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All New Atom #1

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2006
By: Kevin T. Brown



“My Life in Miniature, Part One: Indivisible”

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

Publisher: DC Comics


Have you ever come across a comic that was just a sheer joy to read? A book that from page 1 to page 22 is simply a good read? And, when you're done reading, you want to go back and re-read it? Not just re-read it once, but also multiple times because of the sheet enjoyment it elicits? Welcome to The All New Atom #1.

Okay, let's get this out of the way. John Byrne is a man who, to say the least, is controversial. None of that has a damn thing to with how good of an artist he is though. So, as far as I'm concerned, whatever bias people have against him makes no sense when it comes to enjoying his work. Like any other artist, Byrne can either be very workman-like in his art or pour his heart and soul into each page. With this issue, I suspect the latter more than the former. There are very few short cuts in his work. And, unlike other artists, he's able to show the difference between being six feet tall or six inches tall.

Recently, Byrne has been saddled with inkers who tend to over shadow his pencils. That when their work is done, what used to be a John Byrne page is now something else entirely. Thankfully, Trevor Scott is not such an inker. He allows Byrne's distinctive work to shine through while putting his own stamp on it. He's quite possibly the best inker I have seen on Byrne's pencils in many years. And Scott is also the designer of the new Atom costume that, I hope, we get to see in the next issue and not just on the cover.

As good as the artwork is in this issue, it's the writing that seals the deal. Gail Simone has been very up and down lately in her work, but not with this first issue. She's hitting on all cylinders here, keeping the dialogue light and informative, as well as including little reference boxes along the way. She's also able to introduce many elements and characters that are going to be crucial for this initial story without overloading it.

Getting back to the characters just for a moment, Simone introduces no less than seven key characters, including the one who is to wear the costume: Ryan Choi. Simone also introduces the series' major threat. She's also able to let the reader know immediately what all these characters are like and provides a tiny bit of insight as to who they are. All within 22 pages. Along with introducing the characters, she also has a story to tell. A story that jumps around from “100 days from now” to “14 years ago” to “10 days ago” before setting in to “now.” And while that sounds confusing, it's not. It works perfectly and it allows the reader to learn of what's to come and to learn a bit of what Ryan is like. Plus you do get to see Ryan learn how to not use the belt, and we never forget that Ray Palmer is very much a major part of the story in his own way. This really is story-telling at its finest.

I went into this issue with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. Once again it looks like DC has a hit on its hands. Luckily, there just seems to be something magical in the pairing of Gail Simone & John Byrne. In this case, the magic that's being produced is The All New Atom and the fans are the lucky ones.



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