J.T. Krul plants the seed of something incredible with the debut of Captain Atom #1.
The issues sees the premiere of quite possibly the most powerful known creature in the entire DCU, a pure energy being who goes by the name Captain Atom, and one who is only limited by the vast power at his command.
Krul skips a straight origin story, and it works here, as he gives you just a small amount of backstory to explain Captain Atom's inception. It works because the creation is not central to the character or the story. It simply happened, cause and effect - at least how I read it. Instead, Krul goes to the heart of the matter in that Captain Atom is forced to wield his powers, while at the same time they might lead to the cause of his death. And as the book is built around that tug-of-war, the supporting cast and setting is introduced.
Besides Captain Atom, the only other character to play a central role is the brilliant yet mysterious Dr. Megala. Megala struck me as being akin to a Stephen Hawking, as not only are they both wheelchair-bound, but disabled in a similar manner, as well. Megala plays the role of the "answer man," and at the same time heads what looks to be a top-secret research facility - get this - based out of Kansas, where Captain Atom's powers first emerged.
Not only does Krul give the reader a good basis for Captain Atom's powers through seemingly impossible acts of transmutation, but a hero is presented, and I would say a classic super hero in that, as Captain Atom thinks of others first, and comes across as having a degree of humility. With the power at this man's disposal, none would be able to stand against him (hint hint: think of the possibilities!).
As the issue is essentially a set up for things to come, we are also witness to the birth of a truly disturbing and grotesque creature. Krul doesn't give us much on this, saving it for subsequent issues, but does touch upon it in the opening pages. Just what this is and the reason behind it remains to be scene, but should make for interesting reading, to say the least.
Finally, as the issue draws to a conclusion we see Captain Atom in a struggle for his life. As the teaser blurb for the next issue states, will Atom come out of this a man - or something else entirely?
The art is in the more than capable hands of Freddie Williams, as he provides a rather dark and gritty approach to Captain Atom. It's not a bright book like the Green Lantern family, but includes softer tones and shades. Captain Atom is particularly eye catching in each panel he is present in, but not as to come across as too distracting, a too intense glowing aura of light. Cool blue colors mixed with whites give the off a perfect brilliance reflective of his power basis, which is nicely accented with the glowing red atomic symbol set on his chest.
There is a lot contained within this story, and a lot is left out. And that is a good thing. Krul captures your imagination, and at the same time leaves you longing for more. Definitely pick this up, and give it a good reading or two!