Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Captain Atom #10


J.T. Krul/Freddie Williams II Writer/Artist/Storytellers
Jose Villarrubia Colorist
Rob Leigh Letterer
Rickey Purdin Assistant Editor
Rachel Gluckstern Editor

The cover is by Mike Choi, and although it is a striking image that represents the psychological themes of this issue, it doesn't portray any action from this story. Also, Choi didn't do any art inside, which always annoys me ever so slightly. But I really do enjoy this cover — especially the muted colors.

Our story begins in the Timestream, where Captain Atom has teamed up with three future versions of himself to fight another future version of himself that turned into an energy cloud and apparently destroyed Earth. So basically, Captain Atom is fighting himself to save the planet after it's already been destroyed.

Captain Atom decides that he needs to go back in time to prevent himself from becoming this monster. He initially wants to prevent himself from becoming Captain Atom in the first place, but then he gets a vision of someone else acquiring his powers and killing the Justice League.

So Captain Atom realizes that he really needs to prevent himself from acquiring a god complex. Reviewing key moments in his life — including stopping the nuclear missile with the Flash — he discovers those feelings of invincibility originated after he cured a young boy of cancer. So the future Captain Atom gave the boy back his cancer, which killed him, but it did teach the past Captain Atom that he can't do everything. So Captain Atom never became that giant monster and the future was saved, although a poor boy had to die for it.

The Good:

This issue has all the strengths and weaknesses of the last Captain Atom issue I reviewed. The story is fascinating, and the "special effects" are breathtaking. Every page with Captain Atom doing Captain Atom things is amazing. Fortunately, this issue has tons of fighting. Unfortunately, every page without any fighting is awful. The artwork for all the normal people in normal situations is hideous. I think this is intentional to an extant — to dramatize the difference between Captain Atom and normal people — but it's a major turnoff for me. Apparently this turned off everybody else, because this title was canceled after just 13 issues.

The Bad:

Climax killer. Very early in the battle, one of the Captain Atoms leaves the other three to travel back in time. By page 8, he's figured out he needs to stop himself from curing cancer. So at that point, I already know how the story's going to end, but we get 10 more pages of fighting. But since I already knew everything would be fixed in the past, I didn't care at all about what happened in the future. They should have moved that page 8 to page 18, and then this would have been a wonderful issue.

And even though the Flash only shows up in one panel, I'm not going to hold that against this issue because that panel was a very cool one with a super-powered Gorilla Grodd. It's a shame this issue and series couldn't have been better. It had so much potential.

Final score: 4 out of 10

Next time: My tour of missed passive appearances continues with Worlds' Finest #2.

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