Back in June, Jeff Parker’s excellent action and adventure series Agents of Atlas got its first complete collection. This week, volume 2 drops and it holds some of the most exciting superhero crossovers of the Agents of Atlas’ careers. We’re talking X-Men misunderstanding fights, Avengers throwdowns, and plenty of Wolverine. It was a smart move to increase interest from fans of other creators, but it’s a great way to show how the Agents of Atlas can throw down with the best of them.
The book opens with an adventure involving Namor and Namora that took place during Dark Reign. If you’re not familiar with that Marvel event, know that Norman Osborn was pulling strings and Namor was on his side. The Agents of Atlas are none too pleased, but as a leader of an entire people, he has to look after their best interests first. Soon, Namora has pulled off the team after falling in love with Namor (don’t worry, they explain they aren’t really related), and off the story goes involving Hulk, a lot of dragon action, and plenty of war-torn and monster action. If you enjoy Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. you’re going to love this team and their dynamics. The variety of powers is great fun and it’s interesting to see how Parker writes a telepath, or how Venus is scantily clad for a reason since she uses a power that makes everyone fall in love with her.
There’s a proper amount of familiarity with the team until about a third of the way through when the X-Men mini-series kicks into gear. Yes, the recent resurgence in X-Men is likely a reason the cover of this book features the X-Men, but it’s also one of the most exciting and entertaining chunks in this book. It comes with a surprise or two, but plenty of fight-comic fun. Carlo Pagulayan draws all the characters very well and there are some clever depictions of all the characters’ powers, which makes the fighting all the more intriguing. It’s an interesting combo in part because the adventure drops a bit to feature more action. Sadly it’s only two parts, but it adds weight to the history of the Agents of Atlas.
The Avengers mini is drawn by Gabriel Hardman who gives the book a gritty look that suits the Cold War sort of feel of the story. There’s some monster and even Spider-Man action to be had too. This is a bit longer at four issues, and it needs it with the great action, twists, and more. Seriously, seeing Venus seduce Thor and Captain America is a sight to see.
There is more than the mini-series, like Norman sending the Thunderbolts after the team, and Venus fighting a Kraken beast, but that’s the joy with a series like this. The adventures can shift and change depending on the issue.
This is a good second volume in the Complete Collection series. It gives you enough of the Agents of Atlas before diving into the X-Men and Avengers tie-in series, which is when the action is premiere entertainment.