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The 'Atom'

Ray

Ray Palmer (Issue 6)

Information
Real name: Raymond "Ray" Palmer
AKA: The Tiny Titan
The Mighty Mite
Species: Human
Homeworld: Earth
Universe: Earth-1A
Hair: Auburn
Eyes: brown
Relatives: Jean Loring (wife)
Base: Ivy Town
Voiced/Played: Wally Burr[1]
Pat Harrington, Jr.[2]
Atom Gallery

Justice League of America Team Member

Part-time SuperFriends Team Member

Atom67b

As seen in the Filmation cartoon (1967)

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The Atom is a superhero who is a member of the Justice League of America. He has the ability to decrease the size of his body, in other words, he can shrink himself.


Background Information

Continuity from Earth-One

Earth-One Continuity

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, Ray Palmer grew up in Ivy Town, Connecticut where he studied physics at Ivy University, under renowned scientists such as Alpheus P. Hyatt[3].

While at Ivy University, he began dating law student Jean Loring.[4]

When Ray was a student at Ivy University, he began to work on compressing matter. He got his first big break when he saw a meteor land. He believed it to be a fragment of a white dwarf star. In his lab he was able to make a lens from the star fragment. He soon discovered that by focusing ultraviolet rays through it, he could shrink inanimate objects. However, when shrunk these objects would be unstable eventually exploding. [5]

His next break regarding his research came on a nature hike with some kids and his friend Jean Loring. While in a cave they become trapped because of a cave-in. After an hour of trying to escape, he deciding to use the reducing lens on himself he had luckily taken with him. He made his way out and freed the others quickly as he feared exploding. But he didn't because of the chemicals in the water in the cave that got onto the reducing lens. He eventually made a special reducing suit made out of the dwarf star as well.[6]

Keeping his discoveries a secret, even from Jean, Ray created the identity of the Atom and began a career of crime fighting in Ivy Town. In his first recorded adventure, the Atom stopped the crook Carl Ballard from exploiting the tiny alien Kulan Dar, to commit his crimes. Foiling this plot, the Atom became a trusted hero in Ivy Town, and established a great working relationship with the local police.[7].

The Atom's heroics made him an ally of the CIA.[8]

Continuity From Filmation series: The Adventures of Aquaman, The Atom segments (1967)

Filmation Continuity
Atom 1

Filmation appearance

As a physicist and a university professor, Ray investigated scientific revolutions in plant-life, size manipulation and genetics.[9]

Continuity from Earth-One, Continued

Earth-One Continuity, Continued

Over the years, Jean encountered the Atom who often helped in her cases many times before learning that he and Ray were the same person. Ray proposed to Jean often, but she rejected him, wanting to make it as a lawyer before becoming a wife. Only when Ray was thought killed in a car accident (engineered by the Bug-Eyed Bandit) did she accept his proposal.[10]

The Atom was used in a bizarre plot by Amos Fortune. Mr. Fortune (aka Mr. Memory), hired Hector Hammond, Pied Piper, Sea-Thief, Angle Man, Dr. Davis, and the Joker to destroy the Justice League of America. However, the Justice League would defeat them and invite the Atom to join their team.[11]

Several years later, Jean was kidnapped by T.O. Morrow, Ray went into an interdimensional search to retrieve her, asking for help from Flash, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Captain Comet.[12] This event would affect Jean negatively, but it would also lead to their marriage.[13]

The Atom, along with his fellow Justice Leaguers are called upon to aid the Martian Manhunter in a conflict that originates on Mars and finds its way to Earth. In the chaos, the Justice League Satellite is nearly destroyed.[14] The Atom ends up traveling to Mars and aiding his Justice League comrade Martian Manhunter against the evil General Blanx. In the battle the General destroyed the surface of Mars, but is summarily killed by J'onn J'onzz in open combat. With the surface of Mars destroyed all the good Martians, including J'onn J'onzz leave and colonize another planet.[15]

Continuity from Earth-One Story, Sword of Atom

Sword of Atom

Ray and Jean's marriage became more strained over time as Jean's law practice and Ray's devotion to both science and super-heroics took time over their romance. Realizing their marriage was on the rocks, Ray decided to take time some time away and head to South America to investigate White Dwarf star radiations. Before the plane arrived, it crashed. Ray jumped ship and shrunk down to Atom size. The world presumed him dead and Jean went on with her life. Ray meanwhile found himself captured by aliens known as the Katarthans.[16] After being forced into gladiator battles, he and Taren escaped the arena and fled into the jungles where they reunited with the rebels.[17] Knowing his end is near, Taren turned over leadership of the rebels to Atom, and perished while the group fled an army of carnivorous ants. Atom met Princess Laethwen and soon falls in love. He also led the warriors on to Moralaidh to launch a revolution.[18]

In the final battle, an old star drive powered by a white dwarf star fragment was activated. The Atom tries to deactivate the drive but fails, and his growth mechanism is reactivated. He manages to induce the Morlaidhians to abandon their city and escapes himself before it explodes. He is knocked unconscious at full six-foot height. Ray Palmer is found, nursed back to health, and reunited with Jean Loring. Waking up in the hospital, Ray came to realize that he now loves Princess Laethwen .[19]

Returning to Ivy Town to settle his affairs, Ray realized that there was no way to rekindle his romance with Jean. In repairing his size change belt, Ray found that the process of shrinking caused him great pain due to his absorption of massive amounts of white dwarf radiation and feared that constantly changing his size would eventually kill him. Finalizing his divorce with Jean, Ray put his money in an expedition back to South America, taking along with him writer Norman Brawler to chronicle the experience. The two men ran afoul of drug dealers and Ray shrunk down to Atom, giving up his normal height seemingly for the last time to help destroy the drug operation. Finding the Moralaidh tribe and being reunited with Laethwen, Ray left Norman to find his own way back. Norman later published the tale in a book called The Atom's Farewell, which became a best seller.[20].

Ray led Laethwen’s people in building a new New Moralaidh and rebuilding the alien societies’ lost technology. He and Laethwen would become wed as well. However, his past life could not stay away. After Jean married Paul Hoben, the newly weds cleared out Ray's lab and she accidentally shrunk herself. In order to restore her to her normal height, Paul had Norman Brawler lead him and Jean to Ray. Unfortunately, along the way, Jean was captured by the minions of the rebel leader Torgul who had captured many of the Moralaidhian women including Laethwen. Ray led a mission to rescue the captured women, which ended in Torgul’s death, and the freedom of his people. With Jean restored to her normal height, Ray left his old size changing belt with Paul and together with Laethwen, he wished them farewell.[21].

Continuity from The Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths
Main Article: Crisis on Infinite Earths

When the evil Anti-Monitor attempted to destroy the entire multiverse, his opposing force the Monitor sacrificed his life to shunt the five surviving realities into limbo. However they were slowly merging together causing chaos on all worlds and threatening their destruction in the process.[22] Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three and the Harbinger gathered heroes and villains from all realities in an attempt to rally their support in saving what was left of the multiverse. Atom was among their numbers and agreed to aid in the effort .[23]

Despite Ray being on hiatus from super-heroics,[24] he is called in to examine the Red Tornado, who was recaptured by the heroes following a lengthy captivity under the Anti-Monitor who converted the android into an engine of destruction. Also, on hand to aid the Atom is Firestorm, Firehawk and Vixen who has captured the famed robotics expert Professor T.O. Morrow. They converged on the nearly destroyed JLA Satellite (in the Earth-Mars War). They are greeted by the Martian Manhunter and Cyborg. Ray Palmer, the Earth-One Atom is also present (despite him being on hiatus from super-heroics). He is inspecting the Tornado's body from the inside. As Morrow expresses concern that the Torando’s insides are complete different, John Stewart, valiant Green Lantern arrives with the Blue Devil to aid. Suddenly, something deep within the Tornado's bio-system activates and a huge explosion tears through the satellite. Morrow appears to be killed, and the Blue Devil finds himself transported to the Vegan system to deal with the Omega Men.[25] The Atom and the other heroes are able to escape with a wounded Manhunter.[26]

Later on in the Crisis, when a united group of super-villains from each surviving reality attempted to conquer each earth, Atom was among a group of super-heroes dispatched to Earth-S to attempt to quell the uprising in that reality.[27] Although the heroes there were made prisoner, the Atom was part of a counter attack of heroes that weren't captured, and succeeded in freeing Billy Batson, allowing the boy to change into Captain Marvel and turn the tides of the battle.[28]

Powers and Abilities

Jean Loring

Ray Palmer with his wife Jean Loring.[29]

Powers

Abilities


Equipment


SuperFriends Team Members

Members of the Justice League of America

Aquaman (founding member) • Batman (founding member) • Superman (founding member) • Flash (founding member)
Green Lantern (founding member) • Martian Manhunter (founding member) • Wonder Woman (founding member)

Comic Book JLA Team Members:
Black CanaryElongated ManRed TornadoZatanna Zatara
Phantom Stranger (part-time Leaguer) • Sargon, The Sorcerer (honorary Leaguer)

Other Known Justice Leaguers:
The HuntressBlack OrchidCaptain MarvelSupergirlGreen FuryPlastic ManAtomGreen Arrow

SuperFriends Founding Members:
SupermanBatmanWonder WomanAquaman
HawkmanSamuraiGreen LanternFlashBlack Vulcan

Other Known SuperFriends Members:
HawkgirlApache ChiefEl DoradoRima

Junior SuperFriends:
RobinCyborgFirestorm
ZanJayna
Marvin WhiteWendy Harris

Mascots:
GleekWonder Dog


Episode Appearances

The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967) Appearances:

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends Appearances:

SuperFriends Comic Book (1976-81):


Notes

  • The Silver Age Atom, Ray Palmer first appeared in Showcase, #34 (September/October 1961)
  • Ray Palmer was named for real-life science fiction writer Raymond A. Palmer (August 1, 1910 – August 15, 1977), who was himself quite short.
  • He was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.
  • He made his first animated appearance in three seven-minute episodes that aired as part of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967 and guest starred in the Justice League of America segments of the same show.
  • The Atom has a different voice in his first appearance on Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends. In all future appearances, voice director Wally Burr takes on the role.
  • Absent from his 'animated' appearances is his at-the-time-girlfriend, Jean Loring, his hometown, Ivy Town, and any mention of the mass of white dwarf star matter that gives him his power.
  • There have been four characters who have shared the Atom codename:
    • The original Golden Age Atom, Al Pratt, was created by Ben Flinton and Bill O'Connor in 1940.
    • The second Atom was the Silver Age Atom, Ray Palmer, who first appeared in 1961.
    • The third Atom, Adam Cray, was a minor character present in Suicide Squad stories.
    • The fourth Atom, Ryan Choi, is the Modern Age version, who debuted in a new series in late 06'.


Gallery


External links


Appearances in Other Media

Civilian Identity


Reference

  1. Wally Burr provided the voice of the Atom in the Super Friends.
  2. Pat Harrington, Jr. provided the voice of the Atom in the Filmation cartoons.
  3. As revealed in The Atom, #3 (November, 1962).
  4. As revealed in The Atom, #36 (April, 1968).
  5. Continuity from SuperFriends , #6 (August 1977).
  6. Continuity from SuperFriends , #6 (August 1977) and an Earth-One story, Showcase, #34 (October, 1961).
  7. As revealed in Showcase, #34 (October, 1961).
  8. As revealed in Showcase, #36 (December, 1961).
  9. As revealed in Filmation's DC Superheroes Adventures (1967-1968), the Atom segments. These shorts mark the Atom’s first appearance.
  10. As revealed in The Atom, #26 (August/September 1966).
  11. As revealed in the Justice League of America, #14 (September, 1962).
  12. As revealed in Super-Team Family, #11-14 (June 1977 - January 1978).
  13. As revealed in Justice League of America, #157 (August, 1978).
  14. This ‘Earth-Mars Conflict’ is revealed in Justice League of America, #228 (July 1984) - #230 (September 1984).
  15. As revealed in Justice League of America, # 171 (May, 1969).
  16. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom. #1 (September, 1983).
  17. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom. #2 (October, 1983).
  18. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom. #3 (November, 1983).
  19. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom. #4 (December, 1983).
  20. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom, Special #1 (July, 1984).
  21. As revealed in the Sword of the Atom, Special #2 (July, 1985).
  22. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #4 (July 1985).
  23. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #5 (August 1985).
  24. Ray Palmer’s desire to step down from crime-fighting is chronicled in a four-part limited series called: ‘Sword of the Atom’ which ran from September – December 1983 and the first two issues of ‘Sword of the Atom Special’ issues #1 (March, 1984) and #2 (1985).
  25. For background on the Omega Men see: Omega Men, #31 (October, 1985). To see how the Blue Devil gets out of this situation see: Blue Devil, #18 (November, 1985).
  26. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #8 (November, 1985).
  27. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #9 (December 1985).
  28. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #10 (January, 1986).
  29. As seen in Issue 6 of the Superfriends comic book (1976).
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