Or – “The Sensational Character Finds Of 1958…  Give Or Take Half A Century.”


Namora of Atlantis.  Serious biceps on a serious superhuman.  The various Agents of Atlas each have their own special niche in life, and hers is “The Muscle.”  More reasonable than her cousin, more powerful than her disintegrated daughter, she still looks pretty awesome in black leather and a crown of shells.  Now, take this into account: She’s over 75 years old.

Kinda puts Grandma in a whole new light, doesn’ t it?

AA1.gifPreviously, on Agents of Atlas:  Since the reactivation of the team a few months ago (of course, in Marvel time, it’s probably been a hour and a half) they’ve seen a lot of action in the Marvel Universe.  Having overthrown the Yellow Claw (revealed to be the last Mandarin, who has spent his evil career preparing Jimmy Woo to be his successor) the Agents have also taken control of the Atlas foundation and posed as supervillains, successfully enough to fool Norman Osborn as to their motives.  When former Spider-Man villain Man-Mountain Marko nearly discovers their ploy, he is eaten by , Mr. Lao, the mysterious brains behind Atlas, who is himself a giant #@$&ing dragon.  Lao has also taken great pains to bring in a successor to Jimmy Woo, in case something should happen to him in the line of duty.  The replacement?  Temugin, the son of Marvel super-villain the Mandarin!  Dum dum DAAAAH!!

Bad things are foretold in this issue, as another former Spider-Man villain shows up under Norman’s command to liase with the Agents.  “Who’s the big pimp,” asks Gorilla-Man (Heh.) and it is revealed that he is the Grizzly, as minor-league as Man-Mountain Marko, with half the street cred.  Venus is sent to find Marvel Boy, and we flashback to a previous mission of the Agents, circa 1958.  The agents are sent to investigate a “Phantom Jet” that keeps appearing above the California desert.  In the present, Bob (Marvel Boy) Grayson and Venus have a very cute moment where she apologizes for upsetting him, and he replies with a wry smile, “Has any man ever been mad at you?”  Outside their saucer, The Human Robot, Namora and Gorilla-Man offer to sell Norman’s frontman a special EMP weapon, but Grizzly snorts that they don’t care about anybody who doesn’ t have real powers.  “So…  your boss isn’t interested in stopping people with advanced flying armored suits, nothing like that?” smirks Gorilla-Man, and Marko grudgingly accedes.  It’s a well-written bit for the Primate Agent, who then turns and shoots one of Norman’s helicopters out of the sky.

Grizzly is impressed, moreso when Namora catches the plummeting copter with her bare hands, but when Grizz threatens to test it again on The Human Robot, she plows into him, full-force, smashing him WITH THE HELICOPTER.  She rages out of control, flinging the ship away with a shrug of her shoulders, and stalks away to the ship.  “Now how much would you pay?” asks G-Man.  I love every word out of the ape’s mouth, by the way.  Back in the 50’s, the team continues their investigation, finding out that the plane seems to be piloted by a skeleton, and encountering Jimmy’s fiancee Suwan (while also getting Marvel Boy drunk.)   A skinless monster attacks, and we cut back to the present where the team meets Temugin, who makes a total ass of himself until Marvel Boy telepathically takes over his mind.  “Everyone is vulnerable to being caught off-gaurd.  EVERYONE.  Do NOT enter my saucer without permission again.  Is that understood?”  Li’l Mandarin acquieses, and the team realizes there’s a viper in their midst.  Back in 1958, what looks like Soviet commandoes arrive to take Suwan into custody, and our guys end up on the wrong end of several dozen guns…

This is a good book.  That’s really all there is to it.  Two different art teams handle the two different eras, but both are distinctive, and both are very well done.  Jeff Parker continues to nail the characterization, with Namora’s flip-out sealing a deal with Osborn, while Gorilla-Man is sneaky and snide, Marvel Boy detached and ominous, Venus ever-changing, and The Human Robot completely inscrutable, as always (though it should be noted that the Robot goes out of it’s way to stop Namora’s rampage, implying something…)  Overall, it’s a total package, putting new(ish) characters in an old and deep setting, and doing a very good job of some seamless retconning.  Agents of Atlas #2 is a gem, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I’d love to see this book get some mainstream love, because it’s the best Dark Reign title thus far.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. RichT
    March 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm — Reply

    I agree with your summary and judgement of this. I finally found a Marvel title, other than Dare Devil, that I actually like and characters that I can care about.

  2. Jerard
    March 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    I Just want to say that i thought i was one of those people that was never going to buy another main event book. But am really liking dark reign and find my self buy one more dark reign book every week with a smile

  3. Ricco
    March 17, 2009 at 11:44 am — Reply

    I don’t know why, but I got the impression there’s some sort of relationship between Namora and the Human Robot.

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