Avenging Agents: Jeff Parker Pits the Agents Of Atlas Against The Avengers

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Jeff Parker's Agents of Atlas have taken the Marvel Universe by storm, as the cult favorite series continues rolling on with an array of miniseries, back-up stories, and high profile guest appearances. In January, the make a return to their roots of sorts, as the team that initially debuted in as an alternate reality 1950s version of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers gets the chance to meet face to face with the real deal, in their prime. Broken Frontier spoke to Parker about the sparks that will fly when Agent meets Avenger.

BROKEN FRONTIER: We've just seen the Agents go up against the X-Men in X-Men Vs. Agents of Atlas; what led to the idea for this latest miniseries, which sets them against the Avengers?
Jeff Parker: A really strange and disturbing time phenomenon brings them together. I don't want to spoil it as the story unfolds in a particular way, but it's not going where you might think.

BF: Will Avengers Vs. Atlas deal at all with the fact the Agents' first incarnation was actually as a 1950s version of the Avengers?
JP: Actually, no. In the Marvel history we operate with, they never called themselves Avengers like in the What If that introduced them. They worked for Jimmy Woo in the FBI's secret "Department Zero."

BF: Besides the fact that the 1950s Avengers timeline was erased in Avengers Forever, do you feel they work better as that kind of secret agency rather than an Avengers-style team?

JP: Yes. It was easier to keep state secrets then, too.

BF: Are there any plans for Triathlon to meet the Agents, given his connection with 1950s hero 3-D Man (although he wasn't a member of this incarnation of the team)?

JP: No.

BF: A number of different artists have drawn the Agents' adventures in their various series; on this miniseries, Gabriel Hardman does the honors. What does he do particularly well in illustrating their stories?
JP: Gabe brings a scale to it I just don't see in many comics, period. Without sacrificing character- his acting on the Avengers and Agents is perfect. It's not too surprising, he storyboards a lot of major Hollywood movies and has done some directing, he's just an incredible storyteller.

I love the way he draws Ken Hale. And he's long wanted to draw the original Avengers, which will be obvious when you see it. His Captain America and Iron Man are so perfect- they all are, really. This series really gets across everything great about Marvel comics, and Hardman is the big reason why.

BF: Ever since the original miniseries, Marvel seems to have real commitment to Agents of Atlas, not only with these current miniseries but also with back-up stories in Incredible Hercules. What do you think it is about this team that has connected with people?
JP: They scratch the nostalgia itch without wallowing in the past, which is a tricky thing to pull off. And I think readers like the fact that the team doesn't have the typical inner conflict- they like each other and are always looking out for their teammates.  Yet they still have built in unpredictability- you never know what the robot is thinking, or what is going to set Namora off. And Venus fights with desire, which always turns conflicts on their heads in interesting ways. Jimmy is a strong but humble leader who admits his mistakes. It's just really engaging  to watch them do their thing.

BF: What's next for the Agents?
JP: I think I'm going to push them into some other genres!

BF: Lastly, what other projects are you working on these days?
JP: I'm finishing up UNDERGROUND with Steve Lieber, that comes out from Image and is more realistic adventure. And coming in March is the collection from Wildstorm of the miniseries I created with Tom Fowler, MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE. That's going to be packed with extras, so I hope readers will order it!

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