Al Pratt

Golden Age

Initially a proverbial 98-pound weakling, bullied at school and unable to impress the girl of his dreams, Mary James, the 5' 1“ Al Pratt was trained to fighting condition by ex-boxer Joe Morgan (the same man who trained Pratt's fellow mystery men, Wildcat and the Guardian). Pratt soon became a founding member of the Justice Society of America, appearing in the team's various stories during their original Golden Age appearances. In All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940) the Atom describes himself to his fellow JSAers as “Al Pratt, a quiet sophomore at Calvin College.” He later became a founding and active member of the All-Star Squadron. During World War II, Pratt served as a tank driver in the United States Army.[1]

In 1948, the Atom gained super strength as a result of the latent effects of his 1942 battle with the reluctant supervillain Cyclotron (after whose costume Pratt redesigned his own). It was later revealed that he had taken partial custodianship of Cyclotron's daughter Terri.

Pratt's last Golden Age appearance was in All Star Comics #57 in 1951, also the last Golden Age Justice Society story. Later it was revealed that a special Senate investigation panel had moved to obtain the identities of all active superheroes, at which point virtually all members of the Justice Society retired. At this point in his life, as depicted in JSA #70, Pratt was engaged to Mary James, leading to their marriage at an undefined point in time (as confirmed by Justice Society of America: The Kingdom Special and others). Later years

Pratt was revived with the rest of the team in 1963 in Flash vol. 1, #137, and continued to make various appearances in the years that followed.

The Atom comic book, showcasing the adventures of Ray Palmer, brought the Atom of Earth-2 together with the Atom of Earth-1. Issue #29 (1967) depicts Al Pratt as living in Calvin City and as being a professor at Calvin College; he also possesses a modified automobile that transforms from an ordinary convertible to the Atomobile. In this story it is Ray Palmer who builds a “special dimensional vibrator” that allows travel between the two Earths. The villain in this adventure is The Thinker. In issue #36 (1968) Al Pratt is specifically named a professor of nuclear physics at Calvin College. Built into the belt of his Atom uniform is his own “atomic vibrator” which allows travel between the Earths. Al is depicted as a young-looking man who is “so busy as the Atom” that he “sort of let romance pass [him] by.” Shown also are his friends Bill and Betty Roberts, as well as his first meeting with Marion Thayer on a double date. It is unknown what had happened to Marion Thayer, but in DC Comics Presents #31 (1980), Pratt's wife Mary resembles the blonde Thayer more than the brunette James.

The Atom's status with the Justice Society of America was as a reserve member up until after the formation of Infinity, Inc. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Last Days of the Justice Society Special (1986) told how Pratt, along with his teammates, prevented the unleashing of Ragnarök, a time-displaced and world-shattering event initiated by Adolf Hitler originally on April 12, 1945. In order to stave off the destruction of the world, Al and the others chose to enter a magical limbo - seemingly for all eternity.

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  • Last modified: 2016/01/22 20:50
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