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.

Justice League — Vol. 1 — Origin

I start­ed a re-read of DC’s New 52 when I moved to LA as a way to orga­nize my book­shelves since they got jum­bled up in the pack­ing and unpack­ing process. In hon­or of DC’s Rebirth event and the restart of this blog, though, I thought this would be a good time to put some thoughts down. Orig­in is the offi­cial DC launch point for the New 52 sto­ry­line, so I will start here and mean­der on fol­low­ing in-uni­verse chronol­o­gy as best I can.

justice-league-1

Geoff Johns — Writer
Jim Lee — Pen­ciller
Scott Williams — Inker

Pub­lished 2 May 2012
Col­lects Jus­tice League 1 – 6 (31 Aug 2011 — 29 Feb 2012)

Art
Sto­ry
Aver­age

Art

Jim Lee is a god to me so Art is pret­ty much an auto­mat­ic 5 out of 5.

Story/Connections

Sto­ry, I liked a lot, too. I was not sure what to expect from the New 52 reboot, but I appre­ci­at­ed how Geoff Johns pulled this off. The super­heros are estab­lished (so there is no need to rehash all their orig­in sto­ries), but not pub­lic, so the world still does not know much about them and they do not know each oth­er (giv­ing a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to tell each oth­er about their abil­i­ties).

Darkseid’s prob­ing attack serves as the world’s first extinc­tion-lev­el threat and the cat­a­lyst for Bruce Wayne (Bat­man), Hal Jor­dan (Green Lantern), Clark Kent (Super­man), Bar­ry Allen (Flash), Diana Prince (Won­der Wom­an), Arthur Cur­ry (Aqua­man) get togeth­er, as well as the orig­in for Vic­tor Stone’s (Cyborg) pow­ers.

It also intro­duces sev­er­al sup­port­ing char­ac­ters, such as Silas Stone, David Singh, Steve Trevor, Antho­ny Ivo, Sarah Charles, Thomas Oscar Mor­row, David Graves, Grail, DeSaad, Step­pen­wolf, Pan­do­ra, Phan­tom Stranger, Spec­tre, and Ques­tion. More are men­tioned, like Guardians, Goril­la Grodd, Lex Luthor, William Mag­nus, Ryan Choi, Oliv­er Queen (Green Arrow), Zatan­na Zatara, and Carter Hall (Hawk­man). And the stage is per­fect­ly set for the less-than-per­fect team dynam­ic.

A few rela­tion­ships have already been formed. Bat­man has files on every­one, of course. Green Lantern and Flash fought Goril­la Grodd togeth­er. Super­man dis­likes Lex Luthor. Steve Trevor is Won­der Woman’s liaison.

Over­all, it is action-packed and full of laughs. I tell every­one who lis­tens that DC had a blue­print right new here for launch­ing their answer to the MCU, but no, they had to start with Bat­man v Super­man: Dawn of Jus­tice, loose­ly based on The Dark Knight Returns, which is not even in the main con­ti­nu­ity.

Next up, Super­man — Action Comics Vol. 1.