The young Albert first memories was of a pick up game. Not a single person wanted him for a pick up game of basketball. Albert protests about not being wanted. It was revealed that his father was dead. The mockery of his father sent Albert into a rage and he got into a fight. As Albert runs home he speaks with his mother. Albert tries to get into his room but he is stopped by Uncle Al (Atom). Al takes him up stairs and we learn more about Albert's father who was a pilot in Vietnam before being shot down. Following this conversation Al reveals to Albert that he is in fact The Atom! The last surprise for the young man is that he shall be spending time with Al at the JSA mansion.
When he reaches the mansio, he is introduced to Lyta, Hector Hall, and Rick Tyler. They are all children of the JSA. They are however more taken with the fact that Albert's mother works for NASA. The JSA members that were silent in the back leave. The kids speak about what they are to do. Hector comments that Lyta would kill them all if she tried to fly. Lyta gets angry and throws both Rick and Hector around. Albert is glad that it wasn't him as he gets air sick. Al shows Albert the private gym and though Albert can't weight lift Al helps him but it won't be help he needs for long. Al keeps on Albert and throughout the summer he becomes stronger and stronger. He grows eight inches over the months. Dr. Mid-Nite speaks about a hunch and the true story of Nuklon is shown.
Al is Albert's godfather. He served and was friends with his dad, who is dead. He was however a foe to his mother's father. His grandpa turns out to be Cyclotron. Al was a regular strength until he was bombarded with thorium. He is confused why Terri, the mother of Albert, doesn't have powers but why he does. As the conversation returns to Albert, they discuss keeping tabs on him. With that thought in mind they more onto basketball the game that Albert was passed on for playing.
School starts again and Albert has the courage to face the kids who started the fight with him. The bullies think that Albert is standing on a milk cart and speak about knocking him off it. Albert accepts the challenge but the bully upon finding that Albert is as tall turns and runs from the fight. Albert goes on to play for the High School basketball team. The same year he has his bar mitzvah. He gets a surprise to see his JSA friends Rick, Hector,and Lyta are present. He gets a present of basketball signed by professional but doesn't seem very pleased.
Later him and the JSA kids are at an Aerospace museum. The tour was arranged by Albert's mother. Rick Tyler sneaks away and gets trapped on the G-Force training equipment. The level is stuck. It takes both Albert and Lyta to pull the level back and stop the machine. They than go to Lyta's home. She takes Albert to ride on Kangaroos. Albert loses control and Al scolds him for perhaps keeping himself off the basketball court next season.
At the same trip Albert admits to loving figuring out how thing works. Admiral Trevor was willing to help the young lad. Trevor also takes Albert on his first flight. The year advances and Albert has a job as a mechanic and works for Mr. Loomis. His mother comes in and informs him that the USC has accepted him on a scholarship. Albert is sure that it is uncle Al's doing. He seems to blow off the good news and gets back to his work.
In college, Albert is visiting Dr. Midnite. It is clear he is upset but afraid to tell Al Pratt that he wants to quit the team. In practice Albert seems bored that is until he sees Lyta present on the court. Albert loves the seeing her and spends time with her. He takes her sight seeing, to the movies, and to the arcade. It turns out that same day Albert had a Basketball dinner and he forgot all about it. Showing up he and Al has words and he finally tells him of his dislike for basketball. Al supports and him and says whatever you put your heart into you'll succeed.
Atom Smasher appeared in Infinity Inc #1 when he was trying to join the JSA. Turned down and with the help of other JSA members he became a semi leader of Infinity Inc. During this time his alias was Nuklon. The Infinity Inc series ended after about 50 issues but he wouldn't be lost in time, as Nuklon, Jade, Obsidian, Dr.Fate, and Fury and the JSA moved into a streamlined timeline after the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
When as Nuklon in his first attempt to join the JSA he only knew he had the power of super strength like his god father the Atom. During the Infinitors first adventure (while facing down the JSA affected by the stream of ruthlessness) Al is seemingly killed when the "ruthless" Atom throws a cyclotron at him. It is revealed afterward that his molecular structure reduced it density and allowed the cyclotron to pass through him. It is after this point that he learns he can also increase his size (from his already formidable 7'6") and increase and decrease his molecular density. With the size increases his strength also increases. His molecular density abilities effectively allow him to become impervious or pass through solid objects.
During the early 90's Nuklon appeared in the run of Justice League America. Nuklon was displayed in two sense. A very religious Jewish man as he turned down dating Fire. The most notable role was when his best friend Obsidian (Todd Rice) told him that he was gay and that he loved him. Albert didn't know what to do until the girl he was courting Ice Maiden turned out to be a bisexual; Albert would soon accept Obsidian for himself.
When the JLA went back to it's origins in 95 Nuklon disappeared until the 96 restart of the Justice Society of America. Nuklon replaced his name with Atom Smasher and put on the costume we are most familiar with in modern times. The JSA slowly began to push fellow hero Stargirl to him as potential love interest.
Black Reign then happened. Atom Smasher was soon wondering the aspects of what truly makes a hero. Black Adam went to him to ask him to join and help. Atom Smasher accepted. Black Adam's group which included fellow Infinity Inc members Northwind, and Brainwave with Nemesis and Alex who now controlled the demon Eclipso gained control of Khandaq. After a brief fight with the JSA, Hawkman allows Black Adam to keep it; as long as they don't attempt to take over anything else.
The next Atom Smasher series was in the battle for the past. Albert goes back in time and is in charged with getting the original Atom back. After a fight in the streets he manages to do so as there are two Sandman's, Star people, Mr Terrific, and Atoms they go to fight Per Degaton and win.
The last major event was the Black Vengeance. In it the group that originally helped free Khandaq is beaten by the now free Eclipso, and the host less Spectre. Atom Smasher grows to the height of the Spectre and fights before giving himself to Spectre as a trade that Spectre would leave the land. Spectre then pushes his hand through Atom Smasher and grabs his heart killing him.
Black Adam would not let this happen and ran to his side saying. "Shazam" the thunder bolt came down upon him and he came back to life. Atom Smasher was then brought back to serve his time in Belle Reve prison.
In 52 Atom Smasher first appearance is Amanda Waller telling him to form a team. This goes badly as Osiris rips Persuader in half and then panics. Atom Smasher then joins the fight against Black Adam. Though he does take a few good hit it appears that the hand that saves Black Adam is indeed Atom Smasher.
In Black Adam: The Dark Age mini series Atom Smasher is seen attempting to find Black Adam. Albert somehow has in his possession the ring finger of Isis. Albert meets in a restaurant and gives back the finger keeping the ring. Later one during a fight Black Adam get back the wedding ring.
In Countdown 35 Atom Smasher is shown working with the JSA though it may have been an oversight his name is clearly seen pointing to him being back on the JSA.
Powers and Abilities
Due to the atomic energy his grand father had absorbed Al Rothstien developed in puberty the power of
- super strength - In his debut and before the power up Al could tear the sides of armored ships, and go toe to toe with Solomon Grundy, Commander Steel and Robotman.
- Durability -he could withstand the impact of jeeps as they speed toward him (crushing the jeep on impact)
During a Battle with his "uncle" Al Pratt (the original Atom) while under the influence of the stream of ruthfulness Al Absorbed even more nuclear energy which resulted in a few additional powers
- Increase his size (which further increases his strength) - Al can grow to a couple of 100 feet tall.
- Alter Molecular density He also has the ability to increase and decrease his molecular density. He can phase through things and increase his density to increase his durability.
- Alter his mass - He can reduce or increase his mass to make his blows hit with even more force
Albert is also a skilled pilot and was the pilot for Infinity Inc and has piloted the JSA ships before. Albert works as a Mechanic and has leadership capabilities.
Justice League Unlimited
Atom Smasher makes several appearances in the Justice League cartoon television series as a member of the expanded Justice League. He appeared in the episodes "Initiation," "Dark Heart", and "Task Force X."