This issue focuses on Al Pratt, The Atom and showcases his origin (he survived a nuclear explosion and gained atomic powers) and evolution into a government sponsored hero. He then ventures on a mission to track down a criminal named Henri Roi (Roi is French for King, a nod to the Golden Age villain, Brainwave, ak.a. Henry King). He isn’t the only one, either as a mysterious new Batman debuts… a much darker and more ruthless Batman, unfortunately for another updated villain Mister Icicle. We also get a few glimpses at Captain Steel, Hawkgirl and Mister Miracle and Big Barda.
The story was a little jumpy, flashing backward and forward in time. I suppose because this may be viewed as a jumping on issue (what with Batman on the cover and all), a lot of the background information is stuff that’s already been shown, so being a reader from the start, it felt a little redundant. Pratt has been a bit unlikeable in this series, so it was nice to get inside his head a bit. He’s a soldier, completely mission-minded. I wouldn’t say I like him much more, but I get him more.
It’s also neat the way this world is unfolding and almost playing a role in the story. We visit Cambodia and Spain, as well a very, very different Gotham City.
The art, by Cafu and Julius Gopez is solid and appealing, but unspectacular. There are a few nice action moments, though, like the first shot of Al growing and Batman leaping into action.
This issue should make a good introductory issue with some decent action and interesting developments. The characters were handled well, but were maybe a bit unexciting. The art is good, but not remarkable.
EARTH 2 ANNUAL #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Cafu and Julius Gopez
Cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson