Superman and the Atom: Bugged, Epilogue: A Second Chance

by Libbylawrence

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Later, inside Ray Palmer’s house in Ivy Town, the Atom sat across from his mentor. “There’s something I don’t quite understand,” said the Atom. “Superman could not break Velvet’s alien web, but he could have used super-breath to inhale the ring off her finger, or he could have frozen her in ice or something via super-cold breath. He could have melted the roof above her or stopped her in a dozen different ways. Why do you think he decided to free Melanie instead of doing something else?”

“You don’t know Superman as well as I do, son,” said Ray. “He wanted to give Melanie the chance to do good. He wanted to give her a chance to make a positive change in her life. I think he held back deliberately in order to put her in a position where she would show her true colors. You know he can move far faster than ordinary people. If things had gone badly, then he could have still done something before anyone else could have even seen it!”

The Atom smiled and said, “You’re right! He is like that with me, too. He gives the other guy a chance to shine. What a hero!

“There’s something else I want to tell you,” said Ray. “I called in a few favors, and the court is going to allow me to take Melanie into my home. I’m going to try to help her reform completely. She has a bright mind, and she needs a family. Jean was totally against the idea at first, but she is willing to give it a try.”

“Jean agreed to it?” said the Atom. “I figured after Melanie knocked her out before, that she would be glad to see her in jail!”

“Jean is by no means a big fan of Melanie’s,” said Ray. “That won’t happen anytime soon. Still, Jean always cared for kids. That love of being a mentor was what led her to have me take her old nature group to the cave long ago where I first became the Atom. (*) She is going to try to make friends with Melanie, and I admire her courage and resolve. She’s a grand lady! Of course, I admit that I expect a few fireworks in the home for a while.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Birth of the Atom,” Showcase #34 (October, 1961).]

“Maybe you can teach Melanie to become something better than her father,” said the Atom.

“I’m going to try,” said Ray, smiling. “I think I owe it to him. I mean, he was my enemy, but he died during the Crisis, and I’d like to see if something good could come out of that. I’d like to see my legacy be more than just a bunch of battered thugs in cells.”

“You know how I said Superman was a real hero?” said the Atom. “Well, Ray Palmer is, too!”

Ray smiled and said, “Thanks. Now, how about we help Jean prepare a room for Melanie? That is, if you’ll forgive us for bailing on you when you moved to the Thayer place!”

The Atom grinned. “You have a deal.”

The End

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