Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Captain Atom: Armageddon #1-3 (2005-2006)

The sad thing about my covering this mini-series is that I seriously had the entire thing written up the first week in January. I have always had a healthy amount of material "in the can" for this blog. Bronze Age Atom strips. Silver Age Captain Atom strips. George Perez postcards. Miscellanea. The problem has always been that low readership here fails to motivate me past 1-2 posts a week, and these completed posts are always tied to other blogs for themed days. The Golden Age Captain Marvel stories I haven't edited pictures for. The Silver Age Wonder Woman comics I don't have color art for. The DC/Wildstorm: Dreamwar mini-series with all the tedious references to plug in but no great shakes of a story.

Captain Atom: Armageddon was poorly written, and I didn't care for the art, but I figure it at least deserves the single scan per issue I give most every other book. As a mea culpa in a universe where DC and Wildstorm are now permanently merged in a new continuity(an eventually unseen when I started this thing,) here is a re-presentation of the mini-series to date over two weeks time with new scans, to be followed by the final two issue synopses...

Captain Atom: Armageddon #1 (December, 2005)

"Not long ago..." Mr. Majestic stabbed Spartan with a sword, and pink energy exploded. They were calling each other by their first names like good little X-Men clones, and Spartan was asking to be stabbed, and something something Void something something annihilation and scene. This was all very gay, both in tongue-in-cheek misread subtext, and as juvenile derogatory for a bunch of obtuse crap that's meaningless to anyone but the most devout Wildstorm geek.

"Not long ago..." Captain Atom volunteered to fly a giant composite Superman/Batman robot away from Earth into a soon-to-collide kryptonite asteroid that would otherwise exploded our planet into itty bitty bits. This wasn't as gay, even though Captain Atom pictured himself in tighty whities while thinking about "another cockpit" before getting swallowed by the head of a metal penis. The artist was lazy enough to cut and paste that happening twice. Also lazy was the wimpy two page look at Captain Atom's Post-Crisis incarnation before blowing himself up to escape a lousy Jeph Loeb plot thread.

"Hell. Better pay attention. I've got a job to do. Goodbye. And God bless America."

A bald Captain Atom appeared for a moment in front of Superman and Batman, sometime after his funeral, probably to pay off a teased return that wasn't properly thought through. He then was transported to the Wildstorm comic book universe, where he flew uncontrollably into a building like a missile.

An EMT tried to help an old man who giddily anticipated his death by super-hero collision. The EMT got a splinter of pink Void energy in her paw. Captain Atom got a "new" costume that was on loan from his brief appearance in Kingdom Come. The EMT ran away in fear of the super-human, because a) you would too if some dude knocked over your building, and b) everyone on Wildstorm Earth was afraid of super-humans, because that kind of bloodletting happened all the damned time there. Mr. Majestic then showed up to start punching Captain Atom.

Grifter was in a bar, drinking to the memory of his dead robot friend who got stabbed to death at the beginning of this synopsis. He got excited when he saw the stabber fighting on the TV.

Captain Atom took some blows, then decided to show how tough he was by pounding Mr. Majestic into the ground. Atom thought he was being heroic, but all the bystanders were still afraid of him, even after he explained that he was a super-hero. You see, Wildstorm is a dark, hardcore universe where puny humans are always caught between gory battles and political upheavals, while DC is a bright, happy universe where super-heroes' wives get sodomized and their kids murdered and whole cities razed but everyone still loves super-heroes anyway.

"A Scream Across The Sky" was by Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope.

Captain Atom: Armageddon #2 (January, 2006)

Grifter met with his WildCats teammate Jeremy Stone to use his computer to detect not one Void energy signature, but too. Woooooo.

Captain Atom determined that that he wasn't in Kansas anymore, in part because this Earth lacked the cities of Metropolis, Gotham, Opal, Keystone and Sub Diego. Yes, Sub Diego, because the writer of this mini-series created Sub Diego during his brief Aquaman run, and not entire nations like Bialya, Qurac, and so forth. Nathaniel Adam then assumed his human form to learn once again that nobody on this Earth ever heard of super-heroes from his Earth, and that everyone's afraid of super-people here, and that he's too dense to have gotten that point last issue, and that it'll be made again in future issues because of that. Captain Atom then directly tapped into every computer on Earth through a pay phone, which I don't recall as being one of his powers, but it's done all matter of fact-like.

Grifter brought the WildCats back together to investigate the Voids and to be snarky to one another for reasons DC readers wouldn't understand, because nobody got a proper introduction.

Captain Atom and Mr. Majestic fought a little bit more, then Majestic gave a brief half-assed explanation of the Kherubim-Daemonite war that formed the basis for much of Wildstorm's continuity. Then Majestic ran some tests and determined that Captain Atom was going to blow up and destroy the entire Wildstorm Universe, so I guess its origins didn't really matter all that much. Further, Atom couldn't be gotten rid of by any known means.

Grifter approached that EMT from last issue, Nikola Hanssen, and started talking to her about Void type stuff.

Captain Atom, predicted destroyer of all Wildstorm reality, decided he should turn to someone with real power... the President of the United States. In the Wildstorm Universe. Because if he can't beat Superman, maybe he can out-dumb Hal Jordan...

"Brave New World" was inflicted by Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope.

Captain Atom: Armageddon #3 (February, 2006)

Captain Atom just showed up floating in front of the White House in the super-hero fearing Wildstorm Universe, so of course the Join Chiefs of Staff decided to nuke the area, as "It's the only chance to save America." Captain Atom absorbed the blast, then teleported into the Oval Office to talk with the president. Guards fired conventional weapons at his deflective skin, because they're stupid. Atom started explaining his situation, ending with "I'm a military man, sir. That means I respect authority." Yeah, that's readily evident in his actions, right? "Authority, eh? Funny you should put it that way." The President explained that he was only human, and in a post-human world, "we answer to a higher authority."

Grifter kept trying to explain to Nikola Hanssen that she had all these Void powers from her splinter, but she was kind of in denial.

Mr. Majestic showed up to talk at Captain Atom some more, but the latter was all pissed off by how jacked-up Wildstorm comics were. Captain Atom actually spit in Majestic's face like a little bitch, and gotten thrown through the Washington Monument. Nanobots would tidy up that mess later.

The artist referenced Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, because that was clever thirty years ago in a Howard Chaykin comic or something. Grifter called the WildCats to meet at the monument.

Mr. Majestic explained that Captain Atom wouldn't go explodey if he got deadened first, but Atom sought a second opinion, and Majestic was cool with that. Captain Atom then directly accessed the Pentagon's computers through his powers, and ran all sorts of equations that all ended him him going all explodey. All mopey, Captain Atom returned to the restored Washington Monument, so the WildCats could get snarky with him.

"Power Struggle" was perpetrated by Will Pfeifer, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope.

New 52's Day


Royal Octopus said...

New to the blog and new to Capt. Atom since the relaunch. Enjoying both quite a bit. Pretty entertaining write-up, I think you gave it an appropriate level of snark.
Never got into Wildstorm back in the day, looking back now most of it comes off as a pretty good example of the Xtreme 90's. Makes me want to slam a Dew and crank up some Korn.

Diabolu Frank said...

Glad you enjoyed it, and there was indeed a fair share of the 'treme flowing through Wildstorm's veins. Still, there was quality as well, my personal favorite being Alan Moore's run on WildC.A.T.s. God, I can't even type the name without "radical" acronymosity. Point being, instead of showing Wildstorm's areas of sophistication and commonality with DC (they were at the forefront of "Vertigoized" super-heroes,) the creators took a propagandistic route. They tarred the entire line as a bunch of violent nincompoops, selling the "need" to chuck everything and start again under "Worldstorm." Shame none of the big name creators managed to release more than two issues afterward, and the line followed the trajectory of Marvel's New Universe...

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Personally I really enjoyed Pfiefer's Sub-Diego saga. After reading this write-up, I'm glad I skipped this Captain Atom mini-series.

And that costume.. never liked it. Was it a tribute to a classic costume or a nod to the Kingdom Come costume?

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

Totally the Alex Ross Kingdom Come design. Some folks say Ross was riffing on the old gold costume, but look at this and tell me how little they resemble one another. I think Ross came up with a really strong and unique visual, but having grown up on silver and red, I can't connect to the character emotionally in that get-up. Also, the atom symbol registers instinctively in my brain as something like a pentagram, the exact opposite realm it was intended to evoke. Considering the dearth of Captain Atom villains, somebody needs to Venom that thing up.

I only read an issue or two of Pfeifer's Aquaman. Sub Diego was a great set-up that served John Arcudi well, but I never went back to really visit the earlier issues.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, that costume just never seemed heroic. Agreed it would work as a Venom-like foe. MY Captain Atom is the post-Crisis Captain Atom (silver, shiny, and Bart Sears-like).

You should give the Pfiefer Aquaman run a try again. It harkened back to the classic years of Aquaman, but with a modern flavor. Great stuff.

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

The Silver Age stories are really fun, but my heart with regards to Captain Atom is pretty much in the same place as you, Shag. I will be checking out those Aquaman issues, as well...