Captain Atom’s Powers

*Note: This list is a work in progress, last updated 08/24/2015.*

Silver/Bronze Age Captain Atom

  1. Reintegrating his disintegrated atoms (Space Adventures #33)
  2. Burning away his clothes (Space Adventures #33)
  3. Flying at speeds of over 20,000 miles per hour (Space Adventures #33)
  4. Surviving the vacuum of space (Space Adventures #33)
  5. Super sensitivity to heat (Space Adventures #34)
  6. Invisibility (Space Adventures #34)
  7. Atomic blasts from his hands (Space Adventures #35)
  8. Indestructibility (Space Adventures #36)
  9. Fiery rays from his hands (Space Adventures #36)
  10. Surviving without needing to eat (Space Adventures #36)
  11. Really good eyesight (Space Adventures #36)
  12. Can fly faster than the speed of light (Space Adventures #38)
  13. Can hear sounds in the vacuum of space (Space Adventures #42)
  14. Ability to increase the level of radiation he emits to generate warmth (Captain Atom (vol 1) #78)
  15. Belt radio (not really a power but a gadget) with which he can communicate with Washington (Captain Atom (vol 1) #79)
  16. Can erect a shield that blocks beams of emotions projected at him (quite a specific power) (Captain Atom (vol 1) #81)
  17. Can fling fiery balls from his hands (Captain Atom (vol 1) #81)
  18. Can switch from his liquid metal costume and back again (Captain Atom (vol 1) #84)
  19. Uses any electrical based machinery to recharge his powers (Captain Atom (vol 1) #87)
  20. Ability to bend light rays (Charlton Bullseye #1)
  21. Can blind people with a burst of light (Convergence: Blue Beetle #2)


Modern Age Captain Atom


  1. Nearly indestructible metal alloy skin (Captain Atom (vol 2) #1)
  2. Energy blasts from hands (Captain Atom (vol 2) #1)
  3. Flight (Captain Atom (vol 2) #1)
  4. Super strength (Captain Atom (vol 2) #1)
  5. Ability to absorb energy (Captain Atom (vol 2) #1)
  6. Time travel (only forward and only when he absorbs too much energy)* (Captain Atom (vol 2) #5)
  7. Rapid healing (Captain Atom (vol 2) #8)


New 52 Captain Atom

  1. Energy absorption (Captain Atom (vol 3) #1)
  2. Microscopic vision (Captain Atom (vol 3) #1)
  3. Transmutation (Captain Atom (vol 3) #1)
  4. Super-speed (at least while flying) (Captain Atom (vol 3) #1)
  5. Reintegrating his disintegrated atoms (Captain Atom (vol 3) #2)
  6. Invisibility (Captain Atom (vol 3) #2)
  7. Shrinking (Captain Atom (vol 3 ) #2)


DC Animated Universe Captain Atom

  1. Creating any form of radiation (Justice League Unlimited [TV] Episode 23)


Dr. Manhattan

1. Omnipotence (Watchmen)

*Later adventures changed the time-travel aspect. He would still bump ahead in time but once he “burned off” the excess power, he would return to his own time. In the mini-series Armageddon: Alien Agenda, he actually traveled backward in time.

Captain Atom and all related characters are ©DC Comics, Inc.


7 thoughts on “Captain Atom’s Powers”

  1. Richard said:

    How can Captain Atom do all those things with his energy manipulating powers?
    Time Travel, stop explosions, teleport etc.


    • To be honest, the science of Captain Atom is a little baffling. The Silver/Bronze Age Captain Atom received his powers when he was trapped on an exploding rocket that was bombarded with “cosmic rays” (high-energy radiation). His first appearance was in 1960, a full year before Yuri Gagarin became the first man to reach outer space. Steve Ditko and Joe Gill, the creators of Captain Atom, no doubt thought it would be cool to say that the mysterious radiation gave Allen Adam amazing abilities. In reality, he would have just died.

      The original Captain Atom (as you can see on this page) had a wide range of abilities that later incarnations did not. Basically, it could be summed up in one broad statement: he could manipulate all forms of energy. It was because of his almost godlike powers that he slowly lost touch with his humanity (as did Dr. Manhattan). At least, he lost touch according to some accounts (see the Pax Americana series and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond).

      When Cary Cates and Pat Broderick revamped the character in the 1980s, they threw out the cosmic rays notion and came up with something that would be less likely to be explained. Nathaniel Adam bonded with an alien metal alloy when a nuclear device was detonated under him. The Air Force was actually testing the resilience of the alloy to see if it could be used on military hardware. It was this alloy that gave Adam all his powers, which included the ability to travel forward in time.

      Probably his most important power is his ability to absorb energy, just as the alien alloy did. He can absorb vast quantities of any sort of energy, but he does have a limit. He first reached this limit the first time the alloy was tested. When he cannot absorb any more energy, the excess energy propels him forward in time. How far he travels is determined by how much excess energy remains. The first time, a nuclear bomb propelled him 18 years. The second time, he was absorbing the nuclear energy of a crippled submarine and was pushed ahead a week. Later, when fighting the Atomic Skull, he lost 24 hours to the time jump.

      Later writers expanded this ability. On the heels of Armageddon 2001, Captain Atom and Monarch were bounced all around history in the mini-series Armageddon: Alien Agenda. In Justice League: Generation Lost the power was changed again. He still got bumped into the future, but when he “burned off” the excess energy, he returned to the past.

      I assume that he can produce energy blasts because of the stored-up energy in his metal shell. This also can propel him through the sky probably. Again, it could all be explained away easily by saying he can manipulate all forms of energy.

      In real life? Allen Adam would have died in space, Nathaniel Adam would have died strapped to a nuclear bomb, Peter Parker would most likely have gotten cancer, and Bruce Banner would have been vaporized. When trying to apply science to comic books, it is probably just best to forget about it an enjoy the story. That’s what I do.


  2. Richard said:

    Thank you. I’ll try to keep that in mind. I’m writing a story about the president receiving energy manipulation powers similar to captain atom. Any advice?


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