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All New Atom #3

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2006
By: Kevin T. Brown



"Binding Energies"

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: John Byrne (p), Trevor Scott (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


This issue is an enigma. I know I should like it a lot more than I do, but I don't. The first two issues boasted such promise that this issue just had to be as good, if not better. Unfortunately, it just falls back into mediocrity.

Gail Simone is doing a very good job in creating, or rather re-creating, Ivy Town as a character unto itself. However, in this particular issue, it comes across as silly. Matter of fact, most of this issue comes across as silly. Especially such scenes as when Ryan Choi is running to class and the date at the drive-in. I just could not help but roll my eyes when I saw the "fight" at the movies. (All of a sudden visions of Ricochet Rabbit danced through my head…) I do give Simone credit for bringing back an old Swamp Thing character/adversary in M'nagalah, though even he (it?) falls into the silliness trap.

Among the things I did like about writing in this issue were the early escape scene and the introduction of Dwarfstar. There's a fine line between making an issue fun as opposed to silly. In the escape scene Simone makes it fun. She shows the seriousness of what's going on, but allows Choi to cut loose a bit during it all. On the flip side, you have Dwarfstar and the danger he represents. The Atom has never had an opposite number, until now. And I'm definitely looking forward to the eventual meeting of the two. And just who is this mysterious benefactor who supplies Dwarfstar with his costume…?

The best thing about this issue is the artwork by John Byrne and Trevor Scott. It's also a sad thing when you realize that this is Byrne's last issue. This title will be poorer for it. However, Byrne does go out with a high note in terms of the art. When coupled with the right inker, as he is with Scott, Byrne's work shines. He tries to make the best of what he's given, and he's able to make the material better than it is. With regards to the escape scene, Byrne shows the reader perfectly how Choi can use the suit's abilities. Very few artists are capable of doing that properly. Hopefully, DC is not making a mistake in switching artists like this.

This title has tons of upside, but it needs to find that right niche. Simone is all over the place with it, and DC is switching artists mid-story. That is not how to build a successful book. I still like this title quite a bit, but I hope it settles in as to where it wants to be. Right now, I have no idea.



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