Captain Atom #22 (December 1988)

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“Captain Atom Goes to War”

Written by Cary Bates & Greg Weisman ° Pencils by Pat Broderick ° Inks by Bob Smith ° Letterer: Carrie Spiegle ° Colors by Shelley Eiber ° Editors: Denny O’Neil & Dan Raspler

Well, Nate has gone off the rails in some Central American country (we never learned where he actually was last issue). He has taken the law into his own hands in an attempt to stop a civil war and created an embarrassment for his own country. Meanwhile, Wade Eiling pays a visit to Amanda Waller to find out who authorized her to send Nightshade out after Captain Atom. Waller politely shows the General the door.

Down south, Nate is melting choppers left and right but sparing the operators. He’s only after the weapons. It seems a military man like him would realize there’s always more weapons. Burn them all and people will just use their hands, Nate.

En route, Nightshade (Eve) is being briefed by Waller and thinking to herself she would have jumped at this opportunity regardless. Seems Eve is still carrying a torch for Adam. Back in New York, a frustrated Maxwell Lord fields multiple calls about his rogue Justice Leaguer. Nate, meanwhile, continues to melt tanks and piss everybody off.

Back at the base camp, Nate tries to convince his fellow soldiers that maybe what Captain Atom is doing is right but they won’t hear it. How have they not out two and two together? This white haired pinko shows up in X country the same time Captain Atom shows up and starts melting helicopters and they can’t see they are the same guy? While sitting watch for the night, Cap is knocked out and dragged off by Plastique. The next morning his fellow soldiers are none too concerned as they break camp and move on.

When he wakes up, Nate finds Bette has fitted him with a special collar. If he tries to change into Captain Atom, the explosive will take his head off. She’s also unbuttoned his shirt, but that was really just for her.

In an effort to try and convince Plastique they can make a difference, Nate leads her to a pit where he has melted the government’s and the rebel’s stolen arsenals. Bette did not realize he had been disarming both sides. Back home, Eiling and Allard have realized the same thing. Wade says Nate is in for a rude awakening.

Back down south, Nate asks Bette if she’ll give him give days to sort this war out. But whatever will they do for those give days?

Sly old Nate seduced Bette in an attempt to lift the key to the collar off of her. But she’s too quick for him and ends up pinning him down. Just then darkness falls, but it isn’t a natural darkness. Nightshade has arrived. Realizing there is no way to fight her in the dark (Eve’s turf), Plastique unlocks the collar and Captain Atom brings in the light.

The women begin to scrap, but Nate interferes. He says he’s out to stop all conflict in the country, not just the war but also between Eve and Bette. But before anyone can do any real damage, the trip smells something burning and discover a nearby village in flames. Without their weapons, the soldiers have resorted to using torches. As Adam and Eve watch the locals have at each other with whatever they can get their hands on, Bette slips away.

Nate finally realizes there is no way he can stop this war. He gathers up Nightshade and they fly home.

Overall, I liked this little two-parter. This is the kind of stuff Captain Atom was getting into in his Charlton days, so it was only fitting Nightshade was along for the ride. Only, in those days, he would have solved the problem and not accepted defeat. But this ain’t your grandpa’s Captain Atom. A well-crafted story and great art. Broderick and Smith are a dream team. A.

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #6 (August 2017)

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“Mission Creep”The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Captain_Atom_Vol_1_6

  • Writers: Cary Bates, Greg Weisman
  • Pencils & Inks: Will Conrad
  • Colors: Ivan Nunes
  • Letters: Saida Temofonte
  • Editors: Jim Chadwick, Kristy Quinn
  • Cover Artist: Anna Dittmann

Time to rip off the band-aid and dive into the last issue of this mini-series. At first I put off covering this one because I wanted to see where Captain Atom went next (nowhere as it turned out). Then I just kind of forgot about it. For about four years. If you want to hear my initial thoughts on the issue, listen to this episode of my podcast. For the purposes of this blog, I will not relisten to the episode and do this fresh. Is that cool with all my reader?

This story opens with Mr. Thrane approaching an abandoned car in a desolate valley in 2008. There he finds a dossier and a video message from Eiling. Thrane’s target is Flip Kovic, a terrorist-for-hire that the US government hasn’t had any luck taking down. Eiling reports Kovic is somewhere in the United States before doing a quick and awkward Liam Neeson impression.

Eiling gives Thrane the number of a third party who is brokering a deal with Kovic and informs him half his fee has been transferred to his Cayman Island account. As Thrane strolls away from the vehicle it explodes.

In present day (2017), Captain Atom is at Eiling’s house warning him that Thrane now has a kill list and Eiling is on it. When they were fighting in the quantum field, Atom and Thrane merged minds and Nate saw Eiling hiring the killer in 2008. He tells the General to cut the crap and be straight. Eiling finally comes clean and says he hired Max Thrane to take out Kovic, which he did by feeding the man to alligators in the Everglades. He says he is the one who flipped on Thrane. Atom pulls a Batman and leaves the General in mid-sentence while his back is turned.

The next morning, Nate is at his wife’s grave. He tells her he has met his son Genji and understands why he hates his deadbeat disappearing dad. We then cut to a news report where the broadcaster states that if he really wants the public to accept him, Captain Atom needs to bring in Ultramax.

Ultramax has sent Captain Atom and General Eiling an ultimatum. Present themselves to him or he kills Genji, whom he has kidnapped. Turns out Max learned some secrets himself when he and Nate merged minds. He wants Nate and Eiling alone at dawn in the same valley from 2008. If anyone else shows up, Max will kill Genji.

Megala and Eiling think they might have a chance against Ultramax with the special ammo they’ve developed, lead-lined explosive uranium bullets. Apparently they were created to take down Nate in his previously unstable form.

The next morning, Cap and Eiling arrive at the meeting point. Max releases Genji as Atom releases Eiling. As they pass each other, Eiling whispers to the kid to watch for his signal. He whips out his gun and tires as Captain Atom swoops in and flies his son to safety. Of course the special ammo doesn’t work. It just pisses Max off.

Captain Atom flies in and deflects Ultramax’s attack. Max says after he killed the General he was going to come after Atom and Genji anyway. Nate unleashes quantum hell on Max while protecting Eiling from Max’s attack.

Eiking tells Nate to leave him and save his son. Nate wasn’t born yesterday though. He has figured out what Project Resurgence is and why the military was keeping close tabs on Genji and keeping Nate away from his son.

Reflecting Ultramax’s power back at him knocks the psycho out. Genji comes out of hiding and joins Eiling and Nate. Genji shakes Captain Atom’s hand before Nate gathers up Max and flies him to seek medical attention.

Very early the next morning, Megala meets with Eiling back at the base. According to their surveillance, Genji actually absorbed a bit of Max’s power, which should have killed him. It looks like Genji just might actually be a Captain Atom Junior.

Back at his wife’s grave, Nate gets a final message from his whistle blower. It is, of course, Dr. Megala. He doesn’t tip Nate off about Genji’s possible powers though. The issue and mini-series ends with the Justice League in the Watchtower viewing a news report stating that the public now has trust in Captain Atom.

As of this writing, it has been about four years since this book was published. The next time we saw a Captain Atom, he was back in his old silver skin with boots and gloves. His old ’80s look. He did not join the Justice League, and we never learned what became of his son. If we ever get another series written by this team, I’m sure all these questions will be answered.

I absolutely love this book. I think the writing was excellent, and it was some of the best art in a Captain Atom series I have ever seen. No offense intended to the legendary Pat Broderick. I give this book and the series a solid A.

Edit: After I wrote this, I listened to the episode of my podcast where I discussed this issue. Apparently at the time I was not impressed at all with this one. I have no idea why my opinion changed over the course of the last four years.

Captain Atom #21 (November 1988)

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Written by Cary Bates & Greg Weisman ° Pencils by Pat Broderick ° Inks by Steve Mitchell ° Colors by Shelley Eiber ° Letterer: Carrie Spiegle ° Editors: Denny O’Neil & Dan Raspler

“The Captain’s Word is Law!”

On the opening splash page, someone is using their super powers to cut out ads seeking mercenaries from Soldier For Hire. Mostly likely our sad sack Nate Adam who only has one skill – killing for the government. And since he quit that gig, business has been bad. There is a nice shout-out to Sergeant Rock on his table, though. Who knew Captain Atom liked comics?

We cut to Nate and Sally leaving a Grateful Dead concert. Nate is schooling her on the hip new lingo the kids are using these days. Who knew Nate was a Deadhead? No surprise that his new sugar mama is, though. Sally is stressed that Nate is taking a mysterious sudden vacation, not telling him where he’s going, and leaving her to run the store herself. Nate, or “Cameron” as she knows him, won’t say a thing about the trip.

Later, Nate meets up with a shady character on a boat calling himself the “ancient mariner.” He presents his team with a slide show of a third-world country in peril. The rebels have tanks and heavy firepower. One of the satellite images reveal a young soldier in peril to be the son of the Mariner. The mission is to find the son, Billy, dead or alive.

The three men he’s hired for this job are Witman Halsy, Dwight Crane, and of course Cameron Scott. They have all been researched by the Mariner and are considered experts. No one is aware that Scott is a super-hero.

Later, suited up and flying over an unnamed Communist country, they are informed that they are just above the spot where the boy was last seen. His name is now Dwayne and not Billy. The three men parachute into the jungle. By dawn, they are on patrol and Nate already doesn’t like Halsy (now spelled Halsey). They find the kid’s jeep, which looks like it was flipped by a landmine. Nate thinks it is eerily familiar…

They gather the body and go back to camp. While waiting the four days for their pickup, they get to know the rebels. They help to train them. They get word of an enemy tank in the area and decide to go on the offensive. Halsey is in command. They take the tank and one prisoner.

Halsey proceeds to torture the prisoner for information. This does not sit well with Nate. He washes off his face but he cannot wash off his guilt. He tries to console himself by thinking that both sides resort to torture to get what they want. And Halsey is successful, but the prisoner is killed in the process.

With Halsey in command, they attack the enemy base at an old abandoned gas station. They end up pinned down behind a truck. They fight back, and Nate is hit by a stray bullet. His wound is pronounced as just a graze, but he is out cold when the gas station goes up and a lone rebel walks out.

When Nate comes to, he discovers that he has been captured by Russian speaking militants who appear to be in cahoots with none other than his old “friend” Plastique.

Nate is disgusted that she is still selling her powers to the highest bidder, but recognizes that he is doing the same thing. However, he assures her that he is Cameron Scott on this mission and not Captain Atom. Bette ain’t buying it. They have a heart-to-heart. in spite of the fact that he is a hero and she is a villain, the last time they met she saved Captain Atom’s life. So there is a small amount of trust between them. Also she knows who he really is.

The two of them activate their power and begin to scrap Nate says he will do whatever he’s in his power to help these people, and Bette says she has a job to do and she wants to get paid. Nate has had it with both sides and decides it is time for him to take charge.

One thing Nate does not know is that there are witnesses to this altercation. a helicopter crew is filming the whole thing. He takes out Plastique, but when he goes after the military equipment it is witnessed by General Eiling. Megala is worried about what this will do to his super secret government project and insists that the military sends someone down to subdue Captain Atom. The General asks who he had in mind. Cut to Amanda Waller (of the Suicide Squad), demanding that Nightshade be sent after Cap.

This was a fine issue. It’s setting up quite the throwdown between Nate’s former girlfriend and his jungle hookup. I like to see where this is going. The artwork is capable, not Pat at his finest but certainly not Pat at his worst. Also I like to see Nate doing military stuff sometimes and not always super-heroing. I give the issue an A.

Steel #11 – 13 (January-March 1995)

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So, Steel has an adventure in space! And the newly-formed EXTREME Justice team is on hand. Again, it’s just a little cameo for Captain Atom. He really needed his own solo title again at this point.

Now, I like Steel as a character. There still aren’t enough heroes of color in comics. But, can we all agree as a society that comics in the mid 1990s kind of really sucked?

Some Justice League Cameo Appearances (1988-2006)

Back when these would crop up, I used to wonder why they ever put Captain Atom on the team if they just didn’t know what to do with him.

Justice League International #20-21 (Dec 1988-Jan 1989)

Justice League International #24 (February 1989)

Justice League America #32 (November 1989)

Justice League America #53 (August 1991)

Justice League America #54 (September 1991)

Justice League Unlimited #7 (May 2005)

Justice League Unlimited #8 (June 2005)

Justice League Unlimited #9 (July 2005)

Justice League Unlimited #13 (November 2005)

Justice League Unlimited #20 (June 2006)

Justice League Unlimited #21 (July 2006)

Justice League Unlimited #22 (August 2006)

Justice League International Annual #3 (1989)

“Around the World With the Justice League”

Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis

Pencils: Mike McKone

Inks: Pablo Marcos

This really just amounts to a cameo appearance. Captain Atom appears on just two pages, looking like a metallic Roger Daltrey and being all angsty.

Captain Adym (Legion Lost)

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This version of Captain Atom sprung from the pages of the New 52’s Legion Lost series. How he fits in with the New 52 Captain Atom is a bit strange. When we first meet him, he’s a captain in the science police stationed on the planet Zuun in the early 31st century. He displays no discernable powees. His partner calls him “Nate,” and he has an interest in the burgeoning “career” of the super-hero known as Timber Wolf.

The next time we see Nate Adym, it is much later in his career and he now has an ominous scar over his right eye. He is in charge of a branch of the science police called Echo, and has installed spies with the Legion of Super Heroes. After he finds Wildfire’s 1,000-year-old mask and Tyroc’s mysterious grave, he travels back to “present day” to make contact with the Legion Lost.

Joining the Legionaries in combat, he calls for backup while blasting baddies with his cool wrist lasers. However, one of his opponents seems to know a little too much about him.

In order to stop the world killer that is threatening the planet, Adym hatches a scheme to use his time bubble to detonate a singularity bomb. As it will result in countless deaths, the Legion opposes.

Harvest helps Adym return to his time bubble and gives him a null field that will shield him from the singularity. The bubble is damaged, however, and he cannot return to the 31st century. He can only go into the past. It is the last we see of Nathaniel Adym except for a curious epilogue…

In The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #15, the New 52 Captain Atom crashed into Firestorm, which apparently (temporarily) killed Cap. His consciousness was split across time and space and part of him was dumped in Metropolis in the 31st century. Already sporting the scar he obtained later in his life, he identifies himself as “Adym.” A real head-scratcher that was never adequately explained. Given the retconning of the whole New 52 line, it is unlikely to ever be fully explained.

Captain Atom Cameos (2001-2011)

It has been a while since I updated the “Cameos” page of this blog. I’m currently laid up in bed after a pretty serious car crash and have little else to do with my time, so here’s a quick update.

Justice Leagues #5: Justice League of Aliens (March 2001)

Justice Leagues #6: JLA (March 2001)

Superman: The Man of Steel #117 (October 2001)

Action Comics #782 (October 2001)

Wonder Woman #175 (December 2001)

JSA #33-35 (April-June 2002)

JLA: Another Nail #3 (July 2004)

Death of the New Gods #5 (March 2008)

JSA Kingdom Come: Magog #1 (January 2009)

WildCats #15 (November 2009)

R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual #1 (December 2009)

Booster Gold #26-27 (January-February 2010)

Power Girl #13 (August 2010)

Justice League of America #51 (January 2011)

Power Girl #19 (February 2011)

Justice League of America #52 (February 2011)

Power Girl #20 (March 2011)

Starman/Congorilla #1 (March 2011)

Power Girl #21 (April 2011)

Justice League of America #59 (September 2011)

Action Comics #903-904 (September-October 2011)