Captain Atom is a fictional character, a comic book superhero that has existed in three basic incarnations. Created by writer Joe Gill and artist/co-writer Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Space Adventures #33 (March 1960). Captain Atom was created forCharlton Comics but was later acquired by DC Comics and revised for DC’s post-Crisis continuity. In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its superhero comics and restarted the histories of some characters from scratch, including Captain Atom, giving him a new origin, appearance and slightly altered powers. The character of Captain Atom was the inspiration for the character Doctor Manhattan who was featured in the miniseries (and later live-action film adaptation) Watchmen.
Throughout the years, the character has been featured in several moderate-to-short lived eponymous series, and has been a member of several different versions of DC’s flagship superhero team Justice League. In all incarnations, the character initially worked for the military. In the Charlton Comics continuity, he was a scientist named Allen Adam and gained his abilities by accident when he was seemingly "atomized" and then somehow reformed his body, now existing as an atomic-powered being. In both DC Comics incarnations, he is Air Force pilot Nathaniel Adam who was used as a test subject in a scientific experiment and wound up seemingly disintegrated in the process, only to reappear later as Captain Atom, now blessed with superhuman abilities. Over the years, DC has attempted to reinvent the character a number of times. For a period, the character assumed the mantle of the supervillain Monarch, and in 2005 DC attempted to retell the Captain Atom story with an entirely new character,Breach, who was subsequently discarded. In the new continuity following DC's 2011 relaunch, Captain Atom has never been a member of the Justice League and the team views him with distrust; his character origin and abilities were also revised.
Captain Atom has appeared in several animated television and film adaptations of Justice League and other DC storylines since the mid-2000s, where is depicted as a powerful member of the Justice League whose abilities place him roughly on par with the franchise's flagship character Superman. In several animated depictions, he has served the role as government stooge when the government has brought itself into conflict with the Justice League.