Atomic Skull

Atomic Skull


caption=Atomic Skull (Michaels) versus Superman,
artist Rich Buckler
character_name=Atomic Skull
real_name=- Albert Michaels
- Joseph Martin
publisher=DC Comics
"Superman" #303
September 1976
"Action Comics" #670
October 1991
Gerry Conway
Curt Swan
Secret Society of Super Villains
powers= (Michaels)
Seizure generated atomic blasts.
Super-strength, invulnerability, energy blasts, radioactive.|

Atomic Skull is the name of two different DC Comics supervillains.

Fictional character biography

Albert Michaels

Albert Michaels was a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs with a rare nervous system disorder that short-circuited the electrical impulses in his brain, creating a sort of seizure. When he couldn't find a cure, he left S.T.A.R. Labs and contacted the criminal organization SKULL and they gave him a way to harness his neural disorder into atomic blasts. However, his blasts were difficult to control and only made his condition worse. He eventually became the organization's leader.

Following "Crisis on Infinite Earths", Michaels made one appearance, battling Thunder and Lightning in "Teen Titans Spotlight". It is assumed his background has not changed, although instead of being diagnosed with a nervous disorder, it was said that his powers came because he sought immortality and presumably mutated himself. It is not known if he ever fought Superman before as his first (Post-Crisis) appearance was in "Captain Atom", yet his history with S.T.A.R. Labs and SKULL remained as established in "The DC Comics Encyclopedia".

The original Atomic Skull returned in 2007 in the book "Birds of Prey". Michaels also appeared in the miniseries "Villains United", where he joined Luthor's Society.Fact|date=May 2008

Joseph Martin

Student Joseph Martin was struck by an intense blast of energy from the Dominators' gene-bomb that gave him superhuman strength and caused his flesh to become invisible. Later attacked by some thugs, the resulting head damage caused insanity and he took on the guise of "The Atomic Skull" who was a hero from an old movie serial. He also emitted dangerous amounts of radiation, then later gained the ability to project it as energy blasts. He has plagued Superman, whom he believed to be the serial's villain Doctor Electron, and Lois Lane, whom he saw as the Skull's love interest - Zelda Wentworth.Citation | last = Greenberger | first = Robert | author-link = | contribution = Atomic Skull | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The DC Comics Encyclopedia | pages = 31 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = London | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4119-5]

He was later given enhanced powers by the demon Neron in exchange for his soul. Cured of his delusions, he at first intended to follow the character's example for real as a superhero, but has since appeared as a more conventional villain.

He is seemingly killed in battle by the Maximums, an alternate reality superhero team but is later seen alive in the pages of Action Comics.

Powers and abilities

The original Atomic Skull can deliver powerful energy bolts through the visor of his mask.

Joseph Martin has superhuman strength, agility and endurance. He has the ability to project blasts of radioactive energy.

Other versions

* The Atomic Skull is the name of Joseph Martin's favorite hero from a 12-episode movie serial made by National Film Studios in 1936. The serial stars Lawrence Dennis (according to "Superman Villains Secret Files") as the titular character. The Atomic Skull was originally government agent Joe Martin who investigated the evil Doctor Electron and was transformed into the hideous Atomic Skull by one of Electron's inventions. Despite that, he and Zelda Wentworth, Electron's daughter (played by actress Eleanor Hart, whom Lois Lane has a passing resemblance to), fell in love. Battling Electron and his minions (such as Rocketman) with his heat ray eyeblasts, the Atomic Skull eventually destroyed the mad scientist's plans and returned to normal. The fictional character from the serial is designed identically to the pre-Crisis version.
* In a story featuring the reality-altering villain Dominus recreating various pre-Crisis Superman continuities, the Golden Age Atomic Skull was introduced. He was Albert Michaels, an actor and Nazi sympathizer who used his reputation as the hero of the "Curse of the Atomic Skull" serial as a platform to promote Nazism.

Other media

In "Justice League Unlimited", the Joseph Martin version of the Atomic Skull was Wildcat's main opponent at Roulette's Meta-Brawl until Green Arrow and Black Canary interrupted the match. Atomic Skull later returns as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society, and sides with Luthor during the mutiny during the two-part series finale; he survives Darkseid's attack. He and Luthor insisted that the surviving villains help the heroes during the defense of Earth against the forces of Apokolips, fights alongside Hawkgirl and Commander Steel, and is last seen taking advantage of the 'five-minute head start' the Justice League grants the surviving villains at the end of the final episode. He is voiced by Lex Lang.

External links

* [ DCU Guide: Atomic Skull (Joseph Martin)]
* [ DCU Guide: Atomic Skull (Dr. Albert Michaels)]


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