The Atom And Hawkman #44
"Hate Is Where You Find It!"
August - September, 1969
Story: Denny O'Neil
Art: Dick Dillin & Sid Greene
As Professor Heinrich Von Rilk peers into the electron-microscope at Ivy
Town University, he sees a most unearthly sight, and is moved to overload
the equipment before the subatomic alien can make its presence felt.
The aftermath of the professor's actions will soon involve... the Atom in
a search for a threat which may or may not exist. The Mighty Mite will
learn... "Hate Is Where You Find It!" Whenever the Atom is in need of a
sparring partner, he heads for the microscopic world, and does battle
with "Clyde." The creature does not feel pain, is mindless, and is eager
for a battle. WHOMP In this way, the Mighty Mite maintains his fighting
Even in such a state, the Atom can feel the vibrations coming from Ivy
University, and knows that an explosion has just taken place. After
enlarging himself, he sees that the facilities are deserted, and the
university's multimillion dollar electron-microscope is now so much junk.
Hearing some shouting, the Mighty Mite rides an air current, and sees
that two students are accosting Professor Von Rilk. When the Atom tells
them to stop, they are eager to get their hands on him, too.
YARRG! FZOK One student takes it on the chin, while the other fails to
reach the Tiny Titan. OWWWWWWWWW The Atom gives him an earful and
compliments the other student on his soprano. They explain that with the
university laboratory in ruins, and upon seeing the Professor making his
way from the scene, it was obviously an act of sabotage. The Mighty Mite
points out that Von Rilk had left Germany when the nazis came to power,
and he is no traitor.
With World War II long over, the Atom tells the students that an accent
doesn't make a person the enemy, and if they think so... they are nothing
more than mindless bigots. After taking Professor Von Rilk to the
authorities, the Mighty Mite becomes Ray Palmer, and contacts his fiancee
about what's happened. After listening to the physics instructor, they
speak with the professor, and learn that he did blow up the laboratory.
This was done because Professor Heinrich Von Rilk was scared, and ever
since his own family were taken away by the storm troopers, he has been
frightened by strangers. The professor had been looking through the
microscope when he saw a creature becoming larger in size... like the
Atom -- but not like the Atom. In his panic, the professor shorted out
the delicate equipment, in hopes of destroying it.
When Ray asks what it was about the microscopic creature that made the
professor think it was a threat, Von Rilk is unable to overcome his fear.
Now dining in a cafe, the physicist instructor asks his fiancee if she
can defend the professor. Jean is unsure if she can, but the lawyer can
only feel sorry for the poor man. One of the students has brought his
father to the cafe, and points out to the old man the one who will defend
the Nazi. The old man fancies himself an important man in Ivy Town --
and will ruin Jean Loring if she goes into court for Von Rilk. Her
attention is on her fiancee, who has suddenly decided that the air has
gotten very bad. As he leaves, the physicist puts his best foot forward,
and trips the older man into landing on his own importance. FWMOP When
the maitre'd asks what's just happened, a smiling Ray Palmer says that
they had gotten off on the wrong foot.
Back at the lab, the physics instructor goes over what he knows about
Professor Von Rilk. If there's any way to get to the bottom of the
matter, it's up to the Atom. Now at the limit of his size-changing
powers, the Mighty Mite can feel the size-controls in his gloves
vibrating -- and sees that someone's just fired a beam towards him. The
near-miss has left him partially stunned. Having found the source of the
cosmic radiations has come to him, Ag is pleased, and the Atom doesn't
know what to make of his assailant.
As the vanguard for an invading army, Ag has been tracking the cosmic
radiations, and knows that his race will have need of it -- if they are
to reach the outer universe. The Mighty Mite realizes that the alien is
referring to the energy of his size-controls. It was by their use that
Ag was heading for Ivy University. With the source of the radiation in
his grasp, Ag's race can now begin the invasion. As the alien takes his
gloves and belt, the Atom finds that he's able to move. A judo throw
catches Ag off-balance, but he is far from being disarmed.
Since the alien is not in a forgiving mood, the Tiny Titan kicks the gun
from his grasp. Ag seeks to shove him aside, but the Mighty Mite grabs
ahold of the heel, and is slapped in the face by his own size-controls
for the effort. The alien has reaches his craft and is about to run the
Atom down into electrons.
Some snappy timing and amazing moves soon has the hero jumping into the
driver's seat. Ag takes it on the chin and soon knuckles under. After
re calibrating the craft, Ag should be returned to his own universe, and
the Atom will be adjusting his size-controls to another frequency. The
alien will be unlikely to be making any more frequent visits.
Professor Von Rilk has been correct. The alien had been a threat... as
much a threat as the two students had thought the professor was. The
Atom is now on his way to testify on the behalf of Professor Heinrich Von
Rilk. Thanks to his testimony, the judge agrees that the professor
should be commended for his actions, and the case is dismissed. One
angry man present remains unconvinced and considers the Professor to be a
traitor. Heinrich Von Rilk can only wonder why... why do they hate?
Unfortunately, Jean Loring and the Atom know that hate is where you find
it... and there are some who find it everywhere.
There are some sights which may prove to be too much for mortal man, and
the sight of Ag driving his alien Edsel is one of them.
I wonder if "Clyde" had a spouse named "Bonnie."
The six-inch man landing on a guy's chin trick never grows old.
When the Atom disappears from the other student's fingers, we see his
face red with screaming, and learn that the Mighty Mite had been tugging
on the boy's ear. The "soprano" comment had me thinking that the JLAer
decided not to play it by ear.
With the laboratory in ruins and the professor being of German descent,
the two brain trusts decided to do their patriotic duty against a
As with the Atom, the two students need to have their heads shrunk, too.
The important man in the restaurant gets his kicks by trying to
intimidate Jean Loring, but thanks to Ray Palmer, he soon flops.
Ag is a submicroscopic alien with a sponge-like face and antennae, who
wears a purple insulated suit, with white gloves and boots.
The alien is one to take off the gloves and deliver the belt with
Thanks to Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin, and Sid Greene, we see Julius
Schwartz make a cameo as the judge presiding over Von Rilk's case.
Inside The Atom-Hawkman letters page, Bill Mantlo of Merrick, N.Y.
At last a DC writer has acknowledged that a story can have its direct
roots in the current, or recent achievements in science-fiction! Denny
O'Neil deserves a big hand. The feat I am talking about came to pass in
#42 of The Atom and Hawkman, a magazine I had given up for lost.
In "When Gods Make Madness" Mr. O'Neil did a beautiful job of casting our
three heroes as Mahasamatan, Buddha, Binder of Demons, or just plain Sam.
He even saw to it that Roger Zelazny's name found its way into the strip
via the name of an airplane company. Even the plot, though
understandably simplified, resembled the war between Heaven and Earth,
the Heaven and Earth of Zelazny's "Lord of Light." Even if I did have
trouble recognizing the various gods the way Dillin drew them, the issue
did come on strong, with nary a loose end to be found. You've renewed my
faith in your magazine."
The Editor replies:
"Denny O'Neil readily admits he "uprooted" his "When Gods Make Madness"
out of the current science-fiction scene - even to acknowledging his debt
to science-fictioneer, Roger Zelazny. But Denny's effort, as much as it
was hailed by the first critic, was even more resoundly zapped by critic
Martin Pasko of Clifton, N.J. writes:
We've seen science-fiction by Denny O'Neil, 007-type adventure by Denny
O'Neil, and even comedy by Denny O'Neil. It has all been, with few
exceptions, fairly well-written, fairly readable, and highly
entertaining. I usually have nothing but praise for the man, so it is
with heavy heart that I tell you how disappointed I was with "When Gods
Make Madness." Denny's tried out a new field: religious fantasy. that
sounds awful, I know, but no matter how you look at it, it's religious
In Atom-Hawkman #42, you ask me if I could have been "too hasty with (my)
snap judgment that Atom and Hawkman can't click as teammates." Whoa,
there, Dear Editor - methinks somebody's misinterpreting somebody
somewhere. Firstly, after giving serious thought to the matter for four
weeks, I arrived at my "snap judgment" (indeed!) before even reading
Atom-Hawkman #40. Secondly, I didn't say they can't click as teammates,
I said that they could, but it would require misinterpretation of the
characterizations of both super-heroes.
After reading O'Neil's team-up opus, I will not only reconsider, but I
will give my right arm to be allowed to say in print that my contentions
are even strengthened. I cannot see where you call O'Neil's "individual
brand of characterization" in the story - anywhere. In the past, he has
hoped that his freshness of plot and mastery of believable dialogue will
help the reader to overlook the lack of depth in characterization. To be
blunt, it has. The lack of character depth can probably be explained by
the theory that O'Neil has no time for characterization; his stories move
so fast, and the reader becomes so involved in them, that he doesn't look
for intense characterization... the plot's enough. But when the plot's
weak or less involved than usual, WHAMMO! All the defects come shining
"When Gods Make Madness" helps prove what I've been saying about
character misrepresentation. Rather than give Hawkman a personality,
O'Neil tried to reduce Atom to Hawkman's level. This is a result of
O'Neil's penchant for allowing dialogue to be the only testament to a
character's personality that the reader can find. Idiosyncrasies,
preferences, and dislikes, habits, and the like are almost never used to
develop character, and certain actions, if peculiar to a character in one
sequence, never recur in order to find a recognizable pattern. You can't
tell the characters without the costumes in an O'Neil story. (If all
this sounds as though I've changed my tune a bit about Denny O'Neil, let
me say that I doubt that; there's still no plot like an O'Neil plot...
and accidents will happen.)"
The Editor replies:
"We go again with another Atom-Hawkman team-up in next issue's "Queen
Jean, Why Must We Die?" Let us know if Denny O'Neil's characterizations
are beginning to shape up - individually and winningly."
The story title for Atom-Hawkman #44 would return to haunt the Mighty
Mite in the present-day DC Universe.
"Review Is Where You Find It!"