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The Good Captain

     Nathaniel Adam 

  • Always Someone Better: Depending on the Writer. Captain Atom sometimes plays this role (most recently in Captain Atom: Armageddon to The Authority, and, indeed, the entire WildStorm Universe), but at other times he falls prey to The Worf Effect.
  • Arch-Enemy: Either Major Force or General Eiling.
  • Badass Normal: Cap was this before he got superpowers, since he was, after all, a special operations officer who had served multiple tours of duty in Vietnam. When he temporarily lost his powers, he was still a match for Batman in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Becoming the Mask: Pretty much the point of his first DC ongoing. He was a government agent pretending to be a superhero, but became a hero for real.
  • Captain Superhero: A special forces officer and superhero in one.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being in charge during the Justice League International period was extremely stressful for him, so much so that he was ecstatic when Catherine was promoted and made his boss. He even claimed that his ulcer spontaneously went into remission the moment he heard the news; he may or may not have been exaggerating.
  • Chest Insignia: Again, variants on an atomic diagram.
  • Chrome Champion: Of both the 'flying brick' and 'cosmic' varieties.
  • The Comically Serious: His no humor attitude when met with more wackier attitudes.
  • Containment Clothing: He has to wear a humanoid full-body suit to contain it and to protect those around him from harmful radiation on the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Dating Catwoman: Unusually, he actually married (reformed) terrorist Bette Sans Souci, a.k.a. Plastique.
  • Depending on the Artist: His color scheme goes back and forth between whitish-blue, grayish blue, light blue, silvery-gray, silver-blue, etc.
  • Energy Absorption: Able to absorb most any form of energy, redirecting it into the quantum field. Absorbing too much at once throws him through time.
  • Energy Being: His form now that he lacks almost all flesh and bone.
  • Fan of the Past: Nathaniel explains his occasional lapses into the slang of The '60s by claiming he loves that decade. Sally is a legitimate one of these.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Nathaniel handled the initial culture shock of finding himself in the present day reasonably well; it was finding out what had happened to his wife and kids that really got to him.
  • Fish out of Water: This seems to be Cap's thing, whether getting thrown through time or into Alternate Universes.
  • Flight: Via redirection of gravitational force.
  • Flying Brick: His powerset mixed with quantum power.
  • The Good Captain: Played with, since, although he kept the moniker "Captain Atom," he was actually promoted to major in the USAF after the Invasion storyline. Also unusual in that he is one of the few superhero captains to actually have received that rank in the military. Finally, he's sometimes a little more morally ambiguous than most "Captain" characters.
  • Hero's First Rescue: The critical moment when Cap decided truly to be a Super Hero for real.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: He eventually married reformed terrorist Plastique. His first wife, Angela, was also a redhead. He also had a thing with Maxima in one issue of Justice League Quarterly, but it never went anywhere.
    • Partially averted, however, since three of his other potential love interests were not redheads: Catherine Cobert and Nightshade had black hair, and Sally has brown hair going grey. On the other hand, he didn't end up with any of them.
  • Intangible Man: He is only shown using this power once or twice, however.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Played with. In-universe, his daughter dreams about him as this, and genuinely sees him this way. The Captain Atom Project, meanwhile, plays him to the public as this, planting stories in the press describing him as the "Silver Savior." Of course, he eventually becomes the mask.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Whenever things actually get serious, Cap, who often seems kind of bumbling, will all of sudden act in a way that reminds everyone that he was a Badass Normal on par with Batman before he became a Reality Warper Flying Brick. One very satisfying example came when the League was fighting a giant robot alongside the Global Guardians, and the fight was a stalemate until they brought the fight into the sewers, away from all the civilians. At that point, Bushmaster, one of the Guardians, said that now they could really unload on the robot, to which Cap replied, "No, now you get behind me." He then vaporized the robot with one blast.
  • Life Energy: This is, to all intents and purposes, the source of Nathaniel's power; he's plugged into the quantum field, the life energy of the universe, allowing him to manipulate all forms of energy. (This is why Nathaniel ended up fighting Nekron—because he's integrated with the quantum field, Nekron could use him to drag the quantum field into his realm, and every living creature in the universe with it.)
  • Military Rank Name: As Captain Atom.
  • Military Superhero: Captain Nathaniel Adam of the United States Air Force. Interestingly, he did not start this way: he was a full-time soldier who received his powers as the result of an experiment, and was ordered by the military into infiltrating the superhero community to spy on them a keep them in check. However, as can be expected, Captain Atom eventually did grow to appreciate his role as a superhero, but not without serious conflict between both aspects of him.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: During the first arc in Superman/Batman, Nathaniel is willing to work for Lex Luthor because Luthor is President of the United States. To be fair, he was depressed and lost due to his failed 2nd marriage and mostly went back to work for the government because he was trying to start over.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The metal of his exo-shell is impervious to almost anything. On top of that, he can manipulate energy to create forcefields.
  • Only Sane Man: In the Justice League International he filled this role once the League split and he went to Europe.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: When under Mind Control, Nathaniel's able to destroy entire armies singlehandedly. He can also destroy whole universes.
    • Then there's Kingdom Come, where a breach in his containment suit renders the Midwestern US into a radioactive wasteland which eventually triggers a civil war.
    • In Captain Atom: Armageddon, he's a ticking time bomb set to destroy the entire universe.
  • Physical God: It is not clear that there are any real limits to Cap's powers. He can create and manipulate matter and energy. He even managed to take on and defeat Nekron in the astral realm. In one story arc, he created and then destroyed his own universe in the quantum field.
  • Radiation Immune Mutant: Or in his case, Radiation Immune Energy Being.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In the Justice League International. Early, Power Girl was injured fighting the Grey Man. Catherine, who at that point was still Cap's secretary, decided to go over his head and order a very dangerous surgery performed, as that was the only way to save Power Girl's life; Cap had been unable to bring himself to give the order because he was afraid it would kill her. She assumed that Cap would be furious and was prepared to tender her resignation. Instead, he just told her that she had made the right call and thanked her for doing it.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Played with, since after he becomes Captain Atom, the government gives Capt. Nathaniel Adam the new secret identity of Capt. Cameron Scott.
  • Super Power Lottery: Cap is at least on the same level as Superman and Martian Manhunter. In addition to Flight, Super Strength, and Nigh-Invulnerability, he can project any kind of energy (including light on the same wavelength as that of a red sun... or radiation identical to that of kryptonite), he's close to immune to energy-based attacks, and he can become intangible at will.
  • Super Strength: Boosted by the quantum field. As Captain Atom his strength was such that he was able to go toe to toe with beings such as Superman, Majestic, etc. and hold his own.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: In the Intercontinuity Crossover Captain Atom: Armageddon, he refuses to kill Hitler.
  • Two First Names: In Nathaniel's case, it's actually Three First Names, as his full name is Nathaniel Christopher Adam; also his alias, Cameron Scott.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Power Girl in Justice League Europe.
  • Was Once a Man: In "Generation Lost", Nate's inner monologue reveals he's becoming increasingly less human, having lost the ability to turn back to flesh and blood, and what disconcerts him most is his increasing detachment from the world around him.
  • The Worf Effect:
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ask Jewelee and pre-reformation Plastique.
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Rogues Gallery

     Doctor Spectro 
AKA: Thomas Emery

A light-powered super-villain and enemy to Captain Atom. In his original portrayal he was a scientist who developed prisms that could alter human emotions, turning to crime when he was thrown into his own machine. In Post-Crisis continuity he was a fake super-villain used by Wade Eiling to cover up Project Atom, although he later turned to crime anyway.


  • Becoming the Mask: At first he was just an ordinary scientist who posed as a villain from Captain Atom's fictional backstory in order to get an interview with the press. Soon, however, he becomes a real supervillain.
  • Joke Character: What he has become over time.

     Fiery-Icer 

     The General  

General Wade Eiling

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wade_eiling_001.jpg
Eiling as "The General" 

Debut: Captain Atom #1 (1987)

A gruff, ruthless military tactician and former Colonel to high ranking U.S. Air Force General who sabotaged the career and personal life of Nathaniel Adam and blackmailed him into participating in the atomic experiment that turned Adam into Captain Atom, causing Adam to disappear for 18 years after he was presumed deceased. Also responsible for spearheading similar future projects that would create more enemies on Captain Atom’s roster, such as Major Force and The Ghost. After Adam’s return, Eiling manipulated Captain Atom into serving the military as a government-issue superhero in exchange for a pardon by the current President, while acting as an undercover intelligence agent with a fabricated backstory under his command.

After being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Eiling sent a military team to salvage the indestructible body of the second Shaggy Man from the Pacific Ocean where he has its body shaved andorchestrated a military assault on the JLA in in Phoenix, Arizona. The Justice League were attacked by American military forces and a new superhero team called the Ultramarine Corps created by Eiling’s men to distract the League while Eiling transferred his brain patterns into the indestructible body of the Shaggy Man. He was later seen as part of the Injustice League when Luthor managed to free him from his imprisonment by the League, before eventually being picked up and used in the Suicide Squad under command of Amanda Waller.

The New 52 continued with this characterization of Eiling, except giving by giving him a Race Lift as an African American man, but still making him even more dead set on using Captain Atom as a nuclear weapon for the sake of America supremacy.


  • Arch-Enemy: He's a fairly strong contender, alongside Major Force.
  • Bad Boss: A terrible one to his men. He once let a whole regiment of his men die in an assassination attempt on a cartel member as part of a plan to make his inside man in the cartel, the same cartel member, look better without any prior warning.
  • Batman Gambit: Pretty much everything Eiling does in Executive Action arc of the Justice League of America was part of some massive scheme to discredit the Justice League, gain access to the Shaggy Man’s body, and transfer his mind into it to not be killed by his inoperable brain tumor and gain a superpowerful immortal body.
  • Breakout Villain: Eiling has a become a much more prominent and popular character as a villain, going from an obstructing minor military archnemesis to Captain Atom to a full-on Big Bad of two highly-publicized storylines, being imported as a villain for both Justice League and The Flash (2014).
  • Cigar Chomper: Was frequently shown to smoke Cuban cigars during his years before his time as “The General”.
  • Colonel Kilgore: Thrives on conflict and war, even attempting to kick start a nuclear war in Iraq and blame it on Sadaam Hussein.
  • Control Freak: He’s highly controlling if his command over his troops and his own family says anything. He even had his daughter’s house bugged to keep an eye on her.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Wade Eiling led the experiment that transformed Nathaniel Adam into Captain Atom and also led the conspiracy that manipulated Nate into volunteering for the experiment. This really screwed Eiling when Nate turned on him.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: A badass general turned shaggy monster.
  • Evil Is Petty: Before Nathan was teleported into the future during the experiment, he asked Eiling to give Nathan’s wife and kids a letter in case he died, which Eiling gave his word he’d do. During the experiment, Eiling simply tore up the letter and went on to marry Nathan’s wife in his stead.
  • Evil Old Folks: He’s middle-aged and as morally bankrupt as military madmen come.
  • Four-Star Badass: Was a literal Four Star General before his stint as the Shaggy Man and as dangerously badass as they come.
  • Freudian Excuse: Eiling’s own abusive relationship with his soldier father convinced him that strength, authority, and the ability take pain are the only merits in life.
  • General Ripper: Fanatical about proving his military superiority to the point he tried to issue a field test of his super team in against the Justice League in Phoenix, Arizona despite it being fill of civilians. Even declaring a military coup against the US President.
  • Genius Bruiser: In his Shaggy Man body, he’s strong and fast enough to beat down the League’s heaviest hitters like Superman and Orion, and maintains his military skills and strategic planning.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In his first appearance as The General, Batman managed to hold him off by tricking the primitive Shaggy Man brain that housed Eiling’s man, explain the very body that gives him his power also makes him brutally savage and downright cripples his thinking.
  • Insane Admiral: Became this full-on in his "General" days.
  • Jerkass: One of the most notorious that worked for the US Government.
  • The Juggernaut: When his mind was transferred into the body of the Shaggy Man, he was shown to be virtually unstoppable due to the immortal body’s nearly invulnerable frame and incredible healing factor. Eiling became so dangerous that the League could not directly defeat him and had to have him shipped off to some section of space where he couldn’t do harm both times they faced him.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Shown training with firearms in his spare time while he still had his human body.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He's fond of calling the shots from behind the scenes and using superheroes and assassins characters to be his face.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He started off as one when he manipulated Captain Atom into being his personal superhero flunky, before that fell through. After that he eventually manipulated his way into getting the Shaggy Man’s body by creating a government-made superhero team known as the Ultramarines to distract the League. He also manipulated events to discredit the Suicide Squad in stark opposition to Amanda Waller, and controlled the events that led to the creation of Rick Flag Jr. by brainwashing a random soldier with a trigger phrase to reactivate him any time Eiling pleases.
  • Military Rank Names: As the General.
  • Nerves of Steel: Nearly nothing unsettles the man, even being face to face with an angry Captain Atom. Note this was all before he had the body of Shaggy Man.
  • Old Soldier: An old immoral military man with the strength to match.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite being an utter bastard responsible for getting Nate turned into Captain Atom in the first place by framing him for treason and taking his family for his own by marrying Nate's wife after his death, Wade Eiling proved to be a genuinely good and loyal father to Nate's children and husband to Nathan's wife for eleven years until her death via sickness. Eiling admitted he genuinely loved Nathan's wife and kids, and though he would never have what Nate had with his wife, Eiling had something special with her and loved her as a good man despite her mourning for Nate for three years before the marriage. When Nate temporarily died and traveled to the afterlife, his deceased wife admitted to loving Eiling in return during their marriage despite what Nate saw him as or what he would be. Nate was genuinely thankful for this.
  • Smug Super: Loved to brag to his enemies how they couldn't actually kill him due to his healing factor.
  • The Rival: He was this to Amanda Waller in his days as a general, as part of an interagency rivalry to undermine each other's operations while both being manipulative chessmasters working for the US Government.
  • Smug Snake: Despite his occasional moments of Magnificent Bastardry, the climax of Suicide Squad reveals him as just a very high-functioning Smug Snake.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He went from a high-ranking old soldier to an unstoppable hulking juggernaut that can take down the Justice League’s heaviest hitters.
  • We Have Reserves: He thinks nothing of having his men sent to their deaths to serve his own agendas, even declaring that dying for him is tantamount to serving America.

     Ghost 
AKA: Alec Rois

A super-villain with teleportation powers. Originally a brilliant physicist who designed experimental weapons, he suffered a mental collapse and turned to crime. Captain Atom and Nightshade were sent to stop him because the government was afraid that he would try stealing top secrets next. Post-Crisis, he returned as a cult leader of a hidden civilization called Sunuria.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Ghost was shunned by everyone, simply because he was born in poverty.
  • The Dragon: Post-Crisis, to Wade Eiling
  • Evil Counterpart: To Nathaniel. Both men died and returned with quantum-powers, but whereas Captain Atom returned as a living being, Rois came back as, well, a ghost. Their powers cancel each other out, and Cap is a hero while the Faceless One is a villain. Both are manipulated by Wade Eiling, despite being excellent strategists and intriguers themselves.
  • Friendless Background: He didn't have any friends in his life.
  • Intangible Man: With his device called the Stealthray, he got pass through any thick and impenetrable object, and he used it get himself a fortune and continue his scientific studies.
  • Religion of Evil: The Sunurian woman believed the Ghost to be the reincarnation of their evil god called the Faceless One, so they captured him and brought the Ghost to their hidden kingdom to rule it.
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     Major Force 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/160px-Major_Force_Green_Lantern_-178_3566.jpg
AKA: Clifford Zmeck
Homeworld: Earth

Major Force is a nuclear-powered supervillain and evil counterpart to Captain Atom. In the U.S. Air Force he was given a life sentence for rape and murder, but agreed to dangerous genetic experimentation in exchange for a pardon. This was granted by Wade Eiling, who created him as part of Project Atom. Later on he became well-known as an enemy to Green Lantern when he murdered Kyle Rayner's girlfriend Alex DeWitt and stuffed her into a refrigerator.


  • Always Someone Better: His underlying hatred of Captain Atom is focused around how he hates how well-liked and preferred that Atom is compared him despite being both charged as traitors to their country and given the powers of the same nature. Even when they were working together to stop an alien invasion, Atom was offered praise and awards from the President himself for his service, while Force was ignored and written off as a thuggish stooge. It's this hatred that eventually solidified his descent into further villainy.
  • Arch-Enemy: He is a contender for the spot alongside General Eiling.
  • Ax-Crazy: Just as one example, he once wrenched the arm of a failed subordinate out of its socket and beat the poor sap to death with it.
  • Back from the Dead: He has done this several times due to the fact that he cannot truly die, being an Energy Being and all.
  • The Brute: His personality, Dumb Muscle usage of his powers and general role in a story is this.
  • Casting a Shadow: His use of dark matter, it rivals Captain Atoms usage of quantum.
  • Dark Is Evil: His outfit may look bad, but he is far far worse.
  • Energy Being: Like Captain Atom he is this, but with a different connection to quantum.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Captain Atom. Both were soldiers court-martialed and convicted of crimes by the US military and force to participate in the atomic experiment that turned them into quantum-powered metahumans after both were shunted through time into the future. However, while Atom was actually innocent of his crimes and is actually a noble US soldier who went on to become a superhero, Force was actually guilty of his crimes and is a brutal Sociopathic Soldier who went on to become an infamous supervillain.
  • Flying Brick: His moveset mixed with quantum ability, to its credit it helps him fight foes like Superman.
  • Flat Character: He's always been weak in both the personality and motivation department, but it became particularly noticable in the 2000s, where every political story involved him (Battle for Bludhaven and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies being notable examples of this), to the point where most readers grew to dislike the character due to his repetitive role in the stories.
  • Military Rank Names: Former military who uses his army rank in his name.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: As an Energy Being he is notoriously hard to kill. Even decapitating him or leaving him stranded in space is not enough.
  • Pure Energy: His energy is blasting.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: While he is still used in Captain Atom stories, Major Force has also grown to be associated with the Green Lanterns, as he killed Alex De Witt (Kyle Rayner's girlfriend) and Arisia (a dear friend of Guy Gardner), as well as the attempted murder of Gardner's mother (he killed her neighbour instead by accident).
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: The Trope Codifier, as per Gail Simone, when he killed Kyle's girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt.

     Plastique 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/plastique.jpg
AKA: Bette Sans Souci

Plastique is an explosive super-villain and radical terrorist leader of a Quebecian separatist movement for independence from Canada, originally seen as an enemy to Firestorm. Beginning her career as a terrorist, she eventually reformed and became a mercenary. The President pardoned her for helping the government, and she became married to Captain Atom. Following their divorce, she returned to a life of crime. She has been a member of the Bomb Squad, Extreme Justice, the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and the Suicide Squad.


  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Originally one of these, even tried to blow of the Canadian Parliament Building and the Statue of Liberty with explosives along wide a few suicide bombers under her command.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Her first appearance had Firestorm defeat Plastique by vaporizing her clothes (in front of TV cameras!), both because it amuses him and because it's a convenient way to separate her from the bombs on her suit.
  • Driven to Suicide: She became suicidal after her divorce from Captain Atom to the point she joined the Suicide Squad strictly so she could act out her violent impulses and get herself killed.
  • Fad Super: Plastique was created when Quebecois separatist terrorists were in the news. They were a short-lived phenomenon, and in later appearances she was explained as a die-hard anachronism before reforming. In the New 52, her background is as a more generic terrorist.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: She became a member of the Suicide Squad for the duration of a single mission. She attempted to betray the team during their second field operation in Qurac (under the command of Amanda Waller), but was anticipated and caught by fellow operative Nemesis, and subsequently brainwashed to suppress all memories of her membership in the Squad. This backfired when she was recruited a second time and her memories were returned.
  • Mad Bomber: One of the few times a mad bomber is female. Unlike most examples, she was fairly inept and had for a brief time reformed, but in the New 52 she's back to bomb-throwing.
  • Marrying Catwoman: Captain Atom married her after she reformed after having first been an adversary in his series.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Via genetic modification commissioned by her organization, Plastique gained the power to project explosive force from her body.

     Punch and Jewelee 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/18_punch_and_jewelee.jpeg
AKA: Clyde Phillips (Jewelee's name is unknown)

A pair of criminal lovers whose silly exterior belies their ruthless natures. They originally battled Captain Atom and Nightshade and later joined the Suicide Squad.

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