Atom: My Life in Miniature
by Gail Simone, John Byrne (DC Comics, 2007)

Ray Palmer, best known to DC Comics readers as the Atom, had good reason to go into hiding. After all, his ex-wife had killed their best friend, among others, in an attempt to impress him. But DC, in its tireless effort to make sure all standing heroes are instantly replaced by new, hip versions, might have rushed a bit in getting this all new Atom onto the shelves.

My Life in Miniature, starring Palmer's Hong Kong protege Ryan Choi, is not a very good story.

It strives to be serious -- an entire town has gone crazy, the U.S. president is a target and the world as we know it is at risk -- but it also tries to be funny with a massive and sentient cancerous mass, a 30-foot-tall naked woman, wacky scientist sidekicks, flea-sized invaders who live on dogs and alien attackers whose syntax comes from the Yoda School of Good English. And yet, for all its attempts at humor, I laughed only once -- when Choi, who has been swallowed by the giant naked woman (at the end of their first date) stimulates her gag reflex from within, and she vomits both Choi and the remains of her burrito dinner onto a horde of attacking insect-like aliens. Ha ha ha!

Um, yes. That one panel aside, the book isn't very funny, the threats never feel very serious and a lot of stuff just happens without much explanation -- like, for instance, how the impending war between the flea-sized invaders and the cancerous mass suddenly expands to include a whole bunch of supervillains on either side, or what a single scene from the future -- showing the entire Justice League in chains, without ever showing us a villain with that kind of clout -- had to do with, well, anything.

We already know Ray Palmer will soon be returning to the fold, so DC probably would have been wiser to let the Atom costume sit in the closet for a few months. Instead, they hurried this anemic replacement along and tarnished the Atom's good name.

review by
Tom Knapp

4 August 2007

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