The Atom
Ryan Choi as Atom
Art by Eddy Barrows
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDCU: Brave New World #1 (August 2006)
Created byGail Simone
Grant Morrison
In-story information
Alter egoDr. Ryan Choi
Team affiliationsJustice League
Teen Titans
Justice Foundation
Notable aliasesLun Lun
  • Size and mass alteration via belt
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Combat experience

The Atom (Dr. Ryan Choi) is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Gail Simone and Grant Morrison, the character first appeared in DCU: Brave New World #1 (August 2006) as the third superhero character to use the Atom name in the DC Universe. He emigrated to the United States following the death of his mother, to take up his idol Ray Palmer's former position at Ivy University. He went on to become a member of the Justice League.

In the DC Extended Universe film Justice League (2017), Ryan Choi was portrayed by Zheng Kai, but his scenes were cut from the theatrical version. His appearance was restored for the 2021 director's cut of the film, Zack Snyder's Justice League. Osric Chau portrayed Ryan Choi in the Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and The Flash's eighth season.

Publication history

Ryan Choi first appeared in DCU: Brave New World and was created by Gail Simone and Grant Morrison. Choi, as described by DC solicitations, is "a young hotshot professor who's filling the extra spot on Ivy University's teaching staff... and who inadvertently ends up filling the old Atom's super-heroic shoes".[1]

In a Facebook post from 2017, Simone claimed that Ryan Choi was entirely her creation: "Grant Morrison did NOT create Ryan Choi. I envisioned him, developed him and named him. I was given some rough story ideas by Grant, I am sure they were brilliant, but I didn’t read them. My entire Atom pitch was lifted from a pitch I wrote for Impulse that did not get used".[2]

Choi makes his first appearance in the new Rebirth continuity in the Justice League of America: The Atom one-shot, by Steve Orlando and Andrew MacDonald. His suit is redesigned to resemble Ray Palmer's in the Arrowverse TV shows.

Fictional character biography

Born in Hong Kong, Ryan Choi was a longtime protégé of Ray Palmer who had been corresponding with him through letters. After Palmer's disappearance, Ryan moved to Ivy Town in America to assume his mentor's place on the staff of Ivy University. Following clues left by Palmer, Ryan discovered a "bio-belt", allegedly the size and density-manipulating device used by his predecessor, and became the new Atom with Palmer's apparent blessing. Though taken with the superhero lifestyle, Ryan is a scientist first and foremost and approaches many of his adventures from the perspective of scientific discovery and investigation.

Since taking his mentor's place, Ryan has found himself at the center of a conflict between the forces of science and magic. It has been claimed that the impossible feats performed by Ray Palmer during his superheroic career caused the very fabric of reality to warp in Ivy Town's vicinity, making it a nexus of paranormal activity. Many parties, including the ancient "Cancer God" M'Nagalah and the microscopic aliens known as "the Waiting", consider Ryan a key player in the war and have made attempts to recruit, capture, or kill him. He is advised by, among others, Ivy Town Police Chief Liza Warner (a.k.a. Lady Cop).[3]

As the Atom, Ryan has faced numerous challenges, including the shrinking serial killer Dwarfstar, his strict and disapproving father, and being seduced, kidnapped, and even swallowed alive by the size-changing villainess, Giganta. Through it all, his ingenuity and keen deductive mind have served him in good stead.

Ryan Choi was involved in the search for the missing Ray Palmer, traveling into the restored Multiverse along with Donna Troy, Jason Todd and a Monitor nicknamed "Bob". Literally plucked back to New Earth, he leaves his role of dimension-hopper to Kyle Rayner, returning to defend Ivy Town from a monster invasion. Later he is led to a mistaken belief that Ray Palmer has become an egocentric madman, and Ryan himself may be only a pawn of his mad fantasies. This is later revealed to be a ploy by Ray's old nemesis, Chronos. The All New Atom series ended with issue #25,[4][5] when Ryan, with some help from the returned Ray Palmer, is able to discern between the truth and the lies fed by Chronos and his new assistant, Lady Chronos, a former sweetheart of Ryan turned to crime. Ryan eventually discovers that Ray Palmer never knew of Choi: instead the bio-belt was a tainted gift from Jia, and the Ray Palmer letters a clever forging by Chronos, meant to force Ryan into accepting the Atom mantle, and taking the blame for the staging menaces sent against the city. However, due to Ryan's ability into sorting out the mess, besting the Chronos couple and restoring Ivy to normalcy, Ray finally gives him his blessing.[6]

Ryan expresses his desire to find a new identity for himself, since Ray, despite giving him his blessing earlier, had resumed using regularly his Atom identity.[7] In Justice League: Cry For Justice #1, Ray and Ryan are seen fighting Killer Moth together, and at the end of the battle both of them show respect towards each other, with Ray asking Ryan to continue using the Atom name.

Brightest Day

During the Brightest Day event, Ryan is murdered by Deathstroke and his new team of Titans during their first mission. His corpse is then delivered in a matchbox to Dwarfstar, who is revealed to be the person who hired the Titans.[8][9] His death caused some minor controversy, given both its timing and the supposed "lighter" new direction of DC Comics.[10] A short time after Ryan's death, Deathstroke is briefly shown dismantling his bio-belt for some unknown purpose.[11] In an interview done during Comic-Con International 2010, Titans writer Eric Wallace stated that Choi's death would have major repercussions for the team, and would bring the Titans into conflict with the wider DCU.[12]

Later, Ray begins an investigation into the disappearance of Ryan who, unbeknownst to the superhero community, has been murdered. Ray comforts Ryan's girlfriend Amanda, and muses that Ryan may be hiding out like Ray did after the events of Identity Crisis.[13] Amanda Waller eventually tells Giganta about Dwarfstar's hand in Ryan's murder, though it is unknown if she revealed the involvement of Deathstroke and the Titans. After stealing Dwarfstar's belt (thus rendering him powerless), Giganta pummels him into submission and tapes his mouth shut, telling him that she plans on taking her time to torture him.[14] Later, Ray discovers evidence that Dwarfstar had a hand in Ryan's death, and vows to find him and make him pay.[15] Ray eventually finds Dwarfstar in a hospital, where he is recovering from the severe injuries he sustained from his torture at the hands of Giganta. Believing that it may lead to a lighter sentence, Dwarfstar confesses to hiring Slade to kill Ryan. Armed with this knowledge, Ray leaves to inform the Justice League, but not before telling Dwarfstar that Deathstroke will likely kill him for his betrayal.[16] The members of the Justice League finally confront Deathstroke and Titans on their way back from a disastrous mission, intending to arrest them for Ryan's murder.[17] Ray seriously injures Deathstroke for killing his friend, but the Titans ultimately escape due to the intervention of Isis and Osiris.[18] After failing, Ray sets out to write the eulogy for Ryan's funeral, with encouragement from Superman. It is also revealed that Deathstroke dismantled Ryan's bio-belt to utilize the technology to revive his dying son, Jericho.[19] Later, Ray, Amanda, the Justice League, the Teen Titans and numerous other heroes are shown at the funeral honoring Ryan's memory.[20]


At San Diego Comic-Con 2011, artist Jim Lee revealed that Ryan would be one of the members of the new Justice League title drawn by Lee and written by Geoff Johns. The undoing of Choi's death will be one of the numerous changes to DC's continuity caused by the Flashpoint event.[21]

During the first story arc of the series, it is mentioned in passing that as a young graduate student, Ryan had helped design one of the components of Cyborg's robotic body.[22]

In the Convergence crossover, when the alternate Brainiac miniaturized the universe of the New Earth, Ryan appears to be alive and confronts Ray Palmer, who was battling the Angor universe's Barracuda.[23] Ryan reveals that after his death, his consciousness had survived in the universe where the Atoms' masses are shifted to whenever they change size. He later returns to the realm of the living after appropriating the flesh from Ray's severed hand to create a new body for himself. After Barracuda is defeated, the two Atoms work together to defeat Deathstroke, avenging Ryan's murder.[24]

DC Rebirth

Ryan makes his official debut in the new DC Rebirth continuity as a teenage genius Ivy League college student tutored by Ray Palmer.[25] Palmer reveals his identity as the Atom and enlists Ryan's help in fighting crime, talking to Ray from his lab in a tech support role.[26] One day, after many adventures together, Ray goes missing. A week later, Ryan finds a message from Palmer along with one of his size-changing belts, asking the youth to come find him in the Microverse because he got stuck there when exploring a change in time and space.[27] After receiving another scolding from Dean Plumm, Ryan heads back to the lab, using the bio-belt that Ray gave him to travel there through the Wi-Fi. When he arrives, he is met by Batman and Lobo who are there to recruit Ray Palmer into the new Justice League of America. Discovering that Ray is missing, Batman decides to leave until Lobo asks Ryan if he wrote down various equations to update the bio-belt on a blackboard. Impressed, Lobo decides that Batman should recruit Ryan, despite Batman not wanting to put him in danger. Lobo says it is Ryan's choice, and Ryan joins the JLA and sometime later, heads to the City of Vanity, Oregon, to recruit the Ray into the team.[28]

Powers and abilities

Ryan Choi's abilities stand identical to that of his mentor and friend Ray Palmer, the original Atom. Having the capability to change size, mass, and weight at will through a dwarf star powered device known as the Quantum Bio-Belt, he can shrink down beyond the particle scale. This enables Ryan, in his own words, to miniaturize himself while retaining full physique at this level. Initially, he could only do so due to the belt his predecessor's enemy, Lady Chronos had made for him.[29] But after time of using the senior physicist's invention, he eventually contracted odd microorganisms that bonded to his blood cells on a genetic level. These small matter-devouring creatures allowed him similar 100% bodily control over the molecular physiological structure as his science teacher. Essentially letting him grow or shrink without the need of a belt under his own willpower.[6] As Ryan, he possesses expertise in physics.

Collected editions

Title Material collected Pages ISBN
My Life in Miniature The All-New Atom #1-6 160 ISBN 1-4012-1325-1
Future/Past The All-New Atom #7-11 128 ISBN 1-4012-1568-8
The Hunt for Ray Palmer The All-New Atom #12-16 128 ISBN 978-1-4012-1782-2
Small Wonder The All-New Atom #17-18 and 20-25 192 ISBN 978-1-4012-1996-3

In other media



Video games


  1. ^ "DC Comics". DC Comics. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  2. ^ "Comic Book Legends Revealed: Who Really Created the Ryan Choi Atom?". Comic Book Resources. 14 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  3. ^ The All-New Atom #6 and 11
  4. ^ Beatty, Scott, Wallace, Dan (2008). "Atom I, II and III". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "DCU | Comics". 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  6. ^ a b The All-New Atom #25
  7. ^ Final Crisis #6
  8. ^ Titans: Villains For Hire
  9. ^ "Comic Book Resources". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  10. ^ "Too many words on the weirdness of the All-New Atom's weird, weird death". 2010-05-20. Archived from the original on 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  11. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #24
  12. ^ "SDCC Notebook: The Fan Diaspora & Eric Wallace on diversity in DC Comics | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture". Racialicious. Archived from the original on 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  13. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #28 (October 2010)
  14. ^ Secret Six (vol. 3) #28 (December 2010)
  15. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #32 (February 2011)
  16. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #33 (March 2011)
  17. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #36 (June 2011)
  18. ^ Titans (vol. 2) Annual 2011 (July 2011)
  19. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #37 (July 2011)
  20. ^ Titans (vol. 2) #38 (August 2011)
  21. ^ "DC Comics Relaunch: Jim Lee Reveals The Atom To Be Ryan Choi". July 26, 2011.
  22. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #4
  23. ^ Convergence: The Atom #1 (April 2015)
  24. ^ Convergence: The Atom #2 (May 2015)
  25. ^ DCU: Rebirth #1 (July 2016)
  26. ^ Justice League of America: Atom - Rebirth #1 (January 2017)
  27. ^ DC Rebirth #1
  28. ^ Justice League of America: Rebirth #1 (February 2017)
  29. ^ The All-New Atom #1 and 24
  30. ^ "Supernatural alum Osric Chau joins Arrowverse's 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' as new Atom". Entertainment Weekly. September 26, 2019.
  31. ^ Anderson, Jenna (December 7, 2021). "The Flash: "Armageddon, Part 4" Finally Gives SPOILER a Comic-Accurate Costume". ComicBook. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  32. ^ Dyce, Andrew (September 17, 2018). "Zack Snyder Confirms ATOM Was In His Justice League". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  33. ^ Hood, Cooper (May 22, 2020). "Justice League Snyder Cut Image Shows DC Comics Ryan Choi". Screen Rant. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  34. ^ March 18, Clark Collis; EDT, 2021 at 02:02 PM. "Zack Snyder breaks down the ending of 'Justice League'". web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  35. ^ @InjusticeGame (October 4, 2017). "Coming soon to the #injustice2 roster... Atom!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.