Real Name: William Burns
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: Former merchant marine sailor
Affiliations: Professor Josiah Rhonne
Enemies: Unidentified criminals
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Willy the Wharf Rat, Thunderbolt
Base of Operations: Unidentified coastal US city.
First Appearance: Atomic Thunderbolt #1 (Regor Company, 1946)
Powers/Abilities: Able to fly and fire bolts of atomic energy, or to deliver same with a punch. He's also invulnerable, shrugging off explosions and bullets.
History: Professor Josiah Rhonne is working on a way to alter the atomic structure of people so as to make them immune to radiation and nuclear explosions. Requiring someone to experiment on, he recruits William Burns, a.k.a. Willy the Wharf Rat, who had suffered shell shock from a Nazi torpedo during the war, leaving him jumpy at any sudden noises and uncaring whether he lived or died, as he feels he is no good for anything any more. Meanwhile a pair of small-time crooks have been unsuccessfully trying to locate the professor's hidden lab and steal his research to sell, sure that it must be valuable even though they don't know exactly what atomic secrets Rhonne is working on.
During the experiment the professor pulls the wrong lever, blowing up his entire lab. Willy is sent flying, sending him flying through the air to land in the nearby ocean, capsizing a boat being used by the two crooks. They trio are pulled from the water by the crook's boss, but, having realised the source of the explosion and unhappy at the loss of the professor's work, he guns them down, only to discover that Willy is now bulletproof. An annoyed Willy makes short work of the boss and his other hoods, then, realising he has been empowered by the late Rhonne's experiment, swears to honour the scientist by devoting his life to saving mankind from itself, adopting the costumed identity of the Thunderbolt.
Comments: Though the comic is titled Atomic Thunderbolt, the character only refers to himself as Thunderbolt.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
The Atom, Golden Age hero and member of the Justice Society of America
The Atom, Ray Palmer, Silver age hero and member of the Justice League of America
Atom, a youthful British hero who lives far in the future
Atoman, a Golden age hero
Atom Ant, a tiny insect superhero
Atomas, a French superhero
Atom Blake, a Golden age hero
Atome Kid, a French hero
Atomic Man, another Golden age hero
Atomics, heroes of Snap City
Atomic Tommy, a British hero of the 1940's, given superstrength by an "atomic jacket"
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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