Man, do I love the Atom. All five of them, from little 40s tough-guy All Pratt to current Atom Ryan Choi's friend Panda (Atom V as of last week or so). My absolute fave, however, is Ray "Totally Missing" Palmer, the man who forever quashed all cries of "Shrinking is a crappy superpower!" Seriously, read Showcase Presents: The Atom or any incarnation of the Justice League that has the good sense to have ol' Ray - you will see a tiny man kicking ass. Could Batman disarm someone by jumping onto the end of their gun? Well, probably, but it wouldn't be as cool as when Ray does it.
But that was Ray at the height of his coolness. This review is focussed on another time, a dark time. No, not the 'ex-wife is a murderous, insane super-villain' time, as that is just standard hero stuff. Instead, we're looking at the time that comic book writers thought that Ray had absolutely no life.
The preceding page is perhaps the saddest I've ever read. Not in a 'Death of Superman' kind of way or a 'Black Adam murders an entire damned country and by the way why isn't the whole DC Universe out looking for him, seriously, like Mary Marvel didn't even mention that he killed millions of people when they ran into each other. He'd better not ever get redeemed, I mean really - it'd be like having Hitler on the Justice Society' kind of way, but in a 'the writer went a bit too far in making the hero look like a regular Joe' kind of way. Let's break it down:
Okay: Ray Palmer is devoted to his (awful, murderous) wife. I guess I can respect that. She's out of town and he's lonely.
See, now this is where things start to fall apart. Ray's wife (killed Sue Dibny, killed Robin's dad, killed Captain Boomerang) is out of town and he's so bored. He has nothing to do without his wife (slept with the Spectre, tried to sleep with Mary Marvel) around. He certainly doesn't have any friends, and especially not super friends.
Personally, I think that the artist just wanted to draw this shrinky/growy leapy thing and so they had to think up an excuse. I just wish that it could have been a better one than 'Jean's out of town and Batman didn't feel like going out for nachos.' Doesn't the Atom travel through time on a regular basis? instead of hopping around, he could be stealing George Washington's teeth or something.
... that's the saddest thing that I've ever read in a thought balloon. Seriously. It's like something that an elderly shut-in would think. Ray, dude, I'm certain that Green Arrow or someone would like to hang out with you. Or you could watch TV. Just... just don't make me cry on my Action Comics.
Almost forgot: I'm going to try to post something every night this week. Tune in, kids! Watch me fail!