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|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1947)
DC Comics (1972 - present)
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #78 (1947, historical)
The Power of Shazam! #23 (1996, canon)
|Created by||Otto Binder
C. C. Beck
|Team affiliations||The Society
Monster Society of Evil
|Abilities||Superhuman strength and endurance
Fire nuclear blasts
Fictional character biography
Golden Age and pre-Crisis version
Mister Atom was created by Dr. Charles Langley in a story in Captain Marvel Adventures #78. His body was constructed first, and then Langley charged the robot with radioactive energy. The spark that gave the robot life also ended the life of his creator. Super-charged with a nuclear reactor and armed with a deadly mind, Mister Atom went on a wave of destruction believing he should rule the world and killed several people in Washington, before being challenged to a fight to the finish by Captain Marvel as he tried to attack the UN Building. He was stopped (barely) by Captain Marvel. Mr. Atom was imprisoned in an underground, lead-lined cell, as no other prison could contain his power, but he threatens to break out one day. Later he was freed by aliens called the Comet Men who hoped to employ his power in the conquest of Earth, though told him he would rule Earth, and told him to destroy Fawcett City to show his power. But they fell to fighting among themselves when Mr Atom realised they planned to destroy him and were all apparently destroyed in a giant explosion. However, the blast had actually thrown Mr. Atom forward in time, to 2053, a world where almost everything was run by atomic power, which Mr Atom found out from an inhabitant and decided it would be the perfect conquest for him. Captain Marvel travelled to this future after being told by Shazam of the danger which threatened it and battled Atom again, who forced Marvel off by threatening to cause the destruction of the world using the machinery. By now the world officials had decided to give in to Mr Atom and sent a delegation. But once again he was apparently destroyed, this time in an atomic furnace when the engines were turned on when Marvel disguised himself as part of the delegation to block Mister Atom from the machinery.
However, Mister Atom was re-introduced in 1976, by which time DC Comics had purchased the rights to use the Captain Marvel characters; Captain Marvel's enemy King Kull used his advanced scientific acumen to bring Atom back to having been told by Shazam the 20th century and employed his help battling Shazam's Squadron of Justice. Atom's first appearance in a DC comic was in Justice League of America #137, a crossover issue depicting Captain Marvel's first meeting of Superman. With Brainiac projecting a force field around him a much larger Mr Atom attempts to wreck a futuristic city on Earth-One called Tomorrow. Destroying the city meant the three super-speedsters had to repair it, which was causing increased rotation of the Earth. Atom easily withstood the efforts of the Golden and Silver Age Green Lanterns and Flashes, the god Mercury and Ibis the Invincible to subdue him, even when Brainiac's forcefield around him was turned off and Brainiac had been defeated, but when he tried to use Ibis's Ibistick to send Ibis to a faraway star, having stunned Ibis from an energy blast, he found the stick had a failsafe that caused any commands that would harm Ibis to backfire on the user, and Atom was the one propelled far into space.
Again Atom was brought back to Earth, this time by Mr. Mind, who employed him to attach his head to an atomic racecar and challenge Captain Marvel to an auto race in Indianapolis with the threat that he'd level the city with an atomic blast. When Captain Marvel won the race using a Shazam lightning-powered car, and destroyed Atom's car, Atom re-attached his head to his body and attacked Marvel, who hit him hard enough to achieve escape velocity and send Mr. Atom into orbit around the sun. Mr Mind was meanwhile captured by Uncle Marvel using a geiger counter. Captain Marvel then threw the racer into the Sun. Again Mr. Mind retrieved Atom with help from the Evil God of magic Oggar and enlisted him as a member of his Monster Society of Evil. During the Society's assault on the Rock of Eternity, Mr. Atom was shoved off the rock into another universe where life never developed, and he could do no harm.
Two decades later, Atom was revamped by Jerry Ordway and re-introduced in The Power of Shazam! #23, Mister Atom's modern origin was roughly the same as his Golden Age origin. His appearance was modified, however: the humanoid cyborg design of the original gave way to a more mechanical giant robot look. In his new origin story, Atom, at first not a villain, was told by Dr. Langley before he died to find a suitable woman to take care of him. Mister Atom interpreted Mary Marvel as a suitable woman and kidnapped her, until Captain Marvel found Dr. Langley's assistant to watch over the robot.
In Power of Shazam! #27, Mister Atom was controlled by Mister Mind into creating a nuclear explosion that destroyed the city of Fairview, home to the Marvels, killing thousands.
Infinite Crisis and 52
In Infinite Crisis, Mister Atom became a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains, but was seemingly destroyed by the Golden Age Superman, Kal-L. He didn't stay down for long, however: In 52, Captain Marvel mentioned that Mister Atom attacked the Rock of Eternity, only to fail. It is later revealed that Mister Atom is one of the villains who helped Prometheus plant explosive devices in various cities across the U.S., which leads to Mister Atom and several other villains making an attempt to flee the country. Before they can cross the border, the group is attacked by the Justice League, and Mister Atom is defeated and captured by Starman and Congorilla.
Powers and abilities
Mister Atom has upper level superhuman strength and endurance. His robot body is virtually impervious to harm. Mister Atom can fly and fire nuclear blasts from his hands (In the Golden Age, at least, lead is impervious to these blasts).
Mister Atom appeared in an issue of the Justice League Unlimited comic book, where Doctor Sivana was trying to rebuild him with the help of a local gang. Atom and Sivana were eventually defeated by the Justice League, particularly Vibe. The character also appeared several times in the all-ages comic series Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!
In other media
- Mister Atom appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Malicious Mr. Mind" voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He is seen as a member of the Monster Society of Evil where they battle the Marvel Family and Batman.
- Mister Atom's "Who's Who" profile at The Marvel Family Web.