Man, what ever happened to Nate Adam? Captain Atom disappeared back when new 52 hit years ago and nobody has seen hide nor hair of him sense. Turns out, there was a good reason for that... he died... well not really, he just... you know what, I'm getting ahead of myself because I got a comic to review.
The story starts on December 18th, 2012. Nathaniel Adam doesn't have to spend all his down time hanging out on the moon anymore because the Government has built a secret underground facility somewhere in Kansas called "The Continuum" where they can monitor and care for what is essentially a living, continuously erupting nuclear explosion. He still has the care of the good doctor who has injected Nate with some new nano robots to monitor his condition while he flies around doing super heroics.
Problem is, Nate seems to have caught a quantum cold. His energy readings are all over the place and he needs to come back to the compound and be put in isolation. The problem is, Nate is head strong and when he see's people in trouble he has to help. Naturally a cruise ship is about to capsize near his location, so he decides to intervene.
Through sheer force of will, Nate transmutes the ocean around the ship into gelatin. He flies off toward the mainland but is stopped mid flight by a spasm. He he essentially can't contain the radiation inside himself and has an unwanted nuclear discharge. A discharge so severe it was obviously seen from orbit. The Watchtower sends some Justice League members to investigate.
After a whole lot of convincing by Captain Atom and the good doctor, Superman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg decide to help Nate get back to Kansas before he goes off again. Superman can fly him there and Hal can hopefully contain any explosion. But, Nate starts to explode mid flight and Hal wasn't ready to contain an nuclear explosion. Over Kansas City Green Lantern looses his containment... to predictable effects.
Nate somehow makes it back to the bunker. His bravado is gone. He is shaken to the core of his being. He can't get a strait answer from the General or the good doctor. The stoic soldier begins to fall away as we see the fragile humanity of one of the most powerful superheroes on the planet. The doc may think it's some kind of PTSD, and would no don't try to get Nate the help he needs... that is if Nate didn't just suddenly explode.
But, before the comic closes, we get one last panel. We see Nate naked and human in some smoking rubble in Kansas City. Did he somehow make it outside and above ground? If you look closely, however, you will see a newspaper with a very dated headline.
If you haven't deduced it from any of the above panels, the art in the comic isn't just amazing, IT IS GORGEOUS! Every page, every panel, ever character is consistently detailed and expertly presented. The action scenes jump off the page and the close up's are so cinematic that I feel I should be eating popcorn. If you look at the lists of my favorite comics (Booster Gold, Nightwing, Birds of Prey) Will Conrad has had a hand in all of them. Conrad's work is heads and tails beyond 98% of his peers and continue giving him projects like this.
Now on to the writing. When two industry veterans like Greg Weisman and Cary Bates come together, you know you're in for a treat. These two created the post crisis Captain Atom back in 1987! What they have done here is link pre-New 52 without fully making it a Rebirth... yet. In fact, the post Infinite Crisis world that Nate has been transported to could lead to some very interesting interactions. But what I love most about this book is that the often arrogant (or confident) Captain Atom, has an existential crisis. We see him questioning his life and value over his orders, over his pride, over the lives of those living on earth. What we see happen to Nate, might be self-inflicted.
If you don't know much about Captain Atom. I have read allot of comic books over the past year. I loved much of what DC has done with Rebirth. But this might have me as excited as the return of OG Supes. This series might have me more excited than anything else DC, or any publisher for that matter, has on the table.
Aim High...Fly, Fight, Win.