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Personal information

Real Name:  Albert Rothstein

Residence: Los Angeles
Occupation:  Student, adventurer
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Squadron #25

Character History

Albert Rothstein was born some time in the 1960's, the son military pilot Phillip Rothstein and his wife, NASA engineer Terri Kurtzenberg Rothstein. When Albert was 3 years old, his father was killed in action during the final days of the Vietnam occupation. His mother was assisted in raising him by a surrogate father, Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom. As a child, Albert was significantly smaller than other children. He was often the butt of jokes and ridicule until he reached puberty. Spending the summer with Al Pratt, Albert went through a series of workout regimens designed by Joe Morgan, Pratt's original trainer. That summer, Albert underwent a series of tremendous growth spurts, exceeding 6 feet tall as a high school freshman (revealed in Infinity Inc. #48). The roots of his rapid growth are though to relate to the genetic alterations caused by radiation exposure of his mother.

    In 1942, when Terri Kurtzenberg was a newborn infant, she was inadvertently subjected to radiation exposure from her father, physicist Terry Curtis (Kurtzenberg). Desperate, her father was black-mailed into being a lackey for the Ultra-Humanite as Cyclotron. The thorium radiation from Curtis' body affected his daughter directly and through her genes, as his had likely been altered by the effects of radiation on his own body. Ultimately, Curtis, as Cyclotron, died in combat with the Ultra-Humanite. The infant Terri was left in the care of relatives and her welfare was tended to by Golden Age heroes Firebrand II and the Atom (All-Star Squadron #21-25, Annual #2).

    As an adult, Terri Kurteznberg Rothstein likely passed on her genetic alterations to son Albert, who began to undergo significant physiologic changes at puberty. By 18, Albert had reached a staggering 7'6" tall and become a UCLA basketball star. Eager to find his place in the world, Albert joined with other JSA offspring to form costumed identities, in his case, Nuklon. Together, the 6 teen-agers barged into a Justice Society meeting and demanded admission as second generation members of the hallowed group. Their demands were rebuffed by the elder heroes and the would-be JSAers were sent home (Infinity Inc. #3).

   Shortly thereafter, several senior members of the Justice Society, including the Atom, were captured by the Ultra-Humanite and drowned in the water of Koehaha. The water of Koehaha are narcotic, dulling the conscience and sending the JSAers on a rampage. The Atom immediately set out to further upgrade him powers (also affected by Terry Curtis' radiation) by attacking nuclear energy facilities. Splitting up, the junior heroes, now calling themselves Infinity Inc., pursued their parents and mentors. Nuklon caught up with the Atom as he was tearing apart a nuclear reactor. Turning his rage on Albert, the Atom brutally battered the younger hero and left him to die among the exposed thorium rods in the reactor core (Infinity Inc. #8).

    However, like the Atom and his mother, Nuklon was not negatively affected by thorium radiation. Instead, it affected the young hero's physiology, giving him the ability to change in size and density. Reuniting, the second generation heroes tracked the JSA to the Ultra-Humanite's lair in Colorado and then to Limbo. Battling the JSA to a standstill, the tide was eventually turned by the appearance of the Brain Wave, father of Henry King Jr. who gave his own life to defeat the Ultra-Humanite (Infinity Inc. #10).

Within a year, the Crisis on Infinite Earths engulfed Earth-Two and Nuklon was involved throughout.  His activities on Earth-Two after this point are largely unrecorded. He is known to have survived into the 21st century and become a member of the Justice Society (Justice Society of American Vol. 3 Annual #1).  His later activities are unknown.

Powers and Abilities

Nuklon has inherent propensities to size, likely due to genetic alterations passed down from his grandfather, Terry Curtis through his mother, Terri Rothstein. As a result, at baseline, Nuklon is an unusually large (7'6") human with a high level of athletic ability.  He was trained by his godfather, the Atom, using the same intense physical training that he himself at received from Joe Morgan.  After exposure to thorium radium within a nuclear reactor, Nuklon developed the ability to alter his mass, change his physical size as well as his physical density.

Weaknesses and Limitations

The limitations of Nuklon's abilities have not been fully defined, tho are likely within some reasonable scope (i.e. he cannot expand out of the atmosphere).  When in his normal human form, he is a vulnerable to normal forms of mortal injury.

Multiversity Villains


Prior Earth-0

    Over the next several years, Nuklon remained a stalwart member of Infinity Inc. (Infinity Inc. #11-52). When the group disbanded following the death of its leader Skyman, Nuklon remained as loose ends. He spent some time with a minor group known as the Conglomerate (Justice League Quarterly #12) and later joined the Justice League of America (Justice League America #0, 93-113). That version of the Justice League was easily defeated by the invading White Martians and disbanded (JLA #1-4).


    Now moving into a more mature phase of his heroic career, Nuklon decided to re-invent himself as a new hero. Choosing the code name Atom-Smasher has a tribute to his godfather and his grandfather, Rothstein was contacted by Wildcat to help solve the murder of Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman (JSA Secret Files and Origins #1). With the successful resolution of this case, the JSA reformed and Albert Rothstein finally got a long-held wish, membership in the legendary Justice Society of America (JSA #1-4).


     In more recent months, Al Rothstein has been under a series of strains on his integrity. Most significantly, the international super-terrorist Kobra crashed an airliner on which Terry Rothstein, Al's mother, was flying (JSA #11). This incident was immediately followed by an encounter with Extant, the villain responsible for the deaths of several original JSAers and Al's mentor, Al Pratt. As the JSA battled Extant across the timeline, temporal anomalies were created. Within one of these, the Atom-Smasher took the oppurtunity to save his mother and place Extant in the doomed airliner (JSA #13-15). While the result of saved his mother, the long-term consequences of distorting the timestream remain unknown.


After this point, Rothstein was generally viewed as a murderer, even though Extant was exceedingly dangerous and his actions saved a more worthy life.  His path took a darker turn when Black Adam joined the JSA and had a grittier, more approving view of Rothstein’s actions.  The relationship between the two resulted in Black Adam’s murder of Kobra as a favor to Rothstein and Atom-Smasher’s murder of the dictator of Kahndaq, allowing Black Adam to take the throne (JSA #51-56). 

The intervention of the JSA resulted in Rothstein’s arrest and sentencing to prison, where he was eventually recruited to Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad (52 #33-34). Atom-Smasher later petitioned and was granted re-entry into the Justice Society (Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #23-26).  His later activities in this time line are largely unrecorded. 


     The Atom Smasher of Earth-22 is thought to have a largely similar history as the Earth-0 version.  After roughly 20 years of activity, he becomes a member of the re-formed Justice League when Superman comes out of retirement.  He participates in the apocalyptic battle in Kansas during the super-villain riots and is killed when the battle is nuked by the U.S. government (Kingdom Come LS).


     The Atom Smasher of Earth-49 also has a similar history to prior version and is a member of Superman's regime's forces (Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Annual #1).




Reprinted in

All-Star Squadron #25-27

First Appearance, vs the Ultra-Humanite and the Secret Society of Super-Villains

 Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga

All-Star Squadron Annual #2

With the All-Star Squadron, vs the Ultra-Humanite and the Secret Society of Super-Villains

  Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga

All-Star Squadron #53-55

During Crisis on Infinite Earths

 Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition #1

America vs. the Justice Society #1,3,4

Cameo appearances

America vs. the Justice Society TPB

Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, 9-10

During Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths HC, Crisis on Infinite Earths TPB, Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths HC, Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths HC

Infinity Inc. #1-4

Forms Infinity Inc

 Infinity Inc.: The Generations Saga

Infinity Inc. #5-12

Vs. the Ultra-Humanite and the JSA, identities revealed


Infinity Inc. #13

Vs. the Thorn

The Best of DC #69

Infinity Inc. #14

Vs. Chroma

DC Through the ‘80’s: The Experiments

Infinity Inc. #15-17



Infinity Inc. #18-25

During the Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2

Infinity Inc. #26-30



Infinity Inc. Annual #1


Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2

Justice League of America Vol. 1 #244


Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2