Building on a solid first issue, in The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #2 we catch up with Captain Atom who has been blasted back in time to the 1990s. Arriving in the New 52 Universe before the debut of any metahuman heroes or villains, Nate finds himself de-powered… and surprisingly happy about it. His attitude to time travel is both philosophical and incredibly logical, and he covers all the bases in adapting to his new surroundings. Yet he can’t stop being a hero.
His good Samaritan exploits lead him to the last thing he expected to find in the past: love. However, he becomes understandably concerned about what his actions – and new relationship – might mean to the fabric of the space-time continuum. Is this a case of predestination, a time paradox, or something else? And after years lost in time, will the re-emergence of his new powers seal his fate?
Time travel stories can be tricky, and it takes great writing to understand the complexities involved in getting things right. Thankfully, The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #2 is like a masterclass of how to do it right. Various theories of how time travel might affect the timeline itself are offered up, from pre-determinism to the butterfly effect, since Nate knows the potential consequences only too well.
What truly makes this work, however, is that despite the science it’s still his story. More than that, it’s an emotional journey as he debates whether he should start a romance or not, knowing that the universe itself may find some way to destroy his happiness. From the fundamentals of how he could survive in another time without identification or money, all the way through to how he learns about the complexities of time travel, nothing is left unexplained.
Yet at the heart of it all is a new-found love, and that’s what pushes this story from great to magnificent.
There may be very little action going on, which may disappoint some, but Cary Bates’s writing is totally on point and his skills have been missed. Likewise, the artwork from Will Conrad not only looks amazing but each panel’s action smoothly transitions to the next smoothly. There’s something absolutely genuine about the characters and the settings on display, and it’s easy to find yourself emotionally invested in the story.
There’s been little fanfare for this title so far, but don’t let that dissuade you from picking it up. If the series continues as it’s going so far, The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom could be an instant classic.