By Jeff Parker (writer), Carlo Pagulayan (artist), Jason Paz (inker), Jana Schirmer (colorist)

The Story: The quirky sci-fi heroes of Marvel’s 2006 surprise hit miniseries are back in a new ongoing series!  Taking a page from Norman Osborn’s Book of Irony, Jimmy Woo, Namora, Venus, Marvel Boy, Gorilla Man, and the robot, M-11, have assumed control of the Atlas Foundation, and are leveraging their perceived status as villains in an effort to attack Osborn’s own nefarious operations.  But when Woo and Osborn discuss lending support to each other’s empires, it seems even the youthful undercover agent may have succumbed to his own dark reign.

The Good: “Gorilla Man’s Continuity Catch-Up” had me in tears, as I was laughing so hard.  Funny beyond belief, it recaps Marvel’s last five event stories in a way that would have put Bendis, Millar, and Pak out of work if it had come out any sooner.  This issue was well-written and incredibly friendly to new readers by explaining who the Agents of Atlas are and what their agenda is, but in a way that doesn’t detract from enjoying the story.  By taking what is essentially a motley crew of goofy, throwaway characters and treating them seriously, Parker writes a story that can successfully be both silly and dramatic without ever feeling forced.  I love the idea of a group of heroes trying to beat Osborn at his own game by pretending to be villains, and can’t wait to see Woo’s machinations unfold in future issues.

The Not So Good: I was not a fan of Jana Schirmer’s colors.  Warm, fuzzy, and soft, her palette seemed overly-saturated in light, to the point where characters looked self-illuminating and radioactive.  Also, I could have done without the backup story featuring Wolverine.  While I like the idea of exploring the Agents’ history and past missions, this was an incredibly dull way to go about doing it.

Conclusion: There’s no reason a comic like this should work, but it does and I’m grateful to have something new and different to read!

Grade:  B

-Tony Rakittke