Monday, February 19, 2007

Atom I

Real Name: Al Pratt
Occupation: Student, Costumed Adventurer
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None Uncovered
Group Affiliation: Justice Society of America, All-Star Squadron
Base of Operations: Calvin College
First Appearance: All-American Comics #19 (October 1940)
Height: 5’1” Weight: Originally 90 lbs, now 150 lbs.
Eyes: Blue Hair: Red



Nothing of his early years is known but there is one thing that is certain; Al Pratt was short. There was no getting around it. Al was one of the original “90 pound weaklings” who spent most of his early college career getting picked on by some of his larger classmates. He couldn’t even defend his girlfriend Mary when the two are mugged by a seemingly unarmed man, an act that caused Mary to end their relationship.

Soon after Al buys a meal for a derelict and tells the stranger about his feelings of weakness and frustration at the fact that he couldn’t stand up for himself much less the woman he loved. The derelict turned out to be a down on his luck former boxer named Joe Morgan. Something about Al’s story gets to Joe and he offered to train the young man in the hopes of turning him into a professional fighter. The two men travel to Pratt’s family farm and Al begins a strict regime of weight and fight training. Within a year Pratt packed on sixty pounds of muscle and became quite adept at the “sweet science”.

Morgan and Pratt parted ways somewhat bitterly after Al refused Joe’s hopes for a boxing career. Sometime later Al went to visit his ex-girlfriend Mary and arrived just in time to see her being kidnapped. He follows the intruders and after discovering their intention to hold Mary for ransom he breaks in and savagely takes out the supposed kidnappers. Mary was blindfolded and never saw who her rescuer was and when the police arrived after receiving an “anonymous” tip they find the kidnappers tied up and a calling card from someone named “The Atom.”

The Justice Society

Soon after Al designed a distinctive costume and embarked on a crime fighting career while attending college and renewing his relationship with Mary. Later Al was “drafted” by Dr. Fate into joining a group of his fellow heroes to battle Hitler (who had summoned the mythic Valkyries with the Spear of Destiny) and halt a Nazi invasion of England. The fight was taken to the lawn of the White House and despite being the only non-powered hero Al was the one who leaped in front of a blast by one of the Valkyries intended to kill President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the smoke cleared from that particular battle the Atom joined the other heroes to become a founding member of the Justice Society of America.

As a member of the Justice Society Al fought against the machinations of Nazi spymaster Fritz Klaver and helped smash the rackets of the mysterious Mister X. The Justice Society also raised a million dollars for war orphans before dealing with the madness of Dr. Elba. They even embarked on a mission to Latin America at the behest of the F.B.I. Chief to fight German and Italian spies. Things got even stranger when a simple battle with Fifth Columnists turns into a trip to the year 2442 to help a group of scientists develop a bomb defense formula.

The All-Star Squadron

On December 6, 1941 the Atom, along with fellow heroes Hawkman and Dr. Mid-Nite, visited Washington D.C. and while taking in Lincoln Memorial the group was attacked by a strange creature known as The Monster. The heroes managed to subdue the creature but were startled when the creature turned into an old man and disappeared in a flash of light after uttering the word Degaton. The next day the Atom joined Dr. Mid-Nite at a Redskins game during which Mid-Nite noticed a large number of military officials being paged away from the game. Mid-Nite and Atom investigate and are told about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Atom joined a group of heroes at the White House where President Roosevelt asked them to form a new team answerable only to him to battle against the enemies of the United States. Roosevelt christened the group the All-Star Squadron and wasted no time in giving them their first assignment. The first mission took the Atom and his fellow All-Stars to San Francisco, where they helped calm the population during a supposed Japanese attack. The real threat was Per Degaton, who had traveled from the year 1947 to begin his quest to rule the world. The Atom was among the heroes that stormed Degaton’s undersea craft, but due to the nature of the process that brought Degaton to the past the Atom, and the rest of the All-Star Squadron, could not remember who they had been fighting or why.

Later that day the Atom traveled to Pearl Harbor with the rest of the All-Stars and joined them after they decided to take the battle to the Japanese. Before reaching Wake Island the more powerful heroes of the team came under the influence of the Dragon King’s dynamo powered by the Holy Grail. Green Lantern dropped the Atom and the rest of the unaffected heroes on an occupied island and after Liberty Belle stunned GL with a handy piece of wood the Atom fought against the Japanese forces on the island. After coming around Green Lantern scooped up the Atom and his fellow heroes in an energy construct and followed Hawkman, who feigned being under the effects of the device and lured Green Lantern and the others to safety.

Justice Society Disbands

Soon after Al decided that he could best serve the United States by joining the armed forces. The rest of the Justice Society felt the same way and at their first meeting following the formation of the All-Star Squadron the Justice Society disbanded. Despite this Al, as the Atom, joined Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite and several other members of the All-Star Squadron on a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula to search for Hawkman’s fiancĂ©. Once there he and the rest of the All-Stars are caught up in a zealot named the Feather Serpent’s attempt to conquer Mexico. The Atom was there when the Feathered Serpent was revealed to be a Nazi agent and not a native to that Mexico as he had claimed.

Al then entered the service and trained to be a Tank-Corpsman in Virginia. It was while he was there that Al received a summons from the President of the United States. On his way to the White House Private Al Pratt bumped into two men and the hot headed Al had some words for the larger of the two men and their apparent lack of manners. Nothing came of the situation, though what Al didn’t know at the time was that the men he ran into were Baron Blitzkrieg and his associate Zwerg. After changing into his Atom uniform Al met with the President and briefed FDR on the whereabouts of his fellow Justice Society members.

Afterwards FDR leads the Atom into the next room where Al is surprised to see the members of the All-Star Squadron who hadn’t joined the service standing there. The All-Stars are asked to help protect Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is scheduled to arrive in the United States to meet with the President. The next day the Atom partners with Robotman at the Naval installation at Norfolk and joins his mechanical colleague in rushing on to the Duke of York, the vessel Churchill was traveling on, when an explosions rocks that ship. While the sailors at first think the Atom and Robotman are the enemy and attack the confusion is soon cleared up. After Robotman beaches the U-boat that had attacked the York the Atom suggests to one of the officers that the All-Star should take care of the Nazi sailors that are about to begin pouring out of the sub.

Later that night the Atom is present for the supposed meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill where Baron Blitzkrieg’s plot to replace the Prime Minister with a booby trapped robot double comes to fruition in a massive explosion. The heroes believe that the President had died but are relieved to find out that Plastic Man had impersonating FDR and survived the blast. Along the other All-Stars the Atom attempts to capture the Baron but fails. Two days later the Atom attends the tree lighting ceremony and is moved as he listens to the Prime Ministers speech.

Psychological Profile

Al suffered from what is commonly known as a “Napoleon Complex”. His small stature and history of being picked on by those bigger than him gave him something a chip on his shoulder. Working with a group of men who possessed powers and weapon beyond comprehension didn’t really help matters much and while Pratt could more than hold his own he always felt somewhat inferior to the other members of the Justice Society.

In battle Al was a fierce combatant. The training he received from Joe Morgan was used to a ferocious effect and Al took on the reputation of being a scrapper. This could be used against Al, especially when he would rush into a fight without anything resembling a plan.

Powers and Weapons

Al Pratt was trained by former boxing champ Joe Morgan to the near peak of physical condition. In addition to gaining strength and agility Al became a formidable hand to hand combatant with lightning quick reflexes.

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