The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 Review

Posted January 4, 2017 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: Cart Bates & Greg Weisman

Art by: Will Confo & Ivan Nunes

Publisher: DC

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 is yet another entry in DC’s line of “books with unnecessarily long titles because why the fuck not am I right?”

That may sound dismissive, but trust me, I’m not actually trying to be dismissive of TFARoCA. I promise. I just like making fun of long titles that give way to unwieldy acronyms like TFARoCA.

In all seriousness though, I expected to dislike this book, and I kind of didn’t. The opening salvo sees a guilt-ridden Captain Atom turning inward, and reflecting on himself. For a character that is essentially a walking nuclear bomb, that’s exactly the direction to take the character in, at least for a single mini series.

Unfortunately, this is quickly derailed. Granted, the series could focus on that aspect of the character in future issues, which is why I’ll be sticking around. But as soon as Cary Bates (or maybe it was Greg Weisman) decided it would be a good idea to explain, in excruciating detail, the events leading up to the opening pages, I checked out.

When the Justice League showed up, I checked the fuck out even harder.

Seriously, how complicated is it to write a book that focuses on one major character? Not every DC comic has to have three superheroes and reference six more. It’s especially bad here, because Captain Atom’s encounter with the Leaguers doesn’t even feel meaningful. It’s literally the “fight one another and then team up” formula condensed into four or five pages.

Which, to be fair, is exactly how long that trope should take every time it shows up in a superhero comic. If there’s one thing I care about less than superheroes punching bad guys, it’s superheroes punching superheroes.

And yeah, I used to be a sucker for that shit, but it’s old. It’s really old. So I was excited when this, at first blush, seemed to be a quieter, more introspective look at a superhero character. I really like that. There’s tons of potential here for an interesting narrative based on that thread alone.

The supporting cast isn’t half bad either. I mean, they’re a bit overwritten and pretty trope-y, but I found myself appreciating the dynamics they added to the book.

Visually, the book is pretty impressive. Will Confo and Ivan Nunes are, at the end of the day, doing house style work. But it’s good house style, and they get to do a few panels that allow them to flex their muscles, Nunes especially. It helps that the script isn’t overwrought with needless exposition or dialogue, so the art gets to shine through for the most part.

I wouldn’t say I’m excited for the next issue of TFARoCA (there’s that acronym again!), but I’ll definitely be reading. Hell, even if I don’t get a review copy, I may just go buy it out of curiosity. I may regret that decision, but I really want to see if the creative team follows through on a couple plot threads that could make me into a Captain Atom fan.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.