What’s not to like about Jeff Parker’s Agents of Atlas?

Although the Atlas characters have been drifting around the margins of the Marvel Universe for a long time, it was Parker’s 2006 mini series that breathed new life into this quirky team of 1950’s oddballs. The critically acclaimed Agents of Atlas ongoing series was cancelled prior to Siege only to reappear under the new moniker Atlas as one of the flagship books of Marvel’s Heroic Age banner.

It seems the Agents have a shared history with Delroy Garret, the 3-D Man dating back to the 1950’s. The trouble is, neither Delroy nor the Agents can fully recall it. Even more mysterious is that Delroy was not the 3-D Man back then, meaning these memories can’t be his.

This second issue of this new arc is very much about the team’s courtship of the 3-D man prior to him joining the team. And in time-honored superhero-tradition, their relationship started in issue #1 with a fight. Issue #2 sees the Agents and 3-D man finding common ground and a shared mission. Along the way we learn the real cause of the recent volcanic activity in Iceland and there’s a hint that Bob Grayson – The Uranian – may be keeping something from his team mates.

Whilst the plot is intriguing, it’s the pitch-perfect tone that sets Atlas apart from other team books. With a huge nod to 30’s pulp and 50’s science fiction, there really isn’t anything else like Atlas in contemporary mainstream comics. Parker expertly balances his kitsch premise with top-notch pacing, dialogue and action that charms and thrills in equal measures. And where else could you see a killer robot, a talking gorilla and a telepathic alien in a flying saucer fighting subterranean sulpher-creatures?

Excellent stuff.

– Justin Hobday

Atlas #2

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