:

Other characters from the original What if? story, such as Jann of the Jungle, made guest appearances. Parker explained that original What if? team-member 3-D Man was left out "[b]ecause he wasn't really around in the 1950s" books,[17] having been introduced in 1977 in Marvel Premiere, with stories were set in the 1950s.

After the Agents of Atlas took over the Atlas Foundation, the following characters joined as Atlas Foundation members:

  • Mr. Lao – Adviser to the Head of the Atlas Foundation. A dragon who was Yellow Claw's adviser, now adviser to Jimmy Woo, the new Head of the Atlas Foundation
  • Temugin – Second in Command of Atlas Foundation.
  • Derek Khanata – Overseer of Atlas.
  • At the end of the series, the contemporary 3-D Man was invited to join the team, and he did.

During the War of the Realms Jimmy Woo recruited several of his teammates from the Asian American superhero team Protectors as well as several new Asian superheroes to form The New Agents of Atlas to stop The Queen of Cinders invading the Asian continent. The current members consist of:

  • Aero - The Chinese heroine with wind-based powers.
  • Brawn - The Korean-American former Hulk and supergenius.
  • Crescent and Io - South Korean heroine and her magical bear.
  • Luna Snow - South Korean K-Pop idol with ice-based powers.
  • Shang-Chi - The Master of Kung-Fu.
  • Silk - The Korean-American Spider-Man ally.
  • Sword Master - The mystical sword wielding Chinese hero.
  • Wave - The Filipina water manipulator.
  • White Fox - South Korean super spy and the last of the kumiho.

The Inhuman Pakastani-American superheroine Ms. Marvel was offered membership along with the other Protectors but left to rejoin her original team the Champions in New York before she could accept the offer. M-41 Zu, a mystically enhanced android created by Jimmy and the Atlas foundation, briefly joined the team under the guise of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. The Immortal Monkey King Sun Wukong of the Ascendants briefly assisted the team as well.

When most of the Agents are summoned to the portal city of Pan, they are introduced to the current Giant-Man, Raz Malhotra, who is informally recruited into Atlas by Amadeus when rejecting Mike Nguyen's offer to become Pan's protectors.

Fictional team biographyEdit

The group was formed in Spring 1958 by Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Jimmy Woo to rescue President Dwight D. Eisenhower from the villainous Yellow Claw. Woo first recruits Venus and Marvel Boy. He then tries to recruit Namora, who declines but tells Woo where to find a broken but potentially useful robot named M-11. While Marvel Boy fixes M-11, Woo asks Jann of the Jungle to take Marvel Boy to extend an invitation to Gorilla-Man, who accepts Woo's offer. The group quickly rescues President Eisenhower and remains together for six months until the federal government, deciding the public is not ready for such a group, disbands it and classifies information about it.

Years later, Woo, by now a high-ranking agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., attempts a secret raid of a group identified as the Atlas Foundation. Going AWOL and taking several other willing agents with him, Woo invades an Atlas location, resulting in all of the recruits being killed. Woo himself is critically burned and loses his higher brain functions. Gorilla-Man, by now also a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, gives the organization a record of the 1950s team, of which S.H.I.E.L.D. had no knowledge, and rescues Woo with the aid of M-11 and Marvel Boy, who can only restore Woo to his 1958 self. Namora, whom the group believed dead, is located by the Agents and joins the group. The team learns M-11 is a double agent for the Yellow Claw, and that Venus is one of the legendary Sirens given flesh, not the Venus/Aphrodite of mythological legend.

Using M-11 as a beacon, the heroes find the Yellow Claw, who reveals his true identity, Plan Chu, an almost immortal Mongol khan who claims he orchestrated each of his battles with Woo only to establish Woo's worthiness to marry Suwan and succeed him as khan. Chu created Atlas to put Woo again in the spotlight. Woo accepts his destiny, takes over Atlas hoping to turn it into a force for good, and the Yellow Claw, having found his heir, appears to commit suicide. The team resurfaces in New York City, where together with Spider-Man, they defeat Temple of Atlas splinter cells still loyal to the Yellow Claw.[18]

They later work as a resistance cell against the invasion of Earth by the shapeshifting aliens the Skrulls.[8] Following the Skrulls' defeat and the rise of Norman Osborn to power, the Agents of Atlas decide to oppose Osborn's agenda by taking on the role of "supervillains." They attack Fort Knox and steal the gold reserve, which Osborn had planned on using to finance a secret weapons system.[19]

The Agents of Atlas encounter (and battle) the Avengers,[20] the X-Men,[21] fight Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts.[22] and later investigate an abandoned Thule Society headquarters during the events of Fear Itself.

 
The New Agents of Atlas. Art by Jung-Geun Yoon.

During the War of the Realms event, while Jimmy offers his Protectors teammates (Brawn, Shang-Chi, Silk and Ms. Marvel) membership to Atlas, they are suddenly alerted by the news of Malekith's invasion of Earth. Most of the New Agents of Atlas head to Seoul while Ms. Marvel joins the Champions in New York. The Agents defend Seoul from Malekith's ally Queen Sindr and her Fire Goblin forces from Muspelheim with help from the Korean heroes White Fox, Crescent, Io and Luna Snow.[23] After Sindr threatens to summon a volcano in the middle of the city and kill millions of innocents, Brawn teleports Atlas and their new allies away from the battle, allowing Sindr to peacefully annex South Korea. Brawn eventually summons the Chinese heroes Sword Master and Aero, Filipina heroine Wave and the Hawaiian goddess of Fire and Volcanoes Pele from Shanghai to help assist in the fight against Sindr. The newly summoned heroes are less than pleased for being taken out of their previous battle, but Pele quickly puts a stop to the infighting, warning the group that Sindr plans to melt the polar ice caps if they don't work together.[24] After formulating a plan, Brawn confronts Sindr and her forces directly while Aero, Wave and Luna use Sindr's Black Bifrost to travel to the Arctic to decrease its temperature with their powers; the remaining members are teleported to Atlas' ally Sun Wukong of the Ascendants in Northern China where Shang-Chi begins training the remaining members for their final fight.[25] As planned by Brawn, the Queen of Cinders and her forces arrive in Northern China with a captured Brawn, only to be taken by surprise by the Agents; Pele reveals herself to be M-41 Zu, a mystically enhanced Atlas Android, who then absorbs Sindr's energy and self-destructs, weakening her. With Shang-Chi's training the group defeats her, although at the cost of Sun Wukong sacrificing himself. Despite being given the chance by Jimmy to surrender, Sindr flees using the Black Bifrost, only for the Agents to follow her with Brawn's teleporter, where they help Captain Marvel defeat her and her remaining forces at the Great Wall of China near Beijing. After Malekith's defeat, the Agents are seen in Shanghai looking on while the captured Fire Goblins are escorted back to Muspelheim. Jimmy quietly congratulates his new agents.[26]

Shortly after the War of the Realms event, a few members of the new agents are in Madripoor fighting one of Sindr's remaining Fire Dragons, where they encounter Isaac Ikeda, the self-proclaimed "Protector of Pan", who uses his technologically advanced weaponry to slay the dragon and teleports away with its corpse. Afterwards, the team goes their separate ways, only to find the cities they are each residing in engulfed in a white light, which Amadeus recognizes as Ikeda's teleportation technology. The reunited agents along with Giant-Man discover the cities they were in (along with other Asian, Pacific and predominantly Asian cities outside of Asia) have been merged and connected together with portals made from Ikeda's technology. Mike Nguyen of the Big Nguyen Company reveals himself to be behind the newly merged city, "Pan", which he states for 24 hours would allow every citizen to easily explore each other's respective cities without any political and economic restrictions. Shortly after the announcement, Pan is suddenly beset by wyverns, which the agents, Giant-Man and Ikeda fight off.[27] The group is praised by Nguyen for their heroics and offers to enlist the agents as Pan's protectors along with Ikeda. Amadeus is suspicious of Nguyen and Ikeda, believing that the group is being used for publicity. Amadeus and Luna later have a confrontation with several armed members of the Pan Guard, who attempt to arrest a group of Madripoorian refugees that Amadeus and Luna rescued of being unauthorized to enter Pan. The rescue, fight with the Pan guard and subsequent kiss between Amadeus and Luna is broadcast by Nguyen as an attempt to sell Pan Passes to spectators[28]

Meanwhile, the original agents are sent by Jimmy to a temple in Thailand to rescue Avenger X from General Nurong and his forces. During the mission, the group encounters Nurong's master, a dragon named Mr. Thong, who reveals himself to be an enemy of Mr. Lao. Thong mocks the group as being pawns for Lao and warns them of the upcoming Clash of Dragons.[27]

Temple of AtlasEdit

As part of a viral marketing strategy to promote the series, fans could participate in an alternate reality game centered around the "Temple of Atlas" weblog on Marvel's website. There, readers received weekly prose excerpts of the exploits of Jimmy Woo and his team, and were given "missions" from the Temple's curator, the mysterious "Mr. Lao". The goal was to discover each week's keyword by following textual clues Lao would post on the messageboards of such comic book webzines as Newsarama and Comic Book Resources. They, along with IGN.com and Comics Bulletin, would also feature fake news posts that players would be led toward, containing more clues for finding keywords. Anagrams were regular, and on several occasions one keyword had to be taken "into the field" by going to a local comic shop and saying the phrase to the staff in order to receive a keyword in response. On two occasions, players were required to attend a Heroes Convention and the San Diego Comic-Con International to find keywords.

Other versionsEdit

In the Marvel Adventures: Avengers universe, a time travel story involved a 1958 version of the Agents of Atlas that found Captain America frozen in ice. The special was written by Jeff Parker and penciled by Leonard Kirk, same creative team as the Agents of Atlas miniseries.

Collected editionsEdit

The series have been collected into individual volumes:

  • Agents of Atlas (collects Agents of Atlas 6-issue limited series plus first appearances of major characters: Marvel Boy #1, Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (May 1947), Men's Adventures #26 (March 1954), Menace #11 (May 1954), Venus #1 (Aug. 1948), What If?#9 (June 1978), and Yellow Claw #1, October 1956, 256 pages, Marvel Comics, premiere hardcover, May 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2712-7, softcover, February 2009, ISBN 0-7851-2231-1)
  • Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign (collects Agents of Atlas vol. 2, #1–5, "Wolverine: Agent of Atlas" and the preview story from Dark Reign: New Nation, 184 pages, premiere hardcover, September 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3898-6, softcover, January 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4126-X)
  • Agents of Atlas: Turf Wars (collects Agents of Atlas vol. 2, #6–11, 176 pages, premiere hardcover, February 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4276-2, softcover, December 2009, ISBN 0-7851-4031-X)
  • Agents of Atlas vs. (collects X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas #1–2 and Avengers vs. Atlas #1–4, 168 pages, premiere hardcover, August 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4772-1, softcover, November 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4773-X)
  • Atlas: Return of the Three Dimensional Man (collects Atlas #1–5, and Assault on New Olympus material from Incredible Hercules #138–141, 176 pages, ISBN 978-0-7851-4696-4)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Richards, Dave (May 19, 2006). "The Marvel Universe Now with Extra Pulp: Parker Talks Agents Of Atlas". Comic Book Resources.
  2. ^ Richards, Dave (May 26, 2006). "The Weight of the World on his Pencil: Kirk Talks Agents Of Atlas". Comic Book Resources.
  3. ^ a b Marnell, Blair (May 10, 2019). "Introducing the 'New Agents of Atlas'". Marvel.com. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  4. ^ https://comicstore.marvel.com/War-Of-The-Realms-New-Agents-Of-Atlas-2019-1-of-4/digital-comic/51487
  5. ^ What If #9: "What If... The Avengers Had Been Formed During the 1950s?" at the Comic Book DB
  6. ^ Montgomery, Mitch (September 27, 2006). "Jeff Parker and the New Adventures of Old Marvel". Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006.
  7. ^ Richards, Dave (May 12, 2006). "Secret Avengers Reassembled? Paniccia Talks Agents of Atlas". Comic Book Resources.
  8. ^ a b Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust: "The Resistance" (by Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk, one-shot, Marvel Comics, August 2008)
  9. ^ Richards, Dave (July 24, 2008). "CCI Exclusive: Parker and Paniccia on Agents of Atlas". Comic Book Resources.
  10. ^ "Marvel's 'Dark Reign' Solicitations". Comic Book Resources. December 5, 2008.
  11. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (December 18, 2008). "Jeff Parker: Mixing the Agents of Atlas into Dark Reign". Newsarama.
  12. ^ Richards, Dave (January 12, 2009). "The Osborn Supremacy: Agents of Atlas". Comic Book Resources.
  13. ^ Richards, Dave (February 10, 2010). "Parker Remaps Marvel's "Atlas"". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Sims, Chris (July 13, 2010). "Jeff Parker and Ken Hale on 'Gorilla Man' and the End of 'Atlas' [Interview and Exclusive Preview]". ComicsAlliance.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  15. ^ https://www.newsarama.com/45299-agents-of-atlas-relaunches-in-august.html
  16. ^ "The Human Robot". marvunapp.com; Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
  17. ^ "Wonder What If No More!". Broken Frontier. July 10, 2006. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  18. ^ Spider-Man Family #4
  19. ^ Dark Reign: New Nation one-shot
  20. ^ Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1–4
  21. ^ X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas #1–2
  22. ^ Thunderbolts #139–140
  23. ^ War of the Realms: The New Agents of Atlas #1. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ War of the Realms: The New Agents of Atlas #2. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ War of the Realms: The New Agents of Atlas #3. Marvel Comics
  26. ^ .
  27. ^ a b Agents of Atlas Vol 3 #1. Marvel Comics
  28. ^ Agents of Atlas Vol 3 #2. Marvel Comics

External linksEdit