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Captain Atom #1 (DC Comics)

Written by Cat-Scratch on Friday, May 08 2009 and posted in Reviews
1catsratchlogo.jpgThis time about, Cat-Scratch's up a review on an old favorite of his from 1987, Captain Atom.

Captain Atom issue #1
Published by DC Comics in 1987.
Story Written by Cary Bates
Drawn by Pat Broderick & Bob Smith


The Story :

"Point Of Origin"
Nathaniel Adam has been strapped and wired into an "egg". An egg made of an alien metal, recovered from a downed spacecraft. Beneath the "egg" is an atomic warhead. The "egg" is dropped down a shaft, deep into the Earth. An experiment that, should he survive, will give Nathaniel a commuted sentence. Wade Eiling holds a letter for Nathaniel's wife, for should he die.
Eiling tears the letter in half as the "egg" plunges to the detention point.

Years later, a fighter jet is taking off when the pilot spots a flash of light and a strange figure standing in his way. The figure stretches out it's hands at the plane, bright beams of energy strike out and destroy some of the landing gear of the jet. the strange figure, having a molten appearance and glowing eyes begins to wander into the Air Force base. Security attempts to subdue it, but the figure continues to meet aggression with more beams of energy from out stretched hands. Security uses stronger weapons, the figure is knocked down, but is now talking, asking for a doctor.

Locked into an observation lab, the being begins to seem to compact it's form, until it finally begins to look like a silver skinned man with silver hair and glowing yellow eyes. It identifies General Wade Eiling as he stands over it. The being is Nathaniel Adam, he's survived Project Captain Atom. Eiling tells him time has passed since the project, decades. Later Eiling is confronted by Dr Megala, the scientist behind the Captain Atom Project. He tells Eiling that the project has proven to be a success, not the failure it had been thought of until now.

Nathaniel awakes, he finds himself on a rocket, being blasted into space. Eiling it seems has decided that he's too dangerous to stay alive. But this doesn't stop him. He escapes through super human strength, and quickly learns that he can also fly. As he flies, he's struck by a lighting bolt, he finds it almost invigorating.

Nathaniel is found at his old home by Dr Megala and his assistant. Dr Megala explains all he can to Nathaniel and offers to help him exchange for allowing further study into Nathaniel's abilities. It's quickly learned that he's incredible.

Eiling has been spying and now sees an opportunity with Nathaniel. He goes and sees Dr Megala and Nathaniel. He offers Nathaniel a new pardon, in exchange for being a government agent under his control. Eiling also shows that after Nathaniel had disappeared, Eiling had become husband to Nathaniel's wife. With nothing else for him now, Nathaniel agrees, his outer shell is modified with coloring and symbols. He is now the super-hero, Captain Atom.

The Review :

I really enjoyed this comic back in 1987 and I still enjoyed it today. Cary Bates story, reworking the Charlton character for what was then, the modern DC Universe was amazing. What a story of betrayal and rebirth. This was the start to a great series for that time and a character that now held a strange place. Shown as a powerhouse that could make Superman more then sweat in a fight. The players are set, the plots arrayed, this was the start to a series that had a real story to it. Why was Nathaniel there? What was his crime? Was he guilty or set up? Was he set up by Eiling so Eiling could steal his wife? Was Dr Megala a true help or just another manipulator for our hero?

The art was an automatic hit for me. I was already a fan of Pat Broderick's work in The Micronauts and Captain Marvel within the decade prior and this was a draw for me. I wasn't disappointed, his work was every bit as good as it had been prior. The flight sequence, the discovery of his abilities and there testing, all we're great to see. Bob Smith's inks took some of the polish off Broderick's work, but not much. I still think that it was a good teaming here as little else was changed in
the details. I liked the new line weight, slightly more then usual with Broderick, but still nice to look at. I also love the redesign that Broderick did for Captain Atom. Simple, clean and straight forward in just who this character is and about.

Overall, it was a great start and a fun trip in seeing an old character revamped for the future. I became a fan of the character with this issue and the subsequent ones. I think it still holds up and is more then worth a look at for today's readers. I'd call it a movie worthy comic. It's a pity with what's going lately with Captain Atom, reading this comic just reinforced it.
Go check it out and see why.

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