Archive for Marvel Atlas

Raise the Green Lantern


Green Lantern #29

A new storyline starts here — “Secret Origin” is meant to be the untold story of Hal Jordan’s life. We see him as a kid, idolizing his pilot father and watching him die in a plane crash. We see him as a teen daredevil, worried over by his mother, resented by his older brother, and looked up to by his little brother. We see him bailing on his family at age 18 to join the Air Force, where he crashes planes, fights with Marines (including future Green Lantern John Stewart) (and is that Radu Stancu, future proprietor of Radu’s Coffee Shop and Kyle Rayner’s landlord tending bar? I do believe it is!), and eventually slugs his commanding officer to get kicked out of the USAF. On top of that, we get a short look at Hal’s GL predecessor Abin Sur interrogating Qull and the demonic Empire of Tears about the dire prophecy of the Blackest Night.

Verdict: Thumbs up. We knew a lot of this already, but the added depth is great for fleshing out Hal’s backstory a bit more. However, I do think that Ragnell is correct that Geoff Johns should’ve done some more research about the Air Force — even I know that a pilot who takes a plane out on an unauthorized joyride and slugs his C.O. is going to be sitting in the stockade, not jaunting off to see his family.


Marvel Atlas #2

I reviewed the first issue of this way, way back in December. Similar to Marvel’s “Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe,” this focuses on notable countries instead of just people. This issue focuses on Africa, North and South America, and Antarctica. We get a few real countries, like Canada, Egypt, and Peru, plus a number of fictional ones, like Wakanda, Genosha, the Savage Land, and Atlantis. There’s no real plot — a few pictures, a ton of text, a ton of national stats, flags, histories, etc.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but with some reservations. The entries for Canada and the United States, though longer than the other entries, are still mainly a list of names of superheroes and supervillains. Clearly, there’s more Marvel history in those two countries than just about any other. So why shoehorn those two into a book along with the rest of South America and Africa? If I were Marvel, I’da released three volumes for this series instead of just two — one for Europe and Asia, a second for Africa, South America, Australia, and Antarctica, and a third focusing solely on North America. Regionalist, maybe, but this is the sort of project that benefits from being complete, and you don’t get that when you shortchange your most common settings to make ’em fit into a two-issue series.

Nevertheless, this book is great fun. Some of the smaller nations are a bit forgettable, but all the info about Wakanda, Genosha, and the Savage Land make this a Must-Buy purchase.

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Around the World


Marvel Atlas #1

This was the coolest comic I got last week. This one caught my eye on the shelf because I thought it was related to Marvel’s wonderful “Agents of Atlas” series, but what I found instead was still pretty sweet. You know those “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” books that Marvel has been printing since forever? The ones that spotlight a dizzying array of Marvel characters, list their biographies, adventures, background information, and so much more? Well, this does the same thing, but for entire countries.

Some of these entries are even moderately factual. Up to a certain point, the printed histories of Germany, France, Russia, and Japan conform entirely to what’s in our own history textbooks. Of course, these are Germany, France, Russia, and Japan in the Marvel Universe, so at some point, the Baron von Struckers and Doctor Dooms and Captain Britains start making their appearances.

And then there are the entirely fictional countries, like Lemuria, Sin-Cong, Morvania, Monster Island, and of course, Latveria. Among the cool details you get are the flags of Latveria (features Dr. Doom’s iron gauntlet), Monster Island (It actually has claw marks on it. I wonder if Godzilla actually designed it.), and Rumekistan (my favorite flag in the book — it includes a shield with a DNA helix on it); the short, tragic history of the fully depopulated European nation of Slorenia; and, of course, a great deal more. There is a lot of text here, and a lot of cool details about Marvel’s version of the world.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This issue dealt solely with Europe, Asia, and Australia. The next issue will focus on North and South America and Africa. You should pick up both of them.

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