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New Agents of Atlas #1

Posted: 10 May 2019, 16:32
by Cable
This is a War of the Realms mini

Full Spoilers:
Spoiler: show
Filipino superhero Wave is flying out over the ocean because she detects a disturbance under the water. She is confronted by Chinese hero Aero. They both end up getting caught in a volcanic eruption as fire demons emerge. Meanwhile at the Pan-Asian School for the Unnaturally Gifted in India, a teamwork demonstration against robots is being presented by Ms Marvel, Brawn, Shang-Chi, and Silk. It goes successfully though Brawn's impulsiveness knocks the others around a bit as the robot explodes. Later at dinner Kamala is clearly annoyed about it, and Jimmy Woo gives them all a speech about not wasting their time on pointless conflict and instead working together. He would someday like them to join him as elite agents of Atlas. Kamala and Brawn continue to argue however, about the Dubai secret he and Morales kept among other things, and she angrily says he can just lead the Champions now. He angrily refuses, recalling when he once lost control of himself as Hulk. They are interrupted by an alert from Jake Oh that New York is under attack by Malekith's forces. The heroes are about to rush to help when Woo has Brawn analyze the energy readings from the interdimensional portal. After doing so they find similar readings around the world including South Korea. Woo now says they have become Agents of Atlas and they head out, though Kamala says she will join the Champions in New York and orders Brawn to stay and be "Jimmy's problem now." Over in Seoul the fire demons are being countered by Korean heroes White Fox, Crescent (and her spirit bear Io), and Luna Snow. The Agents of Atlas are arriving in an airship piloted by Amadeus. Woo wants to form a plan first but Cho sees the fight below, says they need to hurry, and flies down into the battle. The ship gets shot down and Woo is knocked unconscious. Shang-Chi says Brawn has to face his worst fear now: he is in charge. When Brawn exits the ship, the Korean heroes end up fighting the Agents of Atlas because they have heard the Hulk is bad. Brawn also inadvertently freezes Luna Snow in ice. Woo is awake now and again implores them to work together while nearby Queen Sindr laughs that this land is now New Muspelheim. Cut back to the opening scene and Wave and Aero are waking up to find the fire demons there have been defeated by a flaming warrior woman: the fire goddess Tutu Pele!
I haven't gotten many of the WotR tie-ins (because my pull list is already full of all this Age of X-Man stuff) but I decided to get this because I was interested in the new heroes being introduced. And Pak does do a good job of making it seem like there is a whole world of superheroing that we only get to glimpse at, in this case various heroes from Asia. Of all the new characters, only the one from the Philippines (Wave) is actually totally original to this issue. Aero is from a comic book series published in China which Marvel seems to have made a deal with to try to break into that market (note at the end of the issue the editor mentions another character from that book, Sword Master, who does not appear here but must next issue). The Korean heroines Luna Snow and Crescent are from the Marvel Future Fight mobile game.

Of all these characters, Crescent seems most interesting since she has a tae kwon do fighting spirit bear and that's pretty rad. While the team is weak on western Asia representation I am actually glad Ms Marvel made her exit because she has plenty of other places where she can shine and she would just overshadow these other characters we need to see more of. It is a large cast but they need numbers to actually fight off an entire invasion of Asia by Muspelheim. I expect some good fighting scenes to come and artist Gang Hyuk Lim definitely seems up to the task.

I did think the subplot of Cho's leadership crisis was a little forced. He came across as a bumbling fool and he definitely isn't. But hey Pak created the character so who am I to say this isn't a proper depiction. It just seems like him facing the fear of not being able to be in control of himself is a rehash of the events that concluded with him becoming Brawn in the first place.

At the beginning with the Filipino and Chinese heroes bickering over who is in who's "jurisdiction" in the Pacific, Pak actually touches a little on geopolitics in Asia right now. With Marvel wanting to get into the Chinese market I wouldn't expect much closer examination of touchy subjects like that, but there definitely is a "why can't we all work together to solve problems" vibe being pushed strongly in the theme of this series.