"Agents of Atlas" Agent Profile: Woo, Jimmy Woo

Mon, June 12th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

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"Agents of Atlas" #1
For weeks now readers have been following CBR News's coverage of Marvel Comics "Agents of Atlas" mini-series and wondering who the mysterious fifth member of the team was. This week Jeff Parker declassifies the identity of the fifth team member, with the agent profile of former FBI and current SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo. Some readers might be thinking that that's not such a big revelation and they would be right. CBR News is proud to announce that its "Agents of Atlas" coverage will be expanded to one more part - this Friday we'll reveal for the first time anywhere the identity of the mysterious sixth team member of the Agents of Atlas.

Parker briefly discussed Jimmy with CBR News in his in-depth interview weeks ago, but since Jimmy is a core, active member of the Agents, he felt that Woo merited an expanded Agent Profile.

Unlike the rest of his compatriots, many Marvel readers might be aware of Jimmy as a character, but not really know it. "Jimmy Woo is like one of those lovable character actors whose name you can't ever get," Parker told CBR News. "He's been backing up bigger names in the Marvel Universe for years, and he's one of the characters they allowed to age. Though that wasn't always played up -- just a few years ago he appeared looking pretty young, but if you read his recent SHIELD profile, he's pretty advanced in

Covers to classic "Yellow Claw" Comics.
years. No one gave him a formula to drink or dropped him in suspended animation, he just kept working. You've got to choose what's canon. For example, I'm fine with saying he was flying around with Dum Dum Dugan in the Helicarrier chasing Godzilla, but I'm thinking Marvel proper isn't!"

Like his other team mates, Jimmy was introduced to readers before there was a proper Marvel Universe. "Jimmy came from the 'Yellow Claw' comic book of the '50s, tirelessly on the case of the criminal mastermind," Parker stated. "I don't know if there was simply a mandate to put out a Fu Manchu-clone book, but what I find interesting is that they at least let the hero be of Chinese roots, in a time that being balanced towards minorities just wasn't a priority. That has to be due to Al Feldstein beginning the writing of the book. He was a forward thinker and dealt with a broad range of social issues in his work, especially at EC Comics. The first art by Joe Maneely is lush and evocative, using Asian imagery as a design element throughout. It's too bad they didn't keep doing it, because the book really had its own feel. Not that anyone can complain about who took over next -- Jack Kirby! -- but his stories were much more influenced by Doc Savage novels, a different thing altogether. Jim Steranko brought Jimmy into SHIELD a few years later because, hey, the Yellow Claw turned up. That turned out to be a robot, but it gave Jimmy another chance to shine, so it's worth it."

An original "Yellow Claw" story featuring Jimmy Woo.


Since he was brought into SHIELD, Jimmy has had many scandalous experiences. "Jimmy Woo has been in SHIELD for years, and close to some ugly secrets," Parker said. "He's worked a lot in interrogation, and that's obviously not a pretty job. While he likely knew about the more questionable activities his own people were involved with, he wouldn't have much room to judge. He was hip deep in questionable activities of his own."

As "Agents of Atlas" begins, the chickens of Jimmy's questionable activities are coming home to roost. "At this point we're seeing a Woo near retirement, higher up in SHIELD hierarchy," Parker explained. "As we discussed before, at the beginning of' 'Agents' we find out Jimmy was running an investigation no one in SHIELD Directorate knew about, and an unauthorized mission he was in no condition for went horribly wrong. Had he been working on this secret for all those years, and what is this secret so big he didn't trust his own agency? But one of the themes of this whole storyline is the Second Chance. Life passes people by and windows of opportunity close. Maybe, just maybe, if you stick to your guns and never give up on your goal, even in the final inning a window will open again. And though you've been tainted by a grey world, that doesn't outweigh your time as a young optimistic idealist who could inspire some of the strangest people on Earth to charge into the demon pit with you. Somewhere in Jimmy Woo is that young, natural-born leader who some old buddies think is worth betraying allegiances and traveling 1.6 billion miles!"

Jimmy Woo will definitely need the help of his friends to survive his ordeal in the demon pit, but readers shouldn't think he's totally defenseless or dependant on them. "I'm sure some readers are wondering how Jimmy is supposed to hang with teammates who can control minds, fire death rays and the like. I don't think there'll be much doubt once he's back in action, and especially when his very grand destiny is revealed.

"And that's the team," Parker said. "Oh wait; we're forgetting someone, aren't we?"

Be sure to check back here on Friday when Parker remembers who we forgot and brings us the final agent profile, where we reveal his identity exclusively here on CBR!

Thought we were done with you? Not quite yet! Marvel has provided CBR News with a handful of never before seen interior artwork from issue #1 and #2 of "Agents of Atlas."

"Agents of Atlas" #1, Pages 5, 6 & 15


"Agents of Atlas" #2, Pages 1 & 2


 
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