Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. The legacy of The Atom is proof of this. Dangerous things come in small packages. Ryan Choi would be the third person to take on the mantle of The Atom and have the ability to shrink down to beat up criminals. How did he get this ability and what’s his connection to those who came before him? Let’s find out!
Since he was a young boy, Ryan Choi had been having a written correspondence with Ray Palmer, The Atom. Ryan would go on to become a doctor in nuclear physics. When his mother died, he’d move to the United States, Ivy Town, the home of Ray Palmer. He’d take Palmer’s former professor position at Ivy University after Palmer had gone missing.
Ryan would find that not only had Ray left him this job, but also the Bio-Belt. The device that grants its wearer the ability to shrink and change their mass, weight, and density. Donning a new costume but the same name, The Atom, and began fighting bizarre creatures, predominantly in Ivy Town. As one of his first adventures Ryan would rescue the President of the United States’ dog from a subatomic species called The Waiting. They thought the dog actually ruled the country and were going to take over his mind.
Turns out that all of Palmer’s old adventures and experiments helped make Ivy Town a strange little hub of its own. This would keep Ryan plenty busy as he would end up being stuck in the middle of a war between science and magic. He’d even date fellow size-changer but in the opposite direction, Giganta, for a time.
Ryan would learn that his correspondence with Ray Palmer was a lie, that all of this had been orchestrated by the villain Chronos, an archenemy of Ray Palmer’s. One of Chronos’ machinations included a serial killer gaining access to a Bio-Belt and becoming the villain, Dwarfstar. The two would end up fighting and Ryan would be able to take away Dwarfstar’s belt, leaving him at miniature size and no enhanced abilities without the belt.
Ryan would join other heroes one the search for Ray Palmer through out the multiverse. He would do this until he realized Ivy Town needed him again. When Ray did return he would help Ryan retrieve the missing Ivy Town that had been shrunken down and ended up in Ryan’s own bloodstream. To do this they’d have to destroy the Bio-Belts, thankfully, Ryan’s exposure to the belt allowed him to retain his powers without the need of a belt. Ryan was able to stop Chronos on his own, saving Ivy Town from his manipulations and Ray gave Ryan his blessing to carry on The Atom legacy.
The two Atoms would be hired by Checkmate to help rescue people from a dangerous other Earth who only had a few surviving people left. Ryan felt odd carrying on The Atom name but his continuous work with Ray and Ray’s encouragement eventually got him to realize he was The Atom.
Dwarfstar would hire Deathstroke and his Terror Titans to murder Ryan as revenge. The team would be so brutal that one could view it as the superhero equivalent of the murder of the historical figure, Rasputin. To make matters worse, Ryan’s remains were delivered to Dwarfstar in a matchbox.
While he made no appearance in the New 52 even though it was said he would appear alive again, it has been shown that Ryan is alive and well in Rebirth. Here, he is a protege of Ray Palmer’s who discovers that Ray has been missing and is the only one Ray trusts to find him in the subatomic universe.
There you have it folks! Ryan Choi was a welcome addition to the world of superheroes and his death and absence has been a sore spot with me. I hope his return is a big deal for such a small hero. I think everyone should be proud of me for not making many size puns or jokes. See you next time!
Brave New World #1
The All-New Atom