Writer(s): Christos Gage, Jeff Parker, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Jim McCann
Artist(s): Mike McKone, Gabriel Hardman, Giancarlo Caracuzzo, Jamie McKelvie, David Lopez, Kevin Walker
Cover by: Bryan Hitch
If you didn’t pick up this one-shot, you might be slightly foggy when you buy five other titles in the near future. Contained within this book, we were shown a lead-in to two new books, a reboot, and two ongoings that will be taking a new direction. I’ll break them down separately to make things easier to follow.
The first story in the book was called “Admissions,” and was the lead-in for the new title, Avengers Academy. I must start off by saying that when I previously saw some of the teasers, I was already slightly turned off to this book. Not the idea mind you, but definitely the characters I saw. This one showed Reptil being used as a guinea pig in one of Osborn’s labs. The lab eventually gets word Norman has been arrested, so the commanding officer starts to destroy any “evidence” of this vile project. He starts with the doctors, and then turns his attention to Reptil. This character’s powers are that he can turn into dinosaurs, or specifically turn parts of his anatomy into dinosaur parts. If this is the best character and idea for a lead-in…may the big man upstairs have mercy on our souls. Story by Christos Gage, art by Mike McKone. 2/5
Next up is “Heroes for the Ages” by Jeff Parker with art by Hardman and Caracuzzo. This was a great story, especially in contrast to the first. It showed the Agents of Atlas on an adventure in Hawaii back in the 1950s. They responded to a giant rock like creature that was tearing up Waikiki. This creature ended up being a primitive Kree Sentry that had been sent to Earth thousands of years earlier. Eventually, the team seems to destroy the beast, but then a part of its brain escapes and vows to awaken again in fifty years. Flash forward those years, and we see the Kree Sentry again, terrorizing the same area. The Agents once again answer the call to stop the threat. Meanwhile, the 3-D Man is watching on television and shows that he has an agenda for finding the Agents. Great issue overall, and good starter for the rebooted Agents of Atlas series. 3.5/5
The third story is called “Coppelia” and stars The Black Widow. Story by Kelly Sue Deconnick, and art by Jamie McKelvie. Another good story about Natasha doing her thing as a super-spy extraordinaire. She is in Moscow and is trying to steal a device from an arms dealer named Sarkis Sakal. Widow ends up finding out that the device called “tiny dancer” is actually a young girl. She then uses her superior intellect and skills to outwit the security and KGB types that are guarding the girl. Once her and the girl are outside, they get into a bit of a physical confrontation, but that ends quickly due to Widow’s impressive fighting skills. Once that is settled, the two women make their way to the point where Widow is to meet her contacts. At this time she realizes that she’s been set up. She and the girl get into her car, and she makes a call to Steve Rogers to bail her out. Another solid plot, with good artwork as well. 3.5/5
Our fourth story starts out in Chinatown with some hoods running for their lives. They are soon confronted by Hawkeye, and find out why he’s the best in the world with a bow. After putting one of the guys out cold, the other dude runs, but is soon met by Mockingbird. She puts him to sleep, and then turns her attention to two more thugs who have joined the party. A helicopter is trying to help the two crooks escape, but Hawkeye uses his acrobatics to get aboard and tell the clown to land or get an arrow in his ugly lid. As Clint is tying up some loose ends, we see Bobby talking to someone. She immediately clams up as soon as Clint gets within range of hearing. We don’t get any clues as to who she’s talking to, but we do then see the former wedded couple agree to go on a date, then embrace and kiss. All in all, I think it was decent, but I didn’t order this book because my pull list was getting too heavy. I’ll be keeping an eye on Hawkeye and Mockingbird though. 3/5
Finally we have “Top Dog” by Jeff Parker, with art by Kevin Walker. This showed inmates at The Raft going over all the new changes to the security. As a group of them are walking around, they see a new inmate arrive. It’s Norman Osborn. They talk tough about how they know it’s supposed to scare them and keep them in line, but they say it doesn’t work. Meanwhile, a guard is sticking pretty close to this group and listening in on their conversation. At one point in the yard, the guard tells them that there is a way out of the prison before their sentences are up. He tells them that the government is starting up the Thunderbolts program again. They pretty much laugh in his face, and then tell him he’s going on a power trip and they need to teach him a lesson. They start to attack him, but soon realize they’re up against more than an everyday prison guard. It’s Luke Cage under the uniform, and he lays a beat-down on the tough guys for their trouble! He tells them and everyone else in the yard that the Thunderbolts program is a chance to redeem themselves, and to show up for training if they want to. Luke then meets up with Steve Rogers and tells him about his undercover brother routine. Steve tells Luke it was a great idea, and thinks that without a doubt, Luke Cage is the man for the job! 4/5
I’m glad I bought this book even though I’m only currently ordering Agents of Atlas. I really think I’m going to start ordering Thunderbolts and maybe even Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and Black Widow too.
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