Thursday, June 07, 2007

Seriously, if the Federal Government nukes you, it should be kind of a pass for crimes later...
I'm not saying become Captain Hitler or anything, but, geez, live a little.
I was flipping through this issue, and remembered reading the first issue of Captain Atom, and his arrival from 1968 in the present, 1987. (Wikipedia says 1986!) Colonel Nathaniel Adam, covered in alien metal and almost terminally confused, is staggered to hear John Wayne is dead. Oh, and Adam's wife, too.

I like the good Captain, but it isn't really fair to cram him into an already crowded superhero universe like DC did. What can Captain Atom do that Superman, Martian Manhunter, Captain Marvel, Firestorm, etc, can not? I dunno, shoot indeterminate ray beams? Irradiate stuff? Blow up real good, ala Kingdom Come? It's pretty sad, but like Red Tornado, seemingly exploding every third guest appearence is probably what he's best known for; that or 'yeah, the guy Dr. Manhattan was based on. Dr. Manhattan's cool.'

Captain Atom's default characterization of 'government tool' doesn't help his case, either; as seen in both Superman/Batman and Justice League Unlimited. It's especially puzzling since it makes no goddamn sense at all, yet he keeps coming back to it. He was framed, convicted of treason, used as a lab rat, blown up by an atom bomb, then blackmailed some more. You know, if you kick a dog enough times, don't be surprised when he turns into Monarch and enslaves humanity.

I can understand writers wanting to have a right-wing, conservative, by-the-book character; especially as a counterpoint to Green Arrow's radical leftism or Superman's boy scout humanism. Fine. But it's time to make that voice someone else's. I don't see Captain Atom as someone who would have a lot of trust left for authority figures. Hell, he's been burned by three separate presidents! LBJ's administration promised him a pardon in 1698, but Reagan (or, more likely generals under him) refused to acknowledge it in 1986 or whenever. Then his general abuse under President Luthor. I swear, Luthor drove Captain Atom to suicide, or Canada, I don't recall. The one with the Composite Superman Robot...god, my eye twitches every time I think about that one.

Probably my favorite Captain Atom moment of recent memory: here. Come back soon, Brandon!

From JLA Incarnations #6, "Authority" Written by John Ostrander, pencils by Eric Battle, inks by Keith Champagne and Ray Kryssing. Short one today, because there's more Batman-related tomfoolery tomorrow, including possibly the end of comic book sexism. Maybe. All right, don't bet the farm on it...

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