A few years back, just after 52, but before Final Crisis came about, DC did a series of titles under the header “Brave New World”. Now, for the most part these series were completely forgettable. A Martian Manhunter mini series, a brand new OMAC that happened to be a junkie, a new take on Captain Marvel with Trials of Shazam, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, and even a Creeper mini. These books ran for six or eight issues, easily forgettable. However, there was one book that came out that fans seemed to take a bit of liking to, and I speak of course of The All New Atom by Gail Simone and John Byrne.
This new Atom was a Chinese man named Ryan Choi, and while he may not have shown up too much after his series ended (and the fact that it ran twenty-five issues should say a lot), fans loved him. To the point where when he was killed during the debut issue of Villains for Hire, there was one hell of a backlash.
The problem actually became less about how DC was putting a Silver Age character back into the drivers seat of a long established franchise and became more about them killing off minority characters to replace with the Caucasian Silver Age version. And honestly? Part of me thinks that when Ryan Choi was killed that DC hadn’t even considered the backlash to come in that form.
Ryan’s death has been the crux of much of what’s happened in Titans: Villains for Hire, and it led to a great moment in Secret Six when Giganta made Dwarfstar pay for putting the hit out on her boyfriend, but I seriously doubt that many fans expected to see Ryan again.
And then Jim Lee confirmed that the Atom of the DC universe post-relaunch is a Korean man named…Ryan Choi.
So he’s Korean instead of Chinese, which actually appears to have been an oversight on the part of editorial, or maybe just Jim getting mixed up on the spot, but the fact remains. Ryan Choi is alive, well, and once again….he’s the All New Atom.