Atomic Skull (Albert Michaels).
Art by Curt Swan.
(Michaels as Atomic Skull)
Adventures of Superman #483
(Martin as Atomic Skull)
Action Comics #670
|Alter ego||- Albert Michaels|
- Joseph Martin
Secret Society of Super Villains
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Notable aliases||(Martin) |
Seizure-generated atomic "brain-blasts"
Superhuman Strength (Martin)
Superhuman Strength, Agility, and Endurance
Albert Michaels was a brilliant but genuinely unfriendly scientist-administrator at S.T.A.R. Labs with a rare nervous system disorder that short-circuited the electrical impulses in his brain, creating painful and uncontrollable seizures. When he could not find a cure, he secretly contacted the criminal organization SKULL, and they implanted him with a radium-powered device designed to harness his neural disorder into deadly atomic "brain-blasts" in exchange for him becoming their agent. However, these mental blasts were difficult to control and only made his condition worse, a situation he blamed on Superman after the Man of Steel captured the only SKULL scientists who could have cured him. Swearing revenge, the evil genius donned his distinctive yellow and green costume with its visored cowl-topped skull mask and eventually became the organization's leader, flying around in a sleek skull-shaped hovercraft of his own design and assisted by his similarly costumed lover Felicia who was a panther he had artificially evolved into human form.
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Michaels made one appearance, battling Thunder and Lightning in Teen Titans Spotlight. It is assumed his background has not changed, although instead of being diagnosed with a nervous disorder, it was said that his powers came because he sought immortality and presumably mutated himself. It is not known if he ever fought the Post-Crisis version of Superman before as his first (Post-Crisis) appearance was in Captain Atom, yet his history with S.T.A.R. Labs and SKULL remained as established in The DC Comics Encyclopedia.
Student Joseph Martin was at S.T.A.R. Labs for a routine check up when it was struck by an intense blast of energy from the Dominators' gene-bomb that gave him superhuman strength and caused his flesh to become invisible. Later attacked by some thugs, the resulting brain damage caused insanity, and he took on the guise of "The Atomic Skull" who was a hero from an old movie serial that he loved. He also emitted dangerous amounts of radiation, later gaining the ability to project it as energy blasts. He has plagued Superman, whom he believed to be the serial's villain Doctor Electron, and Lois Lane, whom he saw as the Skull's love interest, Zelda Wentworth.
He was later given enhanced powers by the demon Neron in exchange for his soul. Cured of his delusions, he at first intended to follow the character's example for real as a superhero, but has since appeared as a more conventional villain.
He is killed in battle by the Maximums, an alternate reality superhero team, but is later seen alive in the pages of Action Comics, assuming Mr. Mxyzptlk reversed his death along with other events having to do with the Maximums.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, the Joseph Martin version of Atomic Skull is re-introduced in an Action Comics Annual, penned by Chronicle writer Max Landis.
When a S.T.A.R. Labs sub crashes far below the surface of the ocean, one of its scientists is exposed to experimental radiation. He is washed to shore, with memories of the life he had, and the woman he loved and lost. Alone on a desert island, he fights to survive, eating the local, tropical vegetation. When a leopard finds and attacks him, he unexpectedly emits a blast of radiation that vaporizes the feline's body. Eventually, he learns to use this power to his benefit, killing animals for food, and blasting away holes in the rock faces for shelter. The radiation soon takes its toll on him, as he remembers how he had caught his wife flirting with someone at a dance club and murdered her in a jealous rage. In anger, he destroys most of the island. His face, meanwhile, practically melts away, revealing his radioactive skull.
In DC Rebirth: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45, the Atomic Skull is shown trying to make amends by being the warden at Stryker's Island Penitentiary. When Hal Jordan tried to break out Hector Hammond, the Atomic Skull fought him, but before he could do anything else Hector Hammond renders him temporarily brain dead using his psychic powers and Hal Jordan convinced him to let Atomic Skull live.
Albert Michaels can deliver powerful energy bolts through the visor of his mask. The energy blasts have been described as powerful brainwaves, heat vision and atomic blasts throughout the years. Aside from his energy attacks, Michaels is also the head of the SKULL organization and a brilliant scientist.
Joseph Martin has superhuman strength, agility and endurance, comparable to that of Superboy (Conner Kent), Superman and Mon-El. He can also produce purple atomic blasts from his hands and mouth for long range attacks and use the same energy to power up his already impressive physical strength to a higher degree.
The Atomic Skull is the name of Joseph Martin's favorite hero from a (fictional) 12-episode movie serial made by National Film Studios in 1936. The serial stars Lawrence Dennis (according to Superman Villains Secret Files and Origins) as the titular character. This Atomic Skull was originally government agent Joe Martin who investigated the evil Doctor Electron and was transformed into the hideous Atomic Skull by one of Electron's inventions. Despite that, he and Zelda Wentworth, Electron's daughter (played by actress Eleanor Hart, whom Lois Lane has a passing resemblance to), fell in love. Battling Electron and his minions (such as Rocketman) with his heat ray eye-blasts, the Atomic Skull eventually destroyed the mad scientist's plans and returned to normal. The fictional character from the serial is visually identical to the Pre-Crisis version.
In a story featuring the reality-altering villain Dominus recreating various Pre-Crisis Superman continuities, the supposed Golden Age Atomic Skull was first introduced. He was Lawrence Dennis, an actor and Nazi sympathizer who used his reputation as the hero of the Curse of the Atomic Skull serial as a platform to promote Nazism.
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