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Time for atomic action!
~ Ray Palmer.

The Atom is a superhero from the DC comics and universe, where his main ability is to shrink in size. There are multiple incarnations of the character, the first and original was Albert "Al" Pratt, and most well known is the second incarnation, Dr. Ray Palmer, and the later two were Adam Cray and Dr. Ryan Choi. The character is also one of the supporting characters in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Al Pratt was created by Ben Flinton and Bill O'Connor, and Ray Palmer was created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.

In Arrowverse, he is portrayed by Brandon Routh, who also played Superman in Superman Returns and voiced David "Hesh" Walker in Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Biography

Early Life

Raymond "Ray" Palmer was born in Ivy Town, Connecticut to David and Susan Palmer, and has a brother named Daniel, and is the godson of Ted Ralson. In his youth, Ray studied physics at Ivy University, and was under tutelage of scientists such as Alpheus Hyatt. He began to date Jean Loring, a law student, whom he would frequently ask to marry him, but she would decline.

The Dwarf Fragment

Eventually, Ray discovered a tiny fragment of a white dwarf star that had fallen to Earth, and investigated the matter compression. He theorized that if he were to grind a lens with the white dwarf fragment and focus ultraviolet lights through it, he could shrink anything that was struck by the lights down to a fraction. Ray experimented on his theory, and found that it worked, but saw that the objects he shrunk became unstable and would explode.

One day, Ray and his friends went spelunking in a cave, and became entrapped into it, and he was forced to use his shrinking lens on himself to escape the cave and save his friends. Ray didn't explode as result of shrinking, and he developed a set of control devices that gave him control over his weight and size. Ray theorized that an unknown factor in his genes contributed to allowing him to shrink, but many scientists believed that "Metagene" was the reason he was able to survive.

Becoming the Atom

Ray decided to become a crime fighter named The Atom in Ivy Time, and decided to keep his identity a secret from Jean and his colleagues. The Atom became a trusted hero in Ivy Town after stopping Carl Ballard from exploiting Kulan Dar, a tiny alien who Carl wanted to use to commit crimes. He became an ally of the Ivy Town police and the CIA, who sent him overseas to rescue Professor Kraft from spies. When Ray returned home, he stopped Greg Phillips from stealing chess pieces, and fought Jason Woodrue, an exile who wanted to take over the world.

The Atom managed to defeat Woodrue with the help of Queen Maya, and later stopped a jewel thief Bart Tranter with the help of Mr. Odd. Amos Fortune decided to use Ray in a plot to destroy the Justice League, and used a de-memorizor ray to pit him against the Justice League. Atom aided the heroes in defeating Fortune, and the league decided to elect Palmer as a member of their superhero group. Afterward, Ray encountered a criminal Chronos, who was obsessed with time.

Incarnations

Al Pratt

Albert "Al" Pratt was born in the 1920s, and was bullied by his schoolmates for his weak stature, and was referred to as "Atom Al" for being ninety-eight pounds and being very weak. One day, he bought dinner for a vagrant who was actually Joe Morgan, a former boxing champion, who trained him to be muscular for one year. Afterward, Al became a crime fighter, and later gained his superpowers by accident from an enemy, and decided to protect the innocent as "The Atom".

Ray Palmer

Main article: Dr. Ray Palmer

Adam Cray

Adam Cray was recruited by Dr. Palmer, who had faked his death so he could apprehend Micro Squad, and uncover the government the Cabal. Adam was the new Atom, distracting the Cabal and becoming a member of the Suicide Squad and Black Lantern Corps.

Ryan Choi

I know you don't play sports. You hate the outdoors and you're afraid of heights. You have asthma and allergies. Honestly, you're a bit of a mess. But you're also the only one who knows my tech and what I do with it as the Atom as well as I do. And more important than all of that ... you're the only one I can trust with this.
~ Prime-Earth Ray Palmer.

The Atom aka Dr. Ryan Choi was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong and is currently a professor of nuclear physics at Ivy University. When he began working at Ivy University, Choi received the Bio-Belt from a fellow colleague. With the belt, Choi quickly discovered he could manipulate his height from his full size to the subatomic scale while retaining any mass, weight, and density. As the Atom, he set out to explore the microscopic world and use the belt for the advancement of society while filling the void left by Ray Palmer's retirement. Atom also used his ability to shrink an array of scientific instruments and keep them in his belt, including a swab, microscope, electromagnetic discharge gun, and field pressurizer. Despite his career as a super hero, the Atom preferred to use logic and science to a catch all solution rather than use his feelings.

When Batman learned Felix Faust discovered Pandora's Box, he recruited the Atom for help. While reduced to a subatomic size, the Atom avoided Faust's detection and helped Batman prevent Pandora's Box from being re-opened.

He continued to work as a physicist and his current project was a five month study on tachyon detection. The experiment was put on hold when the Atom was contacted by Aquaman. Upon study, the Atom deduced that he would have to go inside Batman to destroy the infection he caught from Chemo. Despite his reservations, the Atom was accompanied by Aquaman, his ideological counterpart. After a momentary lapse in judgement, the Atom was able to destroy the seed cell and cure Batman.

In case any of his allies were compromised, Batman devised methods to defeat them. After Owlman escaped his prison in the Batcave, he stole Batman's files and implemented the weapons. The Atom was collected into a special vacuum storage unit. Owlman imprisoned Atom under a death trap that would eventually squash him. Months later, the Atom was locked in battle with the Bug-Eyed Bandit on the windshield of Aquaman's RV. Unable to help because of a promise to his family, Aquaman simply swept them off with his windshield wipers. Some time later, the Atom was one of the heroes taken control by Starro clones. While under its control, the Atom guarded the signal intended to guide Starro to Earth, a satellite in Star City. When Batman arrived to disable it, he fought Atom and trapped him under a vial.

During a battle with the Bug-Eyed Bandit, the Atom realized the molecular density unit on his Bio Belt was destroyed. He and Batman were trapped in a microscopic state. Less than inspired by Batman's choice with Aquaman as back up, Atom used his Bangstick to fly into his ear and guide the king of Atlantis to victory. He managed to instruct Aquaman to take his White Dwarf Star matter and place it on the Spectrophotometer. It changed everyone back to normal size. Bug Eyed Bandit was knocked out by Aquaman before he could finish threatening Atom's life yet again.

Ryan Choi decided to retire as the Atom and re-dedicate himself to scientific research. However, Aquaman took Choi along on a mission to locate Batman in the Amazon. The duo discovered Ray Palmer's former residence and shrinking ray. After Aquaman shrunk both of them, they continued on and retraced Batman's trail. Reunited with Batman and Palmer, Choi and Aquaman became involved in a coup instigated by the power-hungry Chancellor Deraegis. Choi utilized toxin from a poison dart frog he and Aquaman encountered earlier to paralyze Deraegis and restore order. After being honored by Princess Laethwen, Choi decided to return to crime fighting as the Atom. On the first mission back as a superhero, the Atom fought Chronos, who had recently returned to crime in the present.

Quotes

Are you finished? Because there are about a half millions of other things we can be doing to save lives rather than stand in United Nations and be insulted.
~ The Atom.
You wonder what you'd bring to the team we want to for your mind your engine newity.
~ Batman to Atom in Justice League Action

Gallery

Trivia

  • He is similar to Ant-Man from Marvel Comics:
    • Both are size-shifting heroes.
    • There are multiple incarnations of the character.
  • Ray Palmer is similar to Scott Lang from Marvel Comics:
    • Both are successors to a original hero.
  • The Atom's civilian identity was included by Julius Schwartz as a homage to the notorious science fiction editor Raymond A. Palmer

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