The Atomic Age
Wow, it's been a long time Captain Atom. I guess with this whole Watchmen connection that Rebirth is playing at that DC Comics wants to get its big powerhouse back in action, what with Captain Atom being the basis for Dr. Manhattan. Now, this issue does have things that make you think it could be in continuity with the events of the New 52....... but really, Captain Atom has been so wonky with his time travel to the 31st Century when he showed up in Firestorm and then going back in time at the end of Legion Lost........ Well, who knows what's what because they certainly don't reference any of that in this first issue. So really, if you read the New 52 Captain Atom series....... which seems doubtful, but if you did, then you're right in line with what this first issue is offering you, but if you didn't, it will throw enough information at you to catch you up a bit. Let's jump into this issue and see the Fall of Captain Atom before as the title suggests, his eventual rise. Let's check it out.
The beginning of this issue does one of those storytelling devices that start us at the end of the issue and then jumps us back so we can eventually work our way back to where we started, but for this I'm going straight forward and our issue starts with Captain Atom flying over the ocean and finding a cruise liner in distress from a gigantic wave and it's at this point where we realize that our hero might be having a bit of a problem at the moment. That's right, when Captain Atom tries to turn the ocean water into gelatin so that the ship will stop sinking, he seems to have a problem doing it and that's when we discover that Nathaniel has gone and got himself an atomic fever. Pretty much, he's becoming unstable from this change in his quantum field and it becomes pretty damn noticeable after he exerts himself by saving the ship full of people because he starts exploding bursts of quantum energy out of himself. Yeah, these flareups are dangerous and before Captain Atom can get back to Kansas to contain himself in the military's safeguard against him, The Continuum, Superman, Green Lantern and Cyborg show up to see what all the nuclear hubbub is about.
The thing is though, this story is taking place in 2012 so the characters that meet our title hero are the New 52 Superman, Hal Jordan.......... and well, Cyborg..... he's still the same. We get a little back and forth about how the Justice League turned him down for membership because of how dangerous he is and how the Flash met him and wasn't a fan, which is in continuity, but the important thing is once they find out what's going on with him, the Justice League rush him back to Kansas hoping that they can get him there before one of his blowups or at the very least, contain him if it happens.......... No such luck.
In the end, we find out that part of a city was destroyed from one of his eruptions and even though Superman, Cyborg and Hal did their best to try and shield it, it looks like there might have been quite a few casualties. Captain Atom won't have a lot of time to worry about this though because when he eventually makes his way back to The Continuum, he erupts with the biggest explosion yet and it appears to Dr. Megala and General Eiling that their Captain Atom has finally gone and died from his affliction. What they don't know is, it looks like we'll be continuing the trope of Captain Atom being thrown throughout time because our final page appears to be a human looking Nathaniel Adam laying in a heap on the spot that appears to be where The Continuum will one day be built, but apparently isn't in 1994, where our hero finds himself.
That's it for this issue of The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom and for the most part I really enjoyed the weary take of our hero, who's tired of being a danger to people and possibly a weapon for the military and while this isn't anything new for him, it was good to reconnect because of how long it's been since we've really seen him. From what we got here it seems like we're playing with a continuity that's all its own and one that the writer is taking bits and pieces of things that we've seen in the New 52 and for the most part it works. You don't need Captain Adam's time in Legion Lost or Dr. Megala's attempts to control Firestorm in here because............ Well, because most people didn't read those books and if they did they probably don't remember it and while I love continuity, it would have just bogged down this story trying to catch everyone up. The art in this issue was really good and besides for all the scientific jargon that filled most of the dialog balloons in this issue that went right over my head, I found myself enjoying this first part to this mini and I find myself excited for where it's going. Everyone's talking about Dr. Manhattan these days and with DC bringing Captain Atom back into action, I'm thinking that this mini will be a big deal because who will Prime Earth have to stand up against the God-like Watchmen if he does indeed turn out to be the big bad of Rebirth?....... Why none other than the character that inspired him.
Bits and Pieces:
While there are some continuity problems going into this issue....... or at least the possibility of problems what with this being a story that takes place years ago, it's nothing that takes away from this story as it's trying to do it's own thing, while also doing its best to keep continuity freaks like me at least somewhat happy. What we get here though is a decent read with some excellent art that gets me excited for where this mini will go and the ramifications it will have with the mysteries surrounding Rebirth.