Arrowverse: How Is The Atom Different In The Comics?


It’s understandable that superhero TV shows and films don’t always closely follow the comics. They take well-known characters from the comics but they change them in a way that fits their vision and what they plan to do with the story. As a result, superheroes can often be largely different in the comics than they are in the Arrowverse.

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Ray Palmer aka The Atom is a good example of this approach. He still maintains his comic book character traits – such as his intelligence and scientific aptitude – but the Arrowverse changed him in many ways. As such, there are some things only the comic book readers might know about The Atom.

10 He Has A Size Changing Belt

Atom size-changing belt

A belt isn’t the type of clothing fans usually think of when somebody says “superhero costume.” But in Atom’s case, his belt is much more important than many people might suspect.

Ray Palmer invented a size-changing belt that he can activate by using internal commands. That comes in handy on more than one occasion, since this type of control is much faster and more intuitive.

9 He Uses Much More Tricks

Ray Palmer on the Moon in Legends of Tomorrow

On Legends of Tomorrow, Ray usually used his powers to shrink down to escape the bad guys. He then surprised them by growing large again and punching them.

However, he can do a lot more in the comics. For example, his favorite trick is to shrink down and then ride the phone wires so that he can quickly get where he needs to go.

8 He Joined The Justice League

The Atom vs. Dark Heart

In the Arrowverse, Ray first tries to fly solo on Arrow. However, he joins forces with the team Arrow relatively fast. He then goes on to become one of the founding members of the Legends.

But in the comics, Ray is a member of a much more iconic superhero team. He joined the Justice League soon after the team was founded and fought alongside Woman Green, Green Lantern, Batman, and others.

7 Giving The Mantle To Ryan Choi

Ryan Choi Justice league snyder cut the atom

Ryan Choi appeared in the Arrowverse and he even became one of the Paragons during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, despite the fact that he had no powers. However, his path is different in the comics.

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After Ray Palmer disappears, Ryan Choi goes to become the new Atom and he searches for the missing Ray as well. It’s possible Ryan could become The Atom in the Arrowverse as well, one day, but for now, it looks like the Arrowverse won’t be going in this direction.

6 He’s Good Friends With Hawkman

The closest that Ray Palmer and Carter Hall came in contact was when Ray dated Carter’s former girlfriend Kendra Saunders aka Hawkgirl.

These two superheroes are much closer in the comics, though. They’re good friends – best friends even. Carter went as far as to give Ray an unusual gift – a Myna bird called Captain Mynah that Ray could ride.

5 Different Reason For Becoming A Hero

A person’s reason for becoming a superhero and their backstory is often one of the most defining features of the character. For example, everybody knows that Peter Parker became Spider-Man to honor his uncle Ben and to make up for what he caused. Ray also has a redemption arc in the Arrowverse. He builds his suit after his fiancée dies to stop innocent people from being hurt.

In the comics, Ray becomes a superhero when he’s doing experiments with the white dwarf star material. He discovers he can use said materials to shrink things and from then on, it’s only a matter of time before he builds his shrinking suit.

4 He Can Use A Sword

The Atom fights with a sword

Ray usually relies on his suit when he needs to fight someone in the Arrowverse. The comics have him wield a different weapon, though. Ray is actually proficient at fighting with a sword and a shield, as he used to fight aliens in gladiator battles.

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He did use a sword a few times on the Legends of Tomorrow, as well, but it never became his primary weapon of choice. Maybe because the creators thought that a scientist like Ray would prefer more modern weapons than a sword.

3 A Largely Different Suit

Atom smashing through a wall.

Speaking of Ray’s suit, only people who read the comics (or at least like to look at their covers) will know that Ray’s suit looks vastly different in the comics. It’s a spandex blue-red suit that has the atomic symbol on the head (hence the name).

Ray’s suit on the show got a huge upgrade and it looks much more like a technologically advanced suit. Some fans of the Arrowverse even compared it to Tony Stark’s suit.

2 What He Does For A Living

Arrow Ray Palmer

A lot of superheroes are super-rich as well – such as Batman, Green Arrow (most of the time), or Iron Man. But then there are those who still need to hold a job to make their living. In the Arrowverse, Ray seemed to be financially well-off, as he was the CEO of Palmer Technologies. But he eventually gives up this job to travel with the Legends.

In the comics, he has a different line of work. He works as a science professor, which explains his love for science and inventing.

1 Different Looks

Finally, what differs show Ray from the comic book Ray is his appearance. Brandon Routh, who portrayed Ray in the Arrowverse, has black hair and brown eyes.

In the comics, though, Ray has brown eyes but his hair is auburn. At 6-feet-2-inches, Brandon Routh is also two inches taller than the comic book Ray Palmer, who is 6 feet tall.

NEXT: Crisis On Infinite Earths: 10 Things From The Comics We Wish Were Included In The Show

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