“If you were still here…everything would be different. I would be different. I’d make any sacrifice to stay out of prison.”
Captain Atom returns to the present and things have definitely changed. The Captain must get caught up to speed on what he has missed since his escapade back into the past.
Writer Cary Bates and Co-Plotter Greg Weisman along with artist Will Conrad take us on an emotional journey that rebirths Captain Atom in a number of different ways from his relationships to his power set to his emotional foundation in The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #33.
While Bates and Weisman introduce some extremely moving, emotional beats and explore Captain Atom’s new power set, on the whole, the story gets bogged down in exposition. Every detail about how Captain Atom has changed is found in the dialogue even down to which wavelength spectrum his energy-matrix is on. It really hampers the pacing of the book – making this seem like quite a lengthy read. It’s almost as if Bates notices this given the brevity of Captain Atom’s own dialogue. I applaud him on trying to explain the science, but it just gets a tad boring.
Aside from the long-winded explanations, there are some interesting points in the story. When Captain Atom removes the expository crutch, we actually get to see him do some of his own experimentation to test the limits of his own power. It gives us a glimpse of Captain Atom’s personality while also showcasing his powers or limits to them.
Bates does pick up his game as the book gets to just past the halfway point and the exposition is left behind. There is some great dialogue between Eiling and Captain Atom that really captures both of the characters and their relationship with each other.
The highlight story-wise is how tragic they make Captain Atom’s character. What Bates does to him after the previous issue is heart-wrenching. You can feel the Captain’s pain and sorrow. The grief that exudes from the page is almost overwhelming.
The art by Will Conrad is exceptional. The new character design for Captain Atom makes him look powerful, strong, and a bona-fide badass. He does struggle with a few of the scenes due to Bates’ script. There are only so many different points of view you can give of Captain Atom flying. As previously noted, the grief exudes from the page and Conrad’s art is the root cause. He uses an inset panel, great body language positioning, and an expressive facial detail to let the grief overwhelm you.
Conrad also exposes us to Captain Atom’s impressive new powers. Despite seeing his limits in the beginning of the book, when Conrad puts him through the paces, Captain Atom is almost god-like and showcases multiple different abilities and strengths.
Ivan Nunes’ colors are as stunning as always. He really highlights Captain Atom’s quantum powers. His color scheme really makes him look formidable. He also has the ability to make a lot of the backgrounds look absolutely real. There is one scene where helos are landing in a clearing and the grass and trees in the background have the differing shades of green that make it feel realistic.
The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #3 is a little bit of a disappointment. The story bogs down quite a bit in the beginning and doesn’t really find its feet until about halfway through. It makes for a slow read. The emotion in this issue is as strong as you will find. The grief comes off the book in waves at one point. The art really stands out whether it is expressive facial features, unique page layouts to maximize emotional impact, or using camera angles to capture expressive body language. If you are already reading this series, it’s definitely worth a look. Otherwise, unless you are a huge fan of Captain Atom, this one might be worth skipping.
- Excellent artwork – absolutely stunning at some points
- Strong emotional focus
- Decent verbal sparring between Captain Atom and General Eiling
- Poor Pacing
- Way too much exposition in the beginning of the story