Review | Captain Atom #1

Were someone hankering for a straightforward, totally capable and competent superhero title, they could do a lot worse than J.T. Krul's new take on Captain Atom. The man who's been atomized is actually fully formed here, as Krul skips giving us a straight backstory, and instead drops small doses of information throughout. It's one of the New 52's most impressive efforts to introduce a character to new readers, avoid boring more seasoned vets, and advance a story all at once.

Captain Atom, in a relatively routine wrangling of an overzealous but underpowered bad guy, discovers the outer limits of his powers, turning the villain's exoskeleton to dust. But, in doing so, his hand also begins to dissipate, and he has to concentrate his powers on reconstituting his body. After a visit to mastermind Megala to figure out what's happening, it's off again to try to rescue New Yorkers from a volcano, where his newly uncontrollable powers put him in even greater peril.

I enjoyed the water-color quality of Freddie Williams II's art, and Krul gives us a good story, with a solid cliffhanger. And the thematic resonance of Captain Atom's nuclear nature being difficult to control and dangerous when insecure is not at all heavy-handed. Certainly, anyone who has cared about Captain Atom in the past will fell confident in Krul's stewardship.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)