- Justice? You don't know the meaning of the word.
- — Atom Smasher src
Albert Rothstein was the grandson of the reluctant super-villain known as Cyclotron, from whom Albert inherited his metahuman powers by which he can control his molecular structure (allowing him to alter the size and density of his body). He was the godson of Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom, and raised to becoming a hero known as Nuklon and becoming a charter member of Infinity, Inc. and subsequently served in the Justice League. He took the Atom Smasher identity shortly before the founding of the current Justice Society of America, of which he was a charter member. He viewed Pratt's son, Damage, as a brother, and acted as an older brother figure to Stargirl. While Stargirl has (or at least had) some romantic feelings for Atom Smasher, he has not yet openly reciprocated.
For years, Atom Smasher cherished his role in upholding Pratt's legacy and constantly sought to prove himself worthy to his Golden Age idols—especially when many of them became his teammates in the JSA. But when Albert's mother was murdered in a plane crash engineered by Kobra, he became consumed by vengeance. Not long after the fatal crash, Albert—with the aid of Metron of the New Gods—went back in time and replaced his mother with a weakened Extant, saving her life but murdering the super-villain.
When Captain Marvel's longtime adversary Black Adam reformed and joined the JSA, he and Rothstein developed a kinship; indeed, Black Adam once commented that he thought of Atom Smasher as the brother he never had. Encouraged by Adam, Atom Smasher grew frustrated with the JSA's moral boundaries, especially when Kobra blackmailed authorities into granting his release. Albert and Adam promptly quit the JSA after Kobra's escape.
Shortly thereafter, the unlikely duo settled each other's personal scores. Adam killed Kobra; Rothstein killed the dictatorial president of Kahndaq, Adam's home country. Atom Smasher helped lead a team of rogue metahumans (including former Infinity Inc. teammates Brain Wave and Northwind) that invaded the country and overthrew its oppressive regime. Atom Smasher initially fought against his JSA teammates in Kahndaq before deciding instead to help forge an uneasy truce—Black Adam and his compatriots could remain in power so long as they never left the country. Atom Smasher remained in the Middle Eastern nation for a time, although he eventually began to question Adam's motives. Rothstein perished while fighting against the Spectre, but was revived by Black Adam's lightning, and carried back to JSA headquarters.
He was later put on trial for his actions in Kahndaq and pleaded guilty to all charges. Whilst in jail, he was approached by the founder of the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller (also White Queen of Checkmate). Waller recruited Albert as part of a new group of covert operatives using the name, the Suicide Squad. Aware of Al's history with Black Adam, she sent the squad to San Francisco to sanction him. There, the Squad fought not only Black Adam, but Black Marvel Family members, Isis, Osiris and Sobek as well. Despite his prodigious strength, Albert lost the fight against his old colleague. When Black Adam went on a rampage following the death of the Black Marvel Family, Albert rejoined the JSA in tracking down Black Adam to Oolong Island after being pardoned by Waller, he threatened to expose the Suicide Squad. After finding Black Adam, Albert tried to reason with his old comrade while refusing to condemn him in any way, not even believing him guilty of the genocide in Bialya. However, he was dismayed that Adam admitted his actions and returned to his path of vengeance, dubbed World War III.
Following the conflict, Albert continued to worked with the JSA in search for a powerless Black Adam, who was intent upon resurrecting his dead wife Isis. Unknown to the JSA, Albert personally confronts Black Adam and brings him Isis' remains, and unsuccessfully tries to persuade his friend to go into hiding.
Returning to The Justice Society
Albert formally returned to the JSA, asking the team for a second chance at honoring the memory of Al Pratt despite some of their skeptical members. Regardless, Albert joined the JSA in tracking the recently repowered Black Adam, who and along with a resurrected Isis stole Captain Marvel's powers and and his throne at the Rock of Eternity, and eventually encountering him in a diner. The two notably did not fight, showing that their relationship is a bit more amicable. Ultimately, Albert proved his valor as a worthy member of the JSA in which he convinced Black Adam to giving up his powers to reviving the wizard Shazam and ending the threat of the Black Marvel Family.
Powers and Abilities
- Atomic Dispersal: As a result of exposure to uncontrolled Thorium radiation, the Atom Smasher's mass has become unstable. Al can increase his size, allowing him to grow up to 28 feet tall. At this height, Al is resistant to all attacks from normal sized people. With atomic dispersal, Al increases the distance between his own atoms, thus increasing his overall size. Under normal circumstances, his mass would remain the same no matter how large he becomes. However, his mass increase power counteracts these effects to a point.
- Mass Increase: Al can increase his body's mass. His weight is multiplied by his height. Of course, as he weighs more, he has a greater effect on the environment. The power gives Al amazing resistance to physical attacks. He can also use the mass instead of his strength to inflict charging damage. This power is tied to his growth power.
- Superhuman Strength: As he grows, his strength increases, both compensating for his increased mass and allowing him to grow to greater heights.
- Enhanced Stamina
- Enhanced Speed
- Superhuman Durability: While in gigantic form Atom Smasher can easily survive blows from super-strong foes and is completely unfazed by machine-gun fire.
- Intangibility (Formerly): Nuklon was able to become intangible after being exposed to thorium radiation. He has not shown this power in recent years.
- Aviation: Rothstein is also a skilled pilot and mechanic. In the first few years with the JSA, he could be seen piloting the JSA's jet, the Steel Eagle, as well as the Star Rocket Racer and earlier being Infinity, Inc.'s primary pilot.
- Multilingualism: In addition to his native language, Al Rothstein is also fluent in Kahndaqi.
- Athletics: Al went to the University of Southern California on a basketball scholarship.
- Power Limitation: Increasing his size beyond his optimal limitations causes Al great physical discomfort.
- 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.
- During his time as Nuklon, Albert was able to phase through walls.
- 286 Appearances of Albert Rothstein (New Earth)
- 80 Images featuring Albert Rothstein (New Earth)
- 6 Quotations by or about Albert Rothstein (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Albert Rothstein (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.