Captain Atom: J.T. Krul, Freddie Williams II, Jose Villarrubia, Rob Leigh
The final issue of this stunning series lies here within Zero Month. We’ve caught glimpses of Nate’s life prior to the accident before, but not quite like this. This time, we witness the accident.
It starts very soon after Nate’s father died, and his mind is, as the title of the issue suggests, “checking out.” He pulls dangerous stunts in his jet, and snaps at his friends. He finds solace in solitude, peace and quiet. That’s even part of why he signs up for Megala’s experiment, because he’s alone in it (despite the people monitoring him). This is ironic, considering it’s because of this decision that he becomes Captain Atom, a god-like figure who spends his time wanting to reach out to others and make connections. Someone who’s disturbed to be left with only his thoughts.
We get to see Megala before he became even more of a cripple (I’m not sure what’s afflicting him, and it reminds me of Stephen Hawking, but I’m not making any assumptions). And, thanks to Freddie’s art, I wouldn’t hesitate to dream-cast the late, great Pete Postlethwaite as Dr. Megala in a live-action version of Captain Atom.
Speaking of Freddie, the art in this issue is really great. I love all the lights and mathematical mumbo-jumbo he creates in the earlier panels. And, notice, on the day of Nate’s accident, there’s a picture taped to a computer of the rat that they also tested, which becomes a villain in the main series. I love little Easter eggs like that. Now, if I’m going to mention Freddie’s art, I also have to mention Villarrubia, who’s been doing an outstanding job with colors on this series. Really, really good stuff.
The death and rebirth is reminiscent of Dr. Manhattan, but is different enough to have its own look and feel, and be very separate from the “Watchmen” hero. Remember, also, Dr. Manhattan is a character that was created and was based on Captain Atom. So everyone who always compares Captain Atom to Manhattan should be doing it the other way around - comparing Manhattan to Captain Atom.
The dogfight scene was awesome, with great art and colors. I loved the fat bullets flying around Pierce’s jet. Great style that reminds me a lot of older comics like GI Joe and Transformers. The ending was left very wide open, as it should have been, yes, but at the same time I was hoping for something less ambiguous that had a very similar tone and weight that a lot of the previous issues carried. Though the last sentences Atom thinks are pretty cool.
Captain Atom #0, the verdict: So that’s the whole story. Let’s see if DC sticks to it. I wonder what’s next for the glowing blue hero. Will he show up in other books? I think this was a great opportunity for the Justice League of America comic coming up soon, but I guess he didn’t make the cut. Still, you never know. Perhaps other guest appearances? Hard to say. I get the feeling he’s going to be forgotten, left behind in the New 52. Perhaps no other writer feels they can handle the superhero with unlimited power. Nevertheless, this is a great series, and I’m going to miss it terribly. We’ll always have 0-12, right?
(Photo Source: DC Comics)