Ray Palmer: 1979 - 2005
Ray Palmer is the youngest son of two scientists. His father, Jack, was an aeronautics engineer and his mother, Susan, was a neurologist. Ray was very close to his older brother, Dan, who while not an imbecile did not inherit Ray’s remarkable genius and was incredibly protective of Ray. When Ray’s father ran away with his secretary, Ray was still in grade school. The following years, Danny died in a freak accident while he was fending off bullies that had chased Ray into an active construction site. Following the loss of his brother, Ray found solace in his books to a degree that he had never engaged in before and when fiction and comics no longer held his interest, Ray began reading encyclopedias and nonfiction; and when those also lost their luster, Ray turned to technical manuals and medical journals. When Ray’s mother decided to have Ray’s intelligence tested, the results prompted Ivy University to contact his mother and offer young Ray a scholarship to and advanced child prodigy program put on by ex-military, Professor Al Pratt.
In no time at all, Ray became the favored student of Pratt. Ivy University not only nurtured Ray’s love of knowledge, but also introduced him to the other love of his life: Felicity Smoak. By the time Ray was earning his second doctorate’s degree, he met the sixteen year old college freshman and the two fell madly in love. By 1997, Ray had made a vast fortune for Ivy U with his patents, so Al Pratt negotiated a better deal and overnight, Ray became a multimillionaire. A year later, Ray began teaching at Ivy University and had his salary donated directly to charity.
When Felicity graduated and decided to return home to Oregon, Ray threw himself back into his work, digging up one of their old projects with Pratt and even outsourcing the help of a foreign prospective student and child genius, Ryan Choi, to help them. What they developed was a miniaturization project that did not meet their expectations but revealed that Ray was a metahuman whose body was able to adapt to the miniaturization energy and shrink. Palmer and Pratt decided this had applications in the field of heroism.
Atom: 2005 - Present
Creating a costume that incorporated weaponized versions of his own inventions and state-of-the-art armor, Ray became the Atom. It did not take long for Ray to catch the attention of the JLA. It was Batman who convinced his comrades on the Justice League of America that the Atom would be a vital asset to the team and when given the offer to join their ranks, Ray did so with enthusiasm. As a member of the JLA, Ray had the opportunity to work with the Green Arrow on a number of occasions, including a mission in the summer of ’06, when the Atom went to the Emerald Archer’s own city, Star City, and discovered that Oliver’s technical support, codenamed “Operator,” was none other than Ray’s former love interest, Felicity Smoak.
After his run-in, the JLA didn’t last very long, disbanding in early 2007. So, with that team gone the way of the dodo, Ray became an unofficial member of Team Arrow. Buying a beach house on the Oregon coast just outside of Star City, Ray found himself spending months of every hear and most free weekends in Star City. Though Felicity was not interested in pursuing a long-term relationship, Ray was persistent. As a result of all this time working with a team, Ray became a bit rusty on his solo operations and began requiring more assistance from his students, namely Karen Beecher, Ryan Choi, and Doris Zeul.
No time more did Ray need help than when his Bio-Belt malfunctioned, leaving Ray stranded in a shrunken state, requiring not just Ryan and Doris’ assistance, but also the aid of Felicity Smoak. In the end, Ray was rescued but his original Bio-Belt suffered a catastrophic failure and the resulting explosion gave Ray and Ryan the ability to shrink at will and gave the reverse to Doris, making her able to become a giant woman. Since then, Ray’s membership in the revamped Justice League has become all the more useful and when you combine his metahuman abilities with Ray’s true power: his brain, you have a team member that is absolutely vital.
Recently, on New Years eve of 2016, Ray finally got around to proposing to Felicity, offering her a ring made with the broken capacitor of his old Bio-Belt. Her response: “I guess.” Aw!!!
- Innate Personal Size & Mass Alteration: Ray Palmer has the ability to shrink his body to varying degrees (including the subatomic level), achieved by storing most of his mass in a pocket dimension. Ray can assume any size from his normal six-foot stature down to sub-microscopic, although he generally deems a height of six inches as most functional. He can also assume any weight at any height — up to his full 207 pounds. For some reason, Ray's metahuman physiology allows him to not explode when he is miniaturized, unlike other living things which explode after a short time of being miniaturized. By shifting most of his mass into his fists, Ray has found he can punch with incredible force.
- Note: This ability once required a device known as a Bio-Belt, but has since been internalized; however Ray still uses a new, redesigned Bio-Belt for greater stability and precision size control.
- Miniaturized Arsenal Integrated into Armored Suit: Aside from the defenses and life support systems of his Atom Suit, Ray has found a way to use his shrinking tech to fit a considerable arsenal into his armored Atom suit. His favorite weapons are a precision-edged sword and a gauntlet blaster.
- World-Renowned Genius, Polymath, Polyglot & Inventor: Dr. Palmer has a Ph.D. in physics and is a full professor at Ivy University. He is considered to be a world-class genius and a leading expert in a number of scientific fields. A modern-day renaissance man, Ray is capable of just about anything.
- Master of Judo and Fencing: Ray Palmer often finds himself in situations where physical violence becomes necessary. As such, he has developed a proficiency in the martial arts form known as Judo and when hand-to-hand combat is not enough, he will often brandish a sword which he has trained with to become a considerable fencing master.
- Considerable Personal Wealth: Ray is a billionaire and founder of Palmer Technology Solutions, though Ray lets his mentor and friend Al Pratt oversee much of the company's development as Ray prefers to spend his time with the Justice League, teaching at Ivy University, and fraternizing with his fiancé, Felicity Smoak, in Star City.
Trivia and Notes
- The Atom joined the Justice League of America in 2005 nominated by Batman.
- He has a "relaxed" approach to his identity.
- Ray's appearance is based off of Brandon Routh, who portrays him in the Arrow TV series as well as its spin-off DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
- Ray's address is a nod to his first comic book appearance: Showcase #34, by Gardner Fox in 1961.