Or – “Why Long-Distance Relationships Don’t Work…”
Jimmy Woo and his Agents have crossed swords with tyrants, monsters, aliens, even the cyborg son of the villain known as the Mandarin, but nothing could prepare him for an opponent who shares his resources, who heads up an organization as pervasive and insidious as Atlas, who even has a bigger killer robot!Â Worse than that, his antagonist has been revealed to be his long-lost love Suwan…Â Fame.Â Ain’t it a b!+c#?
Previously, on Agents of Atlas:Â James Woo served SHIELD for years, putting a stop to every menace put before him (even GODZILLA!) but years of that sort of activity wear hard on a body, and Jimmy’s just gave out.Â That’s when the mysterious Yellow Claw rejuvenated his body, resurrected his mind, and revealed that their years of conflict were designed not to destroy Woo, but to prepare him as the Claw’s successor!Â Assembling several unusual free agents (the mysterious Human Robot, M-11; Venus, long believed to be the goddess of love; Namora of Atlantis, cousin of the mighty Sub-Mariner himsef; Ken Hale, the legendary cursed Gorilla-Man of Africa; Bob Grayson, once the superhero known as Marvel Boy, now embracing his alien heritage) with whom he had worked before, Jimmy went to work opposing the mysterious Atlas Foundation, only to end up as it’s new head.Â In the world of Dark Reign, Jimmy Woo and his Agents of Atlas have been playing at being super-villains, the better to get to those most in need of the smackdown.Â Recently, though, Atlas’ efforts have been thwarted by the mysterious Great Wall syndicate, led by a villain calling herself the Jade Claw.Â After infiltrating, Jimmy has discovered that J.C. is actually his lost love Suwan, the niece of the original Yellow Claw, also his legendary “one who got away.”
After a hilarious summary from Gorilla Man, (” ‘Sup.Â We’re the Agents of Atlas.Â Next month, we’re gonna go beat the crap outta the *coughWUSSEScough* X-Men…”) we join Jimmy and Suwan lying on the beach, enjoying a beautiful sunset.Â The villainess enjoys the moment, even revelling in the beauty of Venus’ singing, all the while explaining to Jimmy how she’s beating him and his agents, and destroyin everything he fights for.Â Jimmy shakes off the illusion, leaping into action and grabbing a dimensional trans-something-or-otherer from one of his fallen soldiers, and shifts into the Dragon Corridor (an alternate dimension that both Great Wall and Atlas use for easy transport around the world.)Â The Agents are forced into retreat, but Temugin, son of the Mandarin, follows after Jimmy, while Suwan and her evil robot give chase.Â The two men evade pursuit, but Temugin takes a bullet to save Jimmy, admitting how strange it is to rely on others.Â Jimmy manages to find his hidden flying Edsel (stashed her for just such an emergency, and the two descendants of the great Khans of history get away, thanks to Henry Ford.
Back at Atlas headquarters, the Agents rebuild the Human Robot, implanting him with a brain pattern from one of Earth’s greatest warriors (a chip simply labeled ‘The Greatest”) and Bob Grayson even figures out the source of Suwan’s evil robot’s superiority.Â Atlas mounts a counter-attack against Great Wall, even bringing along their dragon for backup.Â Jade Claw’s armies are stymied at every turn, with HER dragon counteracted by Jimmy’s dragon, her warriors forced to battle an Atlantean army under the command of Namor, and her M-21 death-bot neutralized by M-11.Â There’s a wonderful bit of interplay between Gorilla-Man and the Human Robot, wherein it is revealed that the engram patterns don’t work, and so the ‘bot stops talking like Muhammed Ali (“You’re an electronic bum!Â You’ll be scanning groceries when I’m done!”) and goes old-school.Â “DESTROY!!!!” bellows the Human Robot before ripping his foe apart with death-rays and flying steel fists.Â Venus even gets in her licks, punching out the Jade Claw and cheering before Jimmy surveys his fallen foe.Â She expects execution, but Jade Claw is surprised when Jimmy tells her that she’ll stay right where she is, running Great Wall under his control, with the day-to-day supervision of Temugin.Â “It would be my supreme honor,” replies the Son of Mandarin, as respect is finally balanced between himself and Jimmy.Â
This issue is a fascinating read, with unusual strategy by Woo, and character-based brilliance across the board.Â This three-issue arc hasn’t been a typical fighty-fighty, instead hinging upon Jimmy’s unorthodox tactical brilliance and Jade Claw’s not-quite-absolute villainy.Â There has been a lot of noise about AoA getting cancelled, but the AoA/X-Men series has been solicited, as well as the Agents as a backup feature in Incredible Hercules.Â Â So, the time has come for Matthew to call upon the Faithful Spoilerites…Â Â If you’ve been uncertain about this book, pick it up.Â Pick up the X-Men crossover over, if you’re an X-Men fan.Â Pick up Hercules and enjoy TWO wonderful stories.Â Â I really think that if even a few of ourÂ residentÂ “wait for the traders” jump in and start following the Agents, we canÂ help revive a title truly worthy of adulation (I’m looking at YOU, ‘Dark Wolverine.’)Â The art in this issue is by Dan Panosian and Gabriel Hardman, and it’s phenomenal throughout, with the robot battles and the alien dimension standing out as particularly excellent work.Â I have never made a secret of my love for this series, and I’m really saddened that a title of this quality hasn’t taken off and sold to everyone.Â Still, there’s no “official” confirmation of cancellation at this juncture (but then, there wasn’t with Ghost Rider, either, and I ain’t seen his book in six months) but I’m still concerned about one of my favorites.Â Agents of Atlas #11 earns 5 out of 5 stars, delivering drama, action, comedy, and world-class threats, while all the while remaining charming and accessible.Â Â Agents of AtlasÂ is the best Marvel has to offer…Â It’s a shame so few people realize it.