Al Pratt was a 98-pound weakling who one day bought dinner for a vagrant who turned out to be former boxing champ Joe Morgan. After training with Morgan for a year, Pratt became a bare-handed crime fighter, later gaining superpowers by accident from an enemy.
The Mighty Mite
Al Pratt was born in 1920. Pratt was a sophomore at Calvin College in 1940 and suffered many indignities due to his short stature. This led to him becoming the target of harassment and bullying, and referred to as "Atom Al" by his tormentors. Due to this, he felt he was unable to impress Mary James, the girl of his dreams. One day, feeling sympathetic, he bought dinner for a vagrant who turned out to be Joe Morgan, a former boxing champ. Morgan promised Pratt the young man could be made into a muscular man with the right training. In under one year Pratt became a massively strong fighter with unbelievable strength, and he decided to use his new ability to protect the oppressed as the "mystery man", The Atom.
World War II
At the start of World War II, President Roosevelt organized the "mystery men" to band together and create the Justice Society of America. Al was a founding member and later joined the All-Star Squadron where he struck up a strong friendship with fellow member Wildcat. He was present when the JSA battled Ian Karkull. During the fight, Atom was bathed in mystical energy that kept him young for decades.
The Human Atomic Bomb
In another battle alongside the All-Star Squadron, Al Pratt fought the reluctant villain known as Cyclotron. Energy released in that battle caused Al Pratt to develop radiation immunity by the late-1940s. But when the Atom and Starman went to the Manhattan Project site to stop a foe, Pratt, without thinking, ran through the fallout to save Starman and was caught in another explosion. He was unaffected by this and their foe was defeated. Surviving the blast completely unharmed, it was discovered that the extra dose of radiation gave him more superpowers.
Career, Marriage, Life
As an undergraduate at Calvin College, Al Pratt also worked part time at the Calvin Sentinel newspaper. Young Pratt was always very intelligent, yet somewhat under-educated when it came to nuclear physics. After the incident with Starman at the Manhattan Project site, he started studying nuclear physics and gained his Ph.D to become a brilliant scientist. Later, he took the job of nuclear physics professor at Alma Mater Calvin College.
In 1951, Pratt retired along with the rest of the JSA, after the group was urged by to remove their masks and work for the government. Pratt then revealed himself as The Atom to his sweetheart Mary James, as well as her parents, and then proposed to her. They eventually married in 1952 and had a happy life together.
Years later, Pratt came out of retirement to rejoin the JSA. He and the rest of the JSA teamed up with the Justice League of America for the first time to battle a group known as the Crime Champions. On this adventure, Pratt met Ray Palmer, the modern-day Atom. Al continued battling evil alongside the JSA and his best friend Wildcat, and Pratt's bravery inspired his godson Albert Rothstein, the grandson of Cyclotron (who looked up to Al as a father figure), to use his powers for good as the superhero known as Nuklon.
Atom joined the JSA and other heroes in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event and during the battle, Wildcat was severely wounded. Seeing his friend crippled greatly affected Pratt, who wondered if he was getting too old for the hero game. Later, the JSA were drawn into Limbo to do eternal battle with the forces of evil to prevent Ragnarok, and after only a few years, Atom and the rest of the JSA returned to Earth and Al was reunited with his beloved Mary.
Pratt's wife became pregnant and the couple were expecting a son. A great enemy of the Atom, and the JSA, deduced that Pratt's child would inherit his atomic based powers and could be a tool in his plot to dominate the world. When Mary gave birth, Vandal Savage stole the child and killed Mary Pratt. When Al discovered the news of her death, he was utterly devastated. He stayed close to his friends, Wildcat, Jay Garrick and Alan Scott after this tragedy. Despite his reluctance to get back into crime fighting, Pratt joined his teammates in battling a scheme concocted by their old foe, Ultra-Humanite. He stayed with the JSA when the group reassembled.
Years later, Pratt joined his fellow JSA members in taking part in the event known as Zero Hour. Most of the JSA went to the realm known as Vanishing Point, where they were ambushed by the being known as Extant. Extant taunted his foes with boasts about how he could control time, and as usual, the hot-headed Pratt hurled himself at Extant. The time-controlling villain fired a blast of energy and killed Atom instantly. He then proceeded to eliminate the ranks of the JSA. Waverider rescued the heroes and took them and Pratt's body back to Earth. Pratt was buried in the superhero cemetery known as Valhalla.
To honor his godfather, Albert Rothstein took up a costume similar to Pratt's and adopted the name Atom Smasher to honor the Atom's legacy. But the responsibility was too much for Albert, and he eventually went rogue.
It was later discovered that the hero, Damage, was Pratt's lost son, but sadly, Al was dead by the time this was discovered and Grant grew to hate his father due to the man's absence throughout his life. Lately Grant has been wearing his father's mask to cover his recently disfigured face and has joined the JSA filling his father's place.
Pratt's body was later reanimated by Black Hand as a member of the Black Lanterns. Like all Black Lanterns, he was sent to kill the person his death most affected: his son Grant. Pratt's attempt at murder was stopped by Ray Palmer. After the crisis was over, Pratt's corpse was returned to Valhalla.
In the afterlife, Al befriended David Knight. David brought his brother, the next Starman, Jack Knight, to a banquet in limbo attended by Atom and several other deceased mystery men.
Powers and Abilities
- Decelerated Aging: A mystical radiation released upon destruction of Ian Karkull has increased JSA members lifespans, including Atom.
- Atomic Physiology: A long life of heroics and adventures has given Al Pratt an abnormal physiology which lends him his atomic abilities. At first he gained resistance to radiation due to a dying villain, later he gained full atomic physical abilities when he was caught in the fallout of an explosion.
- Genius Level Intellect
- Hand-to-Hand Combat
- Multilingualism: He speaks Spanish.
- Short Temper: Often bullied in the university due his short stature, Atom frequently lacks patience.
- Dimensional Vibrator Belt (Pre-Crisis only): Albert's own invention that allowed him to travel between parallel Earths.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- Al Pratt's legacy lives on in the form of Al Rothstein, who renamed himself Atom-Smasher in honor of his godfather. The Atom legacy is also carried on by the young hero Damage, who is the son he never knew he had.
- Atom's feats of superstrength began in All-Star Comics Vol 1 41 when he stopped Huntress' truck with a blow; Before this event, he never manifested any power.
- Pratt replaced his original face-covering costume with the head-fin-and-half-mask costume inspired by Cyclotron, after his first get-up was destroyed in a nuclear explosion.
- Al Pratt is also known as Little Superman, Pocket Dynamo and the Mighty Mite.
- Atom had very few powered enemies; the vast majority were common criminals.
- Al Pratt's address was 67 Oak Lane, Calvin City.
- 412 Appearances of Albert Pratt (New Earth)
- 70 Images featuring Albert Pratt (New Earth)
- 5 Quotations by or about Albert Pratt (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Albert Pratt (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member
|All-Star Squadron member|
This character is or was a member of the All-Star Squadron in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "All-Star Squadron members" category.
|Black Lantern Corps member|
This character is or was a member of the Black Lantern Corps. Those who have died may wield the Black Power Ring, symbolizing their lack of both life and emotion.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Black Lantern Corps members category."