Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Arrowverse: Ray Palmer

Go To

Dr. Raymond Carson "Ray" Palmer
"I'm Ray Palmer. I can science my way out of anything."

Species: Human

Known Aliases: The Atom, "Boy Scout", "Haircut", "Supersuit", "Hannibal Lecter", "John Wayne", "Colonel Cold", "Bob De Niro", Sir Raymond of the Palms


Affiliations: Team Arrow, The Legends

Played By: Brandon Routh, Jack Fisher (young)

Voiced By: Edson Matus (Latin-American Spanish), Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese)

Appearances: Arrow | The Flash | Legends of Tomorrow | Invasion!note  | Vixen | Crisis on Earth-X note  | Crisis on Infinite Earthsnote 

A genius scientist and billionaire who uses a powered armor suit to fight crime as The Atom. Initially, he was a rival businessman to Queen Consolidated who seized the opportunity to take it over in Arrow Season Three. He later builds himself his A.T.O.M. Exosuit and tries to become a crimefighting superhero. Initially, he goes after Oliver, falsely believing him to be the murderer the public makes him out to be, before becoming a short-time member of Team Arrow himself.


After one of his experiments went wrong, he seemingly perished in an explosion. In Season Four of Arrow however, it was revealed that he was shrunken down and then captured by Damien Darhk and the H.I.V.E., who were interested in his technology. After being freed by Oliver and his team, Ray was later recruited by Rip Hunter and has since found his true calling as a time-travelling adventurer on the Waverider, putting his new-found shrinking powers to great use.

Over the course of the fifth Season of Legends, he marries Nora Darhk. On behalf of his father-in-law Damien, he decides to leave the Waverider (albeit with a heavy heart) to start a somewhat normal life with his wife.

see Arrowverse: Other Earths page to see his Earth-16 counterpart
see Superman Film Series for Kal-El/Clark Kent, the Earth-96 character who bears his physical likeness

    open/close all folders 

  • Academic Athlete: He was The Captain of his university's swimming team.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • When he and Oliver fight, Oliver's arrows can't pierce Ray's armour, but notices a blinking light on the A.T.O.M.'s hip that may be the power supply and it's not armored. Oliver was able to shut down the suit simply by throwing a flechette at that light and damaging it.
    • After the suit falls into the wrong hands in "Shogun", Ray is forced to reveal a less obvious but more critical weak point to Nate that causes the suit to overload and blow up completely.
  • Action Survivor: Even outside of his Powered Armor he's no slouch when it comes to combat. He has quite a toned physique which is the result of working out and has taken Boxing Lessons for Superman to compliment his super suit.
  • Actor Allusion: A lot of nods are made to the fact his actor played Superman, with the character himself showing up in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Adaptational Badass: The A.T.OM. suit in the comics is traditionally used for infiltration and utility, and Ray otherwise Fights Like a Normal. In the Arrowverse, it gets immense combat capabilities rivaling that of Iron Man's suit.
  • All for Nothing: What he thinks of his wealth:
    Ray: I died... or at least, people thought I did, and nothing happened. All the money, all the inventions, all the buildings (beat) and no one cared.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • Seems to be filling in for Iron Man (see Adaptational Badass) although his closest Marvel counterpart is still Ant-Man.
    • The parallels became even clearer in "Leviathan" when he reverses the polarity of the dwarf star matrix in his suit to become a giant. Something Hank Pym achieved many years ago and never looked back.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: His Earth-96 counterpart is Superman.
  • Amicable Exes: With both Felicity and ultimately, Kendra.
  • And Starring: Brandon Routh is always billed with the "Special Guest Star" citation until being Transplanted to Legends.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: In "Progeny", we find out that Ray has a younger brother Sydney... who ends up taking of Ray's ideas and making them his own.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In "Leviathan," Ray has the power of the auxiliary time drive siphoned into his suit in order to reverse the polarity of the dwarf star matrix in order to make him grow big enough to fight the Leviathan robot hand to hand.
  • Backstab: One method of fighting he has is to shrink down, fly behind an enemy and let them have it with a super-strength strike. This instantly knocks out all the foes he's used it on, including a feared cyborg enforcer.
  • Badass Bookworm: One of the greatest geniuses in the Arrowverse, but also one of the most powerful heroes.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Wore one in his stint as "Sheriff John Wayne".
  • Badass Normal: When caught out of the suit, Ray is far from defenseless. Unlike what his nerdy mindset suggests, he's built like a bodybuilder with a set of abs that could give Oliver a run for his money. He's also has Boxing Lessons for Superman and can fight just fine with guns or his fists.
  • Badass Preacher: It is revealed late in Arrow Season Three that he's a preacher. He weds Diggle and Lyla.
  • Been There, Shaped History: While teaching a college class in 1960, he inspires his student William H. Gates to start calling his son William Jr. "Bill."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After one too many cracks about his relationship with Kendra, Ray takes it on himself to beat down Vandal Savage with his bare hands.
    • A kind and gentle guy most of the time, Palmer nonetheless has no qualms about using deadly force against bad guys. In one episode, he flies his shrunken form through a mook like a bullet.
    • Not only that, but when Mick sells the team out to the time pirates, he gives Mick a chilling Death Glare and simply says "You son of a bitch." in a tone way lower and more angry than his usual manner of speaking.
  • The Big Guy: When raw muscle is needed rather than skill and finesse, Ray and his strength-enhancing suit take the lead. Even outside of the suit, he's one of the physically strongest of the Legends.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • Every bit as dorky and clever as Felicity is, which certainly helps bring them together. Oliver and Caitlin even joke about it at different points:
    Oliver: There's a decent chance that you and Palmer are related.
    Caitlin: Oh my God, there's two of them.
    • He and Cisco get along splendidly. Cisco even says that Ray is the only other guy around who is good with the names.
    • Naturally, Ray and Professor Stein get along very well, with both being the resident scientists on the team. Sara and Jax even refer to the two of them as the "nerd twins".
    • Becomes best friends with Nate, the other nerdy Genius Bruiser on the team.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Majority of his Powered Armor is blue, and he's one of the most heroic characters in the entire Arrowverse.
  • Boxing Battler: When he's not blasting his enemies, Ray's melee fighting is made up of boxing techniques. Justified as boxing is a simple but brutal martial art that he could be learned relatively quickly and would take full advantage of his suit's strength.
  • Brains and Brawn:
    • Had this dynamic with Oliver, being the esteemed Science Hero with a Powered Armor to Oliver's trained warrior.
    • Also gets this dynamic with Mick, whenever the two of them are teamed up, given that Ray is The Engineer while Mick is Dumb Muscle on the Legends.
  • Breakout Character: From a recurring cast member of Arrow Season 3 to a main character in Legends. Ray has become pretty much synonymous with the series, alongside Sara and Mick.
  • Bromance: With Nate. The two are often seen hanging out, broing it up, and generally getting along like good mates. Behrad seems to have joined them as of Legends Season 5.
  • Brought Down to Normal: He loses the A.T.O.M. suit early in Legends Season Two, opting to destroy it after falling into the enemy's hands. Fortunately, he later gets his hands on a lot of dwarf star alloy and is able to recreate the suit.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something goes wrong, he's likely to be either the cause or the recipient of trouble.
  • The Cavalry: When Team Arrow fails to stop the League of Assassins's bomber from taking off in "This Is Your Sword," cue Ray flying in with his leitmotif and taking it out singlehandedly. Does it again with the rest of the Legends in the Crisis on Earth-X crossover, rescuing the heroes imprisoned in S.T.A.R. Labs by the Earth-X forces, with Ray being the one to personally prevent Kara from being operated on by Thawne.
  • The Cape: Ray embodies this trope, perhaps even more than Barry. He always maintains an eternally sunny disposition and wants to see the best in others, even in villains.
  • Cargo Ship: In-Universe. Ray's first reaction to recovering the A.T.O.M. Exosuit in "Aruba" is to kiss it on the faceplate and promises to never leave it again. Jax, who sees this, is notably weirded out.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Legends Ray is a lot more idealistic and kinder than his appearances on Arrow, whereas at first he was a lot more of an arrogant Jerk with a Heart of Gold. His sillier, geekier side has also been amplified to the point where he's basically a glorified nerd as opposed to a serious vigilante.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: He gets into a fight with the prison Alpha of a notorious gulag, just because the scumbag kept an old man from eating. He also saved Mick from getting tortured with a hammer beating, he took the beating instead.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: His proficiency is greatly, if not completely, reduced when he's not wearing his Powered Armor. note 
  • Composite Character:
    • Due to a case of What Could Have Been, his background heavily incorporates that of Ted Kord, being a cheerful genius billionaire who decides to become a superhero. His traditional shrinking power didn't make its debut until long after his debut in Arrow.
    • The A.T.O.M. Exosuit was originally designated O.M.A.C. by Queen Consolidated and has no connection with Brother Eye.
  • Control Freak: Ray is stated to love doing dirty dishes. He also makes outrageous schedules to try maintain order around the Waverider which drives the other Legends crazy.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: He lets his interest for a communist scientist working for Savage get the better of him.
  • Distressed Dude: After getting possessed by Neron, he lets him banish his soul to hell and take over his body to save Nate's life.]
  • Ditzy Genius: Despite being a Gadgeteer Genius, Ray is really naive when it come to things like stealth, infiltration, and espionage, which Snart calls him out on numerous times.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: After Ray makes a deal with the demon Neron in order to save Nate, his body's overtaken by Neron, effectively sending him to Hell. Nora and John eventually free him though.]]
  • Elemental Punch: He gave Chronos a combined uppercut/photon blast and it was this attack that really flattened Mick, who was previously a juggernaut.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Initially, he's a guy who only fights with Powered Armor before he upgrades it in the Season Three finale of Arrow.
  • Laser Blade: When posing as a Knight of Camelot, Ray channels his suit's hard light through a sword, creating a lightsaber of sorts.

  • Facial Recognition Software: His suit carries a suite advanced enough recognize a masked Oliver.
  • Fake Guest Star: In Arrow, Routh appeared in 16 out of 23 episodes in one season. That makes him the most frequent special guest star the show has and has as much screen time as the regular cast.
  • Faking the Dead: It was months before Team Arrow rescued him from being accidentally shrunk, and after seeing the great job Felicity was doing with his company, he decided to let the world keep believing he's dead so he can be a full-time superhero.
  • Fiction 500: He throws around ten-figure expenditures pretty casually.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: After a tense start, he and Oliver appear to have formed a close friendship.
  • Flanderization: While Ray was usually a dorky nerd during his tenure on Arrow, these characteristics get raised to over-the-top standards after moving to Legends of Tomorrow.
    • This becomes worse in season 3 and 4, as Ray is often caught without his armour and barely uses it, seems to have forgotten he's stronger than average and not incompetent in a fight, and often play the Distressed Dude.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Both he and Stein express disbelief that magic was involved in the origin of Savage and the Hawks, and instead comes up with the idea that the meteorites carried some sort of mutagen that altered the three. It should be noted that he's on a team with a woman who was resurrected from the death through magic and first appeared in the episode fighting an organization led by a magic user.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: In Season Two, after he loses his A.T.O.M. exosuit, Mick offers to let him be his new partner following Snart's death, and tries to make Ray into a replacement Snart. Of course it doesn't stick, as Ray is hilariously bad at being a crook. In the end, Mick realizes his mistake and convinces him that he's Ray Palmer who can "science [his] way out of anything."
  • Flying Brick: His standard method of combat is to take to the skies and shoot the enemy, but he also will tank enemy hits and punch people out as well.
  • Flying Firepower: His A.T.O.M. suit grants him flight as well as being capable of firing Hand Blasts.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Having clashed with Reverse-Flash several times on Legends of Tomorrow Season Two, Ray apparently forgot about the nanites he made for Oliver to use in The Flash that were capable of disabling the same speedster.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Stein couldn't remember that Ray is a former student of his. Justified in that Stein is a seventy-year-old man and can't be expected to remember one student from one semester after close to fifty years of teaching.
  • Freeze Ray: Mick gives him the Cold Gun in order to make up for the loss of the A.T.O.M. suit and thanks him for saving him from being zombified.
  • Friendless Background: Was bullied as a child, but believed the bullies were his friends until he viewed the situation from the outside as an adult.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His pet project the Advanced Technology Operating Mechanism.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He created his own Powered Armor.
  • Geek: Ray is easily the nerdiest Legend, only rivaled by Nate.
  • Geek Physique: Averted. Despite the being the nerdiest member of the Legends and possibly the Arrowverse, Ray has quite the muscular frame. This has not gone unnoticed.
    Felicity: "It's like I'm dating Barry in Oliver's body."
  • Genius Bruiser: A brilliant engineer and scientist who gains the "bruiser" part when he dons the A.T.O.M. suit.
  • Genre Blind: He thinks that he's capable of seducing a Russian scientist with his Nice Guy act, but Snart proves him wrong by invoking his bad boy persona.
  • Glory Seeker: He likes to mention his contribution to a team effort first, then mention the other party's second.
  • Gentle Giant: He's really tall and is built like a tank, but is also a friendly, good-natured fellow who wants nothing more than to do good and help people.
  • Going Native: He has a much easier time adjusting to building a new life in the 1950s than Kendra after they're stranded there, and is quite put out that when the team finally comes back for them, she's able to get right back to the mission like nothing happened.
  • Good All Along: His seemingly amoral actions in Arrow Season Three were done with an end goal of becoming a hero like the Arrow in order to protect and help Star(ling) City.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Despite the use of power armor, Ray fights much like a normal person would, though he favors a boxing style form fighting.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In late Season Three and early Season Four of Arrow, he was an on-off member for Team Arrow, usually called in when needing more firepower or when Oliver was out of commission.
  • Hand Blast: His suit fires, what he calls, hard light beams.
  • Heart Trauma: How Thawne kills him in "Aruba", phasing through his chest and extracting his heart out.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Nate, who has been stated to be his best friend.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He has really low self-esteem, which is largely why he feels no one cared when he died despite the contrary noted bellow. It's apparent that this stems from seeing his fiance killed by a member of the Blood Cult while he was powerless to stop it, and so doubts himself greatly, motivating him to make the world a better place. After he was thought to be dead and the only notable change to society accomplished was changing the name of a city, this got a lot worse.
  • Hidden Depths: Has these to his personality. Not only does he display a surprising violent streak when Savage taunts him over yet another failed relationship, and the second in a row where he ends up as the Romantic Runner-Up, but his speech to his younger self in "Phone Home" indicates that, despite how cheerful and optimistic he is and his denials of being a Stepford Smiler, he's well aware of how miserable a lot of his adult life has been.
    Ray: I get that you're lonely and you're just trying to cope but, buddy, you can't live in a fantasy world forever. Look, trust me, I understand that it hurts to learn that the world isn't as perfect as you want it to be, but sooner or later you have to start facing reality. Otherwise you're gonna end up getting yourself killed.
  • Honor Before Reason: After shooting Nora Dahrk with his anti-magic nanite gun and leaving her on the brink of death, Ray is so overwhelmed by the guilt, he later returns and cures her in exchange for the Dahrks returning Amaya's totem. Keep in mind that not only is Nora a willing vessel for Mallus, the only reason Ray shot Nora in the first place was to keep her from killing Amaya in combat. As thanks, she doesn't honor their deal and tries to murder him.
  • Hot Teacher: He works a college professor when he, Kendra and Sara were stuck in The '60s.
  • Hot Scientist: He's a brilliant scientist and Mr. Fanservice.
  • How Do I Shot Web??: There’s quite a learning curve to the A.T.O.M. suit, which takes a visit to the Flash’s crew to iron out.
  • Hunk: As Felicity surprisingly finds out.
  • Hypocrite: He lambasts Oliver, Laurel, and Ted Grant for being vigilantes after the imposter-murders made by the League of Assassins. But when the law can't help him, he goes straight to being one himself.
    • He also is very hard on Barry, who changed the timeline, as Ray has tried to protect the timeline for the last eight months. However, he himself has influenced the past multiple times already.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Does not appear until Arrow Season Three.
  • Insistent Terminology: He goes to some lengths to keep his suit's powers from sounding too silly.
    It doesn't fire lasers, that would be silly! It fires compressed hard light beams.
  • I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]: Twice, Ray has resorted to using a random name from pop culture when he needs an alias, using "Hannibal Lecter" in 2147 (making this a historical pop culture reference), and "John Wayne" in the Old West. Even the others get in on it as Nate introduces him as "Bob DeNiro" in 1927 Chicago.
  • Ideal Hero: He tries to be, not liking to do morally ambiguous things and wanting to save people as much as possible.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: He's devastated to learn "being the Atom is as insignificant as an actual atom," and resolves to stay on the mission to become more than a blip in history.
  • Immune to Bullets: The A.T.O.M suit is designed to resist bullets, arrows, and explosives, though this is inconsistent as sometimes a sword or knife can do damage to it.
  • Impossible Genius: Has an IQ of 140.
  • Informed Flaw: He mentioned in the first part of the pilot that people never cared about him and his work despite the fact that Starling City was renamed "Star City" in his honor when the world thought he died and him being the focus of a huge media coverage throughout Arrow Season Three when he bought Queen Consolidated. That said, other than the new name, Ray's actions didn't do a great deal to actually help the city, with Damien Darhk's attacks making the situation there worse than ever.
  • Innocently Insensitive: He clearly has trouble realizing when the things he says and does cause others trouble or offence, which is primarily what causes him to look like such a douchebag.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Rogues call him "Boy Scout" for his clean-cut attitude. It's also both an Actor Allusion and a Mythology Gag to his actor, who previously played Superman aka The Big Blue Boy Scout.
    • Gains a second one in the form of "Haircut", used exclusively by Mick. Seems to border on an Affectionate Nickname, considering it starts being used after Mick and Ray bond a little in a Russian gulag.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Much as he loves Kendra, Ray ultimately steps aside, recognizing that Carter is her soul mate.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: While not as invulnerable as Nate when he steels up, the A.T.O.M suit makes up for it with flight and ranged weaponry. Likewise, while not quite possessing the raw firepower of Firestorm or Heat Wave's flamethrower, the suit affords Ray with enhanced durability to damage and survival in the vacuum of space. On top of that, the shrinking tech provides unique infiltration and spying capabilities.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Ray is practically beside himself with joy at getting to meet and even join the Knights of the Round Table.
  • The Lancer: He, Captain Cold, and White Canary share this role, as the three of them are usually the ones who take charge in occasions when Rip's not around or in some funk. However, he is the one assigned by Rip as acting captain over Cold and Canary when Rip has leave the ship with both halves of Firestorm and Heat Wave. It helps that he's also Rip's very first recruit.
  • Leitmotif: Particularly notable as being utterly unlike any other piece of music on Arrow, sounding more like the theme from a classic '50s adventure serial.
  • Legacy Character: For one episode, after having lost his A.T.O.M. suit, Mick offers him Snart's Cold Gun and he tries to take up his mantle, dubbing himself Colonel Cold. He drops it by the end of the episode.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: His first outing as the Atom is to try and apprehend Oliver after the latter is framed by Ra's Al Ghul for a series of murders.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The A.T.O.M. suit affords flight and mobility like Firestorm with comparable firepower while granting Ray durability and physical strength on par with Steel.
  • The Load:
    • Caught quite a lot of flack from fans during the first season of Legends due to frequent mistakes causing the team a lot of grief. End of the season, we learn the Time Masters have been using the Oculus to manipulate things and it's not even really Ray's fault.
    • By Season Two, after losing his A.T.O.M. suit and forcing Nate to blow it up, Ray naturally feels like this. It is only after speaking with Mick that he gains Captain Cold's Freeze Gun. Later, he gains enough dwarf star alloy to recreate the suit.
  • The Lost Lenore: Members of Slade's army killed his girlfriend in front of him, causing him to develop the A.T.O.M. suit as a way to fight criminals himself.
  • Love Hurts: Has a dead fiancee, and despite being a genuine Nice Guy, he still ends up as a Romantic Runner-Up for both Felicity and Kendra. Even when he is traveling into the past or future, his love interests tend to be the Girl of the Week for him. Nora Dahrk, however, is a different story and even then, she is a wanted time fugitive.

  • Made of Iron: He takes two No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the gulag and even the guards were surprised that he's alive after the first one.
  • The Missus and the Ex: During this series, Ray was formerly in a relationship with Oliver's current fiancee.
  • Motor Mouth: He talks a lot, often to the annoyance of others.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
  • Nerds Are Sexy: He's a Tall, Dark, and Handsome Hunk who also happens to be a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Nice Guy: He's generally a well-meaning guy. Episode 4 reveals that he was even a Boy Scout. He's so nice that when Kendra and Carter get back together, Ray shows no resentment and wishes them well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the long run, his choice to fight Vandal Savage while he's locked up in a prison cell not only results in the Big Bad escaping, and nearly killing the Legends all by himself
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Noble male to Mick's roguish.
  • Not Quite Dead: The explosion which destroyed the entire top floor of Palmer Technologies didn’t kill him; he was only miniaturized.
  • Not So Different: To Thawne, which the speedster lampshaded as they were both scientists who dedicated their lives to achieving the impossible.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • After helping each other in the Soviet Union, Ray and Mick have become good friends of sorts. Ray even acts as the get-away man for one of Mick's heists, after Snart had died.
    • He and John Constantine also grow quite close, despite John being mostly annoyed by his cheery attitude.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: He doesn't make it to the battle royale against the Reverse Flash (due to being locked up at the time), but still manages a big contribution as Oliver loads his arrows with nanites Ray created to counter the Reverse Flash's powers.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Ray excels in numerous fields of science, having four PhDs and has showed proficiency in engineering (including his groundbreaking shrinking technology), physics, biochemisty (where he was able to 'tinker' a Super Serum to have a completely different effect), and computer science despite falling a bit short of Felicity in hacking skill.
  • Positive Friend Influence: He's such a good person that even Mick begins to pick up some heroic traits when they spend time together. Ray even manages to get the cynical Zari to soften a little simply by being so nice.
  • Primary-Color Champion: A hero whose Powered Armor is blue and red, not unlike another famous superhero role of Brandon Routh's.
  • Powered Armor: His primary arsenal. Originally codenamed O.M.A.C. by Queen Consolidated, Ray secretly acquires it and renames it to A.T.O.M. so that he can become a vigilante, too.
  • Power Nullifier: Creates one for The Reverse-Flash with his nanite technology and later creates another one to disable the Dahrks' magical powers.
  • Put on a Bus: Leaves the Waverider to settle down with Nora in Legends Season Five.
  • Ramming Always Works: How he takes out the League of Assassins's bomber in "This Is Your Sword." after his on-board weaponry fails.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: He has a noticeable pale skin and dark brown hair, making him a Rare Male Example of this trope.
  • Red Is Heroic: The secondary color of his Powered Armor after blue is red, and he's one of the most heroic characters in the entire Arrowverse.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Invoked by Eobard Thawne. When Ray denies the two of them being alike as Ray was a hero who saved lives, Thawne counters that if he was really out to make the world a better place he could have used the dwarfstar alloy as a revolutionary renewable source of energy, but instead used it to perform heroics and make a name for himself in history books. However Thawne then adds that it's not a sin to try and be a Glory Seeker.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Since he marries Nora Dahrk, Ray Palmer becomes Damien Dahrk's son-in-law in this incarnation.
  • Remote Body: Upgrades his suit with a "neural link," allowing anyone wearing a special headset to control the A.T.O.M. suit. It gets put to use in Ray's second fight against Deathbolt, with Oliver operating the suit remotely in order to compensate for Ray's lack of combat experience.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Mick tries to get him to fill Snart's shoes, giving him the Cold Gun and trying to get Ray to act more like how Captain Cold would. It doesn't work for several reasons, as Ray just isn't very good at being Snart, and acting like Snart brings up painful memories for Mick. By the end of the episode, Mick realizes Ray is best being himself.
  • Science Hero: One of Ray's most defining traits is him utilizing science to solve problems. He used his scientific knowledge to craft the suit that makes him a hero to begin with. Even outside the suit, he constantly applies his knowledge to get the job done.
    Mick: You're Ray Palmer. You can science your way out of anything.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Since Felicity won't quit her job to come work for him, he spends $1.2 billion buying the holding company that owns her workplace.
  • Series Mascot: As the biggest name superhero on the team after Hawkgirl's departure, the Atom is usually used to represent the Legends as a whole in marketing materials despite several other characters having stronger claim to the leadership role.
  • Sexy Priest: Considering that he's both a Badass Preacher and Mr. Fanservice.
  • Shock and Awe: In "Suicidal Tendancies," Ray hits Roy with a lightning blast from the A.T.O.M.'s gloves, strong enough to knock him unconscious and send him flying. This feature is never seen again after this episode.
  • Ship Tease: With Nora Dahrk. Nate even accuses him of "having the hots of her" (which Ray doesn't seem to completely disagree with) and a tendency to not clearly express himself about her. In real life, Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford are a married couple.
  • Shrink Ray: Out of the blue (though he does say he's been working on it offscreen), he gets one for the final episode of Legends of Tomorrow Season One. He uses it to shrink a Thanagarian meteor to such a small speck that its explosion is just a fart in a bottle instead of a planet-buster.
  • Sizeshifter: Through the use of his suit, he has the ability to shrink and later, embiggen parts of his suit.
  • The Smart Guy: As he is the Arrowverse's first tech-based hero, this is a given. He even builds nanite arrows specifically to cancel out Eobard Thawne's Super Speed. He and Prof. Stein also share the role of their team's resident scientists.
  • Stepford Smiler: Played with in "Phone Home". Zari can't believe that he's actually as cheerful and optimistic as he seems to be and thinks he's pretending, while Ray claims that he really is this happy, as he's found that if he believes in himself, then things usually turn out okay.
  • Strong and Skilled: He was once firmly Unskilled, but Strong, relying on the superior power of his Powered Armor to overwhelm enemies, but skilled enough opponents like Oliver and Thawne were capable of bypassing his suit's powers and disabling it. So he ended up taking Boxing Lessons for Superman and gets rudimentary fight ability even when he's outside the suit.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: The power and durability of his suit is never consistent. Sometimes it borders on Nigh-Invulnerable, easily taking hits from super-powered people, explosions and the likes, while other times Badass Normals using swords or arrows can fight on par with it.
  • Take Up My Sword: Thanks to losing his A.T.O.M. suit after Nate blew it up, so history couldn't be tempted with, Ray becomes the successor to Captain Cold, complete with Snart's old Cold Gun (given to him by Mick in-order for Mick to have a partner and Ray to feel needed). Though he goes back to his old Atom identity shortly after getting his suit back.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He stands 6'3 and is acknowledged as a very good looking man.
  • Tempting Fate: In Aruba, after the team goes back to the Battle of the Somme again, he says, "This is much easier the second time around.", at which point Eobard shows up and kills him.
  • Time-Travel Romance: He ultimately ends up with the future version of Nora Dahrk. This unintentionally made an aversion of Age-Gap Romance, as Ray was born in 1981 while Nora in 2003.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After some practice with his suit, he becomes much more capable, such that he's a bona fide member of the team and able to hold his own alongside the rest in the first season of Legends. However, due to his many screw-ups (see The Load, above), he still came off looking incompetent. Early in the second season, the writers to correct that and show Ray doing well both in and out of the suit (though with Chronic Hero Syndrome still biting him in the ass).
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Ray's intelligence has taken a severe drop in Legends compared to how he was on Arrow. For instance, Ray shows how Genre Blind he is, as his other teammates comically correct him on his mistakes and plays around with the Idiot Ball a little too often. But the biggest, stupidest mistake would have to be when he gives in to Savage's manipulation and enters his prison cell to fight him one on one without his ATOM suit. This results in Savage beating the crap out of him and escaping to kill numerous more people, including his friend Rip's family (somewhat subverted on the last bit, because Savage would have been released by the Time Masters regardless).
  • Transplant: He was a major Recurring Character in Arrow during its third season and became a member of the Legends thereafter.
  • Trapped in the Past: He, Kendra, and Sara are trapped in the late 50s to the very beginning of The '60s in the middle of Season One. Happens again in the Season Two premiere after Rip time scatters the team, sending him to the Cretaceous period.
  • Two First Names: As Sheriff "John Wayne".
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: He was never married to Jean Loring in this continuity.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Oliver tells him he relies too heavily on tech. At one point Ray allows Oliver to take control of the suit remotely during a combat situation. The Legends series premiere trailer also lampshades this, saying he has a lot of powerful tech, but is too inexperienced to use it to its full potential.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He assumes Valentina is a Reluctant Mad Scientist that doesn't know Vandal is evil, she is actually evil, and him forcing Snart to save her gets him, Rory, Stein, and himself captured.
  • Vigilante Man: As of late in Arrow Season Three, he has become one to some effect.
  • X-Ray Vision: Has what he calls a "high spectrum portable radiograph" built into suit's visor, one powerful enough to see through building walls, not unlike a certain other superhero movie role Brandon Routh is known for.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: