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Unhappy Valentine’s Day to Plastique and Captain Atom

We’ve got a special Valentine’s Day treat for you today… a crossover! Everybody loves a crossover! Today we’ve teamed up with our good buddy Frank from THE POWER OF THE ATOM blog to examine the self-destructive romance between Plastique and Captain Atom. Read on below for Plastique’s perspective on the relationship. Then head over to THE POWER OF THE ATOM for that scoundrel Captain Atom’s perspective.

Unhappy Valentine’s Day to Plastique and Captain Atom

As a match-head, you undoubtedly know of Plastique’s encounters with Firestorm. Some of you may not be aware of the long courtship between Plastique and Captain Atom. That’s right, the Bombastic Bombshell and the Quantum Creep were romantically linked for years and eventually married.

While it’s not unheard of, it is uncommon for a superhero and a supervillain to marry. One such example is the Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman. They found a way to make their relationship work. I imagine it took a lot of trust and honesty. Qualities that were lacking in the marriage of sweet Plastique and that wretch Captain Atom. Plastique may be a supervillain, but at least she was always honest and fair in love (unlike that scum Captain Atom). Just look at Captain Atom’s history, his superhero career was founded on lies. Poor Plastique, her heart was always destined to be broken by the Quantum Creep.

THE EARLY YEARS

There is no denying Plastique has a shady background. When she first appeared on the scene, she was part of a French-Canadian separatist group who engaged in terrorism against both Canada and the U.S. They believed that U.S. capitalists were exploiting French-Canadian resources. One of her operations brought her into direct conflict with Captain Atom. Below is their first meeting from Captain Atom #2 (April 1987).

Plastique and Captain Atom meet for the first time in Captain Atom #2

Later in that issue, Plastique attempted to destroy the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, as well as personally attempted to assassinate the U.S. President and Canadian Prime Minister. As this was Captain Atom’s comic, he unsurprisingly foiled her plans. Check out the magazine cover below. I think Captain Atom is showing exactly how he treats the ladies.

Plastique's failed assassination attempt in Captain Atom #2

Captain Atom shows Plastique exactly how he treats a lady in Captain Atom #2

Wow, that Captain Atom is a real gentleman.

Plastique next encountered the Quantum Creep in Captain Atom #7 (September 1987). The superhero was grievously wounded in issue #7, which led right into issue #8. Check out the cover below and you’ll get a sense for Plastique’s true nature.

Plastique knows compassion in Captain Atom #8

As the issue opened, Plastique had the superhero at her mercy. She considered taking her revenge…

Plastique has Captain Atom at her mercy in Captain Atom #8

… but ultimately she found herself playing nursemaid.

 Plastique nurses Captain Atom back to health in Captain Atom #8

That’s right, she saved Captain Atom’s life. She watched over him in the hostile jungle and protected him. Somewhere along the line, I believe she unfortunately fell victim to the Florence Nightingale effect. That would explain what happened in their next encounter.

ROMANCE BLOOMS

When Plastique next met the Quantum Creep in Captain Atom #21 (November 1988), it appeared their relationship would take a surprising turn. Romance was in the air! Plastique was falling for the good Captain. And the good Captain was… well, not so good. This louse faked an attempt to seduce Plastique, when in reality all he wanted were the keys to his freedom. To make matters even more uncomfortable, Captain Atom’s ex-girlfriend Nightshade showed up. Seriously Captain, you really know how to hurt a girl.

Captain Atom tries to seduce Plastique in Captain Atom #22

Captain Atom tries to seduce Plastique in Captain Atom #22

It would be months until Captain Atom and Plastique met again. Can you really blame her for staying away so long? Clearly she was interested in Captain Atom, but he was only interested in using poor Plastique. In Captain Atom #44 (August 1990), Plastique’s explosive powers were out of control. She needed help or her powers were likely going to kill her. She asked Captain Atom for help. He sweetly promised to help… but apparently his idea of help is to lock people in prison.

Plastique asks Captain Atom for help with her powers in Captain Atom #44

In Captain Atom #49 (January 1991), Plastique stood trial. Apparently this is how Captain Atom fulfills his promise to “help” people. Adding insult to injury, the prosecuting attorney for Plastique’s case was Jean Loring. Jean-friggin’-Loring?!?!? The craziest chic in the entire DC Universe! Thanks, Captain! You sure know how to sweep a girl off her feet!

Jean Loring for the prosecution against Plastique in Captain Atom #49

Then unexpectedly, Captain Atom grew a conscious! Such Quantum craziness! I guess it was the combined guilt of turning her in, and his upcoming court appearance as a witness against Plastique. So the Captain did what any guilt-ridden guy would do — he proposed. Wait a minute… he proposed?!?! The guy who punched her in the face? The guy who faked seducing her? The guy responsible for locking her up? Wow, he’s got balls of Quantum Steel!

Captain Atom proposes to Plastique (1st proposal) in Captain Atom #49

Plastique is a smart girl. Thankfully, she turned down the Captain’s proposal. He then promptly testified against her. He’s such a class act!

Plastique was found guilty and sentenced to twelve years in prison, with probation likely in about five years. Unfortunately for Plastique, she was still clinging to her feelings for Captain Atom. Even after everything he’d put her through.

Plastique and Captain Atom discuss their relationship in Captain Atom #49

Then in Captain Atom #50 (February 1991), the Quantum Creep FINALLY did something kind for Plastique. He arranged a Presidential pardon in exchange for her participating in a mission of national security. After being released from prison, Captain Atom and Plastique spent some quality time together in the desert. The next morning, Captain Atom proposed to Plastique. For you kids keeping track at home, this is Marriage Proposal #2.

Captain Atom proposes to Plastique (2nd proposal) in Captain Atom #50

By the way, any marriage proposal featuring an appearance by the Black Racer doesn’t bode well. I’m just sayin’.

So at the conclusion of the mission, everything appeared settled. Plastique was a free woman, and the Captain could finally make good on his multiple marriage proposals.

Plastique after her Presidential pardon in Captain Atom #50

Plastique after her Presidential pardon in Captain Atom #50

Isn’t that great! I bet you’re thinking they got married and lived happily every after. Right? Well… not so much.

EXTREME ROMANCE

Captain Atom got tied up in some mission (whatever, excuses excuses) and totally abandoned poor Plastique. In fact, it would be another four years before the Quantum Creep got up the courage to even call her. Personally, I think he telephoned just looking for a booty call. That seems his style. Below is their first contact from Extreme Justice #6 (July 1995) after a long separation.

Captain Atom and Plastique talk after a long separation in Extreme Justice #6

Captain Atom and Plastique talk after a long separation in Extreme Justice #6

So Plastique had managed to get over Captain Atom. Just goes to show how one phone call can ruin your life. Poor girl. She should have hung up on the Captain and never spoken to him again. She would have been better off.

After years apart, Plastique and Captain Atom were finally reunited in Extreme Justice #7 (August 1995). Be sure to notice below how the Captain is overwhelmed with joy at their reunion. Oh wait, no he’s not. He appears to be embarrassed, and then yells in her face. Once again, the Captain demonstrates his true capacity for love. And yes match-heads, that long-haired red-head is Ronnie Raymond.

Captain Atom and Plastique see each again in Extreme Justice #7

Captain Atom and Plastique see each again in Extreme Justice #7

Plastique and Captain Atom spent some time together rekindling their long-dead romance in Extreme Justice #8 (September 1995). You’ll see below how Plastique completely forgave Captain Atom for being such a dillweed. Such a sweet girl. She doesn’t deserve the heartache he’s going to bring upon her.

Captain Atom and Plastique rekindle their relationship in Extreme Justice #8

Later during a crisis, Plastique dons a new costume and helps Captain Atom. This just goes to show how far she’s come. She started as a terrorist, and here she’s helping superheroes.

Now we’ve got to spend a moment discussing her new costume. Based upon her dialogue, we can only assume she designed this hideous costume with Captain Atom in mind. Like so many other mistreated women, she was probably hoping some sexy/trashy clothes would help secure her man. Clearly she’s got a good understanding of the way Captain Chauvinist thinks.

Captain Atom and Plastique fight side-by-side in Extreme Justice #8

After the battle, Captain Atom and Plastique spend some time discussing their relationship. At this moment Captain Atom chooses to go for his signature move — HE PROPOSES! Yup, that’s right! Don’t lose count here kids, this is Marriage Proposal #3! Unbelievable! After everything he’s put her through, she still agrees to marry him. Poor Plastique is so desperate now, she’s clinging to any possible hope. Curse you, Captain Manipulation!

Captain Atom proposes to Plastique (3rd proposal) in Extreme Justice #8

In Extreme Justice #10 (November 1995), we see exactly what Captain Atom thinks of Plastique. First, she’s been relegated to housekeeping duties for this second-rate Justice League. Ouch! Former terrorist and budding superhero, now cooking and cleaning for Booster and Beetle. I’m shocked Captain Atom didn’t force her to wear a French maid’s outfit. That seems right up his alley.

Second, adding insult to injury, Captain Atom asks Maxima to plan Plastique’s wedding shower. Seriously, Maxima?!?!? Was Granny Goodness to busy to ask?

Captain Atom asks Maxima to plan Plastique's Wedding Shower in Extreme Justice #10

Agreeing to Captain Atom’s request, Maxima plans the wedding shower, which actually becomes more of a bachelorette party. The evening starts with Maxima making some disparaging remarks about Plastique. Then they pack the Justice League into an old pick-up truck, and head for Wo Sum’s Cowboy Palace. What an evening! Geez Maxima, could you be any more insulting towards Plastique? If you think about it, I guess it makes some sense. Maxima had been training for months at the Captain Atom School of Manners and Etiquette.

Extreme Justice #10

Extreme Justice #10

A few months later in Extreme Justice #16 (May 1996), Captain Atom was feeling sorry for himself and asked Plastique if they could postpone their wedding. Seriously?!?! He proposed to her three times (the first time over five years ago). He abandoned her for years and then begged her to take him back. He demeaned her by making her clean up after his friends. He assigned an intergalactic despot to plan her wedding shower. And now he wants to postpone the wedding?!?!? Is it even possible for him to hurt her any further?

Captain Atom postpones his wedding to Plastique in Extreme Justice #16

HAPPILY EVER AFTER? NOPE.

Believe it or not, after all that pain and sorrow Captain Atom and Plastique were finally married. It happened off-camera, so we’re not sure what kind of ceremony took place. However, I’m pretty confident it was a Las Vegas-style wedding with a cheap plastic toy ring. That’s about the Captain’s style.

Captain Atom stayed true to the courtship and the marriage was short-lived. When the Captain Atom: Armageddon mini-series was released in 2005, the marriage was already over.

Captain Atom reminisces about Plastique in Captain Atom: Armageddon

After that Plastique returned to a life of crime. Who can blame her, really? After the awful treatment at the hands of Captain Atom, I believe any girl would fall into bad habits.

In conclusion, I think the following image pretty much sums up Captain Atom’s treatment of Plastique during their relationship.

Unhappy Valentine's Day to Plastique and Captain Atom

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY PLASTIQUE!

Without a doubt, Plastique is better off without Captain Atom in her life. Now that DC’s continuity has changed, it seems unlikely these two were ever together. That’s probably for the best.

Now this is just my take on the situation. Be sure to head over to THE POWER OF THE ATOM blog today to read Frank’s perspective on the doomed romance. My thanks to Frank for joining me in today’s crossover!

If you are looking for more Valentine’s Day hijinks, check out last year’s coverage of Firehawk and Booster Gold’s botched romance. You can read Firehawk’s perspective here on FIRESTORM FAN, and then check out Booster Gold’s perspective over on BOOSTERRIFIC!

Support Firestorm and Plastique (but not Captain Atom)! Fan the flame!

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7 Comments

  1. Martin Stein RIP says:

    Bette Sans Souci? Her middle name is “without”?

  2. Martin Stein RIP says:

    Also, is it just me, or does the cover of #8, with its “Who Watches the Watchmen” blurb, have a Silk Spectre/Dr. Manhattan thing to it? Intentional?

  3. Frank says:

    I veered pretty far off-concept by mocking both parties, but I think we still complemented each other well. You handled a lot of the fine details of the relationship, while I scribbled furiously in the margins. I enjoyed this project, so thanks for the idea, supplies, and ongoing inspiration! Who’d have thought “Plastique hearts Captain Atom” would be so much work? You clearly put in a lot of effort, and my end was no picnic. Now we just have to knock out two more crossovers in a week and a half, or something. Yay?

    “Second-rate Justice League.” Dude, the Detroit era was second rate. This was more like a number two Justice League– Excrement Justice!

  4. rob! says:

    This is the War and Peace of comic book blog posts.

  5. Frank says:

    Pardon my French-Canadian, but “Cameron” is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond. “Cameron” has never won at love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like crap, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.

  6. Boosterrific says:

    I can’t help it; all these years later, I still think of Plastique as Atom’s girl.

  7. Dave Mullen says:

    Good article, I’m surprised anyone would care enough to do the research on this… I have a soft spot for Captain Atom and at the time this relationship was so inexplicable, bizarre and irrational I have always felt it did a great deal of damage to Captain Atom’s credibility thereafter. It was worsened by the following flirtations with Maxima.
    A good superhero character has to have a couple of flaws and the idea of the hero falling for the villainess is nothing unusual. Even Captain America had his long distance romance with Diamondback, Spider-man the Black Cat, Batman has Catwoman, the difference is that all of those relationships were carefully set up beforehand and none of those villainesses were near psychotic killers. A hero falling for an infamous terrorist for no apparent reason is just about finished as a credible and admirable figure, yes Roy Harper had his relationship with Cheshire but that was never as consumated as Atom Marrying Plastique.
    Atom’s weakness with women, morally bankrupt women at that, is arguably the single biggest reason he gets little respect from readers….

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