Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Sword Of The Atom

How great was Sword Of The Atom? Well, even in an era of magnificent, groundbreaking mini-series' like Untold Legend Of The Batman, World Of Krypton & The Phantom Zone, it still stood out head and shoulders above everything else.
Hell, they even adapted the whole thing into an episode of Batman: The Brave & The Bold.

One of those reboots of a long established character that actually worked, it's both a free-wheeling fantasy and a surprisingly adult, grown-up series. Adult not in the Heavy Metal sense by the way.
The first issue takes a good long time to establish Ray Palmer's marital problems with wife Jean, and makes clear the fact that being married to a superhero might not actaully be as much fun as it first appears.
Then we're into said superhero action, before Ray / Atom gets stranded in the tiny kingdom of Morlaidh, and becomes an almost completely different character. His shrinking powers are irrelevant, him being stuck at the same size as everybody else, and at this point he's no longer the World's Smallest Hero, but actually John Carter Of Mars.

Longtime Richard Corben collaborator Jan Strnad's script is action packed and surprisingly complex, and you have one of the greatest fantasy artists in comics on hand to redesign The Atom's already great costume, and Gil's temples, cities, warriors, princesses and priests are a joy to behold.
Of course, it didn't last. After the 4 part series, and 3 sequel specials, The Atom was back in our world again, with his adventures in Morlaidh almost completely forgotten, but for a while it was a blast. Here's the first part.


  1. I loved this series. It came out just before I stopped reading comics, but I stuck around long enough to finish the mini-series....and the first two sequels. I need to find the collected series.

  2. Funnily enough, this was one of the last things I bought before giving up for a few years too. Had a fair bit of catching up to do when I came back to comics.

  3. What an awesome series... Man, DC in the 80's was untouchable.

    Sadly, I don't think it's ever been collected.

    1. Has been at least once. I have a copy of the collection. Includes the later annuals/specials as well.

  4. Between this and his work with Richard Corben, its clear that Jan Strnad had a deep understanding of the true secret of comic book writing - give a great artist a load of stuff they like to draw, and add some words to make sense of it!
    Brilliant post, now I just have to dig out my old issues to read the rest of it. Thanks for the reminder.


  5. I think it was actually collected, Tony, I might be wrong but worth a look on ebay at least.

    Sean, Strnad might actually be in the same list as Archie Goodwin & Bruce Jones for letting the artist tell the story. He's certainly a bit unrecognized in my opinion.

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