Profile: Atom 2
Ray Palmer, Atom 2
First appearance: Showcase #34, 1961
Current status: in limbo, to where he’s vanished since having been disgraced by the current overlords of the company that owns him in Identity Crisis.
Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: Ray Palmer may have long been a very neglected character, and DC may have shown a lot of disinterest in trying even to put together a miniseries in which to honor him, but with Identity Crisis, they really crossed the line. Besides the part in the third issue where he was shot by Deathstroke, who was given an inexplicable Superman-like X-ray spec in his one eye, he was additionally disgraced by having his ex-wife Jean Loring framed as a murderess, and it was even implied in a way that he actually told her all the other superheroes secret identities, which not only rings false, but was also disrespectfully framing him as a complete jerk who stabbed his own fellow crimefighters in the back. The whole insult was capped by having Ray make his exit while dressed in the very same costume allegedly worn by Jean.
What’s wrong with how this was done? It was truly disrespectful of one of the most underrated of DC Comics’ superheroes, tarnishing his image for the sake of political correctness in the worst of ways, and the part where he's shown wearing the costume Jean supposedly wore was truly insulting. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people, following Ray’s guest appearances in Hawkman in 2002-3, thought it would lead to a new starring role in his own solo adventures, even in a miniseries, and even a reunion with Jean. And I also wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of them were shocked to see it lead to this instead.
In point of fact, what was incredibly dishonest about recent developments in the DCU is that it looked as though it would lead to and add up to something in a plausible way, and instead, the audience, like the characters themselves, was slapped in the face with an editorially mandated storyline that made no sense and did little more than to tear down the heroic ideals that the DCU was founded upon in the beginning.