"World of the Magic Atom!": Biff Barker and his gang are scoping out the security of the Ivy Town National Trust Bank, wondering how they are ever going to break through it's security. Much to their surprise, when Biff rests his hand on the front door, his hand somehow passes right through i
- Maybe magic can't hurt you, but have a taste of my bewitching punch!
- — Atom
Appearing in "World of the Magic Atom!"
- The Druid (First appearance)
- Biff Barker and his gang
Synopsis for "World of the Magic Atom!"
Biff Barker and his gang are scoping out the security of the Ivy Town National Trust Bank, wondering how they are ever going to break through it's security. Much to their surprise, when Biff rests his hand on the front door, his hand somehow passes right through it. Even more surprising is that Biff somehow is able to walk right through the solid steel door. Letting his boys in, the goons then try to do the same with the safe, however nothing happens until Biff tries to kick it and his foot passes through it as well. Once more passing through a seemingly solid obstacle, Biff allows his men entrance into the bank vault where they steal some $300,000.
The following day while driving through town, Ray Palmer listens to a radio report about how the thieves managed to rob the supposedly impenetrable bank, only setting off the alarms when they left and decides to investigate as the Atom. Arriving at the police station via telephone, the Atom learns of the situation from the police. Suddenly, the Atom gets a mental image of where the crooks are hiding out, and even though he has no idea how he knows where they are decides to go and investigate. Sure enough, his premonition proves to be correct and he easily manages to defeat the crooks. Although during the fight, the Atom decides that the constant size and weight changing in battle using the control device on his belt is becoming too cumbersome and decides to do something about it. Returning to his lab, the Atom reworks the control devices on his costume and builds them into his gloves, allowing for him to adjust his height and weight by closing his fists in a specific way.
While puzzling out how he managed to learn where the crooks were hiding out, he is interrupted by a telephone call. The woman on the other end of the line explains that she used her magic skills to not only help Biff Barker and his gang rob the bank but also lead the Atom to their location. The girl suddenly appears before him in a puff of smoke and reveals herself to be Zatana the daughter of Zatara the great magician. Knowing of her quest to find her father from his friend Hawkman, he agrees to hear her out. Zatanna tells Ray that she had recently uncovered a book which contains a sub-atomic world that she believes her father may be trapped in. Ray agrees to help her out as the Atom, but explains that he is the only being that can use the white dwarf star material to change sizes without lethally exploding after being restored to normal. Accepting whatever risks that may follow, Ray and Zatanna construct a duplicate costume for her out of the white dwarf star material. The two then shrink down to size on the book and travel to the sub-atomic realm where Zatara may be located.
They find that this sub-atomic world is governed by magic, and when they come across one of the people who live in this realm, tells them that the only person who can answer their questions is a man that lives on the Red Hill of Tara. The two heroes head toward this castle, unaware that the ruler of this land, a man named the Druid is evil and has less than noble intentions for the two visitors.
Tipped off on Zatanna and Atom's arrival, the Druid recalls how he had previously clashed with Zatanna's father, and during their battle the Druid came across energy beings comprised of magic that he absorbed to increase his powers. He then overpowered Zatara and banished him from his realm. Now with his hated enemies daughter coming to him now, he can do the same to her as he did to Zatara. He attacks the two heroes using magic to create a winged serpent from a cup. However, the Atom manages to destroy the creature when he smashes the cup which was the inspiration for it's creation. When Zatanna attempts to attack the Druid directly with her magical powers, she is easily defeated when the Druid manages to absorb these abilities weakening her to the point where she cannot fight back.
The Atom, his powers derived by science, manages to gain the upper hand against the Druid, landing a surprise blow to the face. However the Druid regains his facilities long enough to cast fire mystical spheres at the Atom, prompting him to flee the scene. Trying to find a way around these spheres, the Atom travels through a crack in the wall onto an adjacent shelf. There he accidentally knocks over an object that once crashing on the ground turns into one of the energy beings that the Druid had captured. Freeing the others, the magic creatures give Atom the key to defeating the Druid.
Returning to Zatanna, the Atom tells her to use a simple card trick on the Druid, making it seem that it is a real magical attack. When the Druid tries to absorb the non-existent magic, he is put in a state of suspended animation. Finding that Zatara is not in this realm, and unable to get answers from the now inert Druid, the duo decide to return to Earth. Along the way the Atom is horrified when Zatanna suddenly explodes, much as the Atom predicted. However, when he returns to Earth, he finds her alive and well, Zatanna having used her magics to save herself. Zatanna tells the Atom that she is going to depart Ivy Town to continue searching for her father, perhaps seeking the aid of his fellow members of the Justice League along the way. They part company with the Atom wishing her the best of luck.
- This is a chapter in "Zatanna's Search" for her father. The story arc is chronicled in: Hawkman #4, Detective Comics #336 (per a later retcon), The Atom #19, Green Lantern (Volume 2) #42, Detective Comics #355, and finally Justice League of America #51. This storyline is collected in JLA: Zatanna's Search.
- This issue has been reprinted in Detective Comics #438, JLA: Zatanna's Search and Showcase Presents: Atom Vol. 2.
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