Atlantis Attacks #1 Review

by Charles Martin on January 22, 2020

Atlantis Attacks #1 Review
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Ario Anindito
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I could start this review off with several hundred words of status quo recap in case you're not up to date on Amadeus Cho's Agents of Atlas and their current charge, protecting the portal city of Pan. 

But I don't feel the need to get into the details there, because this comic handles plenty of recapping on its own. The thorough explanations do a good job of making this #1 accessible to newcomers -- reading the previous Agents series isn't required to jump into this one.

Let me just lay out the core conflict driving this title so far: The portals that make Pan work are, we've already discovered, powered by a magical dragon. An Atlantean magical dragon. And Namor is exactly as happy about that as you'd expect, so, here he comes.

Readers who have bashed through the previous Agents comics may find this one disappointing on two major points: All the recapping cuts down on the space available for plot and character development, and Amadeus's team still suffers from a serious "and the rest" problem.

Greg Pak's script makes Amadeus, again, the core around which the story unfolds. And he delivers quality character work on his protagonist. Amadeus is finally adjusting to the weight of leadership, which is putting a check on his naturally brash instincts. 

The theme comes out onto center stage when Amadeus gets face to face with Namor. He asks the Sub-Mariner if he's a hero or a monster, and Namor replies that he's both -- just like Amadeus has to be. 

It's the nature of leadership, according to Namor. Besides a wham-bang superhero war, I expect this series will show Amadeus constructing a more humane rebuttal to Namor's theory.

As for the rest of the Agents, Silk gets a lot of dialogue, but mainly as Amadeus's exposition-swapping buddy. Wave gets a nice spotlight scene saving people from Atlantis's first exploratory attack. And the rest … are still just "and the rest," alas.

Artist Ario Anindito delivers some sweet visuals. His command of basic superhero action posing and panel blocking ensures the story stays clear. It's when he makes space for facial close-ups that he really shines. Those faces convey emotion through exaggerated features, but the organic lines defining the heads lend a sense of anatomical realism. (The core Namor/Amadeus talk is especially great on this score.) 

Colourist Rachelle Rosenberg adds significantly to the art's appeal. Overall, the comic gets a rich palette that's biased towards sea-colours, blues and greens and beautiful mixtures thereof. The closer the art zooms in on the characters, the more carefully the colours are handled. They go on in organic brushstrokes that complement Mr. Anindito's line style. It's an excellent artistic collaboration.

This comic tells an engaging story, and the telling is handled with thoroughly professional storytelling skill throughout the creative team. But it has the same problem that has dogged the new Agents of Atlas since their assembly in the War of the Realms: There is no standout premise or development that turns this good story into a must-read. 

The strongest reader-attracting draw here is the collection of pan-Asian heroes. But as already noted, these comics remain so Amadeus-focused that those attractive characters are constantly shorted on narrative focus. This particular issue, for example, is great if Wave is the Agent that most interests you. But if you're more concerned with Aero, Sword Master, White Fox, Luna Snow, or Crescent? Um … better luck next month?

Atlantis Attacks #1 kicks off by bringing the reader thoroughly up to speed with Amadeus Cho and the beef that puts his Agents of Atlas into conflict with Namor. The result is a nice, clear introduction for new readers -- but well-read Agents fans risk getting a little bored. They're also unlikely to be pleased with the ongoing shortage of attention paid to the Agents. A solid conflict, a strong central theme, and some appealing, organically-crafted art all work to keep this initial issue clear of true disappointment, though.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Is it too much of a spoiler to say that the last-page twist just adds to the "too many heroes" problem?