New 52 Review – “Captain Atom #1”

An old school DC hero gets a revamp in this title. Imagine if Superman were a soldier in the U.S. military, and you’ve got a very cursory view of this guy.

General Information

Title: Captain Atom #1

Author: J.T. Krul

Illustrator(s): Freddie Williams II (art) and Jose Villarubia (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Nathaniel Adams is fighting the good fight, defending the innocent when his powers seem to malfunction. Before he and the scientists he works with can get a good handle on what’s going on, he’s forced to go out in the field again to deal with two impossibly rare dangers.

High Point

His attitude. The selflessness of a hero is one of the key elements that keeps me coming back to comics, and it’s hard to get more selfless than Captain Atom in this issue.

Low Point

The art seems to go directly from pencils to colours. If it’s inked, it’s certainly not inked with black. That’s a valid artistic choice, I know, but to this long-time reader it just feels unfinished, as if they missed a step.

The Scores

This doesn’t feel original. Yes, the nature of his powers seem to have changed, and not just because he no longer appears to need a containment suit, but because the core conflict here is the same core conflict I found in the last Captain Atom story they published, which also happens to be the only Captain Atom story I’ve read. The latter is not their fault, but the former definitely is. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork feels unfinished due to stylistic choices and a sketchy feel to the line work. I give it 3 out of 6.

The story is told well enough, even if it is something I’ve seen before. Another science quibble: the strong nuclear force cannot do what Captain Atom does. Although it doesn’t sound as impressive, he would have actually used the electromagnetic or weak nucler forces to do that. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of the lead is very well done. We don’t know his origins, but we know his priorities and thought processes. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is weak. When you kick off a new series with this particular threat, it’s hard to convince the readers that there’s any true danger of the hero failing to persevere. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is smooth enough. We move from scene to scene as quickly as our “fast” title character. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a decent title, but just doesn’t do enough to stand out in the relaunch as a title worth following. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Captain Atom #1 receives 29 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman