Ryan Choi (The Atom)

It’s positive by now that we’ll never get the infamous Snyder Cut of Justice League (and I’m not exactly sad for it), but new images and photos from the scrapped version of the movie keep surfacing, even more than one year after the film’s release. One of the latest showed Silas Stone working with another S.T.A.R. Labs scientist, portrayed by Orion Lee… and Zack Snyder confirmed that he was meant to be Ryan Choi, a name that we can actually read in the list of S.T.A.R. Labs employees even in the final version of the film. Comicbook readers now the name quite well, as Choi is the fourth person to don the mantle of The Atom. Whether we’ll ever see him for real in the DC Extended Universe or not is unknown, but he’s already been mentioned in The Flash as a (future) friend of Barry‘s, and he’ll design for him the suit that Nora brought back. In the meantime, as usual, let’s take a look at the original.

Ryan Choi was born in the urban area of Kowloon, in Hong Kong, son of a renowned professor. Growing up among scientists gave him quite a taste for the discipline, and he distinguished himself as a phenomenal student since he was very young: he was little more than a boy when he received his (first) doctorate. Physics was his main game, and he started an epistolary relationship with other scientists all around the world, and one in particular became his mentor: Ray Palmer. The relationship with Palmer became something more than a simple teacher-student exchange, and the two became true friends through science, exchanging theories and sharing a deep passion for discovery and investigation. Ryan couldn’t hope for anything better than to work with his mentor side by side, and when his mother died he finally moved to the United States, in Ivy Town, having obtained a post-doc in Ivy University, where Palmer worked. When he arrived, though, things didn’t go as he had imagined them: Ray Palmer was exposed to the world as the shrinking superhero The Atom, and he disappeared without leaving a trace. Choi’s respect for Palmer only grew when he heard the news, but even if he had the chance to work with other great physicists like Dr. Helmond Kettering, he was sad that he couldn’t even meet his hero. It didn’t take much to him to make an impression on his older colleagues, and he was soon invited by Kettering, who had been a friend of Palmer’s as well, into the Lighter Than Air Society, a group of geniuses who worked together and shared their love for physics: this way, Choi met Professor Martin Campbell, Professor “Panda” Potter and Professor Thomas Dinawa who, along with Kettering, became some of his best friends in Ivy Town. Of course, the one he still felt closest to him was still the missing Ray Palmer, and he obtained to live into the doctor’s former house in the campus. Here, he made the discovery of a lifetime.

While living among his mentor’s possessions, Ryan Choi stumbled upon a strange belt that he recognized as a duplicate of the Bio-Belt, the device that allowed The Atom to shrink. Believing he should have followed Dr. Palmer’s footsteps both in university and in his heroic deeds, Ryan decided to become the new Atom, tailoring a costume and inheriting both Palmer’s equipment and name. He believed he could use The Atom’s abilities mainly for scientific investigation, to use what he found in the subatomic world to make people’s lives better… but he was wrong. Apparently, the repeated experiments of Dr. Ray Palmer and his colleague Professor Alpheus Hyatt had weakened the fabric of reality around Ivy Town, putting the basis for a war between Science and Faith that Ryan inevitably found himself entangled in. Without even knowing what was happening yet, the new Atom met representatives of both factions: first, he met the Waiting, a race of minuscule aliens who lived in a subatomic dimension. The Waiting were planning to install a mind-control device in Duster, the President of the United States‘ dog, and to use it to direct the White House. The Atom foiled their plan, but as he escaped from the angry aliens he was abducted by yet another weird opponent, the self-appointed Cancer God M’Nagalah. The monster told him about the war between magical and “scientific” creatures, and also revealed that he was a critical figure in the war, prompting him to join his side against the Waiting and their allies. The Atom refused, and M’Nagalah attacked him. Escaping from both sides, Atom was rescued by the dean of Ivy Town, Mayland, who informed him about the collapse of reality, and insisted to send him back home, where he would have been safe: he even called Ryan’s father from Hong Kong to force his hand. Mayland, in reality, wanted Science to win, and he needed Atom out of the way, so that his own agent, Dwarfstar, could replace him and cripple the other faction. Ryan, though, realized he just couldn’t leave, and convinced his father that it was important for him to stay: he was the Atom now, and he had responsibilities to assume. First, he had to stop a war.

Ryan Choi is an absolute genius, with an IQ exceeding 200, and a deep commitment to use this amazing intellect for bettering human life; keen and intuitive, he always uses reason and knowledge to get out of a dangerous situation, trusting science as his best ally. As The Atom, he originally used one of Chronos‘ Bio-Belts to modify his size, weight and mass from normal to subatomic, accompanying it with a Singularity Field Generator that created an artificial environment around him so that he could breathe and maintain a molecular stability in every state; now, however, the “matter-borrowing creatures” that powered the Bio-Belt live in his bloodstream, allowing him to access his powers without any equipment. A scientist and an explorer, the fourth Atom is moved by an infinite curiosity and an ethical imperative to learn as much as he can in order to increase the treasure of human knowledge: more an academic than a costumed hero, he’s nevertheless committed as few others, always ready to live up to his predecessor’s legacy.

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