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The Atom Man

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The Atom Man
Atomman
Created by Ben Peter Freeman
Portrayed by Mason Adams (radio)
Lyle Talbot (serial)
Statistics
AKA Henry Miller, Heinrich Milch (radio)
Lex Luthor (serial)
Classification human
Affiliation Nazi Party
Relatives Professor Milch (father, radio)
Abilities Kryptonite-fueled atomic energy streaming from finger tips.

The Atom Man was one of the few super-powered villains faced by Superman on his radio series, and the most physically dangerous.

A different version of the Atom Man was also the villain in Atom Man vs. Superman, the second live action Superman serial.

The Adventures of Superman (Radio)

The Atom Man was created by the evil Nazi scientist Der Teufel in 1945, as part of his dream to finally destroy Superman and conquer the world. The concept was simple to Teufel: use the Kryptonite stolen from the Scarlet Widow; convert the Kryptonite to liquid and inject it into a test subject; and use a special converter box on the throat and meshed gloves of platinum and thorium. The converter, when switched, would flash to the Kryptonite in the bloodstream, "rearranging the outer structure of the atoms," and when they reach the gloved hands, "the nucleus of the atom is broken, and there will emerge from his fingers a stream of energy such that anything in its path - be it men, or great buildings, or even mountains, will disappear as if they had never been there!"[1]

That subject was one Heinrich Milch, the son of chemist Professor Milch (who dissolved the Kryptonite). Though born in Germany, Milch moved to the United States where he was educated in Metropolis, studying journalism under the name Henry Miller. When World War II broke out, Milch returned to his homeland, although his German accent was by then lightened through his American schooling. Now a young adult, Milch "did well in the war" and received the Iron Cross from Adolf Hitler himself. Milch/Miller is described as a slim, blond German youth, who women (such as the Daily Planet receptionist Miss Barton) find attractive. Milch volunteered for the Atom Man project, with his father's encouragement and approval. However, when the experiment seemed to fail and Heinrich lay seemingly lifeless, a grief-crazed Professor Milch threatened to expose Teufel to the occupying Americans. Teufel sought out and murdered the chemist. When the young "Atom Man" revived however, Teufel blamed the elder Milch's death on the Americans, further fueling the youth's enmity towards the Allies.

Atom Man vs. Superman (Film Serial)

The Atom Man, in a markedly different form, was the title villain of the second Superman film serial, Atom Man vs. Superman. Here, however, Lex Luthor is the alter-ego, initially presenting the Atom Man as his "friend and partner." Luthor dons a metallic mask and black cloak and speaks in a foreign accent, but possesses no powers beyond his own intellect and cunning. Kryptonite, which figured heavily in the first Superman serial, is absent. Instead, the Atom Man's name reflects Luthor's technology, capable of reassembling or dispersing atoms.

Sources

  1. The Superman Radio Scripts Volume 1: Superman vs. the Atom Man. Compiled and edited by DC Comics. Watson Guptill, 2001

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