Captain Atom 1: Evolution

captain atom volume 1 evolution cover stanley lau art new 52
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10

Idea of the character as a weapon

Not enough direction, too powerful

Comic Info

Comic Name:   Captain Atom (Volume 2)

Publisher:   DC Comics

Writer:   J.T. Krul

Artist:   Freddie Williams II

# of Issues:   6

Release Date:   2012

captain atom #3 cover flash new 52 stanley lau art

Captain Atom (2) #3

Reprints Captain Atom (2) #1-6 (November 2011-April 2012).  Endowed with extreme power, Nathaniel Adam finds himself transformed into the being known as Captain Atom.  With the world fearing his power, Nathaniel tries to adjust to his new power with the help of the scientists at the Continuum.  Captain Atom’s immense power also attracts the attention of General Eiling who sees Captain Atom as the next weapon in the war on terror.  Captain Atom struggles to find his place on Earth…and struggles to keep from being the face of fear.

Written by J.T. Krul, Captain Atom Volume 1:  Evolution is the first collection of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch.  The series features art by Freddie Williams II.

The New 52 promised a streamlined DC Universe and also a more diverse DC Universe with series not only focusing on the big hitters like Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman, but also smaller characters like Frankenstein, Voodoo, and Captain Atom.  Captain Atom demonstrates the pros and cons of giving smaller character series.

The story for Captain Atom has potential, but the balance feels off.  The character is just too powerful and that always poses problems for writers.  The solution here is to make Captain Atom unstable and his powers too erratic.  Every “action” Captain Atom does to help the world seems to have an equally bad “reaction”.  The more Captain Atom does the more problems seem to pop up around him.

captain atom #4 cover stanley lau art new 52

Captain Atom (2) #4

I do like the military aspect of Captain Atom.  The Eiling character and his desire to weaponize Captain Atom plays with old classic Cold War general stories.  It is a bit of a cliché, but to be honest, most comics are.  Overall Captain Atom wants to do the right thing, but he has obligations…and is it even his choice?  In storylines like this, the character works better.

Captain Atom in general is the series problem.  In addition to being too powerful to write, I’ve never found him that interesting.  The only interesting part of Captain Atom was Alan Moore’s take on the character in Watchmen (as Doctor Manhattan).  With Moore doing a classic take on the character, it feels like cheating to investigate the character in similar ways by other authors…the character is tainted (in my mind).

Captain Atom was immediately in danger with the DC relaunch.  The initial reviews of the first issue were pretty tepid and that can’t happen in the modern comic book age.  Series must start out with a bang, and Captain Atom started out with a whimper.  That virtually doomed the series, but the series did last for another volume.  Captain Atom 1:  Evolution was followed by Captain Atom 2:  Genesis.

Related Links:

Captain Atom 2:  Genesis

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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