WotR Damage Report: New Agents of Segregation
WotR: New Agents of Atlas #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Gang Hyuk Lim
Colorist: Federico Blee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Follow all of our War of the Realms coverage with the Damage Report!
The big war has plagued all of Midgard, and that includes Asia. Ironically, this book is not so much about inclusion, as it is segregation. I will get to that later. I’ll have to admit, I was reluctant to do this review for several reasons, the main being that I had a difficult time getting past the first five pages, but as I pushed forward I realized it’s connection to the other tie-ins and felt it worth mentioning. Before I get into my gripes, I’ll at least fill you in on how it pertains to the actual “War of the Realms” event.
Essentially, Jimmy Woo, leader of the Atlas Foundation and Headmaster of the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted, (I’ll get to that shortly, believe me) is building a team. His team consists of Brawn, Ms. Marvel, Silk, and Shang-Chi. After a bunch, really, a BUNCH of bickering over what type of Asian a pear was, they eventually make their way to fight Cindr, whom has laid claim to Asia since Malekith invaded. If you’ve been following “Journey into Mystery”, you’d know that Cindr has ties with Ares and a God-baby named Laussa, which has been an intriguing plot so far, so honestly that is the only reason I found this book to be interesting. Throughout the pages we get very random first appearances of some new characters, but only Asian of course. Yeah, there’s a theme going on here in case you haven’t noticed. These new characters include Wave, whom is shoehorned in in the very first panel, and taken out immediately, then there’s White Fox, Crescent, Io, and Luna Snow, a K-Pop sensation. Eventually everyone meets and teams up to try to take down Cindr, and at the end another random figure by the name of Tutu Pele comes out of the fire and offers help. I know it may seem like a quick overview, but that is really all that is happening in here that’s relevant to the event. It’s mostly just arguing about race as far as dialog goes, and that pains me to say, and throwing new characters at us.
Greg Pak is better than this. I have been reading his books for a while, and I’ve enjoyed almost everything. This, however, I did not. I am 100% behind an all Asian team. The point is to be inclusive. Good on him for introducing the first ever Filipino superhero. However, the way this was all delivered felt almost like it was written in the 70’s based on the lack of social awareness and acceptance and talk of racial superiority. The part that bothered me the most were the “pear” pages. There are arrows pointing out the specific type of Asian each individual character is, all whilst in an argumentative state about what part of Asia the pear comes from. Maybe it’s just me, but I definitely got an odd message from all of that. Beyond the pear issue, was the “Asian-only” school. If Xavier opened up a school in Asia he would never say “Asians only.” I found this to be disturbing to say the least.
I understand the (I hate using this term, but face it, that’s what’s going on here) “SJW” mentality to a certain degree, but this issue took things so far that it went backwards. I know Pak has been scrutinized for his ideals outside of comics, and that is fine because he’s kept it out of the books so far. He overstepped with this book, at least in my opinion. Will this be the last book of Pak’s I ever read? Of course not. Like I said, I enjoy most of his work. However, I will be reading the next three issues of this story only because of the event it is tied to, and I will do so with a grain of salt and the hope that this book turns around.
The art was the redeeming part of this book. I found both the line work and the colors to be very consistent and easy on the eyes. Most of the backgrounds were bland, but I praise that because all of the panels were so small. That helps the reader focus on what’s important, instead of having a jumbled mess of small lines in a small box. Overall, the art helped me enjoy this book just a little bit more.
I don’t know if I should be more disappointed in Marvel or Greg Pak for this series, but what’s done is done and I am willing to move on. There are several things in this issue I just don’t agree with, but there is still hope in the next three issues that this book can get past all of the in-your-face racial activity going on here and tell a damn story. A damn good story that I know this team is capable of pulling out. On the plus side, there are new characters that people can now grow to love and admire for generations to come, at least one would hope so.
I don’t know if I should be more disappointed in Marvel or Greg Pak for this series.