Thursday, June 28, 2012

DCU Heroes Secret Files & Origins #1- Atom Profile Page (February, 1999)

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I bought most of the SF&O books as they came out as a matter of course. Since Zero Hour, I'd made a deep investment in the Post-Crisis history of the DC Universe. It isn't like I didn't care about continuity before, but DC made a real effort to solidify it in a quantifiable way that turned on the history buff inside of me. A major part of that were the Timelines that ran in most volumes, breaking down who was where by a fluidly subjective but still relevant chronology. Let us examine...
After a quick battle, Walker Gabriel (Chronos) strands serial killer Hayden Glass in the age of dinosaurs.

48,000 B.C.:
Chronos aids fellow time traveler Rip Hunter in finding his way back to his home era.

Chronos meets Jason Sangue (Blood) in Florence, Italy. During an altercation in that same era, Chronos gains his time-travel powers.

Captain Fear rescues the drowning Chronos from the waters off the Florida Keys.

Chronos is present for a "resurrection" of Ra's al Ghul in the African desert.

A time-stranded Chronos is taken in by the Clark family of Smallville, Kansas; while there, he meets a band of time-traveling gypsies.

Chronos gets caught between Allied and Axis forces on an island filled with dinosaurs.

Chronos competes with Thomas Wayne for a young socialite named Martha.

Chronos aids in the capture of Hayden Glass, a shape-changing serial killer whose trademark is JLA-themed murders.

22nd Century:
Chronos and his nemesis Vyronis narrowly avoid capture by the lion men of the wastelands.

27th Century:
Chronos steals John (Flash) Fox's time gauntlets.

853rd Century:
Chronos travels to the future, only to meet himself
Now you may be asking yourself why I spent all that time listing time traveled by the Atom foe Chronos. The answer is, I didn't list a single appearance by the nefarious David Langhorn Clinton. They're all about this guy...

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Walker Gabriel becomes the new Chronos and travels through time, discovering Chronopolis
This guy starred in twelve issues of his own comic, which was cancelled the same month DCU Heroes Secret Files & Origins #1 was released. In his entire existence, Walker Gabriel appeared in less than twenty comic books, but received twelve bullet points for his adventures. Meanwhile, the Ray Palmer Atom was one of the few (relatively) iconic DC heroes whose continuity was untouched by Crisis on Infinite Earths and only lightly scuffed by Zero Hour. Almost fifty years of unbroken continuity, and let's face it, Ray also spent an awful lot of his solo series deep in the past, thanks to Professor Hyatt's Time pool. Let's see Ray's timeline...
35 Years Ago:
Ray Palmer is born in Ivy Town.

9 Years Ago:
Discovering a fragment of a white dwarf star, Ray Palmer becomes the Atom. He later joins the JLA.

The Atom and Hawkmam form a lasting friendship, often working together to fight crime.

5 Years Ago:
Atom marooned in Amazon jungle, where he joins a society of miniaturized natives.

3 Years Ago:
His Amazon village destroyed by the CIA, the Atom returns to America.

Suicide Squad re-forms under Amanda Waller-- members will later include Nightshade and the Atom.

Ray Palmer fakes his own death to uncover government operatives trying to kill him. He gives his size-reducing belt and "Atom" identity to Adam Cray.

Adam Cray killed by assassins; Ray Palmer resumes role of Atom.

The Atom temporarily returns to the JLA, helping the team defeat Dr. Destiny and free the Martian Manhunter from the Bloodgem.

2 Years Ago:
Zero Hour-- Ray Palmer de-aged to teenager, joins newly re-formed Teen Titans.

1 Year Ago:
The Atom helps Superman put down an uprising in the bottle city of Kandor

Time Pool technology accidentally reduces Atom and Impulse to infancy. Waverider of the Linear Men saves the duo.

The Atom and Teen Titans help Superman battle the Millennium Giants.

Ray Palmer's normal age and powers are restored. He returns to Ivy University.
Ray Palmer has appeared in over a thousand comic books, with better than seventy-five bearing his name in the title, and he got two more bullet points than the Walker Gabriel Chronos. Little things like his Golden Age predecessor, his entire supporting cast/rogues gallery (including the original Chronos) and his marriage/divorce don't rate mention, but I'm so glad to know when that crossover that re-integrated Supermans Red & Blue took place. The Atom's history as presented here is as a footnote in other titles, most published Post-Crisis. Years ago, I tried to create a cross-referenced database of all these timelines, but the folly was staring me right in the face. A DC Comics so enamored with an insignificant moment in their history as the 1998 Chronos series could and would inevitably drop another hard reboot that rendered virtually everything I just typed entirely moot. That deep investment I talked about earlier? Gone. Never to return. But hey, here are some nice pin-ups; The Atom's written by Matt Brady with art by Georges Jeanty and Jason Martin, while Chronos's was written by John Francis Moore with art by Paul Guinan & Steve Leialoha.

Second Third Secret History of the DC Universe

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