By Neil Kleid
With his comic book career as an indicator, Jeff Parker can certainly be called a student of the unusual.
Besides crafting a series of well-received, M.O.D.O.K.-enhanced Marvel Adventures stories, Jeff has penned the nostalgic look at Marvel history in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS along with a variety of standalone stories featuring monsters, mutants and mayhem.
However, Parker may be best known for masterminding the adventures of the Agents of Atlas, a motley group of heroes from a post-McCarthy, secret and suspicious Marvel Universe that operate in present day America.
With a new AGENTS OF ATLAS ongoing series scripted by Parker with art by Carlo Pagulayan premiering February 4 amidst the paranoia and deceit of the universe-spanning Dark Reign event, we corralled Jeff to see how the team fits into a sinister new America.
Marvel.com: Straight to it, Jeff—what place does a Gorilla Man have in Norman Osborn's new world order? Who are the Agents as Dark Reign descends?
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It's a very Gorilla Man kind of world out there in the Marvel U these days. Jimmy Woo and his band of heroes were likely looking forward to going public after the Skrull invasion, letting the world know that they were on the job to do good, and then the status quo flipped completely over! So now the Agents of Atlas are using their control of the global—and generally evil—Atlas Foundation to get them in closer to the powers-that-be so they can affect the most change possible.
Marvel.com: With the Yellow Claw out of the picture, what new, deadly enemies will the team be facing?
The deadliest, like, Captain America! The Avengers! The X-Men!
Marvel.com: When last we saw them, the Agents were using underground guerilla tactics to help battle the Skrull invasion. How will they be operating as Dark Reign unfolds?
They really stay on that course, and everyone has to often play the heavy—well except for Namora and Gorilla-Man, who are still essentially being themselves. But yes, they are big into plans and operations.
Marvel.com: Since the Agents operate out of San Francisco, newly established base of operations for the X-Men, will the two teams battle it out for dominance of the Bay Area?
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In a word, yes
Marvel.com: Okay…in a few more words then, what other immediate storylines can we expect to see in the series?
Remember that they functioned for a good chunk of a year back in the 50's, so we're also going to be visiting their actions in that time as well. All stuff that has relevance for what unfolds here in the 21st Century, too.
Marvel.com: You have a tendency to populate your books with "unique" characters: M.O.D.O.K. Avengers, talking gorillas and dragons—you even just wrote a Frankenstein story for MONSTER SIZE HULK #1! Jeff, what draws you to the strange and unusual?
I think it's because of this: even though I rarely draw anything for Marvel, I tend to write as if I were going to draw the scripts, so I tend to fill my stories with things I want to draw. It tends to work out pretty well for the artists I work with, who not surprisingly don't like drawing talking head sequences. And even if I do give them such a sequence, one of those heads might be M.O.D.O.K.
Come back tomorrow as we continue Dark Reign-Makers with DEADPOOL and WOLVERINE: ORIGINS writer Daniel Way!
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