AMAZING ASIANS. This image provided by Marvel shows the cover
of the first issue in New Agents of Atlas, Marvel Comicsí
five-part standalone comic-book series set to roll out in August
2019. The series features established icons such as martial-arts
master Shang-Chi and newbies like Wave, the newest Filipino
superhero. (Jung-Geun Yoon/Marvel via AP)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #11 (June 3, 2019), page
Asian, Asian-American heroes to power Marvel
By Terry Tang
The Associated Press
Asian superheroes ó assemble.
Marvel Comics is giving ink to an unprecedented team-up of
its mightiest Asian and Asian-American heroes, also known as the
New Agents of Atlas. Established icons such as
martial-arts master Shang-Chi and newbies like Wave, the newest
Filipino superhero, will team up in a stand-alone, five-part
comic book series starting this summer, the publishing giant has
told The Associated Press.
The roster of 10 super-powered pan-Asian champions made their
debut as a team in May in The War of the Realms: New Agents
of Atlas. That comic book is one piece of an ongoing saga
involving several different groups across the Marvel universe,
including the Avengers, doing battle with a fire goddess. But
the exclusively Asian limited series is set to roll out in
The man leading the heroic charge is veteran comic book
writer Greg Pak. Pak is credited with ushering in a new era of
Asian characters in co-creating Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American
genius teen. The character first appeared in 2005. A decade
later, he absorbed the Hulkís powers and started going by Brawn.
"Itís always been my dream to do a team book using a bunch of
Asian and Asian-American heroes," said Pak, who thinks thereís
more appetite for representation with the success of the movie
Crazy Rich Asians. "Thereís literally never been a better
time in my memory with more opportunities for doing work that
specifically includes Asian and Asian-American characters."
The decades-old character of Agent Jimmy Woo (portrayed by
Randall Park in last yearís Ant-Man and the Wasp movie)
leads the pack as head of the revived secret protection society
Atlas. Others getting in on the action include Brawn and Cindy
Moon, who is the Korean-American web-shooter Silk.
Other recruits have only previously been seen in Marvel video
games or web comics available exclusively in Asian countries.
Among them is Korea-born Luna Snow a.k.a. Seol Hee, a K-pop star
who can manipulate frozen elements. Thereís also Aero and Sword
Master, the products of creatives in China. Besides
crime-fighting, the group will spend time doing things like
eating dim sum or singing karaoke.
"That kind of diversity within diversity is amazing," said
Pak, who is half Korean and half white. "No one character here
has to represent all Asian-ness or Asian-American-ness. Thatís a
ridiculous demand for any character."
The rest of the "Atlas" creative team includes writer Jeff
Parker and artists Nico Leon and Carlo Pagulayan. In the series,
the do-gooders find that someone has flipped a switch and
created a "cross-Asian portal city" called Pan. In Pan, Asian
neighborhoods get geographically scrambled and then stitched
together into one city. So, the streets of Tokyo could be next
to neighborhoods from Honolulu, Manila, and some of Marvelís
fictitious Asian countries.
Filipino-American blogger Loren Javier, 50, discusses Marvel
comics on his "Castles, Capes & Clones" podcast and blog. There
were few Asian characters in the lexicon he could look up to as
a child, and many were often stereotypical mystics or
"I love Marvel but I didnít necessarily see myself in the
comics," said Javier, who recalls being teased by a classmate
who called him "the enemy."
"Now, finally, I think about kids who are reading this new
generation of comics and heroes and getting to see themselves a
little bit more," Javier said. "Itís very powerful."
Charlie Kirihara, who is half Japanese and half white, was
thrilled by New Agents of Atlas and tweeted at Pak and
Marvel pleading for more content.
Kirihara, 26, said it was a welcome change to see characters
who represented Asian and American cultures in The War of the
"I read through the book and realized that was the first time
Iíve read a comic book that was all these Asian characters and
that wasnít manga written in Japan," Kirihara said, referring to
a genre of comics or graphic novels. "I want to see it have legs
beyond this storyline."
Thatís Pakís wish as well. But it depends on how Marvel finds
the fan response.
"If people buy the heck out of it, Iím happy to keep writing
them," Pak said.