Ray Palmer is a male comic superhero who features in DC Comics.
He had a brother named Daniel Palmer with the two never getting along though he admired him. His life changed when Danny did which left a hole in Ray's life. (Giant-Size Atom v1 #1)
As a young boy, during his science fair presentations his father was unable to attend but his uncle Dave was present where he said he was proud of Ray. (Adventure Comics v1 #517) Unknown to Ray, his uncle David Palmer had joined a covert CIA program known as Project: Colony created at the height of the Cold War. This consisted of a group of America's brightest minds and scientists to develop defensive as well as military power for the United States. Their achievements helped aid their country for over the next thirty years with David joining the next generation of recruits of the Colony. However, in time, the Colony became corrupt and sought to impose its own view on the world. David Palmer refused to participate in their plans and instead had to go on the run to hide from them. (Adventure Comics v1 #519)
In an effort to reverse his condition, he snuck into the laboratory of Dr. Emil Hamilton who Superman was consulting about repairing a Mother Box. Hamilton succeeded in instilling it with power allowing him to open a Boom Tube to New Genesis to consult with Metron. Palmer sensed an opportunity to use the New Gods assistance in returning him back to an adult. As such, in a shrunken state he hitched a ride on Superman's cape without notifying him. At New Genesis, Superman intended to check on the condition of his foe Brainiac who was being held at New Genesis. However, the hidden presence of the Atom triggered the alarm system forcing him to reveal himself. Ray Palmer asked Metron's help to use his Mobius Chair to reverse the chronal effect from Extant during the Zero Hour to turn him from a 17 year teenager back to an adult. Metron refused as he stated tampering with time was too dangerous though Palmer refused to heed his warning and shrunk into a Mobius Chair under construction. As the New God technology was half complete, it did not travel in time but instead sent Metron's entire laboratory into a random course through hyperspace. It was only the efforts of Metron, Lightray, Superman and Atom that managed to avert their own destruction where they managed to get the chair to send the laboratory back to New Genesis. In the aftermath, Ray apologized for his actions and lamented being a teenager though Superman urged him to embrace it as a second chance at life whereupon he was returned to Earth through a Boom Tube. (Superman v2 #95)
He then decided to continue teaching and retire from being a superhero after noting its impact on his personal life with him politely refusing the call to join the new Justice League. (JLA v1 #27)
After Jean Loring was put into Arkham, Ray decided to leave reality and went subatomic into the Nanoverse that he named the Palmerverse. (Countdown v1 #42) He had done this to escape the trauma and pain he experienced due to Jean's actions. During his travels, he came upon a mystic that revealed to him the existence of the Multiverse along with 52 alternate versions of Earth. Palmer then decided to travel through them in the hope of finding one where he would find peace. One of these worlds was Earth-51 which as a planet where the heroes finally defeated the forces of evil and attained true peace. The Justice League had disbanded and the heroes assumed civilian lives where they were happy. On Earth-51, he came to see that world's Ray Palmer who was seemingly on the cusp of discovering the existence of the Multiverse but an accident resulted in his death. Ray thus saw his counterparts death and curiosity led to him checking his work where he decided to stay on Earth-51 and assume his counterparts place. He reasoned that this was an opportunity to find happiness and he found that the Jean Loring of Earth-51 to be like her old self and he struck a relationship with her. He had thus seemingly found a perfect world though he was still plagued by the nightmares from his Earth which haunted him at night. Thus, he came to seek psychological help where he attended sessions at the Arkham Institute for Emotional Disorders. This was until one day when he was visited by one of the Monitors alongside Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner and the Jason Todd of his Earth where they sought Ray's aid. (Countdown v1 #18)
Following the Flashpoint, a new version of reality was created with a different history of events.
When a mysterious killer began targeting Superman's friends, it was discovered the smart bullets he was using were actually the miniaturized Kandorians launched from the Bottle City of Kandor. After learning of this development, both Batman and Superman took the deceased Kandorian to Dr. Ray Palmer at the miniature Ant Farm. Palmer was instrumental in tracking the location of the missing Bottle City of Kandor on Earth where it was in Iceland following the defeat of Brainiac. (Batman/Superman v1 #18)
With Aron Aut, they together made their way to the Ignition Point only to discover that his comrade had developed machines designed to accelerate the collapse of the Microverse. Palmer discovered that Aut was part of the Null that were an apocalyptic cult in the Microverse looking to provide a mercy killing by ending all life in the universe. After being captured, Ray managed to free himself and damaged Aut's bio-belt stranding him elsewhere in the Microverse. (Justice League of America v5 #16)
Personality and attributes
It was said that from a young age he had a sharp and intelligent mind that was recognized by his uncle Dave. (Adventure Comics v1 #519)
He said that he had never had much love for super heroics as fighting was always involved in such activities. (JLA v1 #96)
On Hawkman, Ray believed that the reason for their friendship despite being s different from one another was because Carter reminded Palmer of his brother Danny. From there, the pair grew to hold a deeper friendship with one another. (Giant-Size Atom v1 #1)
When he got turned into a 17 year old teenager, he began to suffer from gaps in his memory and struggled to remember his past adventures. As a result, for a time he fixated on reversing the process and return himself into an adult. (Superman v2 #95)
Powers and abilities
Within the pockets of the belt, he kept a large number of tools that were in a shrunken state and could be enlarged for his use with equipment such as blasters being present. (Adventure Comics v1 #517)
The White-Dwarf Matter that allowed him to achieve his shrinking capabilities was kept safely in the grave of his brother Daniel Palmer. It could be accessed only by shrinking into the grave where an insectile robot named Asimov served as the guardian. When approaching Asimov, a password was required in order to access the White-Dwarf Matter meteor in the machines chest with the authorization code being Fire Truck. After taking it back, he discharged the robot of its duty but kept him within his belt for easy access. (Giant-Size Atom v1 #1) Another device he used was a nanocamera that was a tiny floating camera mechanism almost invisible to the naked eye that allowed him to document his discoveries. (Justice League of America v5 #16)
He also developed a shrinkship that ran on white dwarfstar material and used a universal drive in order to travel to the Microverse. (Justice League of America v5 #12)
At the school, he requested an extension for him to conduct his work but the institution could not afford to make the changes. This led to Palmer created a micro-lab by using a method of shrinking of non-organic materials that prevented from exploding in the process which he used to create some storage space. (JLA v1 #27) His uncle David Palmer was responsible for creating the miniature sphere called the Ant Farm. It was originally described as being a microscopic panic room for the human race. This impenetrable metal sphere was an artificial mini-planet that could be terraformed to develop an inhabitable ecosystem that could be accessed through shrinking or teleportation tech. (Adventure Comics v1 #519)
Ray was known to shrink to a subatomic level where he entered into a microscopic reality that was known as the Nanoverse though he called it the Palmerverse. (Countdown v1 #42) Within the centre of the Microverse, he created a laboratory he called the Nucleus from where he could watch out from any threat to that universe which could spiral into a danger to all space-time. (Hawkman v5 #5)
- The Atom Ray Palmer was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane where he made his first appearance in Showcase v1 #34 (October 1961).
- In Countdown: Arena v1 #2 (February 2008), an alternate reality version of Ray Palmer was a scientist shown to had become the Atom but an unknown incident gave him the ability to become a light-based energy being at will where he started to call himself the Ray. This version was abducted by Monarch where he fought a Nazi version of the Ray and Apollo. The former was killed by Monarch when he attempted to escape and the latter was left temporarily mad where he attacked Ray Palmer who resorted to shrinking to knocking him out.
In other media
- In The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, Ray Palmer appeared as the Atom in the animated series in the episodes devoted to him where he was voiced by actor Pat Harrington, Jr. He was described as a nuclear physicist who was an esteemed professor that also operated as the shrinking hero known as the Atom.
- In Justice League Unlimited, the Ray Palmer Atom appeared in the DC Animated Universe where he was voiced by actor John C. McGinley. He first appeared in the episode "The Return" where he was called to assist the Justice League when AMAZO had returned to Earth.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Ray Palmer appeared as the Atom in the episode "Sword of the Atom!" where he was voiced by actor Peter Scolari. He was shown as being the original Atom and Ryan Choi's mentor but he would decide to retire and leave for the Amazon. Once there, he encountered the Morlaidhans and became romantically involved with Princess Laethwyn whilst gaining the enmity of her xenophobic Chancellor Deraegis. After disappearing, Aquaman would forcibly enlist the aid of Ryan Choi to track him down into the Amazon where they would help him defeat Deraegis. However, Palmer would decide to remain in the Amazon and stay as Laethwyn's lover.
- In Young Justice, the character made an appearance where he was voiced by actor Jason Marsden. He was first mentioned in "Agendas" where he was considered for membership into the Justice League and he was later admitted into the group in the episode "Usual Suspects". The episode "Auld Acuintance" sowed him as one of the many Justice League members infected by StarroTech by Vandal Savage but was later cured by Miss Martian. In "Happy New Year", Bumblebee was mentioned as being on a lab assignment with Dr. Palmer leading to her postponing her date with Mal Duncan. Afterwards, in the episode "True Colors", both Palmer and Bumblebee were shown shrunken inside Jamie Reyes body where they were performing micro-surgery to remove the Reach Scarab on hi only for them to be fought off by defensive antibodies within the Blue Beetle forcing them to abandon the procedure.
- In the Arroverse, Ray Palmer was introduced into the shared continuity setting.
- In Arrow, the character would make an appearance in the third season where he was played by actor Brandon Routh. Some of his backstory was shown in the episode "The Climb" where he was shown having a girlfriend named Anna who was killed by Deathstroke's Mirakuru enhanced soldiers that devastated Starling City with him being helpless in stopping her death. In the episode "Draw Back Your Bow", at a press conference he unveiled changing Queen Consolidated as Palmer Technologies. In "The Climb", he showed his feelings for Felicity and unveiled his A.T.O.M. suit which he intended to use to fight injustice and asked her to aid him in his crusade.
- In The Flash, Ray Palmer made guest appearances in the live-action series where he was portrayed by actor Brandon Routh.
- In Legends of Tomorrow, Ray Palmer was a main cast member of the live-action series where he was once again portrayed by actor Brandon Routh.
- In Justice League: The New Frontier, Ray Palmer would make a appearance where he was voiced by Corey Burton. He would provide his flawed dwarf-star shrinking technology to the various heroes which was used to help destroy the living island known as the Centre.
- In Justice League: Gods and Monsters, the character made an appearance in an alternate reality setting where he as voiced by actor Dee Bradley Baker.
- Atom v1:
- JLA v1:
- Countdown v1:
- Hawkman v5: