Jeff Parker played both sides of the game in setting up this miniseries. If you like the modern-day Avengers, cool. They were in the last issue. Old school Avengers fan? Through the magic of Kang, you can enjoy them too. The obvious ties to “Avengers Forever” aside, “Agents of Atlas” readers have most likely read some iteration of the “Avengers” and should be moderately familiar with the whos and the whats of this issue.
Parker’s writing is near flawless in this issue. Sure, the Agents get the upper hand, but not through any means that contradicts anything set before. The scrum filling most of this issue is entertaining as only over-the-top superhero team versus superhero team fights can be. Classic misunderstanding, attack, cool fight scene match-ups like Iron Man versus M-11, Namora versus Thor, Giant-Man versus Gorilla Man all meticulously illustrated by Gabriel Hardman. Gorilla Man, of course, delivers a pitch-perfect one-liner. This one is pointed in the direction of Iron Man and it shifts the tide of the battle by distracting the man inside the armor.
If my review were required to be a thousand words long, this one image from the preview here on CBR would be enough to satisfy the requirement, cliches being what they are. Unfortunately, Jonah and Augie wouldn’t let me off that easily, so I’ll just tell you this: Gabriel Hardman is the perfect artist for the Agents, and darn near perfect for the early Avengers. His heroes are heroic, even though Hardman’s style is grittier and more photo-realistic than the style back when these Avengers originally saw print. Breitweiser adds a painterly style over Hardman’s drawings that give the comic a rustic feel. It’s not a comic filled with dazzling modern effects, it’s a comic filled with stunning visuals accomplished through modern tools. Hardman and Breitweiser are perfect for the adventures of the Agents, but I sure would like to see them revisit some early Avengers stories — maybe Cap’s Kooky Quartet. They can bring Parker along too, since he definitely understands these characters and isn’t afraid to write them.
The next issue blurb sets it all up very nicely: “More fighting.” What more do you need? With Parker, Hardman, and Breitweiser on board, I don’t need anything else! Bring it!
The backup by Scott Kurtz and Zach Howard, while brief, was effective, efficient, and quite funny. I’ve enjoyed Kurtz’s sense of humor for years now (I first encountered it on a panel dedicated to the memory of Mike Wieringo in Baltimore in 2007) but haven’t read anything from him in the superhero vein. “Nom. Nom. Nom.” That’s all I can say about this story that Kurtz jams full of action, adventure, humor, and irony. Howard delivers a fantastically ominous hibachi scene that is filled with peril for our man Jimmy Woo. It’s the perfect backup to a perfect main story: both filled with fun, excitement, great characters, and laugh out loud (or at least audibly chuckle) humor.