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"The Man in the Ion Mask!": Jean Loring calls her fiancée Ray Palmer to let him know that she will be late to the costume party. Ray asks her what she will be dressed-up as, but she tells him that if he loved her he could deduce it. At the p


Quote1 What an odd coincidence that I should be at both of his robberies! I wonder if -- something about the White Dwarf Star Matter of my Atom uniform is necessary for him to work that Ion Mask? Quote2
The Atom

The Atom #25 is an issue of the series The Atom (Volume 1) with a cover date of June, 1966. It was published on April 7, 1966.

Appearing in "The Man in the Ion Mask!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • Costume Party Guests
    • Ed Jameson
  • Ivy Town Police
  • King Louis XIV (Mentioned only)
  • Man in the Iron Mask (Mentioned only)

Locations:

  • Independence
    • Costume Party
  • Ivy Town
    • Ivy Town Bank (Mentioned only)
    • Ivy Town Raceway
    • Jewelry Store
    • Ivy University

Items:

  • Counter-Ionization Ray
  • Geiger Counter (Mentioned only)
  • Horse-shoe
  • Ion Alloy
  • Uranium (Mentioned only)
  • White Dwarf Star Matter

Synopsis for "The Man in the Ion Mask!"

Jean Loring calls her fiancée Ray Palmer to let him know that she will be late to the costume party. Ray asks her what she will be dressed-up as, but she tells him that if he loved her he could deduce it. At the party, Ray walks right up to Jean and kisses her, and she mocks outrage. Ray calls her bluff and reveals that he knew her ticket was number 155. He had swapped door-duty with Ed Jameson --who was dressed as a clown -- and saw through her disguise when Jean handed him ticket 155.

Everyone is impressed by a man dressed-up as a modern "Man in the Iron Mask". But this mask begins to glow brightly and everyone freezes. By the time they regain their faculties, they have all been robbed. The police asks for Ray's help as he recognizes that ionic energy powered the mask.

To be prepared, Ray exposes his costume to an anti-ionic ray so that when the Atom meets Man in the Ion Mask, he'll be immune to the ionic effects. Ray coincidentally shops for Jean in the same jewelry store that the Man in the Ion Mask robbed next. To protect his secret identity, Ray has to wait for everyone to be knocked out, including his friend Ed Jameson. Then the Atom engages the masked crook in battle. After a fighting start, the Atom is trapped in a display case by the Ion Mask, long enough for the crook to escape.

The Man in the Ion Mask has only appeared at locations where Ray Palmer is. Coincidence, thinks Ray? He hypothesizes that perhaps the White Dwarf Star Matter of his costume powered the Ionic Mask. He robs the Ivy Town Bank next, but this time Ray is not there. One thing that all three crimes have in common is Ed Jameson. The Atom stows away with Ed to catch the Man in the Ion Mask.

Ed Jameson has gone to bet on some horses at the racetrack, and the Man in the Ion Mask appears and would have robbed the bookies, but the Atom grabs a horseshoe and bangs it on the Ion Mask, disorientating the crook long enough to yank off his mask. Ed is shocked to find that it is his brother Bill. Bill Jameson explains that he had developed an Ionic ray that only works in proximity to Ed's specific Encephalonic waves, and needed the stolen money to improve it.

Appearing in "The Spy Who Went Out for the Gold!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Boris Kalumchuk
  • Soviet Agents

Other Characters:

  • C.I.A. Agent
  • Cosmonaut (Flashback only)
  • Secret Police Agent 237X

Locations:

Items:

  • The Atom's Microcircuitry Gloves
  • Gold Bars
  • Ikeya-Seki Comet
  • Laser Beam Machine
  • P08 Luger

Vehicles:

  • Ford Thunderbird Truck
  • Soviet Spacecraft

Synopsis for "The Spy Who Went Out for the Gold!"

Behind the Iron Curtain, an American spy is accosted by Soviet agents. The American avoids arrest by using what he calls "DISCORD" (Distant Skin Control Over ReD agents) that sends the Soviets sprawling, for an easy escape. "DISCORD" is, in reality, affected by the miniaturized Atom. The agents predictably called the Secret State Police Captain Boris Kalumchuk to share knowledge of the Americans' new "secret weapon", and the Atom travels up the phone-wire and investigates Kalumchuk's office.

The C.I.A. knew that the Soviets planned to pay back all debts incurred since World War I -- in Gold -- and in one shipment. They were extremely suspicious and had dispatched the Atom.

Following Kalumchuk, the Atom learns that his men are irradiating the gold so that its particular emissions will poison their Cold War enemies. The Atom accidentally activates his size control and momentarily returns to his full size, but is quick enough that nobody got a good look at his face. The Atom sets a Laser Beam Machine firing into the lab, and ignites their chemical stores to cover his escape, except that the butt of a rifle sends him into the incinerator, where he shrinks to a dust mote and rises with the smoke. With only a glove left, the Soviets think him dead.

Finding the trailer of gold, Ray eavesdropped and learns that the original source of radiation is the comet Ikeya-Seki, which irradiated the control panel in a Russian spacecraft; and turned the gold into a deadly isotope that killed the Cosmonaut. After a fixed amount of time though, the Americans will be dead and the gold will return to its safe state and can be reclaimed by the Russians.

His espionage completed, the Atom reveals himself, fights off the two Russians and drives the truck into a river, sending the deadly gold to the bottom. The Atom returns to the United States and reports his success to the C.I.A. Later, on a date with Jean, Ray Palmer learns that the Russians won't be paying back their debts after all. Ray can't help but tell her that they are better off without the Communist gold.

Notes

  • The Atom explained what ions are: "When atoms collide violently, electrons are knocked out of their orbits, leaving ions! This releases an electrical energy of tremendous force!"
  • In The Man in the Ion Mask, Ray Palmer also explained that "The original Man in the Iron Mask was a political prisoner of King Louis XIV of France who wore an iron mask until his death! It is believed he was a twin brother of the real king, put away to prevent his attempt on the throne."
  • In The Spy Who Went Out for the Gold! the Soviet agents were using the German P08 Luger pistol and driving a Ford Thunderbird truck, left by the allies in World War II. These two items place the story in Eastern Germany.
  • State Secret Police Chief Boris Kalumchuk's last name is also spelt Kalumchuck in this issue.

Trivia

  • The deadly "Strange Radiance" given to the gold bullion in The Spy Who Went Out for the Gold!, is very likely an allusion to a demonstrated real world Soviet poison; the element Polonium, which is produced inside Gold foil by cyclotron bombardment.



See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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