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Characters / The Atom

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The Titular Hero

     Al Pratt

The original Atom from the Golden Age, Al was a dwarfish man with boxing talents, curtsy of Joe Morgan, who also trained Wildcat and Guardian. He eventually became a founding member the Justice Society of America and soon joined the All-Star Squadron.

  • Badass Normal: Originally he was a bare-handed crime fighter with unbelievable strength.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: At first he gained resistance to radiation due to a dying villain, later he gained full atomic physical abilities when he was caught in the fallout of an explosion.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: As stated above, Al was originally a Badass Normal who often felt that, in the presence of such heavyweights as Green Lantern or the Flash, he wasn't worth much of anything. Even when comparing himself to other Badass Normals, he could still find something to envy, such as Mr. Terrific being able to run faster than him, or Wildcat being a better fighter. The man had an inferiority complex. However, after soaking up some radiation from the Supervillain Cyclotron in 1941, he finally gained Super-Strength from this event years later, in 1945. He was naturally quite thrilled upon this revelation, and yet, he was never quite satisfied...
  • I Love Nuclear Power: He absorbed energy from a nuclear-powered supervillain, which somehow allowed him to survive an atomic bomb blast, after which he gained his powers.
  • Legacy Character: He's spawned several, but his Silver Age namesake, Ray "the Atom" Palmer, was the only one with no connection to him. They did become friends, though.
  • Retcon: The story about gaining super-strength from Cyclotron came about in the '80s to explain why he inexplicably had it in his Silver Age appearances when he was non-powered in The Golden Age of Comic Books.
  • Super Strength: The Atom focuses his radioactive energy into his fists adding destructive force to his punches.

     Ray Palmer

  • Bash Brothers: With Hawkman.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Even without his shrinking technology, Ray still knows judo and is an effective fighter.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He did invent the Bio-Belt after all.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm Ray Palmer: Welcome to pain!".
  • Moral Event Horizon: Many people believe that Ray went way too far in Cry For Justice, where he tortures both Killer Moth and Clayface III for information, by shrinking tiny and stomping on their brains. Especially since that's how exactly his best friend's wife was killed in Identity Crisis. Most people (writers included) tend to ignore this bit of continuity entirely.
  • Retired Badass: He's gone back and forth, but seems to retire more often than other Silver Age JLA-ers.
  • Science Hero
  • Sizeshifter: Smaller than normal only.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the go-to guy for technobabble in The DCU.

     Adam Cray

  • Cosmic Retcon: He was revived in Rebirth as a seemingly powerless roommate of Ryan Choi.
  • Killed Off for Real: He was killed by Blacksnake, and wouldn't return until Rebirth.

     Ryan Choi

  • Adorkable: Ryan's first reaction to Kaiju attacking his hometown is to Squee! about how awesome they are. His reaction to female interest is to blame the warped physics of Ivy town.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Ryan and his friends took martial arts training as kids, although Ryan was not particularly good at it and didn't particularly care. As a teenager, after he is bullied by Alvin and his friends, he returns to it and becomes quite good at it.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Ryan is Cantonese and quite nerdy, especially as a kid. He idolized the inventor of the rocket over his friends' martial arts heroes, was bullied constantly into doing homework for Alvin and his friends, and corresponded with Ray Palmer and possibly other scientists in place of having many genuine friends his age.
  • Asian Drivers: Ryan never learned how to drive before coming to America in the Pre-Flashpoint continuity.
  • Chick Magnet: Upon arriving in Ivy Town, he is promptly hit on by both a student and his coworker, Dr. Zuel.
    Ryan (internal monologue): I swear I'm not doing this on purpose! I've somehow mistakenly landed in Sex Town, U.S.A.!
  • Dating Catwoman: An odd case, as while Ryan Choi is dating a supervillain, he's not dating one of his villains.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: His primary love interest is Fiery Redhead Giganta.
    Ryan (internal monologue): Everyone deserves a second chance! Especially redheads!
  • Swallowed Whole: Let's say that his first date with Giganta didn't go so well. To be fair, she was being controlled by a cancer god at the time.
  • Villainous Crush: Giganta had a crush on him in the Pre-Flashpoint continuity. He reciprocates it.


The Rogues Gallery

    Bug-Eyed Bandit

  • Adaptational Badass: He's given size-shifting powers in Batman: The Brave and The Bold, making him slightly less of a joke.
  • Joke Character: He's been this for decades, both within the DC universe and in the real world.
  • Legacy Character: Bertram's unnamed son took up the identity a few times prior to the New 52.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: Not really a Nemesis, but his main outfit is purple and wears green-tinted goggles.


  • Arch-Enemy: The closest thing to a nemesis the Atom has.
  • Deal with the Devil: He sold his soul to Neron for time-related Metahuman powers in the 1990s, which ended when he got sucked into time itself.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: His original costume is this trope personified.
  • Legacy Character: Walker Gabriel became the new Chronos for a short time before the original returned.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: He fought Blue Beetle during the late eighties before returning to the Atom.


  • Heroic Sacrifice: He performed a HeelFaceTurn against the Ultra-Humanite and sacrificed himself via blowing himself up, taking out the Ultra-Humanite in the process.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: It was his radiation that gave the original Atom superpowers.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: His time as Cyclotron may have been short, but without him both Atom-Smasher and Al Pratt would have never got their powers.


  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Played with. Coming from a more heroic character, his quips would probably be Actually Pretty Funny. Coming from him though...
  • Serial Killer: With a gimmick of writing a poem for each and every one of his victims (though some have to share). Main targets get more elaborate and thought-through ones, while incidental or targets-of-opportunity get a quick improvised piece.
  • Sizeshifter: He's got his own belt.
  • Smug Snake: He has a very high opinion of himself, and no one else.


     Lady Chronos

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