This page is for Al Pratt, the original Atom.
For the second (and current) Atom, Ray Palmer, see the Atom page.
For the third Atom, see the Adam Cray page.
For the fourth Atom, see the Ryan Choi page.
While attending Calvin City College, Al decided to become a boxer, trained by Joe Morgan. Al overcame the odds and became quite a good boxer despite that being short and having poor health as a child. But instead of becoming a professional boxer, Al decided he wanted to become a costumed crime-fighter after failing to protect Mary James (a wealthy girl he liked) from several muggers who beat him up. She at first at rejected him but they later fell in love and were married. Joe only agreed to train Al after hearing his story and for room and board. Taking up the identity of the Atom, Al became a founding member of the Justice Society of America. He called himself the Atom because as a child he was picked on by other fellow children who called him "Atom Al" which a nickname directed at his small stature.
The New 52
Since the dawn of the New 52, and the reintroduction of Golden Age characters in Earth 2, Al Pratt has been reimagined as an as an Army Sergeant during the Apokoliptian War that killed the Trinity of Wonders. Pratt's squad is charged with escorting an "atomic cannon" to one of Darkseid's beacon towers as a last resort, in case Batman's suicidal plan to destroy them didn't work. At the time, Supergirl was supposed to have been protecting the squad from the hoards of Parademons, but she was lost to a Boom Tube at the end of the war. The atomic cannon was attached, and the squad killed in the resulting blast, along with most of New Guinea.
In the subsequent search of the affected area, a single survivor was discovered, Sgt. Al Pratt. Now, he is a soldier of the World Army, a wonder of their own. He has the ability to grow himself to incredible sizes, along with having a sort of atomic power that radiates from his hands.
Major Story Arcs
He was a founding member of both the J.S.A. and the All-Star Squadron and served as a U.S. Army tank corpsmen in World War II. In 1942 he and the other JSA members fought the villain Ian Karkull. He and the rest of his comrades were exposed to a mystical energy force surrounding him. As a result their life times were significantly expanded, keeping them young for years. Later that year, Al fought a reluctant supervillain named Cyclotron. During the fight, he was exposed to "thorium radiation" and, as a latent effect of that battle, he gained super strength in 1948. He also gained powers from an incident at the Manhattan Project where Al ran carelessly into an area full of extremely high levels of radiation to save his friend Ted Knight, the original Starman. Al was one of many heroes who retired, including virtually all members of the Justice Society, when a special Senate investigation panel moved to obtain the identities of all active superheroes.
Al and the rest of the JSA returned in 1963. The JSA became active again in the 1960's and active as a member until after the formation of Infinity, Inc. in September 1983.
The villain Cyclotron was reluctant because other villains had his infant daughter. Cyclotron did not survive the storyline, but his daughter did. Al Pratt and his All Star Squadron comrade Firebrand both took a hand at being parental figures in her upbringing. She married and had a child, Albert Rothstein (Nuklon, later Atom Smasher). Al Pratt was his godfather.
During the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths Al and the JSA fought triumphantly to save their world from the Anti-Monitor. During the battle Wildcat was severely injured, seeing his friend in that state got Al wondering if he was too old be a hero anymore. In the aftermath of Crisis Atom's history changed drastically, he and the JSA were no longer residents of Earth-Two but were instead on Earth-One and the precursor the Justice League of America. They had no time to comprehend the news they had just learned, as he and his friends were being taken to Valhalla to fight for eternity.
The JSA somehow escaped and took part in the event that would come to be known as Zero Hour. They traveled to an area known as the vanishing point, where the entity known as Extant was secretly lying in wait. Ambushing them, Extant taunted them to the point where Al lunged at him. Extant blasted him, killing him instantly. He then proceed to attack the remaining members, one by one. Thankfully the hero known as Waverider came and rescued them. He brought them back to earth and buried Al's body in the superhero cemetery called Valhalla.
During the events of Blackest Night, his body was reanimated as a Black Lantern by Black Hand. He was sent to kill the person that his death affected the most, his son Grant (also known as Damage). Luckily Ray Palmer, the second Atom stopped him and Al's body was once again at rest.
Al at first had no powers, he was just simply stronger than a man of his size would be. Although later on in his career Al gained several powers.
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Endurance
- Very Durable
- Enhanced Speed
- Radioactive Punch (Atomic Punch)
- Invulnerable to Radiation
In his later appearances the "Atomic Punch" appeared to be used because he did not have regular access to the strength he used to have. He was also trained as a physicist, but was not at the level of his teammate Ted Knight.