DC isn't slowing down it's aspirations with Rebirth. We have a return to the pre Flashpoint world with the return of some beloved characters like Wally West and the original Superman. When it comes to the Atom, DC has had two characters wear the belt: Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi, and guess what... we are getting them both at once.
Ryan Choi is an undergraduate at Ivy College is leafy New England where Dr. Palmer teaches. He's smart, hard working, quite, has phobias, asthma, and suffers from all the stigmas that Americans might sterotype a Chinese student with. He rooms with a jock who happens to be the son of a US Senator. It doesn't take long though for Ray to notice the young prodigy and quickly becomes his mentor. Together they publish papers, crack the secrets of the universe, and when Ryan reveals that he feels that the smallest of things can be the most consequential, Ray lets him in on the secret that he is "The Atom."
Their relationship blossoms, and Ryan becomes responsible for helping The Atom with his heroics. Often sitting in Palmer's lab, Choi thinks of novel ways to attack problems while Ray goes about executing them. They become a team. But when Ray goes missing and his classes keep getting cancelled, Ryan goes to check on Ray and finds that he has gotten himself into trouble.
Ray left instructions for Ryan to come after him and pull his butt out of the fire one more time. However, to do this Ryan has to overcome his phobias and become The Atom too.
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book. It was a quick and dirty origin story of Ryan Choi and Ray Palmer and managed to get them working together rather seamlessly. I love Steve Orlando's writing and the narrative is interesting. The dialog is often heartfelt and the story leads to the creation of two heroes, not just one. Andy MacDonald's art is really good in this book too, never overwrought and has a simple charm and stunning layout.
But... I feel... just whelmed.
Maybe it's because this feels like the Blue Beetle Rebirth, except that the two heroes like each other and get along. Maybe it's because it feels so much like what I was used to in the 90's and it doesn't feel fresh to me. Maybe I went in expecting too much.
In the end, this is still a good book and a fitting start to what might be a good series, maybe I'll just temper my expectations and hope for some microverse action to come.