Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Palmer Posterior #6134009

A few months back, I had the idea for a regular series of filler posts for Power of the Atom, but never got around to setting them up. You see, even as a confidently heterosexual male, I couldn't help but admire the derriere of one Professor Raymond Palmer. The guy is really fit and athletic, always jumping around and showing off his form. I'm sure a lot of this had to do with original artist Gil Kane, a fan of dynamic anatomy, as evidenced by SallyP's appreciation of his work at Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER! I never really took much stock of Hal Jordan's gluteus maximus, in part because that guy's an ass, but also because dark green over black leggings doesn't necessarily call attention to those not on the lookout. Meanwhile, the Tiny Titan's southern hemisphere is bright red, and as I said, the guy is constantly assuming flattering postures to show off his white boy junk. I think I'll live vicariously through Ray Palmer's bod, and offer up a counterbalance to all those objectifying sites that show off the super-heroines. Besides, I've got a Wonder Woman blog, and I don't want to feel guilty about posts where Donna Troy runs around in that gloriously form fitting Wonder Girl unitard I love more than the character wearing it.

I'll start things off a bit subdued, with the first rear view of the civilian Ray from his first appearance, before there even was a Silver Age Atom. You may not want that wedding ring he's retrieving for yourself yet, but give it a few Palmer Posterior more posts, and you may come around...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The All New Atom #11 (July, 2007)

At first, Ryan Choi was obstinate, but he eventually crumbled at the realization that he must choose between two lives dear to his heart. Alvin agreed to allow Choi time to consider whom the zombie creeps would be taking back to hell with them. Jia continued to campaign for herself, but Ryan quieted her lying mouth, which pleased Alvin. “Listen, rules are rules. My friends and I only get to keep our physical forms ‘til our revenge is complete. So the game plays through. The Big Buddha. Lantau Island. You get to take one of them home with you.”

Ryan Choi loved Jia dearly, and kissed her passionately, claiming he didn’t mean any of his harsh words. “Promise me… that you’ll never make me have to watch you cry again.”

The monks had kept the Chinese from turning the resting place of the Tian Tan Buddha into a tourist attraction. “Good for you guys.” Ryan had always found Lantau Island to be a place of peace, far from his own hectic Hong Kong. That peace would be broken this night, as an Atom without his size-altering belt faced the challenge of the undead. After some council from the mediator, Ryan had decided to make the choice of re-killing Alvin and his pals. To that end, the Atom had to recreate the moment of their deaths, which in Eddie and Qianfan’s case meant spraying them with lighter fluid and firing up a Zippo. Alvin had already uncovered the means to his own end, so Atom retrieved Jia’s shovel and put it through her husband’s head. Ryan’s dad was once quite the cricket player, so he helped out by smashing a wooden chair over one ghoul. Ryan was proud of his father, and hoped in the future to avoid this nonsensical magic business.

Jia thanked Ryan with a kiss, but she had a librarian lover to get back to, whom Dad noted must have already been involved with her before Alvin’s death. Ryan was hurt, missed his friends in Ivy Town, and was set to return to a place where he could smile again. Meanwhile, the motionless Alvin recalled that Jia’s cheating was the reason he had broken her arm, and that when no lover had agreed to kill her husband, Jia finally ended him herself. Alvin figured the shovel would fall out of his skull casing eventually, so that he could travel to America, and take every woman Ryan Choi ever cared about…

“Jia: Part Three: The Border Between” was by Gail Simone, Eddy Barrows and Trevor Scott.

Friday, August 20, 2010

DC75: Jean Loring's Infidelity (Sword of the Atom #1, 1983)

The Atom was one of the shining new champions of DC's Silver Age, the World's Smallest Super-Hero who constantly sought the hand of his ladylove Jean Loring. The Tiny Titan's fortunes turned toward the end of the era which spawned him, canceling his series. Ray Palmer found solace in his regular comic appearances through membership to the Justice League of America, and his marriage to Jean in the late '70s. However, the Mighty Mite's first solo series in over a decade would alter his life forevermore.

Matrimonial bliss proved elusive, with Palmer burying himself in work. This led Jean to seek male attention elsewhere, and on a dark and stormy night, Ray caught Jean steaming the windows of a parked car. As an indirect result, the Atom became a sword-swinging barbarian isolated from the mainstream DC Universe for half a decade, and the divorce from Jean was finalized early on into that daze.In one moment, like a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, the Silver Age was certified dead with its grave pissed on by vandals. Turning Jean Loring into an adulteress wasn't just another transgression of the Bronze Age, but the first shot across the bow of the coming age of deconstruction.

Check out more highlights from the past 75 years of DC Comics at The Truly Most Memorable Moments of the DC Dodranscentennial

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The All New Atom #10 (June, 2007)

As the rain fell on the docks, Jia cried for the beating her peer Ryan Choi was receiving via Alvin’s nunchucks, aided by his buddies holding the youth in place. Jia may have believed this was just particularly vicious schoolyard shenanigans— even the thugs might have fooled themselves, but Ryan knew better. The beating was too severe, and was going on too long. Inevitably, they would do too much damage to be laughed off, and have to do away with his body to hide their crime. Even still, Ryan gloated about their expulsion, cursing at them to draw some final comfort from the lovely time he’d spent courting Jia and ruining the brutes before his own imminent demise. Ryan was beaten unconscious and dragged to the edge of a lethal drop off a pier. The gang wanted him to say uncle, but Ryan was just too scared and battered to form the words. On the verge of taking the big dive, a police officer stumbled upon the scene. Alvin whispered a threat to cut Jia if Ryan said a word, then everyone went their separate ways without further incident. Ryan made the long trek home on foot, his mother horrified, his father enraged but impotent due to his son’s silence on the matter. Two weeks later, a recovering Ryan saw Alvin making out with Jia in his daddy’s red convertible sportscar. China wasn’t a big enough country to get away from that.

At eighteen, Ryan still held bullies in nothing but contempt, even weeks undead ones. The Atom’s bio-luminescent belt erupted blinding light as the hero shrank away from harm. Only Alvin was nonplussed about the flash, and Ryan’s mind tried to work out why. The Atom crushed Eddie and Qianfan’s skulls under six hundred pounds of adjustable weight, but being undead, that solved nothing. Atom realized this wasn’t a situation he could handle with force, and escaped on his Bang-Stick.

Ryan met up with the tearful but luminescent Jia at her apartment. Choi confirmed he’d met her zombie ghost ex, and Jia was relieved someone finally believed the nature of her tormentor. While skillfully evading Ryan’s more probing questions, Jia asked why her friend had stopped writing after her engagement. Warning signs be damned, Ryan enjoyed Jia’s company too much to pry. Instead, he dealt with her unfriendly cat, and agreed to watch over her as she slept, since the ghosts didn’t come out in the daytime. Ryan decided to give his father a call, and found him disapproving of his son’s keeping house with a recent widow. “Respectfully, dad, I knew you wouldn’t. I’ll call you later today. Love you, dad.” The father noted to himself his son was choosing his own course without apology. “Encouraging.”

Jia fell asleep on the lap of her love-struck hero, and Ryan soon enough used the couch for the same end. The pair slept the entire day away, until being visited by Alvin’s ghost, now in ceremonial garb. Dying had made Alvin and his posse more worldly and introspective, weighing Choi’s scientific perceptions against the beautiful mysteries of existence… but only when no one else was around. Even in stage make-up and a costume, Alvin spoke to Ryan like a stereotypical jock nimrod. Alvin was smart enough to remove the Bio-Belt from Ryan as he slept though, and easily ended their physical confrontation. Alvin removed the shovel that killed him from the floorboards where Jia had hidden it, then gave Ryan a choice. Choi could save the life of his father, who was at the moment being abducted from his home by Eddie and Qianfan, or he could choose to save Jia, and damn his own soul…

“Jia: Part Two: Unwanted Advances” was by Gail Simone, Eddy Barrows and Trevor Scott.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Atomic acCount for November, 2010

Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Co-feature written by JEFF LEMIRE
Co-feature art by MAHMUD ASRAR & JOHN DELL
In the final issue of the first arc of “Superboy and the Legion: The Early Years,” for the first time – a Legionnaire dies! Learn how the consequences surrounding this brutal moment still affect the Legion today!
Also, in The Atom second feature, Ray Palmer must protect his stash of white dwarf matter from the Colony!
On sale 3 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
I dropped this as of #518. It completely sucks, and I say this as a fan of old Levitz Legion, as well. Horrible cover too, BTW

Written by LEN WEIN
1:25 Variant cover by BRIAN BOLLAND
The unthinkable happens at the heart of the DC Universe when the world’s most beloved hero – Superman – dies defending us all from Doomsday! Meanwhile, Brian Bolland takes us into the Time Pool with The Atom, leaving him face-to-face with the Demon in Camelot!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale 17 • 7 of 10 • 40 pg, FC $3.99 US

When I supported all DC historical/cannon books, I'd have been all over this. I've actively avoided it, but Bolland drawing the Atom? Bastards! Must... resist... must...

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
1:10 “DC 75th Anniversary” Variant cover by FRANK QUITELY
BRIGHTEST DAY continues as the truth about the Indigo Tribe members is revealed along with their Entity: the enigmatic Proselyte.
Plus, don’t miss a special Green Lantern movie image!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
I read "Indigo Tribe" and figured C.Y.A.

Captain Atom
Written by JUDD WINICK
Issue #13 art by JOE BENNETT
Issue #14 art by AARON LOPRESTI
1:10 Variant covers by KEVIN MAGUIRE
DC’s biweekly JUSTICE LEAGUE event continues!
In issue #13, Max Lord sends his newest recruit to confront the JLI. But what happens when Magog tries to kill Captain Atom in a fight to the finish? Someone will die, creating repercussions that will affect the future timeline of KINGDOM COME!
In issue #14, the JLI has been framed for murder. Now, hunted by Checkmate and put on the world’s Most Wanted lists, our heroes are exhausted and pushed to their limits – which is why the Creature Commandos choose now as an opportune time to attack them!
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #13 on sale NOVEMBER 10
Issue #14 on sale NOVEMBER 24
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
I hate most Kingdom Come references, but Captain Atom gaining a potential nemesis out of Magog is intriguing. The deadly combat could go either way, but based on the solicits, I suspect Max will off his own boy.

Written by GAIL SIMONE
The confrontation you never thought would happen is here! It’s Bane vs. Scandal in a time-lost world, as the two Secret Six teams find themselves on opposite sides of a vicious war that could destroy Skartaris!
On sale 3 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Yeah, that's right-- I just gave Dwarfstar his own header. Hey-- he's the man who killed Ryan Choi... with his credit card.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Top Ten Nightshade Covers

Nightshade is not a popular character. Google "Nightshade Wiki," and the minor Marvel Comics villainess pops-up on the first page, whereas I gave up on finding Eve Eden after page five. The "Darling of Darkness" was the daughter of a senator who took up crime-fighting with her ability to literally meld into shadows. Nightshade shared a romantic partnership with Captain Atom, then replaced Blue Beetle as a back-up strip, before the Charlton Action Heroes line was canceled. As part of a various revivals of the characters, Nightshade served as "the girl," and inspired the creation of the Watchmen roulette girlfriend Silk Spectre. As a member of the Suicide Squad, she was "the other girl," consigned to the background on covers, even in a multi-part story bearing her name. I haven't read much Shadowpact, but seeing as her placement on covers wasn't much more prominent than in Suicide Squad, my expectations are low. What started as as a strong martial heroine became a perpetual victim at DC-- traumatized, tragic, and otherwise in distress. Personally, I like her costume, she has a cool origin, and an artistic lineage including Steve Ditko, Jim Aparo and Pat Broderick is nothing to sneeze at. Still, one look at the "honorable mentions" tells the tale of potential squandered.

10) Suicide Squad #21 (December, 1988)

A flat, ugly, and awkward cover made relevant because it was the only one in the series to feature the character solo and in full costume.

9) Suicide Squad #57 (September, 1991)

Without her trademark New Wave specs, Nightshade is barely recognizable, and in a compromised position besides. Still, you just saw the cover grading in effect on the ten spot.

8) The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) #4 (December, 1999)

Speaking of unrecognizable, this short-lived and economically imagined redesign barely outlived the mini-series everyone chose to forget ever happened.

7) Captain Atom #85 (March, 1967)

A cluttered, uninspired cover, but improving.

6) Suicide Squad #12 (April, 1988)

Jerry Bingham was always good for a cover, and this was the last noteworthy appearance of Nightshade's original and best costume. Another Nightshade cover pattern is that even in the rare instances she's the featured hero, she's invariably in such a position of weakness the villain becomes the de facto star.

5) Secret Origins #28 (July, 1988)

Not a terribly appealing piece, but Nightshade is the main draw, signaling a blue moon/solar eclipse. Well, unless your taste runs to the Spirit's answer to Marvelman.

4) Captain Atom #82 (September, 1966)

The colors are too dark, but looking through the villain to our partnered heroes is novel. Note the perspective favoring Nightshade over Captain Atom.

3) Justice League Quarterly #14 (April, 1994)

Mike Mignola teased a cool, new school Action Heroes revival, but the interiors were pure dud. Nightshade is clearly in her element, even if the shades and aerobic leotard were looking mighty dated so many years out from Flashdance.

2) Americomics Special #1: Sentinels of Justice (August, 1983)

The only redesign to capitalize on the unusual blue/orange color scheme, and while not as hip as the McDonnell suit, it's also less stuck in one period. Fact is, this design seems to anticipate the '90s somewhat, and is probably the least objectionable of all Nightshade costumes. Finally, the Darling of Darkness is dynamic and visible!

1) Captain Atom #14 (April, 1988)

Retro charm meets modern rendering for the one truly great Nightshade cover. I love the cute/creepy bug eyes and the miniskirt.

Honorable Mention
Captain Atom #22 (1987)
Suicide Squad #58 (1987)
Suicide Squad #66 (1987)
Suicide Squad #1 (2007)
War of the Gods #3
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Vol. XVII

Check out more spotlight countdowns of great art from the past 75 years of DC Comics Covers at DC75: Top Character Covers of the Dodranscentennial

Monday, August 9, 2010

The All New Atom #9 (May, 2007)

Kowloon, Hong Kong. A beautiful young woman sought the council of a mediator to help her settle matters with her murderous husband. The mediator could sense the threat he posed, and gave the terrified wife the bum’s rush back out into the rain. On her knees, the woman cried “Is this it? After all my promise… is there no one? No one who even cares? There’s one. Please let him remember me kindly…”

One international phone call later, Ryan Choi was all but emptying his bank account for last minute plane fare from Ivy Town. His buddy Panda would take care of Head, feeding him four cans of spray cheese per meal as directed. Choi recognized his cab driver out of town as “that weirdo who keeps dropping anagrams on me," but the dude denied it until they reached the airport. “Hey… are web, man. Just are web.” Ryan groaned, “beware.”

Ryan wasn’t looking forward to sitting in a cramped seat watching a CGI cat movie and eating gross Cup ‘o Ramen for a girl he hadn’t spoken to in two years, but there he was. At sixteen, Choi had been a bookworm with no patience for sports. “Most people got the hint and left me alone. So, fine, call me a geek if you must.” Choi attended a band one Chinese College-- equivalent to an American high school that only accepted the best and brightest students. Alvin and his two buddies were soccer thugs with triad connections from a band three college brought in as ringers for the school team. They beat Ryan past his firm objections and rude hand gestures until he agreed to do all their homework.

“I wrote Ray Palmer about it. He gave me some advice about standing up for myself, and how bullies are cowards who always back down when faced honestly.” Choi had half-heartedly taken Chinese boxing lessons since he was eight, and tried to follow Ray’s terrible advice-- right into another beating. Choi resolved to keep his inquires to Palmer in the realm of physics from then on, and asked his father if he could reenlist in gung fu classes again. Ryan loved his father for agreeing without question.

Choi got revenge his own way, by plagiarizing a week’s worth of papers in Alvin’s name to an automatic expulsion. That night would see a mixer with a sister school, and Choi vowed to talk to the prettiest girl there. “I’d earned it.” In his horn-rimmed glasses with a spit curl in his pulled back hair, Choi was the vision of Peter Parker transitioning from Ditko dork to Romita stud. Despite his 200+ I.Q. and command of five languages, when it came to meeting Jia, the words wouldn’t come with.

Today, Ryan had his voice, but he mostly listened, to how Jia had been abused by her husband, Alvin. She’d never believed he’d truly have harmed Ryan, or anyone. Then they’d separated, and Alvin broke Jia’s arm. Now, Alvin was out there, frightening Jia and inspiring the vision of a decaying spirit version of himself in Ryan’s imagination… or was it? While Jia stayed at the library of the school where she worked, Choi would follow up on the bloody napkin he’d found stating “Tonight at the college, pansyboy.” Ryan donned the garb of the all new Atom, and hopped on his Bang-Stick. “Alvin, I say this as a scholar and a scientist… I want you to prepare for an experiment in asskicking you won’t ever forget.

At the band one, the Atom used his belt’s bio-luminescence to search the halls of his old school. From nowhere, he was struck by flaming nun chucks. In all her flirting and begging for help, Jia had neglected to mention Alvin was undead. The Atom fought with the rotten spectre that had sworn to kill Ryan Choi for ruining his life. Having lost his scholarship, Alvin became a drunk. His buddies Eddie and Qianfan had done a little drunk driving themselves after being expelled, and took their ride off Victoria Peak into the deadly drink. Once Jia killed Alvin in his sleep by smashing his skull in with a shovel, the three were reunited, and would remain partly in our earthly realm until they got even. Once again, Alvin’s goons held Ryan down as Alvin prepared to kill “pansypants,” just as he’d promised…

“Jia: Part One: Her Name Meant Beauty” was by Gail Simone, Eddy Barrows and Trevor Scott.

Brave New World

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DC75: The Agonizing Death of Captain Adam (Space Adventures #33)

I've been following Comics Should Be Good's 75 Most Memorable Moments in DC Comics History, and have found it so wanting, I'll be posting my own alternatives across multiple blogs and linking them through DC Bloodline's Truly Most Memorable Moments of the Dodranscentennial.

Technically, there was no DC Comics seventy-five years ago. First there was National Allied Magazines, followed by Detective Comics Inc. a few years later. All-American Publications, home to the Justice Society of America heroes, didn't join the World's Finest until 1945. I mention this because no one would disregard the likes of Green Lantern, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man or Captain Marvel from DC history because they were in print before being acquired by that company, and fully incorporated into the mainstream DC Universe. Why then, should Charlton's Captain Atom face any discrimination?

In one of the most memorable and influential origin sequences ever, U.S.A.F. Captain Allen Adam was accidentally launch into space aboard an experimental missile. For four harrowing pages, Adam sweats and strains, while on the ground his comrades waited for his death sentence to be carried out. Allen blacks out, crushed by the "terrific acceleration," heat evaporating all the water from out of his body. Every bit of horror and tension is wrenched out of these final, painful moments of Captain Adam's life before the explosives are triggered and every bit of "flesh, bone and blood," his "desiccated molecular skeleton," is atomized in an atomic inferno, leaving his fellows grieving below. Suddenly, the disembodied voice of Captain Adam calls out to his best front, arranging a meeting with his new, reincorporated, highly radioactive self. Through force of will and the superior mind, Captain Allen Adam had restored himself from nothingness to become Captain Atom.

Not too many super-hero origins begin in their final moments of life, and few super-hero deaths are such drawn out, grueling affairs. For every Marvel Comics hero born out of an accident of science, for every Phoenix rising from the ashes, there is a debt owed to the ordeal of Captain Atom in March of 1960.

Check out more highlights from the past 75 years of DC Comics at The Truly Most Memorable Moments of the DC Dodranscentennial

Monday, August 2, 2010

Justice #4 (April, 2006)

The Legion of Doom began truly knocking down dominoes, claiming Earth's super friends had abandoned her, while covertly attempting to murder their alter egos.

At the Midway Museum, curators Carter and Shiera dodged the potentially lethal fire of replica prop planes. Making their way toward maces, the Hawks smashed the tiny aircraft. Above their heads, a giant Toyman marionette hovered...

A woman in sunglasses wearing camouflage carried a bag with her on a rooftop adjacent an Ivy University science building. The woman constructed a sniper rifle, then aimed it at a room where Professor Ray Palmer was working on a computer. The distraction of a phone call caused Palmer to shift his body just in time to avoid his brains spilling across the monitor, but the bullet wound in his right shoulder left a mess all its own. While Palmer bled out on the floor, the anxious voice at the other end of the phone line asked, “Ray? Is something wrong? Ray?

“Call… ambulance. Call Carter.”

Tearfully, Jean Loring dialed another number on her cell phone. 22,800 miles above the Earth, Red Tornado’s severed head sat on a counter, teleportation technology at the Justice League Satellite disengaged…

"Chapter Four" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts: