By TJ Dietsch
Since rejuvenating a nearly 30-year-old team of heroes from a 1978 issue of WHAT IF in 2006's AGENTS OF ATLAS limited series, writer Jeff Parker has been turning Jimmy Woo, Gorilla-Man, Venus, Namora, The Uranian and M-11 into among the biggest heroes in the Marvel Universe. So far, he's overseen the upstart group taking over a global crime organization and rumbling with the gods of Olympus, but the Agents have even bigger things ahead; namely a brand new ongoing series called ATLAS written by Parker and drawn by Gabriel Hardman with back-ups by Parker and Chris Samnee.
"We seem to have broken through that invisible wall of reticence many readers have about new characters, possibly because they're old characters," Parker says of the group. "But I think it's because we so thoroughly embrace the touchstones of pulp genres with ATLAS."
The new series kicks off not only with a Terry Dodson cover, but also a story involving 3-D Man, who appeared alongside the Agents in their first WHAT IF? appearance but not when they resurfaced.
"I left him out because he wasn't an original 50's character and I wanted Jimmy Woo to be an active part [of the team] rather than the guy dispatching them with a mission." Parker explains. "We're going to find out there's a connection in our modern world too when the current 3-D Man, Delroy Garrett, [formerly Triathlon] manages to find the secret city of Atlas and has a lot of strange questions for our team. It's going to be a mind-bender of a story that introduces some freakish new threats to the world."
As with the previous AGENTS OF ATLAS ongoing, the new book will jump around in time, but this time around, Hardman will be drawing the main story while Samnee will handle back-ups exploring the team's rich past.
"The main stories will be drawn by the incomparable powerhouse known as Gabriel Hardman, a.k.a. 'The Man Who Can Draw Anything,'" Parker touts. "And the back-ups will be drawn by another heavy hitter, Chris Samnee. The back-ups will feature the team from in the past, because I think it's important to show where these characters come from to know who they are now. Also we just may be seeding some developments in the current stories with those 50's adventures."
Speaking of older characters, with last year's celebration of Marvel's 70th anniversary and all those great Golden and Silver Age characters getting new leases on life, we asked Parker if he hoped to include anyone other stars from the past in his new book:
"I do, but I don't want to spoil that yet, but there are a couple of Timely/Atlas era characters I think can come back. And those other long-lost characters I mentioned [the back-ups] would be a good place for them to show up at first wouldn't it?"
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