Captain Atom isn’t the first of the New 52 titles to get the ax, but it is the first one I’ve really enjoyed to go away. Captain Atom #0 provides a rebooted origin for the soldier turned super-powered hero, and while it works well enough, like most of the New 52, it’s not nearly as good as the origin the character already had.
Now I didn’t read the Captain Atom‘s original Charlton Comics run, but when DC bought the rights to the character (along with others like the Question and Blue Beetle) and gave the hero new life in his own title following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths I was there to grab it, and all the issue that followed. (Hell, I was in the prime of my junior high comic book buyin’ days.)
In the post-Crisis origin (which, by the way, was good enough to be used in a recent issue of Young Justice) Nathaniel Adam was an Air Force pilot framed for murder who volunteered for a risky experiment only to be shot 20 years into the future and turned into super-human with the ability to tap into the Quantum Field.
The New 52 version borrows as much from the Watchmen‘s Dr. Manhattan as the version I grew up with, which is funny when you think of it because Manhattan was actually modeled after Captain Atom. And his New 52 origin is simplified as well taking out any mention of the man’s possibly checkered past. The new version lacks the more layered approach from 25 years-ago, but the issue does deliver scenes of the man’s first action as a super-being (which work well).
I’m going to miss this comic. As written by J. T. Krul, and drawn by Freddie E. Williams II, Captain Atom may not fit well in the still rather small New 52 DCU (honestly, I can’t see DC trying to stick the character in another comic), but the comic consistently presented the world and actions of a super-hero from an entirely different perspective. I’m not going to lie, I’m a saddened that the new DCU isn’t a big enough place for a character, and comic, like this to thrive. Worth a look.