Captain Atom: J.T. Krul, Freddie Williams II, Jose Villarrubia, Rob Leigh, Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
I’m going to start this one out with a bang. Captain Atom is one of the best books in the New 52. Krul and Williams consistently deliver a full and deep experience with every issue, with every read. We’ve already seen some of the amazing things Atom can do with his powers, and he’s nearing the limitless abilities of a god. I’m sure there are those within the DCnU who agree. What’s super fantastic about J.T. Krul’s writing - and what keeps me scurrying back to whatever he decides to put out like a loyal dog - is how bold-faced he is in his storytelling. He doesn’t sugar-coat. He doesn’t hold back the nitty gritty, uncomfortable stuff because kids might be reading. He tells true stories that have real outcomes and real consequences, superpowers be damned. He’s one of the most honest writers in comics I’ve ever read. In this issue, Atom tries to relate to a rat that had a power exchange happen to its body very similar to what happened to Captain Atom. Atom decides that the best way for it to go would be to allow it to absorb so much energy that its molecules dissipate into nothingness, much like we were seeing happen to Atom in issues #1 and #2. The sequence is actually quite sad. The way it was written makes Atom almost seem…not like a bad guy…but more like someone who’s decided to put down their injured horse or something. It’s that notion of exercising that dominion over the beasts of the earth by determining that you think it’s better for the animal to die because you believe it’s suffering. And you start to wonder…will Atom ever start thinking that way about humans? Will he start thinking sort of like Dr. Manhattan did, and view humans as a completely inferior species to him? We’ve already seen Atom interfere with others’ lives in this series, and he does it again here in this issue with Ranita. Captain Atom is seeming to start to come to terms with his isolation, his solitude, but how long will that last? Freddie’s art is great, as always. I love the style here, it reminds me of an ink-heavy manga book style sometimes. Not every single shape and detail is defined. Rather spaces devoid of excruciating detail are left shaded in or blacked out. The brightly colored pages of Atom exerting his immense power onto the rat are beautifully done, with an excellent panel layout that really serves the flow of the action and the whole issue. What we’re left with on the last page is definitely intriguing, and quite surprising. I wonder if we’re going to start seeing Captain Atom’s ability to time-travel when he absorbs too much energy next issue.
Captain Atom #6, the verdict: As I said, this is one of the best books in the New 52, and one of the best creative teams behind any comic book out there right now. It’s this book, and others in the DCnU, that are the reason why I don’t read a lot of Marvel. To me, these stories, these creators, these comics are just hundreds of times better than what the other companies are offering. I love what Captain Atom offers, and I love what it suggests. The biting social commentary, and the struggle of a lone man with untold, god-like power to regain his humanity, makes for such a compelling story. I can really see this series lasting for a long time, as long as this team sticks with it and continues to drop atom bombs on our brains every month.
(Photo Source: Newsarama)