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"Don't you touch him! He's Justice League."

Captain Atom, real name Captain Nathaniel Adams, was a powerful, stoic superhero and a member of the Justice League after the Thanagarian invasion.


Captain Atom spreads animosity

Captain's stiff persona is not well received.

When the Justice League extended invitations to the heroes of Earth following the Thanagarian invasion, Captain Nathaniel Adams answered the call as Captain Atom, a nuclear-powered soldier of justice.

The Captain was one of the first new League members to be given an important assignment: investigating a radioactive accident in Chong-Mai, alongside Supergirl and John Stewart. Captain Atom's conduct as a US military officer was too uptight for the lighthearted heroes like Kara and Green Arrow, which at first caused some animosity between them.

In loco, they found that the origin of the distress was a walking nuclear superweapon that had gone haywire. Captain Atom attempted to drain its energies but it was overwhelming, and he was knocked out. He then blamed John Stewart's injury on Green Arrow's refusal to work as a team, which escalated the tension between the trio. Afterwards, Captain Atom offered himself to personally shove carbon rod dampers into the flaming giant's reactor, fully aware that if could endanger his own life.

Captain Atom makes a sacrifice

The Atomic hero explodes.

This act of bravery gained the respect and admiration of both Green Arrow and Supergirl.


A recovering Captain Atom reassuring Supergirl.

When Captain Atom was near the reactor, the creature shot him down, breaching his containment suit and causing him to blow up. Captain Atom was seemingly destroyed, much to the distress of fellow recruit Supergirl. However, following the deactivation of the machine by Green Arrow, Captain Atom's sentient energy was re-collected into his new containment suit.[1] He would quickly return to active duty.

Captain Atom took part in several of the League's missions, namely the first line of defense against Amazo,[3] the fight against Mordru,[4] and the alien nanotechnologic invasion.[5] His power was also essential to contain the radiation leak caused by Task Force X when they infiltrated the Watchtower.[6]

Conflicting allegiance[]

Captain Atom fights Superman

Captain Atom acting under coercion against his own.

Captain Atom soon proved to be more than capable as a Justice Leaguer, and he quickly gained the respect and admiration of his colleagues, notably Superman, who selected the Captain as his partner while defending Metropolis from Mantis, a second-rate, would-be despot from Apokolips. However, immediately following this adventure, Captain Nathaniel Adams had his Air Force commission unexpectedly reactivated by General Wade Eiling at the behest of Amanda Waller of Cadmus and Lex Luthor.

Captain Atom charges

The relentless hero with a profound sense of duty and patriotism.

Nathanial Adams was torn between his dual commitments, but his first oath of service had been to the United States military. Captain Atom stepped down from his Justice League duties and was soon ordered to stop Superman and the Huntress from taking the captive Question out of a Cadmus facility.[7] He was compelled to fight Superman hand-to-hand, and by controlling red-sun radiation, Captain Atom managed to amplify the impact of his blows against the Kryptonian. However, though acknowledging Captain Atom's valiant effort, Superman merely made sure that Huntress and Question had time to escape before he was forced to incapacitate Captain Atom. Cadmus security arrived on the scene to assist the Captain, but Superman sternly warned them not to touch his fallen comrade. Superman then collected Captain Atom and took him to the Watchtower, where he could recover under the watchful eye of the League's medical and science staff.[2]

Captain Atom makes a choice

Captain Atom chooses his side.

Captain Atom rejoined the League during the invasion of the Watchtower by Galatea and the Ultimen clones. He was able to muster enough strength to blast a few clones while Supergirl fought Galatea, solidifying his loyalty to the League over the United States Military.[8] Thanks to the revelation that Lex Luthor and Brainiac had been manipulating both Cadmus and the Justice League, it seems apparent that Captain Atom was discharged from military service and allowed to rejoin the Justice League following Amanda Waller's involvement in the conflict between the League and the Luthor/Brainiac hybrid.[9]

Captain Atom was last seen fighting against the forces of Darkseid during the intergalactic despot's massive invasion of Earth. The Captain survived the conflict, so it is logical to infer that Captain Atom remained with the organization following Darkseid's disappearance.[10]

Powers and abilities[]

Captain Atom was composed of living, nuclear energy and had to be confined to his containment suit in order to interact with others.

Captain Atom breaches

The breached containment suit.

The Captain possessed the abilities of flight up to speeds approaching Mach 2,[11] super-strength, energy absorption, and energy manipulation on a level sufficient to put up a decent fight against Superman himself, but Atom was ultimately beaten into unconsciousness by the Man of Steel.[2] Captain Atom was highly resistant to injury, though he did seem to have physical limits. There was also a limit to the amount of energy he was able to absorb. It was occasionally difficult for Captain Atom to absorb large amounts of energy,[1][7] and if he was unable to safely regulate his energy form or discharge the absorbed energies, he risked rupturing his containment suit and exploding.[1] A serious rupture could cause fatalities and property damage within a fairly large radius if Captain Atom did not move to a safe distance.

Captain Atom seems to be able to feel some level of pain and fatigue despite his apparent lack of a human body. (Superman was able to defeat him using pure physical force, in spite of the fact that Captain Atom was using his ability to generate red sun radiation as a weapon against Superman.)[2]

Background information[]

In DC Comics, Captain Atom is a character who actually originated from rival Charlton Comics (like the Question.) When DC Comics acquired the Charlton characters in the 1980s, Captain Atom was slowly integrated into the DC Universe. The Nathaniel Adams Captain Atom was introduced in 1986; he would eventually join the Justice League and is a prominent figure in several notable DC Comics story arcs over the past thirty years. A recurring annoyance in his life was Wade Eiling, who in the comic books married Nathaniel's ex-wife during his absence. Captain Atom also had a romantic relationship with Plastique.


Justice League Unlimited


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Berkowitz, Stan (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 31, 2004). "Initiation". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 1 (production). Cartoon Network.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 2, 2005). "Flashpoint". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 23 (airdate). Episode 23 (production). Cartoon Network.
  3. Berkowitz, Stan (story) & DeMatteis, J.M. (teleplay) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (September 18, 2004). "The Return". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 8 (airdate). Episode 7 (production). Cartoon Network.
  4. Kreisberg, Andrew (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (September 11, 2004). "The Greatest Story Never Told". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 7 (airdate). Episode 8 (production). Cartoon Network.
  5. Ellis, Warren (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (December 11, 2004). "Dark Heart". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 10 (airdate). Episode 10 (production). Cartoon Network.
  6. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & Cooke, Darwyn (teleplay) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (May 21, 2005). "Task Force X". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 17 (airdate). Episode 17 (production). Cartoon Network.
  7. 7.0 7.1 McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (June 25, 2005). "Question Authority". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 22 (airdate). Episode 22 (production). Cartoon Network.
  8. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 9, 2005). "Panic in the Sky". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 24 (airdate). Episode 24 (production). Cartoon Network.
  9. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 16, 2005). "Divided We Fall". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 25 (airdate). Episode 25 (production). Cartoon Network.
  10. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (May 13, 2006). "Destroyer". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 13 (airdate). Episode 39 (production). Cartoon Network.
  11. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & Goodman, Robert (teleplay) & Riba, Dan (director) (February 19, 2005). "The Doomsday Sanction". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 16 (airdate). Episode 16 (production). Cartoon Network.

External links[]

Project Cadmus
Leader Amanda Waller
Sponsor Lex Luthor
PR / Manager Maxwell Lord
Division Heads
Genetics Emil Hamilton
Psychology Hugo Strange • Moon
Splicing Milo
Mysticism Tala
Military Tactics Wade Eiling
Captain Atom • Doomsday • Galatea
Ultimen Downpour • Juice • Shifter • Long Shadow • Wind Dragon
Task Force X Captain Boomerang • Clock King • Deadshot • Rick Flagg • Plastique