Reign of the Supermen #463: Atomicus

Source: Astro City: Local Heroes #2 (2003)
Type: Analog
An atomic superhero born in a reactor accident? Wouldn't that be a CAPTAIN ATOM analog? Isn't Astro City's Superman analog the SAMARITAN? Why yes, that's all true, and Atomicus IS the City's version of Captain Atom, Doctor Solar and/or Doctor Manhattan. On an origin/powers basis. But Kurt Busiek still made him a Superman analog by focusing on his girlfriend Irene and giving them a Silver Age Superman/Lois Lane relationship.

Like Lois, Irene is a 1960s career woman who nevertheless really wants to get herself a man. When Atomicus saves her life, she falls in love with him, and he with her, and he soon shows up at her job in a doofy secret identity. She soon notices his absences whenever Atomicus is around (and "Adam"/Atom is a big tell too), and makes it her mission in life to prove Adam Peterson is really Atomicus with all sorts of clever schemes which Atomicus consistently defeats through luck, fast thinking or "atomic duplicates". And while she thinks it makes her look clever, to him, it's just random cruelty. And when she does barge in and rip his shirt off, well...
Astro City loses a hero. There's just so much a guy can take before you run him off into space, you know? Or into Wonder Woman's arms, apparently.


Jude Deluca said...

Although let's face it, Irene kept trying to prove her coworker was Atomicus because she thought he was challenging her to "prove" that she was worthy of his love. You have to give Busiek credit for trying to show what could cause a person to develop such a drive to constantly need to prove themselves, and at least the whole Atomicus/Irene relationship wasn't an excuse for a bunch of Superman/Lois Lane jokes.

Siskoid said...

From her perspective, it all made sense.


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