"Truth": The Tangent Atom (Adam Thompson) makes his first appearance in public in New York City, while being secretly watch by President Schwartz and his Chief of Staff John Holliday from a micro-camera. The At

Tangent Comics: Atom #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of December, 1997.

Synopsis for "Truth"

The Tangent Atom (Adam Thompson) makes his first appearance in public in New York City, while being secretly watch by President Schwartz and his Chief of Staff John Holliday from a micro-camera. The Atom flies to a water tower and burst through it, and revealing it to be a hideout for the supervillain team called the Fatal Five, who are responsible for the death of Adam's father, the second Atom. Adam dispatches the villains in order to get to their leader and the mastermind behind his father's murder: Shadow Thief. The Fatal Five ringleader mocks Adam and enigmatically tells him that his grandfather was responsible for nearly destroying Earth and that his family's legacy was built on lies. Before a confuse Adam could question him, Shadow Thief teleports away. Adam walks out of the water tower and finds a crowd of anxious people, who are fans of his family, in which he is not keen to be in the public's attentions. When learning from the onlookers about the hidden micro-camera that is following him, Adam destroys it.

Despite losing the camera, President Schwartz is able to request for information on the Atom and learning the history of the original Atom.

After the end of World War II, the American government began a program of research of exposing soldiers to nuclear detonations in order to study the effects of radiation on human beings. All these "subjects" died, but saving one: Arthur Thompson, who gained atomic powers and was heavily mutated. The military kept Arthur as a prisoner to be studied by Doctor Miles Dey. By the events of the Cuban Missile crisis, Arthur was worried of a possible nuclear Armageddon and he decided to avert this with gradual permission from his government. But by the time he flew to Florida, he was too late to find the state and much of the southeast coast destroyed in atomic fire, and World War III has begun. Knowing that America and Russia would engulf the world in a nuclear holocaust, Arthur intercepted the already airborne nuclear missiles from their respective nations and neutralized them.

From his efforts, Arthur became an instant hero and entered into the public eye as the first superhero, calling himself The Atom. Due to the publicity, the American government couldn't control him. Arthur used his hero status to enter into economics and became a rich man and celebrity. Also his appearance greatly impacted human culture ranging from superhero-based TV shows to fast-food chains. Following Arthur's wake, other heroes soon appear and were inspired by Arthur, and helped accelerated the world's technology years ahead of its time. But near the end of the 1960's Arthur had suddenly and mysteriously vanished, even during the midst of the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia which America desperately needed him. The answer for Arthur's disappearance came in 1969 when the first American astronauts landed on the moon and discovered that Arthur had been living there with a new family. By the 1970's, his son carried his father's legacy as the second Atom. Unfortunately he came to a tragic end when the newly emerged Fatal Five killed him. At the second Atom's private funeral, the world learned that he fathered a son, Adam, and hoped that he will fill the void left by his father and grandfather.

President Schwartz is amazed of learning the Atom's history and what is happening right now. But he is perplex of what the Shadow Thief had said to the third Atom. Somewhere, the shadow government agency known as Nightwing, led by its director Marcus Moore, spies on Schwartz. Moore indignantly criticize the unsuspecting President that there is more than he need to know before focusing his attention on finding Adam Thompson.

Meanwhile, Adam thinks to himself at a park, upset for letting the Shadow Thief to escape and unable to completely avenge his father's death which he had since sworn as a child. He is then met by a young girl who ask for his autograph and the two begins a friendly chat between them, revealing about himself and his family life. Adam then leave as he ponders on what Shadow Thief's words meant about his family. He decides to find this out from his grandfather.

Nightwing soon finds Adam from their spy satellite and with intentions on destroying heroes like him. They observe Adam heading to a yacht owned by Arthur Thompson in the Atlantic Ocean and sees this as a opportune chance in disposing them altogether.

As Adam meets with his grandfather, Arthur chastise his grandson for bearing his mantle as he is worried that people nowadays distrusts superheroes much to Adam's disbelief. Adam tells Arthur about his capture of the Fatal Five and more importantly of Shadow Thief's cryptic words in which his grandfather seems very reluctant to answer.

Meanwhile, Shadow Thief returns to one of his secret bases as he joyfully complement to have another "challenge" with the new Atom. He then receives an anonymous E-mail from his computer and opens it to find a photograph of Adam and Arthur along with the coordinates to their location. Realizing this is a setup from whoever sent him the E-mail, Shadow Thief takes the chance to kill the Thompsons for good.

Back on the yacht, Arthur is clearly avoiding to answer his grandson on what Shadow Thief said to him. He states that their lives has always been in jeopardy due to the real power brokers behind the American government which wants heroes like them dead, and is the reason why he chose to retire. Before Adam could protest, they see incoming nuclear missiles heading right for them. The nukes soon detonate and apparently obliterating the Thompsons.

The origins of the missiles comes from a missile base, where it was hijacked by Shadow Thief. As the villain gloats over the Thompsons' apparent deaths, he unfortunately encounter by the very much alive Atoms, who have managed to fly away from their yacht in the nick of time. Though surprised, Shadow Thief begins to taunt the elder Thompson as he can now reveal what he will hurt Arthur. Angered at Shadow Thief for the deaths and endangering his grandson, Arthur shoots a fatal beam of energy at Shadow Thief but is block by Adam. Having the last straw, Adam demands Arthur to tell him what he is really keeping from him. Shadow Thief then reveals the truth in which he explains that Arthur was responsible for his (Shadow Thief's) condition and the near destruction of civilization in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Arthur never gained the full backing of the U.S. government to intervene in the crisis. He came into a physical altercation with his handler Sergeant Gray, who refused to let Arthur go. When Gray was forced to held Arthur at gunpoint, and combined with years of imprisonment, a very agitated Arthur fatally phase his arm right through Gray's chest and liquefying his heart. Doctor Dey and a young Private Marcus Moore saw this and the latter telling Arthur that Gray has a wife and baby boy. This made Arthur to feel very remorseful of what he had done, but this doesn't stop him from interfering in the Missile Crisis; in which Shadow Thief suggest that Arthur's reasons for stopping the crisis would erase his murder. But Arthur entered over Cuban air space and making the Cubans to mistaken him for an incoming American missile. Thus causing the preemptive destruction of Florida and the American southeast, and also Cuba from America's nuclear response, and World War III to happen. To undo the horrors he had done, Arthur managed to neutralized the other missiles that were already in the air. The American government heavily covered up the truth of the entire incident.

Shadow Thief thus accuses Arthur as a fraud and was more of a villain than a hero. He furthermore reveals to a stunned Adam that everything he learned of this was because he is the son of Sergeant Gray. For years the elder Gray had been closely monitoring Arthur in which he inadvertently absorbed his radiation and passes this to his infant son who received his powers, turning him into the current Shadow Thief. Arthur had knew about him and never went after his son's killers as he believed that the Shadow Thief had the right to do so over Sergeant Gray's death, and in fear of him publicly revealing the truth.

Arthur then confess and apologize to his grandson for keeping this dark secret. But Adam accuse him that he is simply running and hiding not from society but himself, while acknowledging the fact that he will spend the rest of his life to make up for his grandfather's actions. Adam then arrest Shadow Thief and is willing to allow the truth of the Cuban Missile Crisis to go public if Shadow Thief testifies. Arthur tries to dissuade his grandson from undoing years of his life to make up for his mistakes, but Adam rebutted by telling him that even if he loses everything then he still has his grandson before taking Shadow Thief away.

Days later, Adam now lives in the futuristic city of New Atlantis, a city rebuilt from the ruins of Atlanta that had been destroyed in the Missile Crisis. Today is his grandfather's Congressional testimony on the Missile Crisis and Adam is anxious of the potential fallout. He then sees a public television showing Arthur actually testifying before Congress, much to Adam's surprise.

Nightwing observes this news with outrage given that their efforts of covering up the secret America had kept for decades is now undone. Marcus Moore swear that his next confrontation with the Atoms will be their reckoning.

Appearing in "Truth"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

  • Doctor Miles Dey (Flashback only)
  • R.J. Brande (Flashback only)
  • Joker (First appearance) (On a TV or computer screen)





  • The AIDS virus is mentioned in this issue as a bio-weapon byproduct of Nightwing that escaped into the public. This is based on actual, discredited conspiracy theories which allege that HIV or AIDS was the result of a biological agent created for genocide.
  • The Roddenberry facility that housed the teleportation device that was stolen by the Shadow Thief is a reference to Gene Roddenberry, who is best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

Tangent Comics
Characters Atom | Batman | Doom Patrol | Green Lantern | Joker | Metal Men | Nightwing | Sea Devils | Secret Six | Superman
Comics The Atom #1 | Metal Men #1 | Flash #1 | Green Lantern #1 | Sea Devils #1 | Joker #1 | Nightwing #1 | Batman #1 | Secret Six #1 | Doom Patrol #1 | Superman #1 | Wonder Woman #1 | Joker's Wild #1 | JLA #1 | Tales of the Green Lantern #1 | Powergirl #1 | Nightwing: Night Force #1 | Trials of the Flash #1 | Superman's Reign
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