Captain Atom — Vol.1 — Evolution

Fol­low­ing my Flash Vol. 1 write-up, Cap­tain Atom Vol. 1 is next on the read list. It takes place after Jus­tice League Vol. 1, and the Q-Pad is fea­tured fair­ly promi­nent­ly.

Captain Atom Vol. 1

J.T. Krul — Writer
Fred­die Williams II — Artist

Pub­lished 28 Nov 2012.
Col­lec­tions Cap­tain Atom 1 – 6 (21 Sep 2011 — 15 Feb 2012)

Art
Sto­ry
Aver­age

Art

Gen­er­al­ly very clean, but gets a bit chaotic in the fights. That could be an intend­ed design choice, though.

Story

The whole book is about how Cap­tain Atom has God-like pow­ers. In fact, one char­ac­ter says of him,

He turned the inor­gan­ic [Air Force jet] into organ­ic [feath­er]. And he didn’t even need a rib to do it.

so the com­par­ison is very well estab­lished. The only draw­back is that if he gets dis­tract­ed long enough, he could dis­si­pate into noth­ing­ness. Except his whole orig­in is that his human body dis­si­pat­ed into noth­ing­ness in an exper­i­ment, and he was still able to pull him­self back togeth­er. So real­ly his only dis­ad­van­tage is that he does not want to use too much pow­er again­st oth­ers. He zips around the world fix­ing prob­lems big and small, includ­ing tak­ing down a mech suit vil­lain in Chicago, avert­ing a simul­ta­ne­ous nuclear reac­tor melt­down and vol­cano erup­tion in New York City, cur­ing a lit­tle boy’s can­cer in Kansas City, sav­ing a bill­board work­er from falling in Seat­tle, help­ing a moth­er lift an I-beam off a child in Atlanta, sav­ing bystanders from a dri­ve-by shoot­ing in Hous­ton, and tak­ing the pills out of a girl who tried to com­mit sui­cide. Then he goes to Libya for an impromp­tu team-up with Flash to help rebels, end­ing with him absorbing the force of a nuclear blast. Even Flash, among the strongest of the Jus­tice League, is blown away by his pow­ers. The great­est chal­lenge to Cap­tain Atom is a rat that went through the same exper­i­ment and has sim­i­lar pow­ers. He gets attacked by the mil­i­tary, who want to take them both out, but has no prob­lem tak­ing care of both threats. (By the way, he beat the rat by using too much pow­er and mak­ing it dis­si­pate into noth­ing­ness.)

Connections

This book intro­duces Nathaniel Adam (Cap­tain Atom), Dr. Ran­i­ta Carter, Dr. Hein­rich Mega­la, Dr. Scott Alexan­der, Mikey Park­er, and Gen­er­al Wade Eil­ing. Pan­do­ra gets her cameo in the Man­hat­tan bystanders as Cap­tain Atom neu­tral­izes the vol­cano. It is men­tioned that the Jus­tice League reject­ed him because they con­sid­ered him too unsta­ble.

All-in-all, Cap­tain Atom just seems too over­pow­ered to be com­pelling. He either needs to be nerfed or meet a vil­lain that hon­est­ly chal­lenges him.

Next up, Sta­t­ic Shock Vol. 1 Sav­age Hawk­man Vol. 1.

Flash — Vol. 1 — Move Forward

Fol­low­ing my Green Arrow Vol. 1 write-up, we “move for­ward” to Flash Vol. 1 on the read list.

Flash Vol. 1

Fran­cis Man­a­pul –Writer, Artist
Bri­an Buc­cel­la­to –Writer, Col­orist

Pub­lished 7 Nov 2012
Col­lects Flash 1 – 8 (28 Sep 2011 — 25 Apr 2012)

Art
Sto­ry
Aver­age

Art

The clean lines and bright col­ors are fan­tas­tic. Every­one looks nat­u­ral, in and out of cos­tume. For any oth­er char­ac­ter, hav­ing the hero run straight for­ward in the frame might seem like poor stag­ing, but it works for Flash.

Story

The major­i­ty of this book is estab­lish­ing Flash’s sit­u­a­tion and an ini­tial con­flict with Mob Rule, an old friend. There’s a great quote Flash attrib­ut­es to his moth­er which is effec­tive­ly his phi­los­o­phy and mis­sion state­ment:

Life is loco­mo­tion, but there comes a time when you’ve got to stop run­ning away from things and you’ve got to start run­ning towards some­thing. You’ve got to forge ahead. Keep mov­ing. Even if your path isn’t lit, trust that you’ll find your way.”

In the mid­dle of his fight with Mob Rule, an unex­plained EMP blast throws a kink in the works. There’s also a jail break at Iron Heights Pris­on, which sets up Flash’s next con­flict with Cap­tain Cold. In the mid­st of that bat­tle, we find out that Flash’s speed is cre­at­ing worm­holes and he is inad­ver­tent­ly respon­si­ble for the pre­vi­ous EMP. At the same time, we see Goril­la Grodd con­sol­i­date pow­er at home, pos­si­bly fore­shad­ow­ing Flash’s fight in the next book. The segue from the Mob Rule sto­ry to the Cap­tain Cold one is stilt­ed, but I sup­pose it fits the the­me of always mov­ing for­ward to the next chal­lenge, and the plot­li­nes do come back togeth­er when you find out about the EMP con­nec­tion. Final­ly, Flash enters the Speed Force through the lat­est worm­hole in order to try to fix this lat­est dis­as­ter when he finds out that Tur­bine is stuck there and caus­ing the worm­holes in an attempt to free him­self, where­as Flash is actu­al­ly a Speed Force release valve to pre­vent worm­holes — a con­ve­nient abso­lu­tion and “fix” to Flash’s inabil­i­ty to use his speed more often.

My biggest issue with this sto­ry is it is not clear how long Cen­tral City was liv­ing in the dark, it could be any­where from days to months — Pat­ty talks about Bar­ry being gone for a long time, but Lisa Snart prob­a­bly should have died with­out life sup­port for that long.

Connections

This book intro­duces Pat­ty Spiv­ot, Dr. Dar­win Elias, Iris West, Manuel Lago (Mob Rule), James For­rest, Leonard Snart (Cap­tain Cold), Dr. Guer­rero, Rogues, Axel, Bryan, Nathan, Bur­rell, Cap­tain Dar­ryl Frye, Basilisk, Fold­ed Man, Gird­er, Tar Pit, Lisa Snart, Roscoe Hynes (Tur­bine), Hart­ley Rath­away. Pan­do­ra gets her cameo in the crowd out­side of the con­ven­tion cen­ter after Mob Rule’s attack. David Singh, intro­duced in Jus­tice League Vol. 1, is still Barry’s boss. Flash wran­gles some equip­ment from Wayne Enter­pris­es to help dis­as­ter relief in Cen­tral City. Dr. Dar­win Elias is the head of Mer­cury Labs. Green Lantern men­tioned in Jus­tice League Vol. 1 that he helped Flash take down Goril­la Grodd, but this is the first time we see Grodd, and it seems like that con­flict has not hap­pened yet.

Next up, Cap­tain Atom Vol. 1.

Savage Hawkman — Vol. 1 — Darkness Rising

Fol­low­ing my Sta­t­ic Shock Vol. 1 Cap­tain Atom Vol. 1 write-up, Sav­age Hawk­man Vol. 1 is up on the read list.

Savage Hawkman 1

Tony S. Daniel — Writer
Philip Tan — Artist
James Bon­ny — Writer

Pub­lished 24 Oct 2012
Col­lects Sav­age Hawk­man 1 – 8 (28 Sep 2011 — 25 Apr 2012)

Art
Sto­ry
Aver­age

Art

I real­ly enjoyed the water­col­or style.

Story

This book is also a two-parter. It starts with Carter Hall try­ing to put the Hawk­man iden­ti­ty behind him by tak­ing the wing har­ness and hel­met into the woods and set­ting them on fire. This back­fires with the Nth Met­al from the Hawk­man cos­tume com­ing to life and attack­ing him, caus­ing him to black out. Carter wakes up to him him­self back in his apart­ment a week lat­er with no mem­o­ry of what hap­pened in between and his employ­er bang­ing on the door because of a wild new dis­cov­ery at work.

At work, the dis­cov­ery turned out to be a tomb for a hos­tile alien force named Mor­phi­cus, which is acci­den­tal­ly released and starts attack­ing the staff. Carter jumps in to help, only to find that the Nth Met­al was actu­al­ly absorbed in his body and resur­faces as wings, armor, and weapons to help him. How­ev­er, he does not have much con­trol over it, and the alien starts to siphon the Nth Met­al mate­ri­al from Hawk­man, weak­en­ing him.

Mor­phi­cus flew off, only to be brought down by anoth­er alien, and tak­en to a secret lab, where we find that the dis­cov­ery and acci­den­tal release were not acci­den­tal at all, but planned by Dr. Hog­a­rth Kane, who is col­lect­ing aliens for some­thing sin­is­ter called the “extinc­tion virus.” Hawk­man stops by and fights every­one — he refreezes Mor­phi­cus and takes Dr. Kane’s brief­case of alien sam­ples.

Every­thing seems resolved, but Carter starts get­ting visions of every­one around him being undead. He learns through a mys­te­ri­ous book at work that there is an ancient arti­fact called the Mor­tis Orb that was used to fight undead, but it was hid­den away because of its great pow­er. Turns out, the Gen­tle­man Ghost wants to use the Mor­tis Orb to gain eter­nal life, at the expense of all the lives in New York, and he wants Hawk­man to find it because the Nth Met­al is some­how drawn to it. Real­iz­ing it is the only way he can fight Gen­tle­man Ghost and his phase-chang­ing spir­it attacks, Hawk­man finds the Mor­tis Orb in the grave of a war­lock out­side of the city and acti­vates it by touch­ing it with the Nth Met­al. Gen­tle­man Ghost quick­ly takes it from him and goes back to the city, leav­ing a trail of undead. Sta­t­ic Shock appears and helps stop the zem­bies, leav­ing Hawk­man to fight the ghosts. The Mor­tis Orb makes it so Hawk­man can bet­ter fight the phase-chang­ing ghosts, but the bat­tle sud­den­ly ends when the ghost of Julius Gates attacks Gen­tle­man Ghost and they all get sucked into a por­tal. Hawk­man can­not reac­ti­vate the shield over the Mor­tis Orb, so he drops it “live” into a glac­i­er.

In a sur­prise move, Askana comes to Hawk­man and asks for his help fight­ing off alien boun­ty hunters com­ing after her for help­ing Dr. Kane release Mor­phi­cus. They fight well togeth­er, but Hawk­man real­izes that the aliens are focus­ing their attack on him rather than Askana, and Dr. Kane must have con­vinced the aliens that Hawk­man was the one respon­si­ble.

Connections

This book first intro­duces Katar Hol “Carter Hall” (Hawk­man), Hank, Pro­fes­sor Ziegler, Ter­rance, Emma Ziegler, Dr. Ben­son, Mor­phi­cus, Dr. Hog­a­rth Kane, Agent Mur­phy, Askana, Wak­er, Mr. Gomez, High Coun­cil Judge, Dar­ius Dig­by, “Gen­tle­man” Jim Crad­dock (Gen­tle­man Ghost), Singh, Julius Gates, Abi­gail Gates, and Tay­lor Man­ning. We are also intro­duced to the alien races of the Vexaphons, Xenu­sians, and Thana­gar­i­ans. Pan­do­ra gets her cameo in the lab fight as Hawk­man man­i­fests his new armor for the first time. We learn a bit about Dr. Kane’s orga­ni­za­tion NLAS (Non Lethal Alter­na­tive Stud­ies) and the ones who froze Mor­phi­cus in the first place, the High Coun­cil.

Sta­t­ic Shock comes in for a team-up, and it seems to be the first time Sta­t­ic and Hawk­man have met or even heard of each oth­er. Because of this con­text, I am shuf­fling this book in before Sta­t­ic Shock Vol. 1, so that is now “next.”