agents of atlas

Right as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is coming to a close, Marvel Comics is coming in strong with their most exciting move toward Asian representation yet. Marvel is teaming up its mightiest Asian and Asian American heroes in a new stand-alone limited series titled New Agents of Atlas. The series will feature established heroes like Shang-Chi (who will be debuting in his own Marvel Studios solo film in a few years) and new Marvel heroes that have never been featured in U.S. comics before.

Marvel kicked off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month right earlier this month when it introduced a line-up of 10 super-powered pan-Asian champions in the comic book crossover event The War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas. But Marvel isn’t containing the Asian representation to one month — the comic book publisher announced it will be stretching it out to a whole summer with the launch of New Agents of Atlas in August.

Written by Greg Pak and Jeff Parker with art by Nico Leon and Carlo PagulayanNew Agents of Atlas will feature Marvel’s first all-Asian superhero team that includes the likes of classic heroes like Shang-Chi, Amadeus Cho (Brawn), Cindy Moon (Silk), and Agent Jimmy Woo alongside new faces like Lei Ling (Aero), Lin Lie (Sword Master), and Pearl Pangan (Wave) as they “defend the cross-Asian city of Pan from the science-magic threat of a classic Marvel villain.” The city of Pan is created when several Asian neighborhoods get geographically scrambled and mashed together in the aftermath of some portal magic.

See the cover for Agents of Atlas #1 below:

“It’s always been my dream to do a team book using a bunch of Asian and Asian American heroes,” Pak told the Associated Press, crediting the runaway box office and critical success of Crazy Rich Asians last summer for bringing to attention the thirst for Asian representation. “There’s literally never been a better time in my memory with more opportunities for doing work that specifically includes Asian and Asian American characters.”

Pak, who is half-Korean and half-white, gushed about the comic’s “diversity within diversity,” with characters hailing from all across the Asian continent, in addition to the Asian-American characters. Most notably, New Agents of Atlas will feature the U.S. comics debut of characters previously only seen in Marvel video games or web comics only available in Asian countries. That includes Korean-born Luna Snow, AKA Seol Hee, a K-pop star who can manipulate frozen elements; and Aero and Sword Master, characters introduced last year in digital-only books that were made by Chinese creative teams.

This is a real exciting display of representation from Marvel — and a smart way to build up hype for Shang-Chi. While I do wish some South Asian and Southeast Asian characters could make it to this team (Kamala Khan is right there!) this is an unprecedented team-up and a wonderful gesture toward a minority community that so often gets ignored by Hollywood. In the wise words of Sandra Oh, it’s an honor just to be Asian.

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