The Atom takes on the TitansPosted: 06/06/2014
Size-changing superheroes don’t get the credit they deserve, like not being in the Avengers movie, for instance. But we always forget that shrinking means more than cartoonishly running away from your own house cat. If heart disease kills more people than any other cause of death, why would a superhero not fear a little man surfing a red blood cell into his aorta? Today, one supervillain team learns this the hard way by going up against the Atom Ryan Choi in the controversial Brightest Day crossover Titans: Villains for Hire Special one-shot, written by Eric Wallace and drawn by Fabrizio Florentino.
Major supervillains hanging out in your home never ends in coffee and Grey’s Anatomy marathons. Especially Deathstroke, who spends most of his time in comics fighting seven or eight Teen Titans at once. And while Choi doesn’t know this yet, this issue’s Titans title implies a team effort. So in a fight against Deathstroke that he may (slim chance) be able to win, it’s about to get exponentially harder. Plus, lots of trips to Ikea to replace all the destroyed furniture.
Some of the suspension of disbelief in superheroes remains in the usefulness of martial arts. Batman goes into combat armed only with batarangs and an overbearing sense of justice, but if he destroys a small battalion of soldiers, we don’t even bat an eye. I wonder the effectiveness of kung fu against high-powered rifles and such, but I also don’t question when a man can shrink and grow at will, so my priorities may be lopsided. But while a trained fighter like Cheshire (well, including Deathstroke to be fair) can totally karate chop Atom into a defeated mess, it’d help to have some extra muscle around.
The size-changing powers make for some cool fight scenes. Though I figure if a man can make his tattoos come alive, he’d have more than a mere handful. Cover himself head-to-toe in laser guns and body armor and giant bears and pterodactyl wings. But then again, the only thing a tattoo would bring alive in me would be regret. I’m old fashioned, as in, I don’t know how I would explain my full Captain America back tattoo when I’m in the nursing home.
The next step would be to go microscopic and leave the house through the floorboards. Atom could gather up Superman to throw them all in space before they can attack again. Size-changing seems to be a more defensive than offensive power, but then again so is Kitty Pryde’s phasing ability and she’s destroyed enough sentinels to fill a small city. Unfortunately, Deathstroke survives by being evil Batman — being prepared for every possible situation no matter what. That and a few more friends.
I’m no scientist, but a few well-placed kicks in the brain should be enough to defeat Cheshire. No amount of judo or karate can protect the brain from a small superhero climbing in your naval cavity to uppercut your noggin. Especially when Choi keeps his normal strength even while tiny.
In one of the strangest twists, Deathstroke then does something noble. I mean, he did break into Atom’s house and is currently attempting to murder the superhero, but like supervillain-level of noble.
And with that, no innocent bystanders will be hurt as Deathstroke’s Titans claw and ignite the Atom. Also, can we talk about how ethnically diverse Deathstroke’s team is? He’s an elderly man leading an Asian woman, an African-American man, and a woman made of lava. Plus, let’s not forget the final member of his team: the Middle Eastern magic Superman:
Poor Atom, he may be a member of the Justice League, but I can’t think of any Justice Leaguer who could solo the whole team now. That and Deathstroke hasn’t lifted a finger yet. Shouldn’t the man in charge have his moment in the spotlight? He is, after all, the main jerk here.
Choi loses. It’s inevitable. But we’re talking about a Brightest Day crossover — an event that’s own name implies a sense of happiness and relief. Sure, superheroes get beaten up all the time, but we must trust that help will come for dear Atom — every superhero story builds suspense that way. Because while Choi lies bloody on his floor, we know that good will always triumph over evil, fate will always reward those who fight for justice, and bad guys fail every time they try to emerge victorious over the world’s true heroes.
Or not. Say goodbye to Choi, who never shows up in a comic again after his unfortunate death here. What a total bummer, right? I’ll try to find something more uplifting for Monday — or at the very least no superheroes impaled on swords.