Captain Atom (DC)(Post Crisis)
Real Name: Nathaniel Christopher Adam
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Nearly indestructible metal alloy skin, energy blasts from hands, flight, super strength, ability to absorb energy, time travel (only forward and only when he absorbs too much energy), and rapid healing.
Superficially, there are two different Captains Atom (the Silver/Bronze Age Captain Atom from Charlton Comics and the Modern Age Captain Atom from DC Comics). Recent events, however, allow for the interpretation that they are, in fact, the same character--from a certain point of view.
The first Captain Atom, created by Steve Ditko at Charlton, was Captain Allen Adam, a straight-arrow, pre-Vietnam cold warrior in the US Air Force. While testing a new missile for the AIr Force, he got caught up in its nuclear explosion in space. This disintegrated, then somehow reintegrated him, giving him access to the "raw" power of atomic energy.
This character did briefly appear in the pre-Crisis DCU, soon after the sale of Charlton characters was final. Some effort was taken at establishing the "Ditko Captain Atom", "Ditko Blue Beetle", and the rest of the Charlton comics characters as being present on a the new "Earth 4"--when the Crisis hit and made the point moot. (Indeed, this fact was actually established in the series, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Talk about coming to the multiverse party late...)
The second Captain Atom was named Nathaniel Christopher Adam. He was, at first, wholly different than the "Ditko Atom". Convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and to avoid life imprisonment in a United States Army prison, he volunteered to work for Wade Eiling and Heinrich Megala's Captain Atom Project. This let to Nate being bonded to a living alien metal from the Silver Shield (with a little help from an atomic explosion), and being catapulted from May, 1968 to the modern day. Found by Eiling and Megala, they crafted the super-hero identity for the captain, as well as his new, but short-lived, alter ego of Cameron Scott, attempting to gain information for the United States on the various meta-humans proliferating the landscape. Captain Atom became a member of the Justice League International, formed an attachment to Nightshade, led the forces of Earth in the Invasion!, became leader of Justice League Europe, and eventually found the man who had framed him for the original crime, and revealed the truth behind the "big lie" to the world, before being lost in time thanks to the efforts of Monarch. Captain Atom did eventually return to our time, where he led the Extreme Justice branch of the Justice League, until the time of Earth's Final Night, but Nate is still a semi-active super-hero, having recently worked with the L.A.W., free of the guilt of his crime and his original duplicity in joining the Justice League.
This Captain Atom has an odd reaction to exposure to large amounts of energy. He will seem to be killed, or atomized, by it--but instead is displaced by it. Typically this displacement takes the form of time travel, neatly allowing him to "disappear" from the DCU time-line for a while, only to return when the writers find convenient. He also has the ability to shift dimensionally in such explosive situations. Recently, he has been shown to cross over from the regular DCU to the Wildstorm universe, using this unique power.
How, then, is this character related to the first Captain Atom? As a part of his initial "cover story"--necessary to keep the "Captain Atom Project" a secret-- all of the adventures of the "Ditko Captain Atom" were assigned to this Captain Atom by the US Military. Thus, if you were to pull his file at the Pentagon, you would see the events of Captain Allen Adam's life in Captain Nathaniel Christopher Adam's records.
The original incarnation of this character is the first superhero Steve Ditko had a hand in creating.
The original version of the character is the direct inspiration for Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen. He would have been in that Alan Moore series had not DC pulled the use of the the Charlton characters. Adventures of Superman (1987)
First Appearance: Captain Atom (1987) #1
Monarch (02 - Nathaniel Adam)
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