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The Atom

DC Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

The Atom is one of DC's major Silver Age characters, debuting around the same time as the Flash and Green Lantern. He originally derived his shrinking power after discovering a tiny fragment of a dwarf star that fell to Earth; by fashioning a lens from the material and focusing ultraviolet rays through it, he found he could shrink himself to a fraction of his original size.

It's safe to say such a scenario is, from a scientific standpoint, even crazier than getting powers by being bitten by a radioactive spider.

By manipulating the correct combination of elements, Ivy University physicist Ray Palmer was able to shrink down to six inches... or even to microsopic size, retaining all the mass of his 180-pound, six-foot tall alter ego and pack a powerful punch at any size. With a costume fashioned to shrink and enlarge with him, Palmer became the Atom!

Whether you're a huge fan of the Atom or not, it's hard to argue that his action figure, part of the Wal*Mart-exclusive wave series of DC Universe Classics, isn't a little dull. It's just the Four Horsemen's basic "small male" body, with a unique head. The head sculpt is nice, although it could easily be re-used for a dozen different heroes wearing the same type of mask (I suppose the exposed ears might be a bit more unique).

While the paint applications are crisp along the edges, the contrast between the parts that are molded in red and the blue paint is drastic, especially with two bright colors like these. The molded red plastic just looks cheap, as it does on many of the bright, solid-color figures in this line (such as Red Tornado). But his eyes and flesh are painted pretty well, however, and the tampographed application of the tiny atomic symbol on his forehead is surprisingly well done.

If ever an action figure needed an accessory, it's the Atom, and unfortunately all he comes with is Metallo's right arm. I'm surprised Mattel couldn't at least toss in a miniature, unarticulated Atom figure. However, the DC Infinite Heroes Atom (who stands about 4" tall) is plentiful at retail and will probably be clearanced pretty soon, so you can nab him if you really want a small Atom to complement your DCUC figure.

Atom's not a bad figure, but like the Eradicator, I'm not sure I would have picked him up if he didn't come with a Metallo piece... oh, who am I kidding, I would have bought him to complete my JLA team. But for twelve bucks, a plain figure like this should have come with a mini-Atom. Even DC Direct got that one right (half the time).

-- 12/10/08

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