Atomic Skull

Atomic Skull is the name of two different DC Comics supervillains, both of whom are foes of Superman.

Atomic Skull
Atomic Skull (Albert Michaels)
Atomic Skull (Albert Michaels).
Art by Curt Swan.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance(Michaels)
Superman #303
September 1976
(Michaels as Atomic Skull)
Superman #323
May 1978
(Martin)
Adventures of Superman #483
October 1991
(Martin as Atomic Skull)

Action Comics #670
October 1991
Created by(Michaels)
Gerry Conway
Curt Swan
(Martin)
Roger Stern
Bob McLeod
In-story information
Alter ego- Albert Michaels
- Joseph Martin
Team affiliations(Michaels)
SKULL
S.T.A.R. Labs
Secret Society of Super Villains
(Martin)
Secret Society of Super Villains
Notable aliases(Martin)
Skull
Abilities(Michaels)
Seizure-generated atomic "brain-blasts"
Brilliant scientist
Superhuman Strength (Martin)
Superhuman Strength, Agility, and Endurance
Atomic blasts

Publication history

The Albert Michaels version of Atomic Skull first appeared in Superman #323 and was created by Martin Pasko and Curt Swan.

The Joseph Martin version of Atomic Skull first appeared in Adventures of Superman #483 and was created by Roger Stern and Bob McLeod.

Fictional character biography

Albert Michaels

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.

The original Atomic Skull returned in 2007 in the book Birds of Prey.[1] Michaels also appeared in the mini-series Villains United, where he joined Luthor's Society.[2]

Joseph Martin

Atomic Skull (Joseph Martin)
Joseph Martin as Atomic Skull. Art by Phil Jimenez

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.[3]

He was later given enhanced powers by the demon Neron in exchange for his soul.[4] 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,[5] an alternate reality superhero team, but is later seen alive in the pages of Action Comics,[6] assuming Mr. Mxyzptlk reversed his death along with other events having to do with the Maximums.

Recently, Martin crashed a movie premiere in Hollywood, having become obsessed with an actress who was in the film. He was defeated by Manhunter.[7]

Martin was among the villains in the ambush of the JSA led by Tapeworm.[8]

While Superman is off-world, Atomic Skull attempts to cause trouble in downtown Metropolis, but is defeated by Mon-El.[9]

The New 52

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.[10]

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.[11]

DC Rebirth

In June 2016, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comic book titles with DC Rebirth. The Atomic Skull is seen imprisoned in Kamen Maximum Security Prison in Superwoman #1.[12]

In DC Rebirth: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45[13], 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.[14]

Powers and abilities

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.

Other versions

Movie serial

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[15]), 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.

Dominus' reality

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.

Superman: Red Son

Atomic Skull is featured in the alternate reality Superman: Red Son as one of Lex Luthor's experiments.[16]

Flashpoint

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, a version of Atomic Skull is imprisoned in the military Doom prison and is working to keep the other prisoners in, as he recognizes that he is a bigger fish in jail than he would ever be in the real world.[17]

In other media

Television

  • Albert Michaels appeared in the 1988 Superman series. In the episode "Fugitive from Space", he appeared as a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs.
Atomic Skull jlu
Atomic Skull in Justice League Unlimited.
  • The Joseph Martin version of the Atomic Skull appears in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Lex Lang. He first appears in "The Cat and the Canary" as Wildcat's main opponent at Roulette's Meta-Brawl until Green Arrow and Black Canary interrupted the match. In "I Am Legion", Atomic Skull later returns as a member of the Secret Society. In "Dead Reckoning", he is possessed by Deadman. In "Alive" and "Destroyer", he sides with Lex Luthor during a mutiny in the two-part series finale. He is found among the survivors of Darkseid's attack. He and Luthor insist that the surviving villains help the heroes during the defense of Earth against the forces of Apokolips, with Atomic Skull pointing out that Earth is their home as well. He fights alongside Hawkgirl and Commander Steel in Washington DC. He is last seen taking advantage of the Justice League's "five-minute head start" granted to the surviving villains at the final episode's end (notably he is the one who vocally opposes being arrested after helping save the world from Darkseid's forces).
  • The Albert Michaels version of Atomic Skull appears in the Young Justice animated series. In the episode "Revelation", he is seen as a member of the Injustice League and is mainly used to power Poison Ivy's plant creature.
  • A character who resembles Atomic Skull appears in The Flash live-action series. In the episode "Invincible", he appears in Zoom's meta-human army. This version also semi looks like Firestorm.

Film

  • The Joseph Martin version of Atomic Skull appears in Superman vs. The Elite, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. He appears in the film's opening, killing random civilians in order to get Superman's attention. They brawl around the city, eventually culminating in Atomic Skull's defeat after Superman throws him into a large pond. Later on he is seen in Stryker's Island, being used to power the prison in a manner similar to the Flash villain Fallout. He soon escapes by overloading the generator before running rampant throughout Metropolis. He is soon confronted by the combined forces of Superman and The Elite, who manage to defeat Skull through Coldcast absorbing Atomic Skull's radiation, but with massive collateral damage. At this point The Elite's leader Manchester Black plans to execute Atomic Skull himself, leaving the decision up to the son of a professor who was killed by Atomic Skull and a vehement Superman supporter. The boy votes for Atomic Skull's death and Manchester Black executes Atomic Skull to the cheer of the watching crowd and the horror of Superman.
  • A version of Atomic Skull briefly appears in Justice League vs. Teen Titans, voiced by Rick D. Wasserman (albeit uncredited). He challenges Superman to a fight and claims to have gotten stronger from the last defeat. Atomic Skull is quickly beaten and nearly killed by Superman who was possessed by Trigon at the time.

Miscellaneous

  • The Albert Michaels version of Atomic Skull appeared as one of the primary villains in a special Free Comic Book Day tie-in for the Young Justice cartoon. He and Psycho-Pirate attack a STAR Labs facility in order to steal some plutonium, but Atomic Skull is forced to retreat after the members of the team reclaim the plutonium and capture Psycho-Pirate.

See also

References

  1. ^ Birds of Prey #110, November, 2007
  2. ^ Villains United #5
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Atomic Skull", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 31, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
  4. ^ Underworld Unleashed #1
  5. ^ Superman/Batman #21
  6. ^ Action Comics #853
  7. ^ Manhunter (vol. 2) #31
  8. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #29
  9. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41
  10. ^ Tony Guerrero (2012-10-25). "Interview: 'Chronicle' Writer Max Landis Talks Superman, Atomic Skull and His Passion for Comics". Comic Vine. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  11. ^ Action Comics Annual (Volume 2) #1
  12. ^ Deathstroke #4
  13. ^ Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45
  14. ^ Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45
  15. ^ Superman: The Essential Guide to the Man of Steel, p. 100
  16. ^ Superman: Red Son #3
  17. ^ Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1 (June 2011)

External links

Belle Reve

Belle Reve Penitentiary is a fictional prison and sanatorium appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The prison first appeared in Suicide Squad #1 (May 1987), written by John Ostrander and art by Luke McDonnell.Belle Reve is pseudo-French for "beautiful dream" and is an allusion to the name of Blanche and Stella's family estate in Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire.

Hector Hammond

Hector Hammond is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, who is primarily an enemy of Green Lantern. Unlike many supervillains, Hammond does not use an alias.Peter Sarsgaard played the role of Hammond in the 2011 film Green Lantern.

Injustice League

The Injustice League is the name of two fictional supervillain teams appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.

Justice League Unlimited

Justice League Unlimited (JLU) is an American animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the previous Justice League animated series. JLU debuted on July 31, 2004 on Toonami and ended on May 13, 2006. It was also the final series set in the long-running DC animated universe, which started with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.

Boomerang reran the series from June 3, 2007 to March 26, 2010 as part of Boomeraction. On August 25, 2012, The CW's Vortexx Saturday morning block began airing reruns of this series, lasting until August 23, 2014.

Justice League vs. Teen Titans

Justice League vs. Teen Titans is a 2016 direct-to-video animated superhero film directed by Sam Liu from a screenplay by Alan Burnett and Bryan Q. Miller. It is part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and DC Animated Movie Universe. The film features the voices of Jon Bernthal, Taissa Farmiga, and Jason O'Mara.

The film had its world premiere at WonderCon on March 26, 2016, and was released through digital download on March 29, 2016. It was released through home media on April 12, 2016, by Warner Home Video.

Legion of Doom

The Legion of Doom is a group of supervillains that originated in Challenge of the Super Friends, an animated series from Hanna-Barbera based on DC Comics' Justice League. The Legion of Doom has since been incorporated into the main DC Universe, appearing in comics, as well as further animated and live-action adaptations.

Lex Lang

Lex Lang (born November 12, 1965 in Hollywood, California) is a two-time Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards-honored voice actor, voice match specialist, songwriter, music producer, entrepreneur, poet and philanthropist, who has provided voices and served as a director for a number of cartoons, anime, and video games, most notably as Doctor Neo Cortex in the Crash Bandicoot series from 2004 to present day, to which he has garnered widespread acclaim.

List of Superman enemies

This is a list of fictional supervillains appearing in DC Comics who are or have been enemies of the superhero Superman. Several of Superman's rogues (most notably Darkseid and Brainiac) are or have been foes of the Justice League of America as well. Unlike most heroes, Superman's adversaries exist in every known capacity; humans, metahumans, androids, sorcerers, empowered animals, other aliens (such as Kryptonians), mythical/supernatural creatures, corrupt doppelgängers of himself (clones or parallel universe counterparts), and even deities.

List of metahumans in DC Comics

List of metahumans in DC Comics, is a list of fictional superhumans that have appeared in comic book titles published by DC Comics, as well as properties from other media are listed below, with appropriately brief descriptions and accompanying citations.

Martin Pasko

Martin Joseph "Marty" Pasko (born August 4, 1954) is a writer and editor in a diverse array of media, including comic books and television.

Pasko has worked for many comics publishers, but is best known for his work with DC Comics over three decades. He has written Superman in many media, including television animation, webisodes, and a syndicated newspaper strip for Tribune Media Services, as well as comics. He also co-created the 1975 revamp of Doctor Fate.

Maximums

The Maximums is a DC Comics team of super heroes parodying Marvel Comics's Ultimates and New Avengers, including the lower-case speech bubbles associated with the Ultimate Universe and the Avengers' battlecry "Avengers Assemble!" to their "Maximums March!" They are based in San Francisco.

They were introduced in Superman/Batman #20 (June 2005) as inhabitants of an alternate world. It was eventually revealed they had been created by the Joker and Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Roulette (DC Comics)

Roulette is a supervillainess in the DC Comics universe.

S.T.A.R. Labs

Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories (S.T.A.R. Labs) is a fictional scientific research facility and organization appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. It first appeared in Superman #246 (December 1971) and was created by Cary Bates and Rich Buckler.

Superheroes receive treatment at the labs.

SKULL (DC Comics)

The SKULL group is a fictional DC Comics criminal organization, introduced in 1976's Superman #301. They were created by Gerry Conway and Curt Swan.

Stryker's Island

Stryker's Island is the name of a fictional prison in DC Comics. The name is a play on the similarly located Riker's Island prison in New York. It is also known as Stryker's Island Penitentiary.

Superman vs. The Elite

Superman vs. The Elite is an animated superhero film based on the comic book story "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?" in Action Comics #775 (March 2001). Adapted by Joe Kelly who also wrote the comic book story and directed by Michael Chang. The film featured the return of George Newbern as Superman and David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen reprising their roles from the DC animated universe. Released on June 12, 2012, it is the 14th film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies.

Supermobile

The Supermobile is the fictional vehicle for the comic book superhero Superman. It is capable of duplicating all of his abilities in situations where he finds himself powerless. It was introduced in a story entitled "It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Supermobile!", published in Action Comics # 481, cover dated March 1978.

Thunder and Lightning (comics)

Thunder and Lightning are a duo of superpowered brothers published by DC Comics that had encounters with the Teen Titans.

They are not to be confused with the two superheroines Thunder and Lightning, sisters introduced at different times who are the daughters of Black Lightning.

Superman characters
Superman family
Supporting
characters
Enemies
Alternative
versions
Miscellanea

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.