Captain Atom goes back to the future, as his latest trip through time catapults him from the ‘90s to 2017 – and he gains a whole new look and set of powers. His change in appearance (combined with how he was presumed to have died in 2015) creates confusion amongst those who witness his return and an opportunity for a new beginning. But as always, his own future is going to be determined by General Eiling and Dr. Megala. We review The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3.
Captain Atom struggles to come to terms with all he’s lost from his time in the past and learn the extent of his new abilities, while he’s forced to decide what kind of hero he wants to be – assuming he even wants to be one. Eiling, meanwhile, creates a cover story in the hopes that the public will view Captain Atom as something greater than he used to be. However, as more details emerge about the events of the fateful day which catapulted Captain Atom through time, other secrets slowly emerge too…
After the emotional rollercoaster of the previous issue, things settle down into a somewhat familiar pattern in The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3. The updated history of Captain Atom plays out here in a similar vein to how things did in the classic series from the 1980s, with some all new tweaks for good measure. While there are some clear parallels, the fresh approach to the characters makes for a fascinating study in how to re-invent the wheel (so to speak).
The old series wasn’t broken in any way, and arguably offered some of DC’s best storytelling at the time. Unfortunately, it never quite caught on with fans – although those who made the effort to read it knew how good it was. Here, with a clean slate to work with, the concept of DC’s Rebirth is at its best as we once again witness Captain Atom’s struggle to escape from under the thumb of the military.
The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3 may have less impact than the previous one, but it feels more like a cooling-off period before building up to another high. It’s solid writing to take it down a notch and re-establish the characters before continuing, while the artwork once again offers up scenes of both emotional intensity and displays of force equally smoothly.
Plus, there’s that other thing…
Once more, there’s enough of a tease with the changes in Captain Atom’s look and abilities which continue to echo Doctor Manhattan.
While it’s perfectly possible that Captain Atom’s timely return may have nothing to do with the upcoming Rebirth reveal, it’s still worth keeping an eye on just in case it does. His new colour scheme may not be blue, but it’s moving in that direction; His demonstration of powers to the military is somewhat reminiscent of what happened with Doctor Manhattan; Even his desire to leave Earth for another world when emotionally upset is familiar.
All of these moments may mean nothing, or they may mean everything. Only time will tell.
For now, all that you can do is continue to enjoy this series for what it is. It’s a well-told personal tale, and a credit to DC’s current line-up.