Ray Palmer grew up in Ivy Town, Connecticut where he studied physics at Ivy University, under renowned scientists such as Alpheus P. Hyatt. He began dating law student Jean Loring, eventually becoming exclusive. Both graduating and working in their professions, Ray would frequently ask Jean to marry him, but she would always decline, wanting to establish herself as a lawyer before getting married and settling down.
As a physics graduate student, Ray Palmer discovered a White Dwarf Star Fragment that had fallen to Earth. Investigating matter compression, Ray theorized that if he were to grind a lens from this fragment and focus ultraviolet light through it, he could shrink anything struck by the light down to a fraction of its original size. Ray rushed off to his laboratory, tried the experiment, and found that it worked exactly as he had imagined, but the objects he shrunk became unstable and exploded moments later.
A couple of days later, a disillusioned Ray and some friends became trapped in a cave-in while out spelunking. Ray was forced to risk instability and use the shrinking lens on himself in order to escape the cave and save the lives of his friends. For some reason, however, Ray didn't explode and returned to his normal height. In fact, the shrinking lens worked on his body much better than he had expected, and he developed a set of control devices that gave him limited control over his weight as well as his size. Ray later hypothesized that some unknown "x-factor" in his genetic makeup prevented his atoms from becoming unstable, though many scientists now believe that Ray's ability to shrink was actually made possible by the "Metagene", which is the source of many superhumans' powers.
Early CareerKeeping his discoveries a secret, even from Jean, Ray created the identity of the Atom and began a career of crime fighting in Ivy Town. In his first recorded adventure, the Atom stopped the crook Carl Ballard from exploiting the tiny alien Kulan Dar, to commit his crimes. Foiling this plot, the Atom became a trusted hero in Ivy Town, and established a great working relationship with the local police. Next, the Atom defended the wealthy Doctor Gordon Heath from a plot against him orchestrated by his caretaker Bates.
The Atom's heroics made him an ally of the CIA, who sent him overseas to rescue Professor Anton Kraft from foreign spies. Returning home, he stopped crooked newspaper reporter Greg Phillips from stealing valuable chess pieces. The Atom met his first super-villain when battling Jason Woodrue, an exile from the Floral Dimension, who attempted to take over the Earth with specially bred plants. The Atom defeated Woodrue with the help of Maya, Queen of the Dryads, who lives in the Floral Dimension. Atom then stopped jewel thief Bart Tranter with the help of the self proclaimed Mr. Odd and recaptured Carl Ballard when he mastered Kulan Dar's teleportation abilities .
The Atom was used in a bizarre plot by Amos Fortune and other villains to destroy the Justice League of America, using a de-memorizor ray to pit the Atom against the League. With the aid of the Atom, the team of heroes defeated Fortune and his minions, and elected the Atom as a member of their group. After that, the Atom had his first clash with Chronos, a criminal obsessed with time.Reconnecting with Professor Hyatt, Ray learned of Hyatt's experiments with the Time Pool, a device of Hyatt's creation allowing him to "fish" for items out of a tiny portal that can bring items through time. As the Atom, Ray traveled back in time to ancient Middle East where he helped a young boy named Hassan best a group of thieves and bring back a golden Dinar for Hyatt's study. When simultaneous nuclear explosions on Earth-One and a parallel world caused the two to merge, the Atom helped the JLA prevent the inhabitants of that world from destroying three major cities on Earth to prevent the cataclysm and worked together to revolve the problem.
When visiting Happy Harbor, Rhode Island to give a lecture as Ray Palmer, the Atom came to the rescue of Entron Kol, a visitor from a sub-atomic world who was trapped on Earth, and used a wish fulfillment device to try to draw help to his plight. Returning to Ivy Town, the Atom foiled an attempt by a crooked photographer named Elkins to frame Tom Parks for crimes he did not commit. After that, Ray attended a JLA meeting were the team pondered how to get out of a dangerous scenario posed by one of their fans.
When Ray's colleague, the world-traveling Ted Ralston, was turned into diamond by a strange stone he brought back from one of his expeditions, Ray traveled into the microscopic world inside the gem where he clashed with the Atlantean tyrant Karl Jat. Next he foiled jewel thief Fred Harris' plot to rob a lake side community using local folklore to hoax the people into thinking the thefts were committed by a ghost. The Atom was targeted with the rest of the JLA by the Tornado Tyrant. In another adventure with the Justice League, Ray aided the League in liberating the people of the micro-world of Starzl, whose three android defenders had turned evil.
Back in Ivy Town, Atom foiled a plot by stage manager Howard Crane to frame former astronaut Peter Venner for crimes he did not commit, and in a Time Pool adventure he traveled back to 18th century London to foil Dick Turpin's plan to steal the king's gold. The Atom and the rest of the JLA were then forced into exile from the planet Earth due to the manipulations of Dr. Destiny, however the JLA foiled this plot, ending their exile. While preventing an invasion of Earth from the Thalens, the Atom teamed up with extraterrestrial lawman Hawkman and his partner Hawkgirl, forming a long lasting partnership between the trio.
On another Justice League case, the Atom and his fellow JLA members clashed with Spaceman X. Later the Atom was present with the JLA in their first team up with the Justice Society of America, their counterparts from Earth-Two, against the Crime Champions, a group of villains from both universes. While on the home front, Ray battled an escaped Dr. Light; stopped Alfred Trask (an art gallery employee) from taking the masterpieces his employer has on display; battled his evil doppelganger created in a lab experiment gone awry; and thwarted an attempted kidnapping of the king of France during a Time Pool adventure to the year 1609. His next meeting with the JLA was less eventful with the group relating their battle against Queen Bee, while Ray told them of his encounter against Dr. Light.
Working with the CIA once again, the Atom went to Vienna to collect the plans for a new anti-gravity metal, and ended up exposing it as a communist plot to destroy America. Back home, he foiled Doro Briggs' theft scheme involving hoaxing people into believing that she could transform into a swan. The Atom aided his fellow Justice League colleagues in once again defeating and capturing their old foe Kanjar Ro and Kraad the Conqueror, tyrant ruler of a sidereal dimension.Back home, Ray attended an Ivy University ten-year reunion, where he foiled Jack Archer's attempt to use hypnosis to steal a priceless Buddha statue, followed by a cruise with Jean Loring where he stymied invaders from Randath. Next Atom and a number of his fellow JLA members were rapidly aged by Despero, but were later restored to normal following Despero's defeat at the hands of his fellow JLA members who were unaffected.
On the home front, Ray found his powers being used for crime when he temporarily became the prisoner of a crook who used his body as a power source for a ray gun and later used the Time Pool to travel to Baltimore circa 1849 where he helped Edgar Alan Poe solve a mystery involving stolen gold coins. Atom next aided the Flash in stopping an invasion of Earth by Attila-5. Later the Atom and his friends in the Justice League were manipulated by the ultra-galactic "I", an evil being whose very existence was threatened by the JLA's continued success.
In Ivy Town, Ray clashed once more with Chronos and cleared the name of his civilian identity when he was accused of a crime he did not commit. Back with the Justice League, the Atom was present when Green Lantern related a solo adventure to the group  and was among the super-powered members of the League to go on "strike" following a UN sanction preventing them from using their powers, all a plot orchestrated by the evil Headmaster Mind. Still with the League, he was present when a video created by Superman's father Jor-El, regarding the other planets he considered sending his son prior to Krypton's destruction, was displayed.
Resuming his activities in Ivy Town, Ray battled his own costume when it briefly gained sentience, aided Doc Magnus in rebuilding the Metal Men, and stopped the evil Uranium. When visiting his old classmate Ed Thayer, Atom got caught up in an attempt by foreign spies to try to steal Thayer's Illusion-Maker device and foiled the teleporting Hyper-Thief's robberies. Atom was also present when the Justice League invited his ally Hawkman into the group, and attended Aquaman's marriage to Mera.
Next, while on vacation, Ray became the temporary pawn of criminal inventor Andrew Frost, battled Brain Storm with the JLA, crushed the Hooded Hijackers, and used the Time Pool to travel to the 19th Century, where he came to the rescue of writer Jules Verne. Atom became an unwilling pawn of the Endless One, and was forced to fight some of his fellow JLA members. When restored to normal, he became a victim in one of Dr. Destiny's plots to get revenge against the JLA.
The Atom had to combat side-effects of his Time Pool adventures when battling the evil Phantom Mask, and spent a brief time thinking he was a flea in a flea circus when spies attempted to replace Ray Palmer with one of their own agents. He aided Zatanna in the search for her missing father on a micro-world ruled by the Druid. Later, he joined the Justice League in battling Brain Storm once again. Going solo, Atom prevented crooks from benefiting from his "stool-pigeon" computer and with the aid of Maya and the Dryads posing as Leprechauns, convinced Arthur Ennis to fill a witness report with the police following a robbery. During his next team up with Hawkman and Hawkgirl against Matter Master, the trio of heroes trusted their secret identities to each other. Atom and his fellow JLA members teamed up with the JSA against the evil Johnny Thunder of Earth-One who had manipulated the Thunderbolt into creating Earth-A and the Lawless League, criminal versions of the Justice League.
The CIA once again hired the Atom to stop a group of Russian spies who were trying to manipulate Jean Loring's father, in an attempt to get at the Atom, and on another Time Pool journey to 18th century London, the Atom prevented one of Professor Hyatt's ancestors from being thrown in debtors' prison. Atom also aided his fellow JLA members in preventing global disaster and conflict inadvertently created by Andrew Helm's Corti-Conscience machine. Acting solo, he stopped a common thug named Eddie Gordon from enslaving the Bat-Knights of the Elvaran people. Atom next helped Batman, Robin, and Elongated Man capture "Numbers" Garvey and his gang.
The Atom also aided the Justice League in defeating the Key during his attack. Returning to Ivy Town, the Atom made up a story about alien invaders to make the return of a radion-ball sound like a more exciting adventure. He foiled a robbery plot orchestrated by groundskeeper Billy Knowels. Atom's powers were briefly pilfered by Professor Ivo in a plot against the Flash, and when the Flash related the story to his fellow JLA members including the Atom, they were unaware of the event as they weren't using their powers then. Next Atom joined the Justice League and Metamorpho in battling the Unimaginable.
After liberating the Floral Dimension and Earth from destruction at the hands of Jason Woodrue, the Atom joined the JLA in curing Batman, Green Lantern, and Flash from a plague infected upon them by the Unimaginable. Atom returned to Ivy Town, to foil a series of robberies orchestrated by Bill Jameson, the so-called "Man in the Ion-Mask". Working with the CIA once more, the Atom traveled to Russia to foil Boris Kalumchuk's plot to poison America with irradiated gold. Ray joined the Justice League of America in their battle against the Shaggy Man.
Engagement to Jean Loring
Back in Ivy Town, the Atom earned a new villain - the Bug-Eyed Bandit. During this adventure Jean accepted his proposal for marriage for fear that Ray would eventually become too absorbed in his work to ask her anymore. When both Earth-One and Earth-Two were threatened by the Anti-Matter Man, the Atom was one of the Justice League and Justice Society members to gather to combat the threat.
Going solo in Ivy Town once again, the Atom crushed the Panther Gang and went on another Time Pool journey to 18th century France where he foiled an assassination attempt against Benjamin Franklin. Returning to the JLA, the Atom aided them in stopping the Lord of Time from manipulating Vietnam war hero Sgt. Eddie Brent. Returning home, Atom clashed with his old foe Chronos again. Later, when the entire population of Ivy Town suddenly shrunk, Ray learned that the cause was a chunk of white dwarf star matter landing in the city water supply, and cured the people with no ill side effects. Ray worked together with his Earth-Two counterpart in foiling a plot by the Thinker to rob Earth-One and escape to Earth-Two. At a JLA meeting, Atom, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Batman and Elongated Man all learned of Zatanna's success in freeing her father with the help of magical proxies that she created of the heroes, following her respective encounters with each of them.
Ray returned to Ivy Town where he stumbled upon and foiled another plot by Eddie Gordon to manipulate the Elvarian Bat-Knights. He was also present when the JLA had to face the evil Mastermind, who had turned many of the League members' weapons against them. Atom teamed-up with Hawkman once again to search for the missing Johnny Burns, a reformed crook, to reunite him with his sick mother. During the encounter, they battled Toyboy, Johnny's evil half brought to life when Mrs. Burns was briefly endowed with mental powers following a scientific accident. Rejoining the JLA, Atom foiled the Royal Flush Gang's attempt to destroy the League.
When paralyzed in a lab accident, Ray managed to get Jean to activate his size-control devices causing him to shrink to microscopic size, freeing him of the paralysis. Before returning to Earth, he saved the sub-atomic people of Palonds from the evil Honds. The Atom was also present to cheer on a UN-sponsored charity race between Superman and the Flash. He later teamed-up with Aquaman against the plankton creature called Galg the Destroyer. After a rematch against the Bug-Eyed Bandit, the Atom teamed-up with the Elongated Man against Chronos. After battling the Big Gang, witnessing another race between Superman and the Flash, and foiling "Smarts" and his gang, Atom had another Time Pool adventure to London to prevent Colonel Tom Blood from stealing the crown jewels from the Tower of London.
The Atom was one of the members of the Justice League to be enslaved by Queen Bee, until they were saved by Batgirl. In another revenge plot against the Justice League, Dr. Destiny briefly switched the League's bodies with some of their greatest foes. For a time, Atom was forced to trade bodies with Jason Woodrue, until Dr. Destiny's ultimate defeat. When twin transmitter towers on Earth-One and Earth-Two caused people to rapidly age either forward or backward, Earth-Two's Atom had to briefly battle a young and hot-headed Ray Palmer before destroying the towers and returning everyone back to normal. Atom worked with Batman in stopping the Cannoneer from robbing the Brotherhood Express. The Atom was also involved in a Justice League case where the group was embroiled in a gang war between the Pyrotekniks and the Bulleteers in a complex scheme hatched by mobster Leo Locke.
The Atom soon gained an unusual ally in his next adventure, Major Mynah, a mynah bird that he meets while stopping a group of Viet Cong soldiers from raiding a Cambodian temple while on an archeological dig in the region. With the bird injured in the battle, Atom took the helpful creature to Hawkman who replaced the bird's broken wings with mechanical ones. Major Mynah became Ray's pet, following him in both his civilian and costumed identities. After helping the Atom capture crooks, Major Mynah's involvement almost tips Jean off to Ray's secret identity and so he came up with a method of disguising Mynah for future adventures.. The Atom returned to the Justice League and foiled the Key's plot of using Superman to destroy the JLA, and later battled Dr. Anomaly. Ray and Major Mynah went into action to stop an invasion by the alien Physalians who fed on the humans they have captured. The Atom was one of the JLA members seemingly killed by T.O. Morrow, and was restored to life following Morrow's defeat at the hands of the JSA, their new ally Red Tornado and surviving members of the JLA.
Justice League Mainstay
As time went on, Ray eventually got less involved in solo adventures, often teaming up with either Hawkman or getting involved in many of the Justice League's cases.
Ray joined Carter and Shiera Hall on vacation in Mexico City and battled Telka and his followers. With the Justice League, the Atom battled the laughable Generalissimo Demmy Gog of Offalia, in a pathetic attempt to conquer the world. The Atom was hired by the FBI to break up a spy ring. He succeeded, thanks to the intervention of Major Mynah. This would mark the Atom's last use of Major Mynah. The bird's ultimate fate is unknown. Atom also found himself involved in a revenge plot enacted by criminal Jason Madden, who attempted to kill his former accomplice Chuck Wheeler. Atom aided the Justice League in clearing Green Arrow's name in a murder frame-up plotted by Headmaster Mind and the Tattooed Man. Ray was involved in a Justice League investigation of the new costumed vigilante known as the Creeper.
While attending a science convention with Carter Hall, Ray and Carter were attacked by a man resembling Carter. This got them embroiled in a battle against the Shiva, Hindu goddess of destruction, who with her army of Nether-Men was attempting to win back worship of humanity. Through the efforts of the Atom, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl, the plot was thwarted. The Atom joined his fellow Justice League colleagues in traveling to Mars and aiding their comrade Martian Manhunter against the evil Commander Blanx, a battle that ended with J'onn J'onzz's resignation from the team. Ray next went into action as the Atom to foil a plot by rival university professor Horace McByrd to discredit Ray among his peers. Ray joined the JLA and Hawkgirl in saving Hawkman who had been turned into salt by a group of demons, fighting off their minions - a biker gang known as the Gruesome Ghouls - in the process. When Professor Heinrich Von Rilk was almost assaulted by Ivy University students for destroying an electron-microscope, Ray learns that Von Rilk did it to prevent an invasion from a microscopic world. Investigating the claims as the Atom, Ray confirms Heinrich's story, and stops the invasion by defeating its vanguard, a creature known as Ag. Atom was among the members of the Justice League and Justice Society who banded together to save both universes from the threat of Aquarius, a living star creature bent on revenge for being exiled by his superiors.
When Jean Loring was kidnapped by the people of Jimberen, a microscopic world who believed that she is the descendant of their ruler, Atom and Hawkman teamed-up to rescue her. However, due to the radiation the people of Jimberen exposed Jean to, she was driven insane from the ordeal. The technology on Hawkman and Hawkgirl's homeworld, Thanagar, was advanced enough that it was possible to cure Jean, so Atom entrusted her to the care of Hawkgirl.
Focusing on Justice League business, Atom was one of the members who accidentally created an evil duplicate of himself with his ego, which battled the new Justice League member Black Canary. When an influential man named John Dough attempted to turn the United States government and American people against the JLA, manipulating Snapper Carr into betraying the group, the Atom got involved in the conflict, which revealed Dough to be none other than the Joker. Atom and the Justice League soon set up shop in a new base, an orbital satellite above the Earth.
Ray ultimately learned that Hawkgirl's quest to restore Jean's sanity on Thanagar was met with trouble when both women's souls were stolen by Norch Lor, a scientist from Thanagar, whose misguided plan to save the universe from the coming "end of all things" was attempting to collect the souls of all living beings in a Ghenna Box. With the help of Tomar-Re of the Green Lantern Corps, Ray and the Justice League restored Hawkgirl and Jean's souls to their bodies, Jean however was still insane. Atom and Hawkman traveled together en route to Thanagar to try and get Jean the help she needs, and along the way ran into the threat that Norch Lor was attempting to protect them from: The insane Jest-Master, who left all those in his path completely mad. With the help of the Justice League, Atom and Hawkman defeated the Jest-Master. In the aftermath of the battle, Jean's constant exposure to Jest-Master's insanity rays restored her sanity. Returning to Earth, the Atom again joined the Justice League and the Justice Society in preventing another threat to both Earth-One and Earth-Two, this time coming from a being called Creator2, whom by utilizing Red Tornado's connection to both realities, attempted to merge the two universes together, threatening to destroy both. Atom and his colleagues foiled this plot. However, the Spectre seemingly perished in the process.
Sword of the AtomRay and Jean's marriage became more strained over time as Jean's law practice and Ray's devotion to both science and super-heroics took time over their romance. Soon, Jean began an affair with her fellow lawyer Paul Hoben, which Ray stumbled upon one night. Realizing their marriage was on the rocks, Ray decided to investigate White Dwarf star radiations he detected in South America without Jean. Taking a flight with some drug runners, he learned too much about an illegal cocaine field, prompting the pilots to attempt to kill Ray. However, the pilot was shot and Ray jumped ship and shrunk down to Atom size. Ray was then struck by lightning, trapping him at a height of six inches. The plane crashed, and because one of the men aboard stole one of Ray's rings, the world presumed him dead and Jean went on with her life and pursued her relationship with Paul. Ray meanwhile found himself captured by aliens known as the Katarthans—small aliens whose ancestors were left on Earth centuries ago and lived in a world of high technology and barbarism. With a revolt immanent, Ray was captured along with members of a resistance led by Taren.
Forced into gladiator battles, Ray learned the Katarthans' language, befriended Taren, and learned that he hoped to overthrow their leader Caellich and marry princess Laethwen. The two men unknowingly became the pawns of Deraegis who seeked to cause the people to revolt against Caellich so that he could rule. To this end, he blinded Taren, causing the people to protest. Taren, Atom, and Laethwen escaped the arena and fled into the jungles where they reunited with the rebels. Knowing his end is near, Taren turned over leadership of the rebels to Atom, and perished while the group fled an army of carnivorous ants. Atom and Laethwen soon fell in love with each other. Atom led the warriors on to Moralaidh to launch a revolution. In the final battle, both Caellich and Deraegis were slain, but not before Deraegis activated an old star drive powered by a white dwarf star fragment. Attempting to save his newly adopted people, Ray dived into the plant to try and stop the reactor from exploding. However the white star radiation caused him to grow as it irradiated him and smashed his way through. Growing to near human height, Ray frightened the people away before the reactor exploded. Restored to his normal height and in a delirium caused by radiation exposure, Ray passed out and was found by rescuers. Waking up in the hospital, Ray came to realize that he no longer had an interest in returning to his old life and had moved on from Jean. Having learned that Jean had come to South America looking for him, he decided to finalize their divorce and try to find Laethwen again.
Returning to Ivy Town to settle his affairs, Ray realized that there was no way to rekindle his romance with Jean. In repairing his size change belt, Ray found that the process of shrinking caused him great pain due to his absorption of massive amounts of white dwarf radiation and feared that constantly changing his size would eventually kill him. Finalizing his divorce with Jean, Ray put his money in an expedition back to South America, taking along with him writer Norman Brawler to chronicle the experience. The two men ran afoul of drug dealers and Ray shrunk down to Atom, giving up his normal height seemingly for the last time to help destroy the drug operation. Finding the Moralaidh tribe and being reunited with Laethwen, Ray left Norman to find his own way back. Norman later published the tale in a book called The Atom's Farewell, which became a best seller.
Ray led Laethwen's people in building a new New Moralaidh and rebuilding the alien societies' lost technology. He and Laethwen would become wed as well. However, his past life could not stay away, as after Jean married Paul Hoben, the newly weds cleared out Ray's lab and she accidentally shrunk herself. In order to restore her to her normal height, Paul had Norman Brawler lead him and Jean to Ray. However, along the way, Jean was captured by minions the of rebel leader Torgul who had captured many of the Moralaidhian women including Laethwen. Ray led a mission to rescue the captured women, which ended in Torgul's death, and the freedom of his people. With Jean restored to her normal height, Ray and Laethwen wished them farewell, Ray leaving Paul with his old size changing belt.
Ray remained New Moralaidh's champion, but sometimes returned to aid his old allies in the Justice League of America.
When the evil Anti-Monitor attempted to destroy the entire multiverse, his opposing force the Monitor sacrificed his life to shunt the five surviving realities into limbo. However they were slowly merging together causing chaos on all worlds and threatening their destruction in the process. Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three and the Harbinger gathered heroes and villains from all realities in an attempt to rally their support in saving what was left of the multiverse. Atom was among their numbers and agreed to aid in the effort.
Ray was called in to examine the Red Tornado, who was recaptured by the heroes following a lengthy captivity under the Anti-Monitor who converted the android into an engine of destruction. However, despite the best efforts of the Atom and T.O. Morrow, the Red Tornado self-destructed, causing massive damage to the JLA Satellite, and apparently destroying the Red Tornado.
Later on in the Crisis, when a united group of super-villains from each surviving reality attempted to conquer each earth, Atom was among a group of super-heroes dispatched to Earth-S to attempt to quell the uprising in that reality. Although the heroes there were made prisoner, the Atom was part of a counter attack of heroes that weren't captured, and succeeded in freeing Billy Batson, allowing the boy to change into Captain Marvel and turn the tides of the battle.
Changes Caused by Crisis on Infinite Earths
Following the defeat of the Anti-Monitor, the surviving parallel worlds were combined to create a new universe. While much of the Atom's Pre-Crisis history remains the same, many of his past adventures may have been altered or erased from existence entirely. In particular, Atom's encounters with Hawkman may be different (if they still exist) given the extensive changes of Hawkman's origins. The Thanagarian Katar Hol is replaced in Post-Crisis history with Earth native Carter Hall the Hawkman formerly from Earth-Two.
In addition, due to the massive changes in the histories of his fellow JLA colleagues Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, the Atom's history may have been altered by proxy and many of his adventures alongside these heroes are no longer part of history.
In addition, many of the adventures that the Atom had with the Justice League of America that involved traveling to other universes, particularly their encounters with the Justice Society of America on Earth-Two, likely no longer exist, or if they do, in a vastly different manner such that the multiversal threat was simply a threat to a single unified universe.
Lastly, the Atom's encounters with his Earth-Two counterpart may no longer be part of history, or if they are, they have been altered in such a way to accommodate the notion that these adventures only happened in a single universe as opposed to having occurred on Earth-One and Earth-Two.
Power of the Atom
The Katarthans and their village were soon wiped out by a horrible fire and the Atom returned to Ivy Town, only to find that one of his friends had written a book exposing Ray's secret identity in his absence. After battling various foes, such as Strobe, Humbug, and Swarm, Ray learned that a US Government agency had engineered the destruction of the Katarthans, in order to induce his return to the States. He avenged the Katarthans by permanently reducing the agents responsible for the massacre to six inches in height. Ray returned to Ivy Town just long enough to bid his friends farewell, and then briefly went into hiding.
The shrunken agents, now calling themselves the Micro Squad, vowed revenge on Ray. Ginsburg, one of their number, made an attempt on Ray's life, but died in the attempt. Ray approached Amanda Waller, who convinced him to fake his own death and secretly join the espionage unit known as the Suicide Squad. As a part of this mission, Ray went undercover and Adam Cray served in the Suicide Squad as the new Atom. Adam was killed by Blacksnake and Ray resumed the role of the Atom. Later still, he joined the then-current Justice League on a semi-active basis.
Al Pratt, the original Atom, died during a battle against Extant in Zero Hour. During this event, Ray was also hit with a blast of chrono-energy that de-aged him into a youth again. He would go on to become a member of the Teen Titans.
In time, Ray and Jean were able to be friends again. In the divorce she had received half of his patents. As a gesture of friendship, Jean decided to sign them back to him. Little did he know that this was but one of many facets to Jean's deadly scheme to win Ray back. Since their divorce, Jean had somehow become seriously deranged and believed that the only way to be reunited with Ray was to force the issue. Incredibly, she devised an elaborate plan to endanger Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man, Ralph Dibny. Jean was privy to the fact that every year on her birthday, Ralph would be absent solving a custom-tailored mystery devised by Sue. She bypassed the Dibnys' security by shrinking down and traveling via the phone lines into their home. She then entered Sue's body and obstructed the blood flow to her brain. To cover up this evidence, Jean scorched Sue's body.
Jean knew that this event would send all the heroes scrambling to protect their loved ones and—hopefully—drive Ray back into her arms. Jean employed two other schemes to cover her tracks. First, she faked an attempt on her life; then she hired Captain Boomerang to kill Robin's father Jack Drake. She supplied Drake with a gun to defend himself, hoping that Boomerang would be killed and that everyone would believe he was Sue's killer as well. Eventually, Dr. Mid-Nite's autopsy of Sue's body revealed the truth, and the Atom himself elicited a confession from Jean after she inadvertently spilled the beans when asking about a letter sent to Jack along with the gun. Ray managed to put two and two together, because Batman had taken the letter away from the crime scene even before the police arrived, so only he and the Leaguers were supposed to know of its existence. She was promptly admitted to Arkham Asylum. With Jean's incarceration, Ray was overwhelmed with despair, and shrank continuously until he vanished completely into a microscopic or subatomic world.
Ray's legacy would continue on with Ryan Choi utilizing a version of his costume and shrinking device to become the current Atom for a short time.
Ray took refuge the Nanoverse, and met a young mystic who told him about the new reformed existence of the Multiverse. He traveled through different realities and found himself in Earth-51, where the heroes had eradicated supercrime and created a utopian Earth. There he witnessed his Earth-51 counterpart's death and took his role in this reality, including marrying this world's Jean Loring.
While there he studied much about his Earth-51 counterpart and discovered that he never became the Atom, though he acted as a scientist consultant to the Earth-51 Justice League. Also, this Ray was gifted with the ability to be immune to all kinds of diseases and viruses. Furthermore, the Earth-51 Palmer had worked on preventing the deadly Morticoccus Virus, and knowing that in every reality of the Multiverse, there is deadly chance that the virus would appear, he decided to travel the Multiverse and inoculate the inhabitants of each universe with his immune system. Realizing the importance of his counterpart's work, Ray carried on Earth-51 Ray's work and traveled to different worlds, inoculating each denizen of every Earth with a resistance to the Morticoccus Virus.
Unbeknownst to Ray, the Monitors and the Challengers from Beyond (Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy, Jason Todd and Bob the Monitor) were scouring the reformed Multiverse for him as they believe that he may be the one to prevent a cataclysm known as the Great Disaster. Eventually the Challengers discovered him and learned about his history on Earth-51. Shortly afterwards, Bob reveals his intention to kill Ray. With the Challengers' help, Ray escaped but witnessed the death of his Earth-51 friends and his alternate wife.
Despite what the Challengers were told by the Monitors, Ray revealed to them that it was the Ray Palmer of Earth-51 who was meant to stop the Great Disaster.
After joining the Challengers, teaming up with Jimmy Olsen, Forager, Harley Quinn, Holly Robinson, Mary Marvel, and Firestorm on Apokolips, Ray discovers that Karate Kid was infected with the Morticoccus Virus. Following the damages to the planet by the Pied Piper and Brother Eye, Ray secretly eavesdropped on Monitor Solomon and Darkseid, learning that Darkseid wanted to remake reality and Solomon wanted the Great Disaster to happen. Alerted by this, Ray returned to the others and was pressured into curing Karate Kid.
Ray and the others were then teleported back to the reconstructed Earth-51, to seek advanced medical attention from Project Cadmus; however, by the time they got to Cadmus, Karate Kid was already dead.
Ray helped the scientists at Cadmus to find a cure to the Morticoccus Virus after the virus was released to the world. Despite everything he had done, the Great Disaster prevailed, forcing Ray and his friends to return to their Earth.
After returning to their world, Jimmy Olsen was kidnapped by Mary Marvel, who had been corrupted by Darkseid. Ray hitched a ride from within Jimmy. When Darkseid took control of Jimmy's powers, Ray located and shut down the control sphere inside Jimmy's brain, but was then swarmed by Apokoliptan antibodies. While escaping this onslaught, Ray discovered the "battery" containing the New God spirit energies. Ray removes it from Jimmy's head and shatters it, releasing the energies.
Ray later (after much cajoling) joined Donna, Kyle, and Forager in their new mission as border guards to the Multiverse, realizing that there is nothing left for him on New Earth anymore. However, Palmer returns to New Earth one more time, upon realizing that his old nemesis Chronos had taken his identity to mislead a young pretender, Ryan Choi. After helping his successor to once again save Ivy Town, he returns to the Multiverse with a new sense of fulfillment, leaving his town in the hands of a new, capable hero.
During the events of the Blackest Night, Ray asks Hawkman to visit his wife Jean Loring's grave, to honor her as a fallen member of the community, but Hawkman refuses due to her murdering Sue Dibny. Ray later called Hawkman again, over the phone (unaware that his friend has been killed and resurrected as a Black Lantern). Atom was then invited to visit Carter in order to discuss his heartache over his wife, when the deceased Carter actually planned on killing him.
Arriving at Carter's house, he was attacked by the Black Lantern Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and only escaped by miniaturizing himself and hiding in Carter's Black Lantern Ring. Ray did a thorough exploration of the ring, discovering that it was nothing like Hal Jordan's power ring, instead made of dark matter with micro-wormholes sending energy to an unknown source. Jumping out, he helped Hal and Barry Allen fight off the Black Lantern Justice Leaguers, with his compassion attracting the Black Lantern Dibnys. Ralph mocked Ray for still being love with Jean after she killed Sue, but the two Dibny Lanterns were destroyed by the Indigo Tribe, the wielders of the indigo light of compassion, then teleporting the three living Leaguers to the Hall of Justice, where they met up with Firestorm Jason Rusch and Mera. After Indigo-1, leader of the Indigo Tribe, explained that the Black Lanterns were expressions of darkness which considered the living to be invaders, Barry and Hal pointed out that Ralph and Sue had no reaction to each others' attack, leading Ray to conclude that the Black rings were some sort of organic computer that rebooted the body without restoring their essences. Before they could plan a proper counter-attack, the Black Lantern League arrived and attacked, and the Indigo Tribe teleported Hal away, leaving Ray, Barry, and Mera without a means to effectively fight the Black Lanterns. Ray was almost turned into a Black Lantern by a reanimated Batman, but was ultimately protected by an unknown force. Ganthet inducts him into the Indigo Tribe as a deputy for his strong compassion.
Indigo-1 claimed that she can teleport the armies of each Lantern Corps onto Earth, if given time to meditate, so the responsibility falls to Ray to protect her while she does so. Before she enters her trance, she revealed to Ray that the indigo staff and his overwhelming compassion allows him to mimic the other powers of the Lantern Corps; she demonstrates this by temporarily becoming a Red Lantern and vomiting corrosive blood all over an attacking company of Black Lanterns. She then enters her trance, while Ray fights off Black Lanterns Hawkman and Hawkgirl by temporarily becoming an Orange Lantern, loudly proclaiming "I want my friends back!" He then summons two orange energy duplicates of Khufu and Chay-Ara to help him fight off his and Indigo-1's attackers. He is briefly successful, but then Jean shows up to torment him, and leaped into Indigo-1's ring. Ray followed her, and ended up reliving Sue Dibny's death, and was then attacked by various Black Lantern Morlaidhans, the miniscule race he befriended during his time in the Amazon jungle years before. He fought them off and--summoning the powers of a Green Lantern--destroys Jean. Indigo-1 managed to summon the various armies and thanks Ray for his help. He told her to keep his involvement in the deployment of the troops a secret, and asked that she help him find a way to legitimately resurrect Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
Ray Palmer is a hard-working, dedicated man. In fact, "dedicated" is hardly the word for it; "driven" is a little closer to the truth. Once Ray starts working on a problem or puzzle, there is absolutely no stopping him. This single-minded pursuit of his goals is more than a little responsible for Ray's shattered marriage, though it has occasionally come in handy to Ray the crime fighter. In spite of his obsessiveness, Ray is a level-headed hero and a likable human being.
- Microscopic Stability: For some reason, Ray's physiology allows him to not explode when he is miniaturized unlike other living things which explode after a short time of being miniaturized.
- Judo: Ray Palmer often finds himself in situation where physical violence become necessary. As such, he has developed a proficiency in the martial art judo.
- Physics: Dr. Palmer has a Ph.D. in physics and was a full professor at Ivy University.
- Swordsmanship: The Atom used a long sword as a weapon while living among the Katarthans, gaining considerable skill in its use.
- Missing Hand (Formerly): During the events of Convergence, he allowed Baracuda to cut off his left hand to save Ryan Choi from the miniverse.
- Bio-Belt: Originally, Ray's size/weight controls were located in his belt buckle. However, he later moved them to his gloves for greater accessibility and swifter transitions, and in the costume he wore after his days in New Morlaidh, had an encepholpathic grid in his mask that allowed him to do it mentally.
- Size Alteration: Able to shrink his body to varying degrees (including the subatomic level), achieved by storing most of his mass in a pocket dimension. As the Atom, Ray can assume any size from his normal six-foot stature down to sub-microscopic, although he generally deems a height of six inches as most functional.
- Mass Alteration: Able to instantly alter his molecular density to whatever degree he desires. Ray can also assume any weight at any height—up to his full 180 pounds.
- Flight: He is able to glide on air currents and stiff breezes. A favorite travel method Ray had, was to call some location on the telephone; when the intended phone answered, he could shrink down enough to literally travel through the phone lines in seconds to emerge out of the answering phone.
- Superhuman Strength: By shifting all his mass into his fists he can punch with incredible force.
- Dimensional Travel: Ray found out that by shrinking beyond the subatomic scale he could slip beneath reality at the quantum level to traverse around the multiverse at will.
- Katarthan's Sword: The Atom used a long sword as a weapon while living among the Katarthans, gaining considerable skill in its use.
- Indigo Tribe Staff: (Formerly)
- The Atom's civilian identity was included by Julius Schwartz as a homage to the notorious science fiction editor Raymond A. Palmer.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One 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 should be considered apocryphal.
- Ray cannot travel through cell phone connections without paying a great physical toll. In Power of the Atom #1, the Atom was transduced into microwaves and bounced off a satellite; and when he reached his destination, he was comatose and only three feet tall. The second time he travelled as microwaves in a cell phone network was in Power of the Atom #16 and he was not able to stand for a few moments.
- 775 Appearances of Raymond Palmer (New Earth)
- 128 Images featuring Raymond Palmer (New Earth)
- 37 Quotations by or about Raymond Palmer (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Raymond Palmer (New Earth)
- ↑ The Atom #3
- ↑ The Atom #36
- ↑ Showcase #34 "Birth of the Atom!"
- ↑ Showcase #34 - "Battle of the Tiny Titans"
- ↑ Showcase #35 - "The Dooms From Beyond"
- ↑ Showcase #36 - "Prisoner in a Test Tube"
- ↑ Showcase #36 - "The 'Disappearing Act' Robberies"
- ↑ The Atom #1 - "Master of the Plant World"
- ↑ The Atom #2 - "The Oddest Man on Earth"
- ↑ The Atom #2 - "The Prisoners Who Vanished"
- ↑ Justice League of America #14 - "The Menace of the 'Atom' Bomb"
- ↑ The Atom #3 - "The Time Trap"
- ↑ The Atom #3 - "The Secret of 'Al Atom's' Lamp"
- ↑ Justice League of America #15 - "The Challenge of the Untouchable Aliens"
- ↑ The Atom #4 - "The Machine That Made 'Miracles'"
- ↑ The Atom #4 - "The Case of the Innocent Thief"
- ↑ Justice League of America #16 - "The Cavern of Deadly Spheres"
- ↑ The Atom #5 - "The Diamond of Deadly Dooms"
- ↑ The Atom #5 - "The Specter of 3000-Moons Lake"
- ↑ Justice League of America #17 - "The Triumph of the Tornado Tyrant"
- ↑ Justice League of America #18 - "Journey into the Micro-World"
- ↑ The Atom #6 - "The Riddle of the Two-Faced Astronaut"
- ↑ The Atom #6 - "The Highwayman and the Mighty Mite"
- ↑ Justice League of America #19 - "The Super-Exiles of Earth"
- ↑ The Atom #7 - "The Case of the Cosmic Camera"
- ↑ Justice League of America #20 - "The Mystery of Spaceman X"
- ↑ Justice League of America #21 - "Crisis on Earth-One"
- ↑ Justice League of America #22 - "Crisis on Earth-Two"
- ↑ The Atom #8 - "Lockup in the Lethal Lightbulb"
- ↑ The Atom #8 - "The Purloined Miniatures"
- ↑ The Atom #9 - "The Atom's Phantom Double"
- ↑ The Atom #9 - "The Seaman and the Spyglass"
- ↑ Justice League of America #23 - "Drones of the Queen Bee"
- ↑ The Atom #10 - "Ride a Deadly Grenade"
- ↑ The Atom #10 - "The Mysterious Swan-Maiden"
- ↑ Justice League of America #24 - "Decoy Missions of the Justice League"
- ↑ Justice League of America #25 - "Outcasts of Infinity"
- ↑ The Atom #11 - "Trouble at the Ten-Year Club"
- ↑ The Atom #11 - "Voyage to Beyond"
- ↑ Justice League of America #26 - "Four Worlds to Conquer"
- ↑ The Atom #12 - "Danger -- Atom-Gun at Work"
- ↑ The Atom #12 - "The Gold Hunters of '49"
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #53 - "The Challenge of the Expanding World"
- ↑ Justice League of America #27 - "The 'I' Who Defeated the Justice League"
- ↑ The Atom #13 - "Weapon Watches of the Time-Wise Guy"
- ↑ The Atom #13 - "I Accuse Ray Palmer -- of Robbery"
- ↑ Green Lantern (Volume 2) #29 - "This World is Mine"
- ↑ Justice League of America #28 - "The Case of the Forbidden Super-Powers"
- ↑ Action Comics #314 - "The Day Superman Became the Flash"
- ↑ The Atom #14 - "Revolt of the Atom's Uniform"
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #55 - "Revenge of the Robot Reject"
- ↑ The Atom #15 - "Illusions For Sale"
- ↑ The Atom #15 - "The Super-Safecracker Who Defied the Law"
- ↑ Justice League of America #31 - "Riddle of the Runaway Room"
- ↑ Aquaman #18
- ↑ The Atom #16 - "Fate of the Flattened-Out Atom"
- ↑ Justice League of America #32 - "Attack of the Star-Bolt Warrior"
- ↑ The Atom #17 - "Case of the Hooded Hijackers"
- ↑ The Atom #17 - "Jules Verne's Crystal Ball"
- ↑ Justice League of America #33 - "Enemy from the Timeless World"
- ↑ Justice League of America #34 - "The Deadly Dreams of Doctor Destiny"
- ↑ The Atom #18 - "The Hole-in-the-Wall Lawman"
- ↑ The Atom #18 - "The Atomic Flea"
- ↑ The Atom #19 - "World of the Magic Atom"
- ↑ Justice League of America #36 - "The Case of the Disabled Justice League"
- ↑ The Atom #20 - "Challenge of the Computer Crooks"
- ↑ The Atom #20 -"The Night of the Little People"
- ↑ Hawkman #9 - "Master Trap of the Matter Master"
- ↑ Justice League of America #37 - "Earth -- Without a Justice League"
- ↑ Justice League of America #38 - "Crisis on Earth-A"
- ↑ The Atom #21 - "Combat Under Glass"
- ↑ The Atom #21 - "The Adventure of the Canceled Birthday"
- ↑ Justice League of America #40 - "Indestructible Creatures of Nightmare Island"
- ↑ The Atom #22 - "Bat-Knights of Darkness"
- ↑ Batman #177 - "Two Batmen Too Many"
- ↑ Justice League of America #41 - "The Key-Master of the World"
- ↑ The Atom #23 - "Riddle of the Far-Out Robbery"
- ↑ The Atom #23 - "Thief with the Tricky Toy"
- ↑ The Flash #158 - "The One-Man Justice League"
- ↑ Justice League of America #42 - "Metamorpho Says -- No"
- ↑ The Atom #24 - "The Atom-Destruction of Earth"
- ↑ Justice League of America #44 - "The Plague That Struck the Justice League"
- ↑ The Atom #25 - "The Man in the Ion Mask"
- ↑ The Atom #25 - "The Spy Who Went Out for the Gold"
- ↑ Justice League of America #45 - "The Super-Struggle Against Shaggy Man"
- ↑ The Atom #26 - "The Eye-Popping Perils of the Insect Bandit"
- ↑ Justice League of America #46 - "Crisis Between Earth-One and Earth-Two"
- ↑ Justice League of America #47 - "The Bridge Between Earths"
- ↑ The Atom #27 - "Beauty and the Beast-Gang"
- ↑ The Atom #27 - "Stowaway on a Hot-Air Balloon"
- ↑ Justice League of America #50 - "The Lord of Time Attacks the 20th Century"
- ↑ The Atom #28 - "Time-Standstill Thefts"
- ↑ The Atom #28 - "The 100,000 'Atoms' of Ivy Town"
- ↑ The Atom #29 - "The Thinker's Earth-Shaking Robberies"
- ↑ Justice League of America #51 - "Z -- as in Zatanna -- and Zero Hour"
- ↑ The Atom #30 - "Daze of the Bat-Knights"
- ↑ Justice League of America #53 - "Secret Behind the Stolen Super-Weapons"
- ↑ The Atom #31 - "Good Man, Bad Man – Turnabout Thief"
- ↑ Justice League of America #54 - "History-Making Costumes of the Royal Flush Gang"
- ↑ The Atom #32 - "The Up and Down Dooms of the Atom"
- ↑ Superman #199 - "Superman's Race with the Flash"
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #73
- ↑ The Atom #33 - "Amazing Arsenal of the Atom-Assassin"
- ↑ Detective Comics #368 - "The Treacherous Time-Trap"
- ↑ The Atom #34 - "Little Man -- You've Had a Big-Gang Day"
- ↑ The Flash #175 - "The Race to the End of the Universe"
- ↑ The Atom #35 - "Plight of the Pin-Up Atom"
- ↑ The Atom #35 - "Col. Blood Steals the Crown Jewels"
- ↑ Justice League of America #60 - "Winged Warriors of the Immortal Queen"
- ↑ Justice League of America #61 - "Operation:Jail the Justice League"
- ↑ The Atom #36 - "Duel Between the Dual Atoms"
- ↑ The Brave and the Bold #77 - "So Thunders the Cannoneer"
- ↑ Justice League of America #62 - "Panic from a Blackmail Box"
- ↑ The Atom #37 - "Meet Major Mynah"
- ↑ Justice League of America #63 - "Time Signs a Death-Warrant for the Justice League"
- ↑ Justice League of America #240 - "The Future Ain't What It Used to Be"
- ↑ The Atom #38 - "Sinister Stopover... Earth"
- ↑ Justice League of America #65 - "T.O. Morrow Kills the Justice League -- Today"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #39 - "Vengeance of the Silver Vulture"
- ↑ Justice League of America #66 - "Divided -- They Fall"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #40 - "The Explosive Exploit of the Split-Atom"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #41 - "Return of the Seven-Year Dead Man"
- ↑ Justice League of America #69 - "A Matter of Menace"
- ↑ Justice League of America #70 - "Versus the Creeper"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #42 - "When Gods Make Madness"
- ↑ Justice League of America #71 - "...and So My World Ends"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #43 - "Buzzin', Buzzin' -- Who's Got the Buzzin'?"
- ↑ Justice League of America #72 - "13 Days to Doom"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #44 - "Hate is Where You Find It"
- ↑ Justice League of America #73 - "Star Light, Star Bright -- Death Star I See Tonight"
- ↑ Justice League of America #74 - "Where Death Fears to Tread"
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #45 - "Queen Jean, Why Must We Die?"
- ↑ Justice League of America #72 - "In Each Man There is a Demon"
- ↑ Justice League of America #77 - "Snapper Carr -- Super-Traitor!"
- ↑ Justice League of America #78
- ↑ Justice League of America #78 - "The Coming of the Doomsters"
- ↑ Justice League of America #79 - "Come Slowly Death, Come Slyly!"
- ↑ Justice League of America #80 - "Night of the Soul-Stealer!"
- ↑ Justice League of America #81 - "Plague of the Galactic Jest-Master
- ↑ Justice League of America #82 - "Peril of the Paired Planets"
- ↑ Justice League of America #82 - "Where Valor Fails... Will Magic Triumph?"
- ↑ Sword of the Atom #1
- ↑ Sword of the Atom #2
- ↑ Sword of the Atom #3
- ↑ Sword of the Atom #4
- ↑ Sword of the Atom Special #1
- ↑ Sword of the Atom Special #2
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths #4
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths #5
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths #8
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths #9
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths #10
- ↑ Secret Origins (Volume 2) #29
- ↑ Power of the Atom
- ↑ Power of the Atom #17
- ↑ Power of the Atom #18
- ↑ Suicide Squad #44
- ↑ Suicide Squad #61
- ↑ JLA #27
- ↑ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #3
- ↑ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #1, see excerpt
- ↑ Identity Crisis #1
- ↑ Identity Crisis #3
- ↑ Identity Crisis #6
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #6
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #5
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #4
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #3
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #2
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #1
- ↑ The All-New Atom #25
- ↑ Final Crisis #7
- ↑ Blackest Night #1
- ↑ Blackest Night #2
- ↑ Blackest Night #3
- ↑ Blackest Night #6
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #46
- ↑ The Atom and Hawkman #43
- ↑ Convergence #2
- ↑ Showcase #34
- ↑ The Atom #19
- ↑ 182.0 182.1 Who's Who: Update '88 #1
- ↑ Countdown to Final Crisis #18
|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.
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|Indigo Tribe member|
This character is or was a member of the Indigo Tribe. These are individuals who show an incredible capacity for compassion, and were given Power Rings
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