Johnny Bullet
DC Comics
JLA Rebirth: The Atom #1
By Hervé St-Louis

January 4, 2017 - 10:18

Publisher(s): DC Comics
Writer(s): Steve Orlando
Penciller(s): Andy MacDonald
Inker(s): Andy MacDonald
Colourist(s): John Rauch
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist(s): Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Marcelo Maiolo; Andy MacDonald, John Rauch

Ryan Choi is a smart student about to start his education at Ivy University. He quickly becomes the protégé of famous scientist Professor Ray Palmer. But one day, Palmer disappears in another universe, shrunk as a small man in the guise of the super hero known as the Atom. It’s up to Ryan to don a spare costume and rescue his mentor. But is it too late?

What I like about this comic is that Steve Orlando updated the material from Gail Simone’s series and made it better, giving Ryan Choi who was murdered before the New 52 reboot to shine again. It’s a captivating story that reintroduces the old Atom Ray Palmer, and many elements of his past, like Adam Cray. We know that many of his stories did happen but instead of focusing on that, we get to know more about Ryan Choi.

This is where the story becomes weaker. In his quest to make the story relevant, Orlando played the small contribution can save the world in a big way card too much. He was practically talking down to readers. “Do you get it, he thinks about the small matters and he’s about to get shrinking powers. Do you get it?”

The other pet peeve is a professional one. In the story, it’s mentioned how after one year, Palmer and Choi published several articles together. This is after his first year at Ivy University. Okay, publishing several papers within a year, while working with a new undergraduate student who get co-authorship is impossible. No peer-reviewed journal reviews submitted papers this fast that a first year entering year two would have so many papers under his belt. It would have been somewhat credible if Orlando had made Choi a graduate student, it might have had a little more credibility, although academic journals still don’t review and publish as quickly. I won’t even bother with the stupendous research that Palmer and Choi did that led them to get an award, all in one year. Also, there is no way a dean would go after an undergraduate student for the weird behaviour and absenteeism of a professor.

Last pet peeve. This story borrows a bit too much from Ant-Man which is an odd thing to say, considering the Atom was first and Ant-Man stole much from him originally.

I like Andy MacDonald’s work. It’s clean and he knows how to draw tech gear and labs well. John Byrne, get out! Here’s someone who draws labs as well as you!


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