Comic Book Review: The All New Atom #2

The Revolution thought the The All New Atom #1 was an average issue. I think it has some potential, but I’m not ready to slap this title onto my permanent pull list. Hopefully, we will get to see the Atom in costume and involved in some action in Atom #2. Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Trevor Scott

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Ryan riding an ant. Ryan and his fellow professors are conducting tests to try and figure out the various powers and uses of Ray Palmer’s “bio-belt.” Suddenly, Ryan’s body begins to morph grotesquely out of shape. Panda tells Ryan to hit the size control on his belt. Eventually, Ryan manages to hit the control and suddenly reverts back to his normal size. When asked if he is all right, Ryan opens his eyes and you can see little atomic symbols in his eyes. Ryan exclaims that he is great. That is was awesome and he wants to do it again.

We then cut to Panda and Ryan at a restaurant getting some food. Ryan shows Panda a design for an atomic fire rocket for when he is the Atom. A fellow professor or university staff woman spies Ryan and leaves him her name and number. Panda is impressed since that never happens to him. Ryan exclaims that he loves this country. (Ok, it is official. Ryan is waaaaay to positive and “up” for my tastes.)

On their way home, Panda and Ryan pass a woman on the street playing a violin. She tells Ryan to “beware the beast below us.” Ryan thanks her and puts money in her violin case. We then see the Praetor and a couple of his bug-like soldiers. Praetor tells them that the woman playing the violin must be the bait that they need. The bug-like soldiers fly off and capture the woman.

We then cut to Ryan arriving back at his house. He brings in the stray dog from last issue and feeds it. Ryan then opens a package that was on his porch. The package is from his professor friends. In it is a brand new Atom costume. Suddenly, Ryan’s doorbell rings. He answers it and sees the woman’s broken violin with the message “We have her. Come alone.” written on the back of it. Ryan suits up as the Atom and rides the stray dog to where he last saw the violin woman. He then descends into the sewer system based on her cryptic message that the beasts were from below. Ryan swims around the sewer and stumbles across the Praetor’s secret base. Atom then sets off the intruder alert. The bug-like soldiers attack and with that we have ourselves quite the fight. (We are even treated to a quote from the Karate Kid. And it is possibly my favorite quote. “Sweep the leg, Johnny!”)

The Atom then hides in a small pipe and stumbles upon a chamber with a really nasty fleshy tentacled one eyed creature. The creature tells Ryan that he has been waiting eons for him.
We then cut to the Ivy dormitory, where a man named Mr. Rundie is bringing home a bag with a woman’s body inside it back to his room. He is confronted by a mysterious figure who appears to be bald and in a suit. The figure says that he is hear to give him a gift. That the first gentleman he chose doesn’t have Rundie’s level of motivation. That Rundie is going to be the first man’s replacement. The mysterious figure then hands Rundie a belt just like the Atom’s belt and says that he made it himself. End of issue.

The Good: Atom #2 was not a bad read, but it wasn’t a great read. It was another average issue. There are parts of this comic that I do enjoy. I find it interesting that Ray Palmer’s belt is having some unusual effects on Ryan’s body. I certainly didn’t see that coming. I’m curious to learn more about the powers of this belt and if it does more than simply make Ryan “small.”

I liked the new Atom outfit. Very snappy. It is enough like the original with some minor tweaking. I thought seeing Ryan riding the dog was a rather funny scene. How many other super heroes do you know who use the canine express to get to a crime scene?

I’m also glad that we finally got to see Ryan in action. It wasn’t much, but at least we got to see him to something.

And the giant nasty looking creature in the sewer was a strange twist. I have no idea where Simone is headed with this, but it certainly piqued my curiosity. There is definitely something more than meets the eye with Ryan.

And the ending to this issue was by far the best scene. Simone does an incredible job hooking the reader at the end and getting the reader anxious for the next issue. I cannot wait to learn more about this mysterious person. I love the twist that he is made the Atom belt and that the first man he chose hasn’t worked out. I don’t think it is Ray Palmer since it doesn’t seem like Ray and Ray isn’t bald. So, who could this new character be and just what is his motivation and plan? I cannot wait to read more about this plotline.

The Bad: I found the scene in the restaurant to be cheesy. I think that we have been beaten over the head too much with the fact that Ryan is “really good looking” and lots of women want to date him. I’m not too sure the point of this repeated theme. Whatever the purpose, I think it is a theme that doesn’t need to be accentuated with each issue.

I’m not really interested in the Praetor or is plan. He comes across as too generic of a villain and his entire plan and purpose seems rather muddy. I’m just not really interested in whatever he is up to. This part of the story hasn’t hooked my sense of curiosity at all.

Ryan’s character is starting to annoy me a little more each issue. There is no doubt in my mind that Ryan would make an excellent college cheerleader. He is always so “up”, so excited, so hyper and very positive. He is like a two year old kid with the way he reacts to everything around him. Ryan’s character is very similar to the average protagonist that is found in your typical shonen manga. Those characters tend to be rather one-dimensional and very positive and excitable. They come across as a very adventurous pre-teen boy. And, they usually have a male figure who we never or rarely see that they are striving to become like or surpass. That is exactly how I see Ryan’s character. Now, that type of character works within the framework of a shonen manga. However, within an typical America super hero comic, that kind of character is a little annoying and rather shallow.

I know that it has been only two issues, but right now, Ryan would be more at home in Dragon Ball, Hunter x Hunter, or Naruto. Ryan doesn’t have much depth and his personality just isn’t meshing with the story. I’ll give Simone more time to flesh out Ryan’s character, but it will have to happen pretty quickly to get my interest in his character. Of course, DC may have decided that this new Atom is to be targeted to the same age group that your average shonen manga targets.

Byrne’s artwork isn’t really impressing me. I used to love his art. However, as the years pass, I like his art less and less. My tastes are simply changing. There is no doubt that Byrne is immensely talented. But, his style just doesn’t appeal much to me anymore.

Overall: Atom #2 had its good and negative points and all in all was slightly better than average. Simone still has 4 more issues to hook me before I decide that the Atom is worth a spot on my very crowded permanent pull list or I give it the axe. I think there is plenty of potential with the Atom. I just don’t know if I am the target reader for this title.