Thursday, March 31, 2016

80-Page Thursdays: Countdown Special: the Atom #2!

Hey, Ray! Find Jean Loring yet?

OK, guess not. From 2008, Countdown Special: the Atom #2, reprinting from 1977-78 Super-Team Family #13-14, "Ragnarok Night!" and "The End of the Quest!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Arvell Jones, inks by Romeo Tanghal.

The Atom quest for Jean Loring leads him back to earth, where we find Aquaman and Captain Comet (guest-starring from Secret Society of Super-Villains) are fighting planet-wide disasters caused by the Wind Pirate. (Or Pirates. Flash and Atom were fighting them in the first chapter!) Meanwhile, in Lemuria...which I thought was in the Marvel Universe...Jean Loring has been found, but hopelessly insane, her mind charged with "radiation energies" that are mingling with the Wind Pirate's machinery to make his disasters even greater.

Captain Comet uses his mental powers to project Atom into Jean's mind, then Comet and Aquaman have to fight the Wind Pirate's forces. While all three are successful, the radiation remains in Jean's mind, making it impossible to awaken her without destroying the earth! Thus necessitating the "Arrrrggh!" above.

Unfortunately, while these specials had reprinted all of the story up to now, here we miss a chapter somehow, Secret Society of Super-Villains #10! The one where the Creeper and Star Sapphire kidnap Jean Loring, and I still don't know why the Creeper's with the Society and not in SSoSV #11! Gorilla Grodd controls the Society here; a formerly mind-controlled and somewhat disgruntled Sapphire, and the animal-hating Floronic Man, who's also planning to betray Grodd.

Atom enlists the help of Wonder Woman here, after helping her stop invading alien robots. On Diana's shoulder, Atom even gets to visit Paradise Island and check out the Crystal of Knowledge; while the Floronic Man brings Jean to Grodd. The Society takes over Gorilla City, since Grodd was homesick, but it's also a good base to blackmail humanity. Or blow it up, either way. While Wonder Woman and Atom are briefly stopped, they manage to rally to defeat the Society. As they do, WW recounts an origin for Floronic Man that I think was discredited later, about him being an alien from a "plant dimension." Huh.

Stopping Grodd from using Jean to destroy humanity, the Atom also somehow drives the radiation out of Jean, curing her. And freeing her up for a February wedding, although the Atom is probably going to have to let her in on his secret identity before then.


Dale Bagwell said...

Huh...Well on one-hand, the whole thing seems too contrite and overly-complicated, and on the other, this was one of the very rare times and closest the Atom ever got to getting his own event, so good for him on that.
But damn, definitely a lot of moving parts and players involved, even for a bronze-age story. God help us all if this had been written nowadays. Probably would've wound up as a huge 14-part story running a shit-ton of mini's and spin-offs.

That being said, glad Ray got his girl back even if after what happened in Identity Crisis he( and a lot of other people) probably regretted the happy ending.
Very cool page shot of the Atom flying through, idk a bloodstream, the galaxy?....

googum said...

That's from the splash page, and I'm not really sure what it represents, but it's neat looking. There's an old JLI panel I've been trying to find, "...and I don't know what's on this slide."

SallyP said...

Oh Jean was quite capable of destroying the universe all on her own.