Last week, it was announced that "Atlas" would be ending with issue five at the request of writer Jeff Parker. The book will be missed no doubt, but fans don't worry, because with this week's issue, there's still two more to go. Hopefully, they're of the same quality as this one. Continuing "The Return of the Three Dimensional Man," "Atlas" #3 divides its pages between that story and a short showing the origin of M-11, the team's killer robot, with both stories having very strong art.
This issue begins with the team and 3-D Man (the former Triathlon for those who missed the change) investigating the death of Chuck Chandler with the Uranian using his advanced technology to present the events that happened that night. It's a case of the team being up against body-snatching beings, but the 3-D Man can see them thanks to his goggles and because they don't act like the people they inhabit. The threat here is a simple but effective one because of their unknown numbers and abilities to use innocents as shields. This is shown when Atlas returns to its base to find that the warrior scholars have been taken over.
Parker's writing is solid, but a little mechanical in its dialogue. There's little flavor. It's mostly matter of fact meat and potatoes fare, which isn't a problem, but makes for a dry comic. As well, he reuses the same method of figuring out the body-snatchers are inside someone when different characters are called by a different name than usual. Not so much a problem as something that I would have liked to see avoided. His writing on the origin of M-11 story is similarly solid in plotting, but dry in dialogue.
Parker, though, is paired with a couple of great art teams in the Gabriel Hardman/Elizabeth Breitweiser duo and Ramon Rosanas flying solo. Hardman's drawing style is sketchy and bold, using extreme contrasts of light often. He does dynamic action well, especially towards the end of the issue. Where he's most impressive is in his presentation of the events that befell the Chandlers with a much more impressionistic style that stands out from the rest of his art. Breitweiser's colors reflect the extremes in Hardman's art, using simple colors for the most part. Together, they produce page after page of interesting, bold, compelling art. It's the sort of art that you can spend a lot of time poring over.
Rosanas, on the other hand, is very clear and concise in his art. His lines are thin and he judiciously decides on how much line work is necessary for detail. Characters have the minimal amount of lines, while settings are more detailed. While not as bold as the art on the main story, it's very good and would be at home on any superhero title.
"Atlas" #3 is a good superhero comic where the art outshines the writing a little. Parker crafts an interesting, entertaining story, but his dialogue is flat. It's easy, though, to see why so many love the book.