ATOM I

Real Name: Albert Pratt

Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Professor of nuclear physics, mysteryman

Group Affiliation: All-Star Squadron, Justice Society of America, formerly Black Lantern Corps

Known Relatives: Albert Julian Rothstein (Nuklon/Atom-Smasher, godson), Grant Emerson (Damage, son), Mary James Pratt (wife, deceased), Stacy (cousin), unnamed uncle (deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Calvin College

First Appearance: All-American Comics I #19 (October, 1940)

Powers: Atom possessed superhuman strength and agility, and was a well-versed boxer.

History: (All-American Comics #19)-Al Pratt was a kind-hearted man, but small, weak, and often bullied. One day he bought dinner for a vagrant who turned out to be Joe Morgan, former boxing champ. Morgan promised Pratt he could be made into a he-man with the right training. In under one year Pratt became a skilled and strong fighter, and he decided to use his new ability to protect the oppressed as the mysteryman Atom.

Atom joined the Justice Society of America, and would serve on the All-Star Squadron during WWII. During the war he fought an atomic-powered man named Cyclotron, and would later gain superhuman powers from this encounter.

(DCU Holiday Bash #2) - <December 24, 1944> Atom and the Justice Society put on the Justice Society Canteen for troops home for the holidays. They helped foil Nazi saboteurs that tried to blow up the canteen, thanks to the help of Ensign James Gordon.

(Flash Comics #80) - Atom busted up some racketeers trying to get protection money from his friend Mr. Murphy. Murphy was grateful, and asked if there was anything he could do to repay Atom. Atom’s friend Jack needed a job because he’d become the family bread-winner after his father died. Jack was thrilled to learn he could earn some money, telling his mother he wouldn’t have to pawn the watch his father left him. Jack made a grocery delivery to the Green Walk night club, and overheard the owners talking about their criminal racket. They heavily advertised the night club’s opening, and planned to rob whoever showed up before fleeing town. They realized Jack overheard them and trussed him up in the stock room. Atom spotted Jack’s abandoned delivery cart, and decided to investigate. One of the Green Walk staffers spotted him and knocked him out with a frying pan. Atom woke up next to Jack in the stock room, and although it broke Jack’s heart he shattered his father’s watch to cut his restraints and free Atom. The Green Walk floor show started and Atom and Jack trounced the criminals trying to rob the clientele. The police chief said Atom had earned an award for their arrest, but Atom insisted it go to Jack. Jack was thrilled that he had enough money to go back to school and support his mother, and Atom paid to have a new case made for his father’s watch.

(Flash Comics #82) - Atom was trying to bust up a counterfeit ring, and was convinced it was operating out of Jason’s Cigar Store, but couldn’t prove it. He decided to visit his pal, inventive genius, Perry Poddle to see if he could help. A trapdoor opened up outside Poddle’s house, and Atom landed in his lab. Poddle bragged about his doorbell saver that saved wear and tear on the front door. Jason’s cigar sore paid Poddle for a wooden Native American, and he couldn’t help but add some inventive flourishes, showing Atom that “Rain-in-the-Face” talked when you touched him. Perry and Atom delivered the statue to the cigar store, with Perry showing off his rocket boots that saved wear and tear on his shoes. Later that day Atom overheard the cigar store workers talking about hiding counterfeit money in the statue and burst into the store, attacking the crooks. He had the matter in hand until he touched the statue, causing it to clobber him with a tomahawk. The crooks tied Atom up, and said they were going to do one more big job before fleeing town. Perry showed up, telling Atom he realized he’d been paid in counterfeit bills, and came to reclaim his property. He untied Atom and together they caught the crooks, who were trying to hold up a movie theatre. Atom was glad they could be charged with robbery, but told Perry he had nothing to prove they were counterfeiters. Perry said he had evidence, because his statue had a recording device installed in it. Atom said Perry was a wonder, and Perry said he knew he was a genius but it made him sad that some people thought he was just a crackpot and Atom gave him a hug.

(Flash Comics #83) - The Atom had the toughest fight of his crime-fighting career against a group of gangsters, and he went home to sleep, utterly exhausted. Mary James was voted most popular girl of Calvin College, and decided to go on a date with her most boring and stuffy classmate, Al Pratt. Al reluctantly agreed, and had to run off during the date to change into Atom so he could save a boy from being run over by a carriage and foil a robbery at the night club where he was having his date, making Mary think he was a coward. Al fell asleep during the date, and Mary dumped a fishbowl over his head, regretting having ever asked him out.

(Flash Comics #87) - One of Al Pratt’s professors berated him for being spineless, and told him to write an essay on the problems, troubles and triumphs real people faced. After class Mary James berated him, agreeing with the professor and saying he needed to experience the real world. Al was frustrated that he had all sorts of life experience as the Atom but couldn’t tell anyone. He decided to write an essay on the bravery of the sick, visiting the children’s ward of a hospital and bringing presents. One boy, Billy, had lost the will to get better, and when al asked if anything could help him he admitted he’d always wanted to meet a member of the Justice Society of America. Al changed into Atom, but spotted two crooks who were planning on robbing medical equipment from the hospital. Atom went into action, battering them, but one crook pulled a gun, and Billy, spotting the action, rammed his wheelchair into the crook. Atom made short work of the goons, and Billy had a newfound spark that made him want to get well. Al told Mary the whole story, and she mooned over how heroic Atom was. Al handed his essay to the professor, and fainted when he learned Mary had already submitted an essay about the Atom and his bravery during his visit to the children’s ward.

(Flash Comics #89) - Al Pratt danced with Mary James at the Calvin College prom, and slipped on an apple core. Mary chided him for being clumsy and embarrassing her, demanding he take dance lessons at Studio a la Dance, which had just opened up in town. Al went to the studio, and overhead the director talking to her goons. She was offering private lessons at students homes, and cased her students homes so her henchmen could rob them. Al wanted to expose her, so he signed up for private lessons. After his first lessons the director’s goons tried to rob his home, and he confronted them as Atom, but they escaped. Al then disguised himself as a rich eccentric and asked for a private lesson. The director and her men went to the address, which turned out to be the local police station, and Atom clobbered them. Atom changed back into Al and pressed formal charges against the director. Al was sick of dancing, and was extremely annoyed when Mary told him the Dancing Teachers Association was rewarding him for taking down crooks hurting the dancing profession with one hundred free dancing lessons.

(Flash Comics #90) - Al Pratt and Mary were at the Calvin College Observatory when Al accidentally focused the telescope on an apartment building and witnessed an old woman being killed. Al asked Mary to call the police and he changed into the Atom. When Mary spotted Atom she insisted on going along with him to investigate the murder. They arrived at the apartment to find the old woman seemingly alive. The police arrived and the woman claimed Mary had stolen her ruby ring, which the police found in Mary’s purse. Mary and the Atom fled from the officers, but later returned to the apartment. The old woman had been robbed and killed by her twin brother, who was posing as her and tried to pin the robbery on Atom and Mary. Atom brought the man to justice, and after changing back to Al Mary excitedly told him about all the action he’d missed.

(Flash Comics #91) - A man dressed as Atom ripped a safe out of the Ajax Securities Company and escaped from the police. Al Pratt was shocked to see headlines accusing the Atom of being a criminal, but wondered who else was strong enough to rip a safe from a wall. He found circus performer Hercules, and suspecting him of being the impersonator followed him back to his tent. He found Hercules had been shot to death, and Lucille, the Lion-Tamer accused him of murder and had the police arrest him. Al changed into Atom and bashed his way out of the police wagon. Lucille, carny Snappo and Hercules had pulled off the robbery; Lucille killed Hercules for a bigger cut of the take and was glad their crimes had been pinned on Atom and Al. When Atom confronted them Lucille locked him in the lion cage, but also threw in Snappo, wanting the loot all for herself. Atom bent the lion cage bars to escape after fending off the beasts, and Snappo was so grateful he saved his life he confessed to the police, implicating Lucille and clearing al and Atom. Al related his exciting adventure to Mary James.

(Flash Comics #92) - Al and Mary attended the Winter Carnival at Snowview Lodge and Al gifted Mary with a lapel pin of a bird with a ruby beak, encouraging her to enter the ski contest to crown the Carnival queen. The prize money was $5,000 but the owner of the lodge boosted the money, so manager Garr hired disgraced ski champion Della Wayne as a ringer. She agreed to take $1,000 for the job, and planned to show up in a disguise because she’d be instantly recognized, telling Garr and his men they’d know her by her lapel pin, which by coincidence was identical to the one Al bought Mary. Mary was confused when Garr’s men grabbed her because she was dawdling about entering the contest. They shoved her down the mountain and she miraculously pulled off an amazing trick ski jump. When she met with Garr to receive her prize he realized she wasn’t Wane, who’d missed her train to the lodge. To keep the matter quiet Garr ordered his men to kill Mary, but Atom showed up and saved her. Mary didn’t feel she earned the contest money and gave it away to the other contestants. The owner of Snowview announced her as Queen anyway and she was celebrated at the dance.

(Flash Comics #93) - Al and Mary attended a magic show starring Mandini, The Masked Magician, and Mary encouraged Al to volunteer for the magic cabinet disappearing act. Inside the cabinet al saw a lever and pressed it, finding himself in the building’s cellar. He witnessed crooks robbing the World-Wide Gem Company, and changed into Atom to confront them. They knocked him out and put him back in the magic cabinet in time for Mandini to finish his act. Mary demanded to know what Mandini had done with al, and Mandini took her inside the cabinet to show her how his trick worked. He opened the trapdoor and had the criminals kidnap her. Atom recovered and used the carrier pigeons from Mandini’s act to find his headquarters. He discovered the real Mandini being held captive and defeated the fake Mandini, who was using the real magician’s act to pull off his crimes. After Atom handed them over to the police he changed back into al Pratt and met up with Mary, who told him he’d missed the excitement, as he usually did whenever Atom went into action.

(Flash Comics #94) - Al and Mark took a ride out to the country when they saw a car about to collide with a passing truck, but the car mysteriously vanished. The truck’s driver spotted Al and Mary and ran them off the road, kidnapping Mary. Al had already fled the scene to change into Atom and followed the truck driver and his crew to their hideout, rescuing Mary. It turned out that the car that “disappeared” was a getaway car that escaped police pursuit by rolling up a ramp into the truck. Atom foiled the truck driver and his crew when they tried to escape by tipping their truck over.

(Flash Comics #95) - Al and Mary were in the jewelry district, and Mary showed Al her new diamond necklace, but it vanished before their eyes. They made a police report, but the officers didn’t believe their story so Al changed into Atom and returned to the diamond district to look for clues. He brought a ring, and when it too vanished he noticed that it was stuck to a nearby billboard advertising Lovlee Soap. When he went to retrieve it he was surrounded by gunmen who worked for jeweler John Meecham. Meecham had set up a special magnet behind the billboard that attracted jewelry, but Atom smashed it and took out the crooks with little resistance. Mary James was thrilled to have her necklace back, and when al asked whose picture she was going to put in her locket she said he hadn’t a chance because she wanted a picture of Atom, a real man.

(Flash Comics #97) - Al and Marty participated in an intercollegiate boat race, and were shocked when they were rammed by their competitor’s boat. The boat wasn’t crewed by their fellow college students and competitors Phil and Alice, but by a gang of crooks who’d recently robbed the yacht club. The crooks opened fire on them, and al feigned being hit so he could dive overboard and change into the Atom. Atom bravely fought, but was subdued. The gang had hidden the yacht club loot in the buoy that marked the end of the race, and after retrieving it loaded it with dynamite and sent Atom’s coat on a collision course with the buoy. Atom recovered in time to grab the buoy and hurl it far enough away to be safe from the explosion. Atom got the drop on the gang and pummeled them. He freed Mary from their clutches, and, as always, she was impressed with his heroics.

(Flash Comics #98) - Al Pratt rode the G&L Railroad back to college and read a disturbing newspaper story about all the accidents befalling G&L. The train suddenly wrecked, and he changed into Atom and put it back onto the track and pushed it to the railroad station to avoid being hit by a train coming from behind. Jane Wilson, the owner of G&L thanked him, but said she had no idea why her trains kept having accidents and feared bankruptcy. Atom promised her he’d figure it out, and came across a station watchman who’d been knocked out. He revived and told Atom the thugs that had knocked him out were on the Super Limited. Thug thugs had knocked out the conductor and Atom had to race in front of the train and push against it to bring it to a stop before it went over a cliff. The crooks knocked out Atom, tied him to the tracks, and bragged that they were going to wreck the railroad's roadhouse. A train approached, and Atom had to rip up the track to free himself, but held up the broken track to act as a human bridge. He found the goons at the roadhouse and made short work of them, learning their boss was trying to bankrupt Jane after he found oil on her property, hoping to buy the valuable land and railroad from her at a steal.

(Flash Comics #99) - Al Pratt visited his friends George and Sue Gerth, and George had sunk the last of their money into building a Midget car in hopes of winning the National Midget Auto Race and getting a racing contract. His rival Charles Carbon sent two goons to steal the car and Al changed into Atom to stop them. They knocked him out by ramming him with the car, then tied Atom and the Gerths to the car and pushed it off a pier. The water revived Atom, who broke his binding and carried the car out of the water. Carbon was angry that George had not only survived but repaired his car in time for the race. He had his men place a tractor at Hairpin Turn, knowing that if George swerved to avoid it he’d go over a cliff. Atom commandeered a newsreel plane and flew to Hairpin Turn, lifting the tractor out of the road and then lifting Carbon into the air, frightening him until he confessed to attempted murder. George won the race and was grateful to Atom for his help.

(Flash Comics #100) - Mary James visited her sorority sister Frances, who was excited that her father Professor Zanger was about to unveil his new plastic-ray at Central Palace. Al Pratt got a part-time job delivering cars to help him pay for books and classes, and delivered a plastic car of Zanger’s own design to the scientist. He was alarmed when he heard a cry for help and the plastic car unexpectedly melted. Zanger’s old lab assistant Borr wanted the plastic-ray, which dissolved the glass that reinforced plastic, for the purpose of committing crimes. The melting car was his first practice with the ray, and when Al changed into Atom and leapt into action Borr shot him with the plastic-ray, which he’d added a stun function to. Borr placed Atom and Zanger inside a metal cabinet with heated walls. When Atom recovered he and Zanger assembled a crude arc torch from supplies Zanger had lying around on the floor. They confronted Borr and his henchman at the Central Palace, where he was using the plastic-ray to rob the attendees. His goons shot at Atom, but fortunately he’d started wearing a chain-mail vest underneath his costume and rounded up the crooks. The next day Al met with Mary and Frances, who were incredibly impressed with Atom’s latest heroic exploit.

(JSA #68) - <October 13-15,1951> Atom and the Justice Society appeared before HUAC, where they were accused of having ties to the reds because they’d associated with a communist to bring in saboteurs. HUAC demanded they prove themselves good Americans and reveal their secret identities. They all refused, and Green Lantern teleported them out of Washington. At JSA hq they discussed the fact that they’d be wanted men and women if they didn’t reveal their identities. They decided it was for the best to disband the Society, despite Atom’s protests that he and his girl Mary needed him to be a hero more than they would ever know.

(JSA #67) - <October 17, 1951> Johnny Thunder tried to convince Atom to keep the Justice Society going, but Atom told him the war was over and they lost. He told Johnny he would always remember the good times he had with the Society.

(JSA #69-72) - <October 28-30,1951> The O.S.S. told Al they’d uncovered his secret identity, and threatened to have HUAC investigate his future father-in-law unless he helped them bring in the JSA. Al and Mary spent the weekend together and went window-shopping for an engagement ring. He abruptly left her, going off in a car with the O.S.S. They brought him to the home of Hawkman and Hawkgirl and demanded he bring them into their custody. Al changed his mind and told them he wouldn’t follow their orders no matter what they did to him. The time-traveling Atom-Smasher chased off the O.S.S. and told Al he needed him to go back into action as Atom to stop Per Degaton, who was trying to alter history to end the Justice Society legacy. Atom and Atom Smasher met up with the rest of the reformed Justice Society and the time-traveling JSA at the Justice Society brownstone. Hourman informed them Per Degaton was going to assassinate the President. The Justice Society and JSA went to Washington to warn Truman that his life was in danger. Degaton and the Red Morgue attacked Washington, but the teams were ready for him. Degaton used a time-disc to speed up Atom’s metabolism and turn him into a nuclear bomb ready to go off. If he exploded millions would die, but J.J. Thunder and Johnny Thunder summoned the Thunderolt to turn Atom back to normal. Atom and the other heroes defeated Degaton, who fled into the timestream. The resulting time distortion caused Atom and the other Society members to forget their adventure with the JSA.

After the JSA breakup in the 1950s, Al Pratt retired the Atom from full active duty and only donned his costume on special occasions. He devoted most of his time to teaching at Calvin College and spending time with his wife Mary. Mary give birth to a child, but Vandal Savage killed Mary and abducted the child. Al was heartbroken, and he assumed that his child was dead.

(JSA #75 (fb)) - Al Rothstein visited his godfather Atom at the JSA headquarters and told him he was being picked on at school. Atom told him he’d pay the bullies a visit if they didn’t knock it off, and introduced him to the Justice Society.

(DC Comics Presents #30) - Al Pratt became a professor of nuclear physics at Calvin College. Atom’s wife Mary James did her star-charts, and noticed that some stars were out of place. She saw it as an omen, and asked Al to wear his old Atom costume in case danger struck. He thought her astrology was nonsense, but played along. When they returned home after an evening on the town they discovered their house was being burglarized. The unretired Atom subdued one burglar, but before he could apprehend the other he shrunk down to microscopic size. Mallo, Keeper of the Cosmic Balance, noticed a disturbance caused by the fact that only the Atoms of Earth-1 and Earth-2 did not share similar powers, so he temporarily switched their powers to restore order to the multiverse. Atom adjusted to his new powers, and using a miniature airplane he tracked down the remaining burglar. He was restored to his normal self, and Mary noticed the stars had regained their normal positions. They never knew that Mallo had averted a cosmic crisis.

(Zero Hour #3)-During Zero Hour the villainous Extant advanced the ages of the JSA, including Atom. Atom's body could not take the shock, and he passed away.

(Starman II #37)- Atom befriended Starman VI in the afterlife. Starman brought his brother Starman VIII to a banquet in limbo attended by Atom and several other deceased mystery men.

(Day of Judgment #2) - When several heroes traveled to the gates of Heaven to meet Jim Corrigan, Atom and other dead JSAers met their old friends at the gate. They enjoyed a brief reunion.

(JSA #85) - Thunderbolt summoned the spirit of Atom and several other deceased JSAers to help J.J. Thunder, who was being attacked by Gentleman Ghost an a gang of spirits under the Ghost’s control. After defeating the Ghost’s underlings Atom and the others faded back into the ether.

Comments: Created by Ben Flinton & Bill O'Conner

In the pre-Crisis DC Universe Atom I lived on Earth-2.

Atom received profiles in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #1 and The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Atom received a profile in The DC Comics Encyclopedia under the All-Star Squadron entry. Atom was featured in the Crisis on Parallel Earths entry in JLA in Crisis Secret Files #1.

Atom's appearance in Flash Comics #90 was reprinted in DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #18, Flash Comics #98 was reprinted in Justice League of America I #99.

JSA #2 and JSA #87 showed a portrait of Atom and the original JSA lineup hanging in JSA Headquarters. A statue of Atom was seen in the JSA Museum in JSA #26 and JSA #82 and a photo of Atom was shown in JSA #52, JSA #54, JSA #60 and JSA #73. An Atom exhibit was seen in the JSA Museum in JLA / JSA: Virtue and Vice.

JLA #5 and JSA #15 showed a memorial to Atom I in Valhalla, the superhero cemetery.

Sand had a dream about fighting Black Barax alongside Atom in JSA #33.

Atom had cameos in JSA #11, 13, 35, 38, 55, 56, Justice Leagues: JLA #1, Spectre III #20, Spectre Annual II #1, Titans I #18.

Bizarro-Superman wrote and illustrated a comic book titled “Captain Marvel and the Sham Shazam” featuring Atom in Bizarro Comics #1.

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