Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Loose Reaction to the Atom

I was thinking about the Atom. Rereading. It's middle ground for me right now. I can't yet tell if I love it (Wonder Woman) or dislike it (Flash). Right now, it's kind of in that maybe category with the Blue Beetle. Seems cute enough, the protagonist seems likeable, a touch of diversity without going too far into caricature.

Not completely grabbed yet though.

There is one element I'm really liking, one that I've complained about being lacking in Blue Beetle, and that's the sense of legacy.

I dig legacy. I love the familial sense that DC brings. The whole sidekick/successor elements really help that. There's a sense of lineage that Marvel, probably due to their more static time progression and more unique identities, lacks for me.

But I think the sense of the predecessor is very important. I prefer successions to have connection to what came before. I'm not saying they always have to be sidekicks or little siblings or sons/daughters of the original, of course, but a connection seems there.

Like Kyle for example. Sure he was brand new, never knew any of the Lanterns, didn't know what the ring was when he got it. But that worked for me because Hal Jordan was such a presence throughout the book. He needed to live up to Hal's legend, earn the respect of Hal's peers, show that he's not making Hal's mistakes.

Firestorm's another I've liked in terms of legacy. I don't follow the book like I should (not a lot of money at the moment) but from what I've seen I've liked it. Reference to Ronnie, Ronnie's parents, Ronnie's friends, Ronnie himself and now Martin Stein. Throughout, from what I've seen at least, Jason gets to stay his own character in the process.

Blue Beetle's lacked that so far for me. Where Ted had the connection as Dan's student, and the emotional drive to live up to the legacy, Jaime's got no connection yet. He looked up Ted once and that's it. Presumably, perhaps, Dan will come into play as a previous scarab wielder. I hope so. Right now I'm saddened by the lack. I like Jaime a lot, but without some connection, I don't see the point of him being Blue Beetle instead of a brand new hero.

The Atom seems to be finding a happy medium between the two. For a first issue at least. We don't see Ray, but he's a palpable presence. Ryan and Ray have past communication, and Ray's been leaving messages for Ryan. Basically Ryan is Ray's handpicked successor, and I really like those sorts of stories. Ray's connections don't seem quite as overwhelming as the ones in Firestorm yet, which is probably good too. But we'll see. It *is* only the first issue.

I quite liked the bit with Ryan in the shirt-tag toga. Though I could wish for a different artist. I like Byrne's art style in general, but it doesn't seem to fit in this case. Besides, I like my half naked men to look older than fourteen. :-)


  • At July 22, 2006 6:31 AM, Anonymous Denis said…

    I liked The Atom, both in the Brave New World preview and in the ongoing - I thought it was a fresh and original concept which could take us into interesting places (which is not surprising, since Grant Morrison came up with it, who I suspect births 37 different new fantastic ideas every morning before breakfast).

    Gails writing and characterisation was charming, and I do like John Byrne's art a lot - I've seen his pencilled art, which I always found beautiful and detailed, and the inker brings out a lot of that. I do agree, though, that Ryan's face looks different in every panel.

    One thing which geared with me, though - and I think, it's weird for ME being the one to bring this up, since I'm not a feminist and not a woman, but I guess, I've been reading your and Ragnell's blogs too long -- anyway, how come that among the genius scientists who are the Atom's backup in his adventures, there is not a single genius woman?

    Just found it strange - the only females with a speaking role in the comic were some pretty students who were fawning over the new Atom...

    I'm sure Gail's got something up her sleeve, though.

  • At July 22, 2006 6:34 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    :-) Oddly being a feminist and woman as I am, I wasn't terribly bothered.

    It was a first issue and thus so much establishing needed doing, that I can understand the absence.

    Now if there's still no non-giggly women appearing by issue 2 or 3, then there'll be rantage. :-)

  • At July 22, 2006 7:39 AM, Anonymous Denis said…


    Looks like I'll never make a good feminist. :-)

  • At July 22, 2006 7:40 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    No no! This means you're *more* feminist than me. :-)

  • At July 22, 2006 7:44 AM, Anonymous Denis said…

    Chucks! Thanks!

    I think.


    Need to go now, and do five different testosterone-drenched things, to feel secure in my masculinity.

    You know what we guys are like!


  • At July 22, 2006 11:08 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    Ooh, good catch, Denis, about there not being any female scientists on Ryan's team. That's unlike both Gail and John (who I believe has said on a number of occasions that, all other things being equal, he prefers to lean on the side of new characters being female and/or nonwhite). It would be a shame if the only women in this book turn out to be relatives or potential love interests.

    I do like the book an awful lot so far. I agree with Denis that Trevor Scott seems very faithful to John's pencils, although I still wish my husband were inking this book (he does so want to ink Byrne, and he's already inking another book that Gail's writing). And I love all the little quotes that Gail sticks in there, from scientists and others, that give a humorous punch to whatever's happening in the panel. It's an affectation that could get grating but doesn't in her hands. She's such a terrific writer!

  • At July 22, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    denis: Aww, frantic reassertions of masculinity are so cute.

    elayne: I really love the quotes too. They really add a nice sort of zip to the text. :-)

  • At July 22, 2006 8:51 PM, Anonymous Denis said…

    Back from my dinosaur-strangling-with-my-bare-hands, and my burping-contest-with-my-fellow-very-masculine-drinking-buddies, and I'm back to feeling very male alright - just need to have a shower and wash all this testosterone off me, 'cause it bloody sticks everywhere!

    (Actually, had to go to work, because it's different time zones, and everything, and I've got no idea how Kalinara is posting these things at what must be the middle of the night at her place - but my work was hunting and gathering, so that counts as masculine, I guess!)

    Elayne, nice to hear your input, and I just wish to add what I forgot last time I had you on the other end of the screen, namely that I loved your husband's inks on Supergirl, and I completely agree, it would be really nice to see what they would look like over John Byrne's. And yes, both Gail and John Byrne have a good track record of establishing powerful female characters, so there must still be something coming up.

    Otherwise I'm told from a dependable source that there will be rantage, and I do not want to be in her path if that happens!

    Oh, and Kalinara: I'm cute? That's it, going to bed now happily.

    See, guys are SO easy.

  • At July 23, 2006 3:20 AM, Blogger Batmanisgrim said…

    The reason that there aren't any female genius scientists in that first issue is that is the way Gail Simone wrote it. Plain and simple.

  • At July 23, 2006 3:28 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    denis: :-)

    batmanisgrim: Of course that's the way she wrote it, but it's also fun to theorize the reasons why she might have done so.

    I'm tempted to add: And if you have a problem with that, this may not be the blog for you.

  • At July 23, 2006 1:13 PM, Blogger Charles W. said…

    Regarding Blue Beetle, I believe that Dan Garrett is supposed to figure into an upcoming plotline in some fashion.

    As for the Atom, the artist issue may be in flux . . . wasn't there a different penciller listed in the most recent DC solicits?

  • At July 23, 2006 5:29 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'd heard that too. Should be interesting (regarding Blue Beetle).

    Hmm, I'll check the solicits. I've nothing against Byrne really. Just...the style doesn't seem to suit IMO.

  • At July 23, 2006 8:27 PM, Anonymous Ununnilium said…

    I like The Atom because Ryan's a rarity - a genius character who actually *acts* like geniuses do in real life. Plus, good Gail Simone dialouge, and good Grant Morrison concept. The legacy thing definitely helps, though.

  • At July 23, 2006 8:31 PM, Anonymous Ununnilium said…

    Also: I think a different inker would definitely good. This one seems a bit too sketchy - sorta adding a Jim Lee flavor.

    (Of course, I've never been that good at separating the inker's work and the penciller's. ``;)

  • At July 23, 2006 8:42 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'm liking Ryan a lot too. He reminds me of a friend of mine. :-)


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