The All-New Atom Review – A Not-So-Tiny Problem

The horror!The All-New Atom
An on-going comic book from DC by various people

I’ve always liked the Atom, or at least the idea of him, the adventure. He’s a scientist before he’s a superhero, so the whole mystery of exploration and the Indiana Jones style opportunities that his powers and scientific expertise allow were really appealing to me. I wanted to read some of The Atom, but didn’t want to go too far back, because I have a hard time reading old comic book prose and story (let’s face it: most of it was terribly awkward and hard to swallow).This was going to be a review of the more recent on-going series All-New Atom, but I’m just going to save you the trouble of giving it a spin: don’t.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: the writing was good stuff. It followed Ray Palmer’s successor, Ryan Choi, it was written by Simone (who has never written a capes book that wasn’t at the least decent, if not great) and then Remender (who wrote the entertainingly crazy pulp spectacle known as Fear Agent, which I’ll review when it’s finished). The art jumped around a bit, but after Byrne was off the book, with his sketchy and horribly inconsistent pencils, it was just fine and often very good (sorry for the lack of credits, art guys: there was a bloody lot of you).

The plot was a mixture of pulpy sci-fi and surreal magical stuff, and indeed was focused around Ray Palmer’s belt completely screwing with the physics of his home Ivy Town to create weird and supernatural phenomena. Time travel, giant Japanese Godzilla knock-offs, a tiny alien race living on his dog’s back, lots of nutty stuff. Trademark Simone humour as well, of course. Ryan Choi was a cool character, a reluctant hero just trying to clean up the mess that the last Atom apparently made. Ray Palmer was actually missing until the last couple of issues (somethin’ to do with a Crisis I think), and that was a big deal. But then: it ended. Just, ended. Without conclusion! A practically 25 issue overarching plot abruptly ends with barely a conclusion. Even the last page provides little closure: it seems as though they’re about to have an epic showdown and a new beginning for Ryan Choi, but no, it ends, and we haven’t seen Ryan Choi in the DCU (well, barely, besides some half-hearted cameos) and now he’s going to be in the new Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1 as the target of an assassination (which means, whaddya know, he’s probably going to be killed). This angers me to no end, and this is why you shouldn’t pick up this book.

(As an aside: click here for the final page. Massive spoilers, of course.)

Editorial fracking about is probably what caused the untimely removal of this ‘legacy’ hero and now Ray Palmer is coming back all shiny and happy while this new hero gets left in the dust. This is disrespectful to both the crafters of the story (a good story!) and the character. I love comic continuity, honest, it’s rewarding to people who stick with good books and enjoy good, dramatic, character-driven stories, even if they are often shallow and silly. But then the flip-side ugliness to this never-ending continuity, and to everything being tied together, is editorial decisions like this which absolutely RUIN a book and, seemingly, even a character (since as I said, it looks like he’s just showing up again to be stabbed), always for the sake of having room to fit all the books together cohesively. It could have just been abruptly cancelled due to low sales, too, which would be a shame, but it is still one of the worst endings I have ever encountered in comic books, so I’m going to refrain from giving a rating to this one, which was otherwise a good read.


About Safeer
What is Safeer? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk, have at you!

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