Jeff Parker Interview (DEC 08)

 height=Jeff Parker is the creator of The Interman and the popular writer of such books as Marvel's Marvel Adventures Avengers and X-Men: First Class. This month, he returns to the Agents of Atlas, turning the mini-series into an ongoing series. Recently, Westfield's Roger Ash had the opportunity to ask Jeff about this book.

Westfield: For those who are unfamiliar with Agents Of Atlas, what should they know going into this series?

Jeff Parker: Group editor Tom Brevoort came up with a great tag for the book's team that I wished I'd had when first pitching it, that they're the Marvel Super Hero Rat Pack. This is a team of unique beings who all briefly worked with the FBI in 1958 as a secret force headed up by young Agent Jimmy Woo. They were Bob Grayson, known as Marvel Boy, the inescapably alluring woman known as Venus, Ken Hale - a soldier of fortune transformed into the Gorilla Man, and M-11, a reformed killing machine sometimes referred to as The Human Robot.

Recently, the much older SHIELD officer James Woo was critically injured, and his original team came back for him in a big way. Woo was restored to the physical and mental state that Bob Grayson last saw him, so he's a bit out of time now. They put the team back together to fight their old enemy The Yellow Claw and added someone Jimmy always wanted on it, Namora - the powerful Atlantean relative of the Submariner.

I don't want to ruin the mini-series for anyone who still plans to read it, but the end result is that Jimmy actually ends up taking over Claw's empire known as the Atlas Foundation. So our good guys are in the awkward situation of running a villainous global network - which comes in surprisingly handy in the new era of the Dark Reign!

Whew.

Westfield: Is the book new reader friendly?

Parker: Yes. We give you most of the information you need to know throughout the story to let you jump on board and get in the swing of things. If you read the mini-series you'll pick up on more subtle stuff, but it's not necessary. Like in the Dark Reign special in December, if you read the first issue of the original series, you'll notice we're doing a twist on the structure of that intro book. But again, it's not necessary - new readers, welcome aboard!

Westfield: What can people look forward in the new series?

Parker: Readers keep asking 'what would happen if the Agents met - fill in your favorite Marvel character.' Now you're going to find out! It's fun to slam the anachronistic group into the modern Marvel Universe and watch how things play out. You'll also get to delve into the character's personal stories. Will Namora hook up with Hercules again like in his book? Will the actual goddess Venus meet up with this siren who's been using her name? And what is that robot thinking anyway?

Westfield: Will you be introducing any new characters to the cast?

Parker: Many. If you're familiar with Mr. Lao, their dragon advisor, he forces a new reserve member on the team to make sure they're proceeding with the official goal of Conquer The World. And we're also going to see Jimmy's old flame Suwan making her return to the modern day. Actually, she never went anywhere, as we'll see.

Westfield: You're working with Carlo Pagulayan and Benton Jew on the book. What do you feel that they bring to the project?

Parker: Powerhouse drawing like Agents readers have come to expect! Leonard Kirk established very solidly the Agents in the mini-series and now we are having fun with bringing in other megatalents to depict them. Also Gabriel Hardman, who I worked with on the Hulk/Frankenstein Monster special recently, will be drawing some of the team's 1950's adventures beginning as early as issue 2.

This kind of shows that we're ready to be part of the wider Marvel Universe, with new artists interpreting them, but I'm still guardedly hogging all the scripting for myself. Mine! Mine!

Westfield: Are there any other books you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Parker: If you'd like to see me handle more supernatural subject matter, and see the massive power of artist Tom Fowler unleashed, then you should also put in an order for our WildStorm book Mysterius The Unfathomable. (Here's a place of interest that may get you ready for that - http://www.mysteriusthegreat.com/) That and Atlas are making me extremely happy to sit down in front of the keyboard right now.

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