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52apolooza: Captain Atom

Written by Christian on Monday, October 17 2011 and posted in Reviews

Dr. Manhattan shows up in his very own DCnU book!  (Just kidding, it's still Captain Atom).  How does it do?  Click and find out!

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

The new Captain Atom series looks to have a Dr. Manhattan theme to it, with the bald, blue head and losing touch with humanity.  How does it do?  Read on and find out!

New Reader Reviewer: Kelly Symmonds

Writing- Having just learned that Captain Atom was the first Dr. Manhattan, I have a new found love for this character. The writing in the first issue has been J.T Krul's best so far... which isn't saying much, with his other current title being Green Arrow. I will continue to pick this up for the foreseeable future. This character has so much potential and I've got my fingers crossed that Krul is up to the challenge. 16/25.

captainatom1Art- The penciling by Freddie Williams II really gave this issue character. It felt very similar to Francis Manapul with the appearance of colored pencils. This kind of art and coloring really appeals to me. I find it to be the most engaging as a reader. There are many cookie cutter artists, but those who have their own very unique style really draw my attention. 22/25.

Accessibility- Yet another Dr. (insert name here) to guide us through the science of Captain Atom. While I do not mind the use of doctors as the mentor figure to our superheroes, there sure as hell seems to be a lot of these guys standing around working on metahuman related projects. I guess metahuman studies is the psychology major of the DCnU. Still a moderately accessible comic. 18/25.

Enjoyability- As I previously stated, my affection towards Dr. Manhattan has transferred to Captain Atom. Seeing Captain Atom as a struggling demigod will undoubtedly make for some awesome issues and will hopefully result in many epic two page spreads. Though I felt this first issue lacked the "oomph" needed to reach the better half of the New 52, the book gets a pass based on Atom having the powers of a god. 15/25.

Overall: 71/100
DC Reviewer: Porcelain38

Captain Atom, in all honesty, is a polarizing book. It’s one of the few books that screams “work in progress” when you read it.

Part of me wants to like the book. The concept of taking Captain Atom and making him more like Dr. Manhattan is what drew me to the book. Captain Atom always came across to me as a boring character whenever he appeared in Superman/Batman or Justice League: Generation Lost, so making him a conflicted god appeared to be a step in the right direction. Krul has a good handle on the inner conflict of the character and the loss of control he is having. The weird pseudo-science of the book is compelling and makes me hope for a cross-over with books like Frankenstein and Firestorm. Also all the solicited covers by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau have been absolutely gorgeous. So there are plenty of good things to like about this book.

Then there certain things that will annoy people. The biggest weakness of the book is the interior art. Freddie Williams is using a strange blend of cartoony and sketchiness on the book and sometimes it's a little jarring to see the transition between the two styles. This book is not easily accessible to new readers; it throws you into the middle of Captain Atom’s despair without really explaining who he is or where he came from.

In all, Captain Atom will end up being a “wait and see” book. If Krull can make the slow burn on this book worth it, it could end becoming one of DC’s best new books.

Writing: 20/25
Art: 15/25
Accessibility: 10/25
Enjoyabillity: 25/25

Total: 70/100
Marvel Reviewer: Aly Abbas

One of the questions a friend asked me about reviewing these comics is “Did the creator give his ‘A’ game?” After reading Captain Atom, my hope is that neither J.T. Krul nor Freddie Williams II gave their ‘A’ game because if they did, that’s just embarrassing for them.

First of all Captain Atom looks more like Dr. Manhattan. I don’t know who’s responsible for this. Whoever it was made a mistake because the new costume is not an improvement over the old costume in any way. In addition, there is something fundamentally “off” about the art. I’m not an artist so it’s hard for me to describe but it looks unfinished.

The writing is pretentious. Krul starts off with attempting to convey some great philosophical truth and includes some technobabble in the middle. All of that would be fine if any of the characters were engaging, but they are not. Additionally, Krul simply does not tell us enough about these characters. I got the gist of who they are supposed to be, but for a first issue that was simply not sufficient. Krul sacrifices characterization for plot and suspense, yet still does not make the plot interesting.
In the end this comic is simply not interesting enough to continue on with.

Writing: 15/25
Art: 15/25
Accessibility: 15/25
Enjoyability: 15/25

Total 60/100

Grab Bag Reviewer: Psivage

I have heard the stories about J.T. Krul and how he is the worst writer this side of Chuck Austen. So I went in expecting to read one giant Cat-Scratch-like post. Thankfully it wasn’t anything like a Cat-Scratch post. It was enjoyable.

The writing was good, it kept me interested all the way through.

The story starts off with Captain Atom stopping a armored menace pretty easily in a way he had never used before, namely rearranging the atoms of the armor and turning it to dust. Afterward, Captain Atom's hand begins to fade away. Bad sign there.

He flies back to his base where we are introduced to a bright-eyed scientist named Ranita and a grumpy old crippled scientist named Dr. Megala.

I should note right here before I forget there is a timer running throughout the issue that is counting down, though as to what I don’t know. So keep an eye on that throughout the story.

So anyways after consulting with Dr. Megala, which sounds like a villain name, NYC is in danger with a volcano and a nuclear meltdown nearby. So it’s Cap A to the rescue... or is it? He stops the meltdown but when he goes into the volcano it seems he starts to blend into the lava, could this be the end of Captain Atom?

Probably not. Oh, and there is a giant monsterous rat that is going to be a problem later on.

The writing was good, I didn’t have any problems with it, it kept me entertained and looking forward to the next issue. I think people like to bitch just to bitch as I found nothing wrong with Krul's writing abilities.

The art for me was hit and miss. Captain Atom was drawn great, even though I do have a slight problem with an energy wave coming off his head, which makes him looks like he is sporting a mohawk. Unless you are Mr. T or Animal from The Road Warriors you have no reason to have a mohawk. Some of the art looks like undefined scribbles. Maybe I’m just nitpicking.

If you are brand new to comics this might be a little difficult to get into, as there was no back story about Captain Atom, or how he got his powers or how or why he is a hero. It was hinted that he was a former pilot and that was it. So there is a lot to learn which could be a bonus if you want to start with a character that has no back story. If you knew Captain Atom before the “soft” reboot, you might be lost as well, I don’t even know if this is the same Captain Atom as before, since he was never called by his real name. But that being said...

I did enjoy it. There wasn’t a lot of action though, just talking with some action thrown in at the beginning and the end, but it will bring me back for issue 2. I’m most curious about the countdown. Yes, I know people will bitch that the countdown is very Spawn-like, but who the hell cares?

Writing: 20/25
Art: 20/25
Accessibility: 15/25
Enjoyability: 20/25

Total Score: 75/100

Final 52apolooza Score: 276
(Average Score: 69.0)

Written or Contributed by: BlueStreak

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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