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Atom (Ray Palmer): Misc


DC Comics

Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Raymond Palmer (New Earth) article)

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Character Template Character Template
Current Alias

The Mighty Mite, the Tiny Titan, the World's Smallest Hero



David Palmer (father, deceased), Susan Palmer (mother, deceased), Jean Loring (ex-wife)


Base Of Operations


6' 0"

180 lbs (81.82 kg)




Marital Status

Physics Professor

Ph.D. in Physics


First appearance

Image:Quote1.png For a man who came out of academics, he is a remarkable combatant. Image:Quote2.png
-- Chronos



Ray Palmer is the Atom, the Mighty Mite, a superhero with the ability to shrink to incredible sizes while retaining his full mass and density. This makes him a formidable combatant. He was a member of the original Justice League of America, where he gained a great deal of respect from his peers. Aside from his crime-fighting career, he is also one of the world's top scientific minds, a brilliant physicist. He is capable of shrinking to subatomic sizes, and explores the universe on a frontier unknown to any other man.



Discovering the white dwarf star material

While a physics graduate student, Ray Palmer discovered a tiny fragment of white dwarf star material that had fallen to Earth. Investigating matter compression, Ray theorized that if he were to grind a lens from this fragment and focus ultraviolet light through it, he could shrink anything struck by the light down to a fraction of its original size. Ray rushed off to his laboratory, tried the experiment, and found that it worked exactly as he had imagined, with one tiny little catch: the objects he shrunk became unstable and exploded moments later.

A couple of days later, a disillusioned Ray and some friends became trapped in a cave-in while out spelunking; Ray was forced to risk instability and use the shrinking lens on himself in order to escape the cave and save the lives of his friends. For some reason, however, Ray didn't explode and returned to his normal height. In fact, the shrinking lens worked on his body much better than he had expected, and he developed a set of control devices that gave him limited control over his weight as well as his size. Ray later hypothesized that some unknown "x-factor" in his genetic makeup prevented his atoms from becoming unstable, though many scientists now believe that Ray's ability to shrink was actually made possible by the "Metagene" possessed by all humans.[1]


Keeping his discoveries a secret, Ray created the secret identity of the Atom and embarked on a career of crime fighting in Ivy Town, Connecticut. For a while, the new Atom operated strictly on his own, battling such nemeses as Chronos the Time Thief, the Computer Crooks, and the Floronic Man.
Palmer shrinking to The Atom
The Atom was voted in as the League's second non-founding member after a battle with the mysterious Mister Memory, who was later exposed as perennial JLA adversary Amos Fortune.[2] Ray later became a full-time physics professor at Ivy University, and married his longtime sweetheart Jean Loring,[3] though the couple was divorced only two years later.[4] Just before his divorce, the Atom traveled to the Amazon basin, where he discovered the Katarthans, a race of six inch tall aliens.[5] After he and Jean split up, Ray returned to live amongst the aliens, and fell in love with Laethwen, a beautiful Katarthan princess. The Katarthans and their village were soon wiped out by a horrible fire and the Atom returned to Ivy Town, only to find that one of his friends had
Sword of the Atom-era
written a book exposing Ray's secret identity in his absence.[6] After battling various foes, such as Strobe, Humbug, and Swarm, Ray learned that a US Government agency had engineered the destruction of the Katarthans, in order to induce his return to the States.[7] He avenged the Katarthans by permanently reducing the agents responsible for the massacre to six inches in height.[8] Ray returned to Ivy Town just long enough to bid his friends farewell, and then briefly went into hiding.

The shrunken agents, now calling themselves the Micro Squad, vowed revenge on Ray. Ginsburg, one of their number, made an attempt on Ray's life, but died in the attempt. Ray approached Amanda Waller, who convinced him to fake his own death and secretly join the espionage unit known as the Suicide Squad.[9] As a part of this mission, Ray went undercover and Adam Cray served in the Suicide Squad as the new Atom. Adam was killed by Blacksnake and Ray resumed the role of the Atom.[10] Later still, he joined the then-current Justice League on a semi-active basis.[11]

Ray was preceded as the Atom by Al Pratt, a member of the Justice Society of America. While Ray, and the Atoms who followed him, had shrinking powers, Al's superpower was superhuman strength. The two of them worked together occasionally during JLA/JSA team-ups. Al died during a battle against Extant.[12]

In time, Ray and Jean were able to be friends again. In the divorce she had received half of his patents. As a gesture of friendship, Jean decided to sign them back to him. Little did he know that this was but one of many facets to Jean's deadly scheme to win Ray back. Since their divorce, Jean had somehow become seriously deranged and believed that the only way to be reunited with Ray was to force the issue. Incredibly, she devised an elaborate plan to endanger Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man Ralph Dibny. Jean was privy to the fact that every year on her birthday, Ralph would be absent solving a custom-tailored mystery devised by Sue. She bypassed the Dibnys' security by shrinking down and traveling via the phone lines into their home. She then entered Sue's body and obstructed the blood flow to her brain. To cover up this evidence, Jean scorched Sue's body.[13]

Ray's costume during his stint as leader of the Teen Titans

Jean knew that this event would send all the heroes scrambling to protect their loved ones and — hopefully - drive Ray back into her arms. Jean employed two other schemes to cover her tracks. First, she faked her own murder[14], then she hired Captain Boomerang to kill Robin (Tim Drake)'s father Jack. She supplied Jack Drake with a gun to defend himself, hoping that Boomerang would be killed and that everyone would believe he was Sue's killer as well. Eventually, Dr. Mid-Nite's autopsy of Sue's body revealed the truth, and the Atom himself elicited a confession from Jean after she inadvertently spilled the beans when asking about a letter sent to Jack along with the gun. Ray managed to put two and two together because Batman had taken the letter away from the crime scene even before the police arrived, so only he and the Leaguers were supposed to know of its existence. She was promptly admitted to Arkham Asylum[15]. With Jean's incarceration, Ray was overwhelmed with despair, and shrank continuously until he vanished completely into a microscopic or subatomic world.

Ray's legacy lives on with Ryan Choi utilizing a version of his costume and shrinking device to become the current Atom.


During the missing year, Palmer's technology is employed by Supernova to shrink and grow in size in order to enter and exit the bottle city of Kandor.

Ray took refuge the Nanoverse, and met a young mystic who told him about the new reformed existence of the Multiverse. He traveled through different realities and find himself in Earth-51, where its heroes eradicate supercrime and create a utopian Earth. There he witness his Earth-51 counterpart's death and took his role in this reality including marrying this world's Jean Loring.

While there he study much about his Earth-51 counterpart and discover he never became the Atom and acted as a scientist consultant to the Earth-51 Justice League. Also this Ray gifted with the ability to be immune to all kinds of diseases and viruses. Furthermore, the Earth-51 Palmer worked on preventing the deadly Morticoccus Virus, and knowing that in every reality of the Multiverse there is deadly chance that the virus would appear decided to travel the Multiverse and inoculate each inhabitants with his immune system. Realizing the importance of his counterpart's work, Ray carry on Earth-51 Ray's work and travel to different worlds inoculating each denizen of every Earth with a resistance to the Morticoccus Virus.

Unknowable to Ray the Monitors and the Challengers from Beyond (Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy, Jason Todd and Bob the Monitor) were scouring the reformed Multiverse for him as they believe that he maybe the one to prevent a cataclysm known as the Great Disaster. Eventually the Challengers discover him and learns his history on Earth-51. Shortly afterword Bob reveals his intention in killing Ray. With the Challengers' help, Ray escapes but witness the death of his Earth-51 friends and his alternate wife.

Despite what the Challengers were told by the Monitors, Ray reveals to them that it was the Ray Palmer of Earth-51 who was meant to stop the Great Disaster.

After joining the Challengers, teaming up with Jimmy Olsen, Forager, Harley Quinnzel, Holly Robinson, Mary Marvel, and Firestorm on Apokolips, Ray discover that Karate Kid was infected with the Morticoccus Virus. Following the damages to the planet by the Pied Piper and Brother Eye, Ray secretly eavesdropped on Monitor Solomon and Darkseid, learning that Darkseid wanted to remake reality and Solomon wanted the Great Disaster to happen. Alerted by this, Ray returned to the others and was pressured into curing Karate Kid.

Ray and the others were then teleported back to the reconstructed Earth-51 and seek advance medical attention from Cadmus; however, once they were at Cadmus Karate Kid was already dead.

Ray helped the scientists at Cadmus in finding a cure to the Morticoccus Virus after the virus was released to the world.[16] Despite everything he has done, the Great Disaster prevailed forcing Ray and his friends to return back to their Earth.[17]

After returning to their world, Jimmy Olsen is kidnapped by Mary Marvel, who has been corrupted by Darkseid.[18] Ray hitches a ride from within Jimmy. When Darkseid takes control of Jimmy's powers, Ray locates and shuts down the control sphere inside Jimmy's brain, but is then swarmed by Apokoliptian antibodies. While escaping this onslaught, Ray discovers the "battery" containing the New God spirit energies.[19] Ray removes it from Jimmy's head and shatters it, releasing the energies.[20]

Ray later (after much cajoling) joins Donna, Kyle, and Forager in their new mission as border guards to the Multiverse, realizing that there is nothing left for him on New Earth anymore.[21] However, Palmer returns to New Earth one more time, upon realizing that his old nemesis Chronos had taken his identity to mislead a young pretender to his identity, Ryan Choi. After helping his successor to once again save Ivy Town, he returns to the Multiverse with a new sense of fulfillment, leaving his town in the hands of a new, capable hero.[22]

During the Final Crisis, Ray returns to New Earth and works with Choi again to aid in the efforts to evacuate the last free humans.[23]

Blackest Night

During the events of the Blackest Night, Ray asks Hawkman to visit his wife Jean Loring's grave to be honored as a fallen member of the community, but Hawkman refuses because of what she did in Identity Crisis.[24] Ray later called Hawkman again, over the phone (unaware that his friend has been killed and resurrected as a Black Lantern). Atom is then invited to visit Carter in order to discuss his heartache over his wife which the deceased Carter planned on killing him.[25]

Arriving at Carter's house, he was attacked by the Black Lantern Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and only escaped by miniaturizing himself and hiding in Carter's Black Lantern Ring. Ray did a thorough exploration of the ring, discovering that it was nothing like Hal's power ring, instead made of dark matter with micro-wormholes sending energy to an unknown source. Jumping out, he helped Hal and Barry Allen fight off the Black Lantern Justice Leaguers, with his compassion attracting the Black Lantern Dibnys. Ralph mocked Ray for still being love with Jean after she killed Sue, but the two Dibny Lanterns were destroyed by the Indigo Tribe, the wielders of the indigo light of compassion, then teleporting the three living Leaguers to the Hall of Justice, where they met up with Firestorm Jason Rusch and Mera. After Indigo-1, leader of the Indigo Tribe, explained that the Black Lanterns were expressions of darkness which considered the living to be invaders, Barry and Hal pointed out that Ralph and Sue had no reaction to each others' attack, leading Ray to conclude that the Black rings were some sort of organic computer that rebooted the body without restoring their essences. Before they could plan a proper counter-attack, the Black Lantern League arrived and attacked, and the Indigo Tribe teleported Hal away, leaving Ray, Barry, and Mera without a means to effectively fight the Black Lanterns.[26] Ray had almost been turned into a Black Lantern by a reanimated Batman but ultimately been protected by an unknown force. Ganthet inducts him into the Indigo Tribe for his strong compassion.[27]


Ray Palmer is a hard-working, dedicated man. In fact, "dedicated" is hardly the word for it; "driven" is a little closer to the truth. Once Ray starts working on a problem or puzzle, there is absolutely no stopping him. This single-minded pursuit of his goals is more than a little responsible for Ray's shattered marriage, though it has occasionally come in handy to Ray the crime fighter. In spite of his obsessiveness, Ray is a level-headed hero and a basically likable human being.

Powers and Abilities


Microscopic Stability: For some reason, Ray's physiology allows him to not explode when he is miniaturized unlike other living things which explode after a short time of being miniaturized.

Size Alteration: Able to shrink his body to varying degrees (including the subatomic level). As the Atom, Ray can assume any size from his normal six-foot stature down to sub-microscopic, although he generally deems a height of six inches as most functional.

  • Mass/Density Alteration: Able to instantly alter his molecular density to whatever degree he desires. Ray can also assume any weight at any height — up to his full 180 pounds. It has never been explained where his mass goes when he discards it to make himself lighter.
  • Flight: at a low setting, he has been able to glide on air currents
  • Superhuman Strength: at a high setting, he has been able to handle and/or strike objects with the equivalent strength of his normal size and build.
  • Phone Line Travel: a favorite travel method Ray had, was to call some location on the telephone; when the intended phone answered, he could shrink down enough to literally travel through the phone lines in seconds to emerge out of the answering phone.


Judo: Ray Palmer often finds himself in situation where physical violence become necessary. As such, he has developed a proficiency in the martial arts form known as Judo. [28]

Physics: Dr. Palmer has a Ph.D. in physics and was a full professor at Ivy University.

Master Swordsman: The Atom used a long sword as a weapon while living among the Katarthans, gaining considerable skill in its use.



  • Size Controls: (gloves and belt). Originally, Ray's size/weight controls were located in his belt buckle. However, he later moved them to his gloves for greater accessibility and swifter transitions.


The Atom used a long sword as a weapon while living among the Katarthans, gaining considerable skill in its use.

Indigo Tribe Power Battery/Staff, Indigo Power Ring


  • The Atom made a guest appearance on the "Roast" segment of the 1978 television special Legends of the Superheroes. In a segment involving gossip columnist Rhoda Rooter, the Atom (played by Alfie Wise) professes his undying love for Wonder Woman foe, Giganta.
  • John "Cryptkeeper" Kassir was slated to play the role of the Atom in a 1997 Justice League of America television movie. However, the project was cancelled early in production.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References


The Atom
Main Al PrattRay PalmerAdam CrayRyan Choi
Supporting Alpheus HyattAtom SmasherDamageDavid PalmerHawkmanHelmond KetteringJean LoringJustice LeagueLady Chronos • Princess Laethwen • Lighter Than Air SocietyMartin CampbellNorman BrawlerPanda PotterPaul HobenSue PalmerThomas Dinawa
Enemies Bug-Eyed BanditChronosDwarfstar
Titles All-New AtomAtomPower of the AtomShowcaseSword of the Atom
Authors Gardner FoxGil Kane
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Justice League of America member

This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Justice League of America members" category.

This article uses material from the "Raymond Palmer (New Earth)" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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