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(You’ve been warned)

Earth 2 Annual #1: “Secrets and Origins”

  • Writer: James Robinson
  • Pencils: CAFU & Julius Gopez
  • Inks: CAFU & Cam Smith
  • Colors: Pete Pantazis
  • Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
  • Cover: Brad Anderson & Andy Kubert

This is either a new version of Captain Atom or a throwaway joke I’m taking way too seriously.  The character of Atom that we have seen in the pages of Earth 2 (issues 0, 1, 4-5, and 9)  is Captain Al Pratt of the World Army.  I never thought much about the character.  The original Golden Age Atom was also Al Pratt, a pugilist who ended up with atomic-based powers (radiation immunity, superhuman durability, speed, stamina, and strength) and was a founding member of the Justice Society of America.  In the New 52, the JSA has been moved back to Earth 2 (their pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths home).

In the Earth 2 annual, we get the Atom’s origin story.  He was a soldier for the World Army who somehow survived the epicenter of a nuclear explosion.  He later found he was given atomic powers by the blast (he has the ability to deliver an atomic-super punch and can grow into a giant).

The similarity between Captain Atom’s origin and the Atom’s origin are obvious.  They both got their powers in a nuclear blast (to be fair, so did Firestorm).  But this is not a new spin on the Atom, really.  Although the Golden Age Atom started out as just a boxer, he did later survive nuclear fallout and found himself with new powers.

The reason I thought this might be a new version of Captain Atom is this:

Major Sonia Sato refers to Al as “Captain Atom.”

Of course, this can be interpreted a few ways.  Perhaps she was about to say “Captain Pratt” but caught herself in time (protecting his secret identity and all that).  Perhaps James Robinson was having a laugh, breaking the fourth wall a bit and reminding us this is a comic book.  Maybe this is the New New 52 Captain Atom.  Maybe he’s just Captain Atom in name and nothing else.  Maybe it is just a nod to Steve Ditko.  Who knows?  Well, James Robinson knows.  And probably Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and whoever else is running DC these days.  And soon enough, the rest of us I suppose.

I’m not the only one who latched on to this.  Andy Hunsaker at Crave Online calls Pratt “Captain Atom” throughout his review (but is also quick to point out this is “not the Captain Atom you know”).

I’m not going to give a detailed review of this book.  It gets a mention on this blog because of the Captain Atom thing.  He isn’t even the entire focus of the annual (see the cover).  So that’s all the spoilers I’m willing to share. I will say, however, that Earth 2 Annual #1 was pretty damn awesome – art and story are top-notch.  I am really enjoying the series.  I give this annual an A.