The argument’s been made by a few of the people I know that the difference between Marvel and DC is that DC emphasizes story and Marvel features a lot of fighting. I’d more or less agree with this (although from the 60s to the 90s Marvel told better stories by and large). I just read a graphic novel that perfectly supports this argument: Agents of Atlas Vs. X-Men and the Avengers. This entire 168 page graphic novel is basically nothing but fighting. In fact, at the end of one of the issues it even says something like “Next Issue: More Fighting!”
There’s two story arcs included here, one where the Agents of Atlas fight the X-Men for 2 issues, and another where they fight the Avengers for four. The fight with the X-Men has a completely threadbare story. Atlas are missing one of their members, so they decide to use Cerebra (I don’t know what the difference is between this and Cerebro) to locate her. Instead of asking the mutants nicely, they try to steal it, only to be caught in the act by the X-Men and a battle ensues for a while, but you can probably guess how it ends (not to the death if that’s what you’re thinking). This would be a lousy read if not for a subplot added in where both teams are deluded into thinking they are back in the 1950s. The X-Men assume their original lineup as well as their original yellow and blue costumes (and Beast goes back to being just a thickset guy instead of a crossbreed between Frasier and Sonic the Hedgehog).
The fight with the Avengers involves some time-travelling too, finding Tony Stark back in his original suit that looked like it was made from stuff he found in his garage.
Both story-arcs are fun, but hardly satisfying since they contain very little story or character development. This isn’t a graphic novel I’d recommend buying, unless you find it on sale somewhere. It’s worth getting from the library.
This graphic novel did do one thing well: it made me a fan of The Agents of Atlas. It’s basically a team put together of characters that were created as early as the forties but were marginalized, so the writer Jeff Parker grabbed these disparate heroes and teamed them up. They’re a lot like DC’s Doom Patrol, with a lot of weird and different kinds of characters assembled together. One is a girl in a toga who’s supposed to be a siren from the days of the Odyssey, another is a retro-futurist robot named M-11, and my favorite is a big wise-talking gorilla.
One goof: on the back cover of the graphic novel penciled by Humberto Ramos, it shows Storm in a fighting position, but I don’t remember her ever showing up in the graphic novel. By the way, why isn’t Storm used more? I can never follow the X-Men scene.