- My name is Captain Atom. As in A-bomb...as in nuclear fission...as in...the end of the world.
- — Captain Atom src
Nathaniel Adam was a United States Air Force officer during the Vietnam War era. He was framed for a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to death under the watch of Col. Wade Eiling in 1968. To avoid execution, he was invited to participate in a military experiment with little chance of survival, with the promise of a presidential pardon should he survive. The experiment involved testing the hull of a crashed alien ship's durability by exploding a super nuclear bomb under it while Adam was in the ship. Against the odds, Adam survived, the alien metal melding with his body, while the excess energy threw him forward in time nearly twenty years.
Regaining coherence in 1986, Adam found himself a man out of his time and back in the hands of Eiling, now a general and the second husband of Adam's now-deceased wife. Everyone had assumed Adam had died during the experiment, so his presidential pardon was never issued and the current government refused to acknowledge the previous administration's promise. Seizing the opportunity at hand, the government used the outstanding murder/treason charges against Adam to blackmail him into being a government-controlled superhero codenamed Captain Atom. The government gave him a false origin for use in public and assigned him the alias of Cameron Scott, an Air Force intelligence operative. It was during this time he met the superpowered terrorist Plastique, who would become a recurring part of Adam's life.
As Captain Atom, Adam served under Eiling reluctantly until he succeeded in clearing his name. Eventually, Atom rebelled against Eiling, resigned from the Air Force and found some fulfilment as an actual superhero. Captain Atom joined the Justice League at the request of the U.S. government, eventually serving as leader of Justice League Europe. During his career, he had a brief romance with Catherine Cobert, developed a friendly rivalry with Firestorm, become involved with and eventually married to Plastique (ironically, a one-time Firestorm foe), battled Major Force (his would-be successor), learned basic heroics from Batman when he briefly lost access to the Quantum Field, and commanded the metahuman forces during the alien invasion of the Alliance.
Armageddon 2001 and Beyond
Atom encountered Waverider during the latter's mission to discover which contemporary hero would become Monarch in the future. Atom's interaction with Waverider unleashed a storm of temporal energy that opened a gate to the future through which Monarch emerged, entering the present. Monarch battled Atom and other heroes before kidnapping and killing Dove, an act which drove her partner Hawk mad enough to kill Monarch in revenge, at the same time revealing that he, Hawk, was Monarch. In a final battle Atom's energy and Monarch's suit clashed and created a portal that sent them both back in time to the middle of the Triassic Era.
After being thrown back to the age of the dinosaurs, Atom and Monarch encountered hostile aliens who attempted to enlist each one separately and without the other's knowledge, to assist them in destroying the Milky Way Galaxy for their own ends. Each time Atom and Monarch battled, they would be thrown forward in time until, defeating the aliens' plans, Captain Atom eventually returned to the present, while Monarch's fate was unknown.
Captain Atom briefly worked for the government again, heading the Peacekeepers team before founding an offshoot team, Extreme Justice, after the events of Zero Hour. While leading Extreme Justice, Captain Atom came across another version of Monarch, this one claiming to be the real Nathaniel Adam, though it was later revealed that this "Nathaniel Adam" was a copy created by Hank Hall as a side-effect of the process that trapped him in the timestream after his and Atom's adventures in the past.
At some point, Atom's marriage to Plastique ended in separation/divorce due to irreconcilable differences, mostly about political views, between them. Plastique has reappeared as a villain again, undoing her reformation into a heroine.
Captain Atom returned to his roots, going back to work for the government, this time for President Lex Luthor. Atom seemingly sacrificed his life to save Superman and Earth by crashing a starship into a kryptonite meteor. The massive release of energy didn't kill him but instead sent him to the Wildstorm Universe.
Armageddon and WorldStorm
Captain Atom found himself both in a world unlike his own where the people fear the super-powered beings, and with a new gold and red look. Following a misunderstanding, Atom fights with Mister Majestic, before Majestic offers to help him return to his reality. Despite his good intentions, Majestic's technology is unable to send Atom back to his own Earth, forcing Atom to seek help elsewhere.
Approaching the government, Atom is dismayed to find them as impotent and fearful of the super-powered as everyone else. Majestic informs him that Atom's existence will destroy the universe should he remain and Atom's own research backs this up. After learning the Atom unintentionally held part of the Void entity within him, the Wildcats attack him until only Grifter and Nikola Hanssen, the next (reluctant) host of the Void, are left. As Grifter was about to battle him, Captain Atom was taken to the moon through a shift-door, and was met by Authority member the Engineer, who wanted to help him, as her team had been monitoring his actions.
Her team, The Authority, attempt to get Captain Atom back home without success. With Atom's consent, the Engineer inserts nanomachines into his body, apparently stabilising him and removing the danger of him destroying the universe. They share a romantic interlude before Atom goes on his way, coming into contact with Nikola Hanssen once more. This time, she turns into the new Void, sparking a panic attack. After calming her down, the Engineer arrived and assumed that Atom had cheated on her; she informed him the danger had not passed and he was still a threat to the universe.
In disbelief, Atom sent himself one week into the future to see if the universe remained intact. There he found Nikola who tried to explain that the universe was safe but before allowing her to finish, Atom took a newspaper back to the present to prove to the Engineer that she was wrong. Refusing to trust the newspaper, the Engineer attacked him, stating to Atom that by killing him, the universe will be saved. Atom was saved by Grifter and Nikola before they were attacked by Apollo and Midnighter, Grifter dying in the fight before Atom was captured and taken back to the Carrier.
Atom tried to explain to the Authority that killing him would destroy their universe but was ignored. Apollo blasted Atom, inadvertently causing him to transform into a menacing and glowing form, becoming the very being meant to destroy the universe. Both Apollo and Midnighter were killed when they Captain Atom, forcing the Authority to find another way to stop him. They released Majestic, who tried to stop the Authority from attacking Atom and was frozen by the Doctor. When Jenny Quantum attempted to solve the situation by touching Captain Atom, she too was killed. Atom and the group were found by Nikola Hanssen who had by now fully accepted herself as the Void. She safely removed the part of her essence from Atom thus nullifying his threat to the universe and reverting him back to his normal appearance, before sending him back to his home universe.
Infinite Crisis and One Year Later
Captain Atom returned to his universe during the Infinite Crisis when Superboy-Prime punctured Breach; as Breach exploded, Atom appeared in his place, shaken and confused. Later, Atom was severely attacked by an unknown assailant and then imprisoned by the United States military within the remains of Blüdhaven. There he was used as a fuel source to administer radiation treatments to metahumans. The heavy damage sustained by his radiation-shielding skin left him comatose and unable to keep his radiation to safe levels, forcing the Atomic Knights to keep him constantly contained.
After being fitted with an updated version of the Monarch armor to contain his radiation, Atom awoke. Seemingly mentally unstable, he broke free only to find the Teen Titans, Freedom Fighters and S.H.A.D.E. fighting each other to determine Blüdhaven's fate. He stopped and killed the rampaging Major Force, before ordering everyone to evacuate the area; once they had left, Atom released a vast amount of energy, obliterating what was left of Blüdhaven.
Sometime later, Kyle Rayner, known as Ion, discovered him in The Bleed. Atom, having now embraced the Monarch identity, indicated that he is traveling through The Bleed in order to operate outside the gaze of the Monitors. He discussed his time in the Wildstorm Universe, and his desire to visit other alternate worlds.
Having become aware of the Multiverse and the Monitors, Monarch planned to attack them in order to become ruler of a unified Earth. He drafted an army of foot-soldiers from various alternate Earths, including the Extremists of Earth-8, the JL-Axis of Earth-10 and the Crime Society of Earth-3, while his main goal was to assemble a force with the strongest versions of various heroes.
He captured multiple versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and others, placed them in an Arena and forced th various versions of each other to fight to the death, with the survivor joining his army. Despite the attempts of various heroes to stop his plans, Monarch achieved his goals and readied his army to attack the Monitors, using Earth-51 as the battleground.
As Monarch neared victory he was attacked by Superman-Prime who had been tricked by one of the Monitors, Solomon, into attacking. In the fight against Superman-Prime, Monarch's suit was damaged which released a chain reaction that destroyed the entire universe of Earth-51 aside from its Monitor, Nix Uotan.
It was later revealed that Solomon was solely responsible for Captain Atom's madness, and that it was he who attacked him in Blüdhaven, rupturing his skin and setting into motion his transformation into Monarch.
Captain Atom, suffering from amnesia, was discovered by General Lane and his black-ops organization Project 7734. He was brainwashed by the project and used by General Lane as a bargaining chip with the sorceress Mirabai, the Forlorn; for her help with Project 7734, Atom was made her champion and used by her to subdue her enemies in Sorcerers' World. After defeating Mirabai's enemies, Atom managed to overcome his brainwashing and amnesia at the castle of Lord Gadrey and was subdued by 7734's task force before being saved by an anti-Mirabai resistance group helped by Natasha Irons who had been spying on 7734 and learned of Atom's condition.
Captain Atom was later confronted by Major Force, who has also been working for 7734, and the two fought until Major Force transported themselves to Metropolis. Mon-El appeared, helped Captain Atom escape, and took him to the Justice League's Watchtower, where the League members immediately attacked him in order to bring to justice for his actions as Monarch. After a struggle and reconciliation with the League, Atom told them what he can remember and the League reminded him he was a hero who once saved Earth.
Atom felt the need to return to Sorcerers' World to make amends for what he did. The Shadowpact were called on to help him on his quest and suggested he use the underground world of Skartaris to reach his destination. Once in Sorcerors' World, he met up with the resistance group and helped them defeat Mirabai. Only after that did one of the leading resistance members, Aggaro, reveal himself to Captain Atom as the sorcerer Modru, who would now rule in her place. Despite being seen as another tyrant by Captain Atom, Mordru explained to him that he promised to rule Sorcerers' World benignly and swore that, despite being seen as a villain on Earth, he would be considered a friend to Captain Atom in his world. Captain Atom was then magically returned to Earth.
A week later, Atom was cleared of his past crimes thanks to the efforts of Mon-El, who convinced the Daily Planet to publish a positive front-page article on Captain Atom which went worldwide. Due to his experiences in Sorcerers' World, Captain Atom resolved to return to his life as a superhero.
Justice League: Generation Lost
Following the events of Brightest Day, Captain Atom was one of many heroes hunting for the resurrected Maxwell Lord. Atom, along with former members of the Justice League International Fire and Ice found a wounded Booster Gold at the JLI embassy in New York, and learned that Lord had amplified his powers to make almost everyone on Earth forget about him -- Atom and his team mates retained their memories of Lord.
As Atom and his allies attempted to find him, Lord used his mind controlling powers to force Magog to attack Captain Atom. Lord then has Magog kill himself but convince onlookers that Atom was responsible. Absorbing Magog's suicidal blast, Atom is thrust into the future where he finds a devastated world contaminated by a new OMAC virus. The remaining heroes tell Atom that this world was the result of Lord killing Wonder Woman, before Atom returns to the present, determined to stop Lord.
Aided by Power Girl and Batman who had managed to remember Lord, Captain Atom leads an assault against the OMACs and Lord, stopping his plan to murder Wonder Woman. During the battled, Atom once more absorbed enough energy to plunge into the time stream and threatened to take Lord with him unless he undid his global mind wipe.
While Lord ultimately escaped, he informed the world that Captain Atom was innocent of the murders of Magog and the surrounding civilians.
- Dilustel Armor: Captain Atom's metallic shell, or "skin," is composed of a portion of the alien being known as Silver Shield, and is called Dilustel. Pieces of the alien's metal body were used in the Captain Atom Project, Project Major Force and similar projects thereafter. Atom is able to coat himself with the metal, either partially or totally. Atom's symbiosis with the metal is such that even when partially armored, he is able to access the Quantum Field.
- Chronokinesis: Captain Atom has shown time-traveling capabilities without quantum jumping and can travel ahead in time using concentration. The process is exhausting and the period he can interact in the future appears to be limited to a few minutes before he returns to the present.
- Atomic Transmutation: Captain Atom has demonstrated atomic transmutation powers similar to Firestorm, as he was able to turn both Maul and Engineer back to their human forms and once turned Green Arrow's quivers into butterflies. This power can be used instinctively or through concentration.
- Energy Absorption
- Invulnerability: Atom's Dilustel coating renders him invulnerable to physical and energy attacks.
- Matter Generation: Captain Atom can also create matter in the same manner he creates energy. In the same way, he can absorb and manipulate matter at a basic level.
- Regeneration: Over time if Atom's armored skin were to be ruptured or damaged he would recover at an accelerated rate.
- Superhuman Strength: As Captain Atom his strength was such that he was able to go toe to toe with beings such as Superman, Majestic, etc. and hold his own.
- Techno Interface: He has also shown the ability to telepathically interface with computer networks.
- Self-Power Augmentation: At times, he can use the quantum field to enhance his physical prowess to even greater levels such as enhancing and increasing his listening range, augmenting his already impressive levels of strength or even increasing his flight speed.
- Quantum Field Manipulation: Captain Atom's metal skin is tied into the Quantum Field, which enables him to absorb and manipulate infinite amounts of energy; energy which can be utilized for an infinite amount of purposes which are solely limited by his willpower and imagination. Reinforcing the fact when he realized that the Quantum field is under his complete and total control. E.I, creating and destroying a replica of Earth complete with life and its most powerful heroes out of nothing; such as Superman, The Flash, Firestorm and even his own Spectre. Though he has only done this once, subconsciously limiting himself to a set amount of power ever since. Nathaniel's ability harness energy is insurmountable, manipulating it for a variety of effects ranging from absorbing, changing, metabolizing, even shutting down other energy users powers or shaping it into whatever he needs. Like force fields, explosive bombs or a simple blast from the hands or eyes. Either firing it from anywhere on his body or releasing it as an AOE wave either by will or upon detonation.
- Involuntary Quantum Jumping: If Atom absorbs too much energy at once, he is sent hurtling through time. Depending on the type of energy absorbed, he either goes forward or backwards.
- Radiation Leak: If Captain Atom uses the upper levels of his power, he starts to leak radiation. If he'd try to go toe to toe with a Kryptonian, in a city the size of Tokyo, he could irradiate half the city.
- Vulnerability to X-Ionized Weaponry: The Dilustel comprising of Nathaniel Adam's body is nigh-indestructible, munitions by the Ionizer apparatus can be lethal to him.
- Monarch Armor: The updated Monarch armor worn by Captain Atom throughout Countdown, contains a "nanoweave" designed to contain radiation leaking from a breach in his chest. It also contained instruments for monitoring his vital signs, through a direct neural interface.
- In 1991, Captain Atom was cancelled with #57, as Atom was slated to become the hero-turned-villain Monarch in DC's Armageddon 2001 crossover event; however, when word of this leaked out, DC changed the ending at the last minute.
- Nathaniel Adam was born May 3, 1940.
- His middle initial is given as both J. and C. in Captain Atom #1.
- In Justice League: Generation Lost #6, Captain Atom states that he weighs "Three quarters of a ton."
- Captain Atom's abilities were enhanced during his time as Monarch.
- According to History of the DC Universe #2, Nathaniel Adam emerged during the "New Heroic Age" before the Crisis, and was shown wearing the Earth-Four Allen's blue and red costume.
- Armageddon 2001
- Armageddon: The Alien Agenda
- Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven
- Captain Atom (Volume 1)
- Captain Atom: Armageddon
- Countdown to Final Crisis
- Countdown: Arena
- Justice League Europe
- Living Assault Weapons
- 439 Appearances of Nathaniel Adam (New Earth)
- 110 Images featuring Nathaniel Adam (New Earth)
- 31 Quotations by or about Nathaniel Adam (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Nathaniel Adam (New Earth)
|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.