Usually a comic book writer is encouraged to think big in the process of creating a new superhero. However, both DC and Marvel each have a character that is a stark contrast to this mantra. I am, of course, talking about Ant-Man and The Atom.
While Ant-Man has the ability to shrink down to microscopic size while maintaining the same mass, The Atom has the ability to shrink down to microscopic size while maintaining the same ma… Hmmm… Well, it would appear that these two fun-sized, costumed heroes are a perfect match and more so than, perhaps, any of the comic book characters we have pitted against each other thus far.
For such small heroes, deciding the winner to this latest hypothetical battle just may be my biggest undertaking yet. But, without further ado, I will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these beloved characters to decide who will win: Ant-Man or The Atom.
Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang gets much of the spotlight in the MCU, but the original Ant-Man is Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas), a brilliant biochemist whose extraordinary scientific developments and do-gooding uses of them led him to become a founding member of the Avengers. First appearing in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish in 1962, the superhero gets his name from the insect creature his suit is modeled after. This suit, when equipped with the Pym Particles, allows him to compress his size. Of course, that is not the only trick up Pym’s sleeve.
The most fascinating element of the Pym Particle is that, despite how small it allows its subjects to become, not only does their mass stay the same, but their strength greatly increases. Ant-Man can also make himself even stronger when he reverses the process, earning him the right to be called “Giant-Man” instead. However, covert operations and enhanced strength are not the only benefits to shrinking down to microscopic size, as going subatomic can give the wearer of the suit a means of inter-dimensional travel through a “Microverse” of sorts.
In an effort to live up to his superhero name ever more accurately, Hank Pym also equipped his shrinking suit with a special helmet that allows him to speak to ants. This way, Ant-Man can can call upon his synonymous and equally-sized insect friends to help him out of a jam or just make transportation easier by hitching a ride from an ant with wings. It’s funny: they say it is always important to stand up for the little guy, but this one has made it clear he rarely requires the support of others… well, for the most part.
As for the hero's scientific prowess, there are not many flaws to point out in that category. The Pym Particle and the technology has very little faults. However, while Ant-Man may be close to perfect, Hank Pym is an entirely different story.
Despite his genius-level mental capacity, mental stability is not one Hank Pym's strongest suits. Prone to suffering psychological breakdowns, he has gone off the deep-end enough to abuse his own wife, Janet Van Dyne, even using his technology his torment her out of his own delusion. He would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar, the negative side of the coin often taking on the persona of the Yellowjacket.
Superman actor Brandon Routh got the opportunity to return to the DC Universe as the first live-action iteration of The Atom on the Arrow spinoff Legends of Tomorrow. Similar to Ant-Man, The Atom (alter ego to physicist Ray Palmer) can shrink to impossibly small sizes without changing his mass, an ability he discovered accidentally when experimenting with a White Dwarf Star Fragment that he ground into a lens with which he was able to shrink objects, including himself.
The Atom's Strengths
Because it would impossible not to note the similarities, like Ant-Man, The Atom can minimize or maximize his own size (even to a subatomic, dimension-spanning level) while increasing his strength, is trained in the combative art of judo, and is well-respected for his success in his chosen scientific field. However, there are a couple things that Ray Palmer has a leg up on Hank Pym.
The Atom not only can retain his level of mass, but can control it to varying degrees, to the point at which he could make himself light enough glide with strong winds - unlike Ant-Man's requirement to call upon his insect friends to fly. Hell, he can even shrink small enough to travel through electric currents: a favorite transportation method of his. Ray Palmer also, without changing his overall size, can shift the entirety of his strength into his fists, allowing him to deliver devastating punches of a superhuman level, which probably makes his skills in swordsmanship especially dangerous as well.
The Atom's Weaknesses:
Unless you count an extreme level of similarities to another superhero a weakness, Ray Palmer is pretty much flawless. He is a brilliant scientist, an accomplished, powerful crimefighter, and, best of all, a level-headed, likable individual, if occasionally naive. Which brings me to my final decision.
Ant-Man vs. The Atom
As I said before, this would be a very tough call since each of these of these guys can do just about everything that that the other can do, just in different ways. Both could bring about lethal, superhuman blows toward each other for hours on end in a battle that could take them across multiple planes of existence. Of course, I can only pick one winner, and I have found a crucial determining factor in deciding which is the winner: Ant-Man or The Atom?
You know how they say that you can turn a weakness into a strength? I imagine that is exactly what Hank Pym would manage to do in this face off, given his unhinged mental state and loose-cannon personality makes him a far more ruthless force to be reckoned with, and therefore harder to beat than the well-balanced and well-meaning Ray Palmer. Ant-Man, in his relentless fight to be the victor, would eventually be able to figure out a way to make The Atom split.
What do you think? Is this the huge outcome between an Ant-Man and The Atom battle you foresaw, or do you think the final decision comes up short? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for more hypothetical comic book character battles here on CinemaBlend.