JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)
When reworking their slate of Golden Age heroes into something that better fit the more “modern” audience of the ’60s, DC banked far more heavily on science and “space age” ingenuity for the backgrounds of their superheroes. Where the Golden Age Atom was just a kinda small guy who was a bit of a bruiser, his replacement in the Silver Age was a man who could shrink down to the size of the thing he took his name from. Well, okay, probably still a bit bigger. Actual Atoms are pretty darn small. Ray Palmer’s turn as the Atom reshaped the character, and has been the standard going forward. He’s found himself as a supporting player in a number of DC projects. He first got his name dropped during Justice League’s second season, before becoming a member of the titular team in the following season, when the went “Unlimited.” He was voiced in the show by Dr. Percival Cox himself, John C McGinnley, and got two focus episodes of his own, as well as a little bit of action figure coverage. I’m looking at his main JLU line figure today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Atom was part of the first single-carded assortment of Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line. They largely kept the new team members confined to the multipacks at the start, so he was largely packed in with a bunch of unnecessary variants of the core 7, making him by far the most desirable in the bunch. He was re-released a couple of times after that in multipack form, but this guy’s the original release. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Atom was built on the skinniest of the male base bodies, which was patterned on the original Flash sculpt. It’s perhaps a touch skinny for how Ray was portrayed on the show, but it was a closer fit than any of the other options. He got a new head sculpt, which was a strong recreation of the animation design, and just a pretty strong sculpt in general. It’s very cleanly handled, and instantly distinct from the other characters in the line (well, apart from the Hourman figure that re-used the head, but that’s a whole other thing). His paint work is pretty basic stuff, but it covers his needed set-up pretty well. The insignia on the head and belt is decent, and the blue and red are fairly close to what they should be. As a single-release, Atom actually got an accessory; it’s a miniature version of himself. Interestingly, this smaller Atom appears to have his mold based on the mid-range body, which was patterned on Batman, making him look a little bulkier than his full-sized compatriot. Given the scale, though, it’s a pretty minor difference.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Atom was my first JLU figure. The three packs were hard to get at first, and my dad wound up finding this one for me, which he presented to me as sort of a gift of acomplishment after I lost a tooth mid-way through a school play and still went on with the show. I was determined, I tell ya. He was always one of my favorites from the line, and I stand by that. He kind of exemplified the kind of stuff the line could do very well when it played to its strengths.