Ryan Choi is the fourth, All-New Atom. Both academically and as a superhero, he was the successor of Ray Palmer.
Doctor Ryan Choi emigrated to the United States from Hong Kong following the death of his mother, to take up Ray Palmer's former position at Ivy University. Ryan had a deeper motivation for doing this, however; he had been in touch with Ray since he was a boy, and knew Ray had left him the legacy of the size-changing belt which Ray had originally used to become the Atom. Having found the belt, Ryan intended to explore the microscopic world, and utilize the belt's capabilities to benefit modern society—only to find a multitude of secrets awaiting The All-New Atom beneath the surface of Ivy Town.
In his first recorded adventure, the Atom fought an alien culture known as the Waiting, native to a sub-microscopic dimension. Agents of the Waiting infiltrated the White House, their intent to install a mind-control device into Duster—a dog owned by the President of the United States. It was their belief that the dog controlled the actions of the President. The Atom shrunk himself to microscopic size and fought several of the alien agents, even succeeding in destroying one of their space crafts. The remaining agents quickly retreated before the Atom could capture them.
This was not Ryan's first encounter with the Waiting. He first met them shortly after his discovery of the Bio-Belt, when his investigation into a homeless woman's disappearance took him into the sewers of Ivy Town. There, he encountered the Waiting—and discovered they were at war with a monstrous creature called M'nagalah, a war of science against magic. More disturbing yet, M'nagalah and the Waiting saw Ryan as a critical figure in this war, one who could tip the fight either way. While trying to avoid capture by both sides, Ryan fell in with Ivy Town University's Dean Mayfield, who explained the town had become a nexus for weirdness—and his theory that Ray Palmer's 'impossible' actions in the course of his adventures had inadvertently been responsible.
Mayfield attempted to persuade Ryan to return home, bringing Ryan's father in to convince him. Following an attack by the Waiting on Ryan's house, however, Ryan learned the war between science and magic was about to begin—and that the Waiting had launched a sneak attack on the U.S. President as a distraction. Ryan plunged into the events of his first recorded adventure, heading off the Waiting, before returning to try and stop the war.
Unknown to Ryan, however, Dean Mayfield was intent on making sure science won the impending conflict—and for that, he needed Ryan out of the way, by any means necessary. Mayfield had recruited psychopathic serial killer Sylbert Rundine as an agent, equipping him with one of the Bio-Belts, and giving him the name Dwarfstar. At first Mayfield's source of the Bio-Belts was undetermined, though later issues revealed Mayfield to be working for Chronos, who provided not only the Bio-Belts, but also some of Ivy's population and many of the situations in which Ryan found himself.
Upon Ryan's return to Ivy Town, he found himself facing off against Dwarfstar, receiving severe injuries at the psychopath's hands. Ryan managed to defeat Dwarfstar by removing his bio-belt when the villain was distracted, trapping him at the micro-scale.
Next, Ryan had to stop the war. First, he convinced M'nagalah to honor a truce if Ryan could get the Waiting to withdraw. Then, by provoking the Waiting into turning on their own forces, he demonstrated he knew how to destroy them, forcing them to retreat. Both sides withdrew, leaving no final victor—apart, perhaps, from Ryan and Ivy Town.
Ryan Choi was later involved in the search for the missing Ray Palmer, traveling into the restored Multiverse along with Donna Troy, Jason Todd and a Monitor nicknamed "Bob". Literally plucked back to New Earth, he left his role of dimension-hopper to Kyle Rayner, returning to defend Ivy Town from a monster invasion.
Ryan continued to battle the "strangeness" of Ivy Town, eventually discovering Chronos' manipulations, with the help of Lady Chronos, a future version of Ryan's first love, Jia. Ryan discovered that the Bio-Belts worked by injecting matter-borrowing "worms" into the wearer's bloodstream; these worms would cause the size & weight changes Ryan, Dwarfstar, and others experienced with the belts.
With Chronos' plans revealed, including manipulating Ryan into believing that Choi had communicated with Ray Palmer when, in fact, all the letters had been forged, Palmer himself stepped in to help solve the issue of the many Ivy Town residents who had been supposedly consumed by one of the "worms" but, instead, had been transported to a presumably microscopic world within Ryan's own blood. Although Palmer had to destroy the surviving Bio-Belt (the other having been destroyed earlier), Ryan was somehow left with the innate ability to change his own size and mass. Ryan bested the Chronos couple and restored Ivy to normalcy. This earned him blessing Ray's blessing.
Both Ray and Ryan were later employed by Checkmate, as their powers were necessary to activate the Black Gambit, the plan to transport the last free humans on Earth-0 to another universe. Despite receiving Ray's blessing, Ryan decided to create a new identity for himself. After defeating Killer Moth, Ray told him to continue using the Atom title.
Brightest Day & Death
Ryan came home after a day of fighting the Floronic Man only to find Deathstroke and his Titans there to greet him. A fight ensued and Ryan was attacked by Deathstroke, clawed by Cheshire, burned by Cinder, slung by Tattooed Man, and shut down by Osiris. During the fight, his girlfriend had walked in and Deathstroke decided to stay the battle so she wouldn't be hurt. Without knowing what was happening, she left, and Ryan died that day in the fight, finally slain by Deathstroke's blade. He was packaged and sent to Dwarfstar in a matchbox as proof of his death.
Powers and Abilities
- Size Alteration: Ryan Choi originally possessed no superhuman abilities; all of his perceived powers derived from his equipment. At the end of the series, though, Ryan was able to control his own size and mass without equipment, though to what degree and by what mechanism was left unclear.
- Bio-Belt: Ryan used a size-changing belt called the Bio-Belt to become the Atom. The Bio-Belt gave its wearer the ability to take any height from his full size on down through the subatomic. It also gave him the ability to assume any mass, any weight, and any density at any height, from his full mass on down. The Bio-Belt was later revealed to be a product of Chronos' travels through time, though its location and time of origin have not been revealed. The belt used "matter-borrowing" worm-like creatures to operate. Mayfield possessed two Bio-Belts; the one not given to Ryan was given to Dwarfstar, and later used by Panda and Ryan himself. Both belts have since been destroyed, though Ryan now possesses the Atom powers innately.
- Singularity Field Generator: This device plugs into the Bio-Belt, drawing on its power. It translates the environment around Ryan when he shrinks, enabling him to breathe. It also maintains Ryan's stability for a prolonged period when he shrinks, preventing him from exploding. Stories since the destruction of the Bio-Belt have not revealed if Ryan still uses, or even needs, the generator.
- Bangstick: The Lighter Than Air Society created a particle drive device, based on technology retrieved from the Waiting, which Helmond Kettering calls the Bangstick. This device enables the Atom to propel his body at great speeds through subatomic environments. The Bangstick was destroyed during Ryan's microscopic adventure against Chronos and Lady Chronos; it has not been revealed if Ryan has replaced it.
- Bangstick: The Bangstick, mentioned above, could also be used as a concussive weapon.
- Ryan Choi is a self-professed atheist.
- He was born 1983 and supposedly died 2011, which makes him 28 years old.
- Grant Morrison submitted a ten-page outline for a new Atom series to DC's editorial staff, but his commitment to the weekly series 52 precluded him from actually working on the title. The ongoing series, entitled The All-New Atom, was passed along to writer Gail Simone, artist John Byrne and inker Trevor Scott.
- Although officially introduced in Brave New World #1, the new Atom made a cameo teaser appearance in a two-page preview spread at the end of Infinite Crisis #7.
- 50 Appearances of Ryan Choi (New Earth)
- 43 Images featuring Ryan Choi (New Earth)
- 12 Quotations by or about Ryan Choi (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Ryan Choi (New Earth)
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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.