Review: The Atom Special #1

Published on July 13th, 2010

If you have been reading some of articles here on our site or if you’ve been listening to some of our audio podcasts, then maybe you’ll be aware that I love Jeff Lemire’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ from Vertigo Comics. The question I have been asking myself is “how would he do on a superhero comic with capes”. Then a few months back we found out that he was going to work on the ‘Brightest Day The Atom Special #1’ for DC Comics.

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Now that I have read it I can tell you he did a great job. I am not a huge fan of the Atom, I didn’t even care about him in the Blackest Night books. I think he was a bad idea. But what Lemire has done here is make me look at this character in a new light. It is a great jumping on point, as it tells us fans about Ray Palmer’s origin. As someone who doesn’t know anything about the Atom, I was having a great time reading this book.

The book opens with Ray Palmer finding out that his lab was destroyed and that at the same time Professor Hyatt has come to help out. At the same time we get Palmer talking about his life, how he and his brother were nothing alike, how he was the science geek and his brother was ‘Mr Super Cool’ next to him. His brother was very close to their father and Ray never felt close to anyone but his uncle David, who got him a Ant farm. We also found out that his brother became a fire man just like their father. This is where Lemire shows off his skills as a writer. If you have read one of Lemire’s fist books called ‘Essex County’, you’ll know he is great with families and showing how they all link together and care about each other. We see that here as Ray talks about how his bother died fighting a fire. We see more of his personality when he talks about never giving up in school, that even back then he was looking up to Professor Hyatt. In just a few pages, Lemire does a great job of showing their friendship.

Then one day a meteor hit earth and Ray took the time, as any science geek would, to find out what the meteor was made of. This caused him to be able to possess the power to alter his size down to the subatomic level while retaining his natural strength levels. As he was watching the news he saw a fire and thought, ”Who come help these people?” Micro-Man? Shrink-Master? Ant-Man? Nah, but THE ATOM could. Since that day The Atom became part of such teams as the Justice League and has been helping fight the good fight. He finds a clue that helps him find out who destroyed his lab, and it’s kind a shocking moment in the comic. That is how The Atom Special #1 ends.

I am happy that I picked up this special issue, and as someone who is not reading Brightest Day I was still completely absorbed into this issue. I am now going to pick up Adventure Comics every month just for Lemire’s Atom back-up story! He his doing a great job, and DC is very lucky to have this future superstar on their writing staff.

Simon Daoudi
Simon@ComicImpact.com