Captain Atom
Captain Atom-8
General Information
Real name: Nathaniel Christopher Adam
Created by: Cary Bates
Greg Weisman
Pat Broderick
Affiliations: Formerly Justice League InternationalMonarch's Army
Extreme Justice
Super Buddies
United States Air Force
Portrayed by: George Eads
Chris Cox



Captain Atom was Nathaniel Christopher Adam, a United States Air Force officer of the Vietnam War era. Adam had been framed for a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to death under the watch of Col. Wade Eiling in 1968. As an alternative to execution, he was invited to participate in a military experiment with little chance of survival, in exchange for a presidential pardon. The experiment involved testing the hull of a crashed alien ship's durability by exploding a super nuclear bomb under it. Adam survived as the metal melted into his body and the excess energy threw him forward in time nearly twenty years (not incidentally, this coating with alien metal gave the revised character a full-body silvered metal look distinctly different from his previous incarnations.)

Early Years

Regaining coherence in 1986, Adam found himself a man out of his time and in the hands of Eiling, now a general and the second husband of Adam's now-deceased wife. Everyone had assumed that Nathaniel Adam had died on the day of the experiment, so his presidential pardon was never issued and the current government refused to acknowledge the previous administration's promised pardon. Seizing the opportunity at hand, the government used the outstanding murder/treason charges against Adam to blackmail him into being a government-controlled superhero (codenamed Captain Atom). The events of the Charlton stories were established as simply the cover story for Adam, who also was assigned the alias of Cameron Scott, an Air Force intelligence operative. It was during this time he met the superpowered terrorist, Plastique, who would become a recurring part of Nathaniel's life. Upon his initial return from the Quantum Field, Nathaniel Adam was the classic "man out of his time". Early conflicts involved him coming to terms with his lost time with his children (who were now close to his current age as a result of the time jump), the death of his wife (who had married his nemesis Eiling prior to dying), and the overall ramifications of his newly acquired powers.

Captain Atom

Atom/Adam served under Eiling reluctantly, while succeeding in clearing his name. Eventually, Atom rebelled against Eiling, resigned from the Air Force and found some fulfillment as an actual superhero. Captain Atom joined the Justice League at the request of the U.S. government, eventually serving as leader of Justice League Europe. During his career he had a brief romance with Catherine Cobert, developed a friendly "rivalry" with Firestorm, become involved with and eventually married to Plastique (ironically, a one-time Firestorm foe), battled Major Force (his would-be successor), learned basic heroics from Batman when he briefly lost access to the Quantum Field, and commanded the metahuman forces during the Invasion storyline.

Atom and Monarch continued battling through time in the Armageddon: The Alien Agenda event, until he was returned to his own time at the conclusion. Captain Atom then returned to the League, founding an offshoot team, Extreme Justice in 1995. Whilst leading Extreme Justice, Captain Atom came across another version of Monarch, this one claiming to be the real Nathaniel Adam. Later in 1999, he was a member of the group L.A.W.. In 2003, he again teamed up with several former members of the Justice League as the "Super Buddies". Around this time various adventures reintroduced Atom's conflict between his role in the superhero community and his responsibilities as a government agent. At some point, Atom's marriage to Plastique appears to have ended in separation or divorce. Apart from a brief mention of her at the beginning of L.A.W., the marriage appears to be forgotten. Plastique has reappeared as a villainess again, undoing her reformation into a heroine.

Captain Atom returned to his roots as he went back to work for the government, this time for President Lex Luthor. Atom seemingly sacrificed his life to save Superman and Earth by piloting a starship to destroy a kryptonite meteor, but as it had previously been established that this type of accident could not kill him, he soon returned to life and to the background of the DC Universe. Captain Atom survived the collision with the kryptonite meteor, but after absorbing massive amounts of radiation and becoming a super villain described as a "Kryptonite Man", the radiation was siphoned out of Captain Atom by a device made by Hiro Okamura (the new Toyman) which returned Captain Atom to his usual self (if somewhat confused).


Captain Atom was returned to the DC Universe in Infinite Crisis when Superboy-Prime punctured his Earth-8 counterpart Breach. One Year Later, Captain Atom is revealed to be contained inside Blüdhaven and used to administer radiation treatments to metahumans. Apparently Void, able to finally let him go home, was unable to ensure his safety, and multiple damages on his radiation-shielding skin had left him comatose and unable to keep down his body radiations to safe levels, forcing the Atomic Knights to keep him constantly contained.

After being fitted with an updated version of the Monarch armor (Armageddon 2001) to contain his radiation, the Captain awakens. Seeming to be mentally unstable, he breaks free, apparently kills the rampaging Major Force, and then releases a vast amount of energy, obliterating what was left of Blüdhaven. He remains missing until Kyle Rayner, now known as Ion, discovers him in The Bleed, a place between dimensions. The Captain indicates that he is traveling through The Bleed in order to operate outside the gaze of the Monitors. He discusses his time in the Wildstorm Universe, and his desire to visit other alternate worlds.


Monarch appears in the last panel of Countdown #45 observing Forerunner. Monarch manages to sway Forerunner to his side, turning her against the Monitors. Monarch argues that the Monitors are genocidal overlords who must be defeated; however, the Monitors assert that Monarch is a supervillain whose plan is to cause a Multiversal war which will leave him the ruler of the unified Earth remaining in its wake. Later the Monarch battling alternate versions of characters throughout the Multiverse to compile the strike team for his new Multiverse army, specifically one Superman, one Batman, a Wonder Woman, a Green Lantern, a Flash, a Blue Beetle, a Nightshade, a Starman, and a Ray. Monarch creates an army of footsoldiers, including the Extremists of Earth-8, the JL-Axis of Earth-10 and the Crime Society of Earth-3, and disposes of Forerunner when he reveals his plans for a multiversal arena tournament.

Monarch is now paranoid, and unwilling to share details of his past to his "subordinates", the Earth-30 Superman and Earth-40 Batman are able to discern that under the Monarch armor lies another Captain Atom, so they employ his other counterparts Breach and Quantum-Storm to assemble an army of Captain Atoms from the different dimensions to fight back. In the Arena storyline's conclusion, Monarch reveals that Breach is his brainwashed accomplice and he has lured his 51 counterparts into his presence in order to murder them and absorb their power. With his team of Eve of Shadows (Earth-13), Vampire Batman, Ray "the Ray" Palmer (Earth-6), the monstrous Scarab (Earth-26), Hal Jordan Jr. (Earth-12), Starwoman (Earth-7), Johnny Quick (Earth-3), Wonder Woman (Earth-34) Red Son Superman (Earth-30) and himself - the sum power of 52 Captain Atoms - Monarch believes he is ready to confront the Monitors, and does so, finally launching his war on Earth-51 against the exposed Monitors. In a protracted fight against Superman-Prime, his suit is damaged, releasing a chain reaction that apparently destroys the entire universe of Earth-51 aside from its Monitor.

Powers and Abilities


Dilustel Armor: Captain Atom's metallic shell, or "skin", is composed of a portion of the alien being known as Silver Shield, and is called Dilustel. Pieces of the aliens metal body were used in the Captain Atom Project, Project Major Force and similar projects thereafter. Nathaniel is able to coat himself with the metal, either partially or totally. Atom's symbiosis with the metal is such that even partially armored he is able to access the Quantum Field.

  • Quantum Field Manipulation: Captain Atom's metal skin is tied into the Quantum Field, which enables him to absorb and manipulate theoretically infinite amounts of energy, the amount of which he can use is, limited by his will power and imagination. Captain Atom energy absorption power is second to none in the DCU, he is able to absorb any form of energy and store it in his person. Captain Atom can fire and control energy of any form. He commonly manipulates his energy into force field bubbles, or explosive 'bombs', but the most common form is a simple blast. Over the years, Captain Atom has become an expert at his energy manipulation and he can fire from any point on his body, although he usually uses his hands for ease of aiming. He can fire in multiple directions at once or from every point of his body at once. Several times he has "detonated", releasing a massive amount of energy at once, destroying objects within an certain radius. On more than one occasion he has used his ability to manipulate all forms of energy to prevent a foe using their own powers such as the Ray and Firestorm.
  • Flight: This energy can be used for flight at light speed.
  • Superhuman Strength: After abosrbing the powers of the 51 versions of himself, Monarch's strength level makes him one of the physically strongest beings in existence, as he was shown to be capable fighting Superman-Prime who had Qan-cosimc powers originating from his involvement in the Sinetro Corps War.
  • Self-Sustenance: Has no need for food, water or air.
  • Matter Generation: Captain Atom can also create matter in the same manner he creates energy. In the same way, he learnt to access weak force energy.
  • Enhance Abilities: Captain Atom can increase any of his abilities to the match the amount of will power he uses to gain it.
  • Atomic Transmutation: Captain Atom has demonstrated atomic transmutation powers, as he was able to turn both Maul and Engineer back to their human forms. This power can be used instinctively or through concentration.
  • Techno Interface: He has also shown the ability to telepathically interface with computer networks in addition to those listed above.
  • Time Travel: Captain Atom has shown time-traveling capabilities without quantum jumping. Captain Atom through concentration, he can travel ahead in time. The process is exhausting and the period he can interact in the future appears to be limited to a few minutes before he returns to the present.
  • Invulnerability: His Monarch armor is virtually invulnerable to all forms of damage (The only exception was to the blows of Superman-Prime, one of the physically strongest beings in existence).


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  • Involuntary Quantum Jumping: If Atom absorbs too much energy at once, he is sent hurling through time. Depending on the type of energy absorbed, he either goes forward or backward in time.


  • Monarch Armor: The updated Monarch armor currently worn by Captain Atom, contains a "nanoweave" designed to contain radiation leaking from a breach in his chest. It also contained instruments for monitoring his vital signs, through a direct neural interface.


  • In 1991, Captain Atom was canceled with #57, as Atom was slated to become the hero-turned-villain Monarch in DC's Armageddon 2001 crossover event; however, when word of this leaked out, DC changed the ending at the last minute. Atom and the Monarch character continued battling through time in Armageddon The Alien Agenda limited series, until he was returned to his own time at the conclusion.


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In Other Media


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