Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #4 (Story 2)

 Posted: 2007


In the 1950s, Special Agent Jimmy Woo was allowed to form a special team of unlikely heroes: Namora, Gorilla Man, Marvel Boy, Venus and M-11. Together, they are they Agents of Atlas!

Story 'The Producers'

  Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #4 (Story 2)
Summary: Spider-Man meets the Agents of Atlas
Editor: Nathan Crosby
Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Kris Justice

Spider-Man finds himself tackling a lizard who ISN'T Curt Connors, and getting tail-whipped in the process. Little does he know the Agents of Atlas are hovering nearby in their invisible ship, watching the action below in hopes of capturing the same creature. However, the inevitable team-up is off to a rocky start when Spidey ends up squashed like a bug in the windshield against the side of their ship. Recovering, Spidey tries to follow the creature into a theater, but learns its part of the show and is blocked by the usher out front. Ducking to the shadows, Spidey phones MJ about seeing the show as a scalper sells tickets nearby.

Later, Peter and MJ find their seats as his spider-sense goes off about the 5 seemingly ordinary people they sit near. Unknown to him they are the Agents in disguise. The Agents wonder why they garner such glances from Peter but all thoughts are put aside when the show starts. Special effects accompanying the sole actor's dialogue brings up images resembling the Agents. Then, he calls forth followers and seeks volunteers from the audience to join the cause. MJ tries to volunteer, but Namora cuts her off. The show continues until M-11 decides to interrupt with his eye beams, despite his teammates' protestations, and destroys one of the elaborate puppets that was about to be placed on Namora.

That causes the actor to order his minions to attack. Peter ushers MJ out of harm's way as she points out that the people in their row have revealed their true selves. Woo orders Venus to calm the crowd before they trample themselves as Gorilla Man and M-11 block the creatures from following out the exits. That's when Spidey bursts onto the scene, knocking them all down to get through the doorway. Leaping into action, he webs up Gorilla Man, then finds himself dodging strikes from Woo. M-11 manages to snag him in his arms, but it doesn't last long. It finally takes Venus to lull him down long enough for them to surround him.

Woo thinks Spidey's part of the trouble, but Gorilla Man vouches for him just in time for them to find Namora and Marvel Boy in a bit of trouble. Spidey wants to help, but everyone else holds back and watches Namora take care of things herself. The troublemaker beats feet and the Agents call their ship to track him down. Of course, Spidey's not one to be left behind and hitches a ride.

Spidey finally gets the skinny on the Agents and their mission after they reluctantly agree to his help. Venus informs everyone that the puppets used in the show were totemic vessels that become automations when combined with people and M-11's earlier action was to prevent Namora from creating an all-powerful one upon merging. Marvel Boy guesses that they must have some kind of psychic battery nearby to power all their magic. That, mixed with Woo's explanation of Atlas, gives Spidey the idea for them to check out the statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center. Sure enough, they find the monsters and are attacked. Spidey webs M-11 and gives him sufficient leverage to destroy the statue with his eye beams, ending the hold over the show's audience.

The team tends to the confused people, Woo ordering an exact copy of the statue to be made and replaced. Marvel Boy is assigned the task of wiping everyone's memories took keep them in secret; including Spidey who protests to no avail. Spidey uses all his will to keep himself remembering everything, but when he tries to tell MJ about it all later he discovers the Agents replaced all the key details about themselves. Peter decides to go rest, and tells MJ next time they're seeing a show off Broadway.

General Comments

Jeff Parker unites the web-head with his recently resurrected characters the Agents of Atlas from a sleeper hit mini-series he wrote. Parker has become known for his old-school styling and sense of humor, both of which show through in this story. There are some fun moments and dialogue, although the reasoning for Peter to involve Mary Jane in a case and put her in harm's way seems a little odd. Maybe she had to bring his suit? Money? It's never discussed. But once trouble breaks, the first thing Spidey admits is he doesn't do so well when she's around while he's working...so why bring her at all? It was accompanied by excellent pencils from Leonard Kirk, making it the best of the original stories in the book.

Overall Rating

4 Webs. A slight lapse in logic, but otherwise a good and funny story.

 Posted: 2007