Ryan Choi: 1995 - 2010
Ryan is the son of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman and a world-class neurological surgeon. Growing up, Ryan was among the most gifted students in nearly every subject at the elite schools that his parents would send him to. When he was nine, Ryan spent a couple weeks in the summer at Ivy University’s special program for child prodigies and there he met Ray Palmer and Al Pratt, and could tell they were working on something revolutionary.
After his return to Hong Kong, Ryan continued to exchange e-mails with Palmer and Pratt. Though neither Ray nor Al shared their “small” discovery with Ryan at first, they did farm out some equations and small experiments to Ryan on occasion.
When Ryan was eleven, he again attended the Ivy Town summer program and there Ray and Al decided to show their progress to Ryan. The “Bio-Belt” was the fruit of their endeavors, which allowed the miniaturization of Ray Palmer, allowing Ray to become the superhero known as “The Atom”. Naturally, the young Ryan was thrilled to have helped in the creation of a hero and was slightly upset when the men made him swear to secrecy. Dismayed, Ryan returned to Hong Kong, finding the rest of his life dull by comparison.
When Ryan was thirteen, he again got to return to Ivy University, this time as a student of the same program that had fostered the teenage genius of Ray Palmer. As a participant in the program, Ryan was a favoured student of Palmer and Pratt, for obvious reasons, and became an integral part of The Atom’s support team, requiring Ryan to become an expert in computer hacking, first aid, forensic chemistry, microelectronics, and criminal psychology.
Of course, Ryan’s secret life was further complicated when a female student of the program, a somewhat unhinged girl named Doris Zeul became infatuated with Ryan, constantly following him and inadvertently disrupting his “errands of justice” (as Ryan would call them) until a frustrated Ryan opened his big mouth and clued Doris in on it. I think he had hoped that doing so would scare her off… but Ryan couldn’t have been more wrong.
Micro: 2010 - Present
In 2010, Ray Palmer’s Bio-Belt malfunctioned after a scuffle with Sportsmaster. As a result, when attempting to repair it, Ray was shrunk while the device failed to shrink with him. Ray’s girlfriend, Felicity Smoak flew out to Rhode Island to help Ryan and Doris repair the belt. However, during the attempted repairs, the belt released a powerful shockwave of energy that engulfed both Ryan and Doris.
Due to their positions at different ends of the shockwave, Ryan was shrunk down to the same size as Ray while Doris grew to be several hundred feet tall. Luckily, Felicity hadn’t been hit by the shockwave and was able to deduce that the blast had soaked their molecules with enough energy that Ray, Ryan, and Doris could learn to control their size-shifting abilities at will, no longer needing the glitch Bio-Belt; and the trio was able to return to their normal sizes.
After this, Ryan and Dories adopted the heroic identities of “Micro” and “Giganta”. Instead of becoming Atom’s sidekicks, they commuted to the nearby town of Happy Harbor to join the covert team Cyborg had dubbed “Young Justice” as field operatives and to receive a much needed training in how to fight and effectively master their abilities (Note: Ryan and Doris had been members of the team before that, working as support staff with other teen geniuses Wendy Harris and Marvin White): and when the program went legit, Ryan moved to San Francisco to become a Teen Titan. He also gave up on resisting Doris’ advances and just resigned himself to being happy that a beautiful girl was interested in him.
Recently, Ryan helped Ray modify the Bio-Belt with a Singularity Field Generator that would allow them to survive adverse environments. Ryan also retrofitted an alien weapon he took as a trophy during his battles with the Reach. Giving his weapon the unfortunate name of “Bangstick” (which Giganta uses as the subject of much innuendo). Ryan uses the device to deliver powerful concussive blows while at full-size, propel him about in flight while reduced in size, and knock over all manner of things while he tries to pull of his Darth Maul moves.
- Size & Mass Alteration: Ryan Choi 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. Ryan 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 160 pounds. For some reason, Ryan'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, Ryan has found he can punch with incredible force.
- World-Renowned Genius: Despite his young age, Ryan has a Ph.D. in physics and is an assistant 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, much like his mentor Professor Palmer, Ryan seems to be truly capable of just about anything. Even Ray admits that Ryan is a superior technician, inventor, and engineer than he ever was. Ryan is considered to be the world's leading expert in the field of nanotechnology.
- Armored Suit: Aside from the defenses and life support systems of his Atom Suit, Ryan has found a way to use the shrinking technology of Ray Palmer to fit a considerable arsenal into his armored Atom suit.
- Singularity Field Generator: This device was engineered by Ryan himself as a retrofit to the now defunct Bio-Belt. This device translates the environment around Ryan when he shrinks, enabling him to breathe. It also helps Ryan's molecular stability, allowing him more precision control over his mass and size adjustments.
- Bangstick: Another of Ryan's inventions, his unique staff (or "Bangstick") is a particle drive device based on technology retrieved from the Reach. This device enables the Atom to propel his body at great speeds through subatomic environments and when used as a concussive weapon it delivers impacts with accelerated force.
- Hemophobic: Ryan has a mild fear of blood. While this usually does not interfere with his work as a hero (except for the occasional fainting or vomiting when discovering a particularly gory crime scene), Ryan's discomfort with blood kept his studies limited in regards to biology, anatomy, and medicine.
- Near-Sighted: Unlike some Kryptonians, Ryan's glasses aren't just to hide his secret identity, but are required to see clearly at a distance. In his costume, Ryan has devised high-tech goggles to account for this need to give him other visual enhancements.
Trivia and Notes
- He has a "relaxed" approach to his identity.
- Roy on the relationship between Ryan, Eugene and Grace: “Once upon a time there was a businessman in Hong Kong. He was a charming fellow. He married young to a smart gal and the two lived a prosperous, albeit unhappy life. This fellow, Mr. Choi did travel a lot for the needs of his business and in so doing he made the acquaintance of a mysterious but beautiful exotic woman. She was living in Japan at the time on business of her own and Mr. Choi would often extend his business trips in Japan to spend more time with her. Eventually she vanished and ended the affair, only to return out of the blue a couple years later with a daughter which she left at his house in the care of his pregnant wife while he was at work. Sometime later after the birth of their son, the wife, Dr. Choi decided she should be free to explore her own extramarital pursuits. This led to her second pregnancy and after the birth of their second son, years later, Mr. Choi learned of his wife's affair and the two decided to go to counseling, booking a stay at an exclusive therapeutic resort shortly after their eldest son went off to college and they had moved to the States. They never made it there. Their flight suffered engine failure and was lost at sea. With their oldest having left no contact information and the other son being a minor himself, youngest son went into foster care. That said, they all are legally the children of the same mother and father. For the most part they all remember their dad as a jerk and their mother as a kind but distant woman... And they all sort of just relied on each other. By the time they found Grace and Ryan finished college, Eugene was happy with the Vasquez family, who in fact had adopted him. No need was seen to take him away... Especially since neither Ryan or Grace were seen as being all that fit as guardians”.
- André Choi in the comics was Kyle Rayner's boss at Feast Magazine.
- His relationship with Doris is a nod to The All-New Atom Vol 1.