Whenever Marvel and DC have a character with similar superpowers, the debate about which of those characters would win never seems to end. One such duo is DC’s Atom and Marvel’s Ant-Man, who can both shrink their size and have other similar powers. The question is, if the two squared off, who would win, and why?
In a very close fight, Ant-Man would eventually win a fight against Atom due to his sheer willingness to do whatever it takes to win, along with having an entire army of ants to help him. Atom has several advantages, but Ant-Man is a relentless ego-driven guy who won’t allow himself to lose.
That being said, some of you may not agree with this take, as there are things that Atom can do that Ant-Man can’t, but the thing is, that goes both ways. So, let’s break down the characters and their powers into categories to get a clear answer on who wins the tough fight of the tiny guys. Bear in mind we’re comparing Hank Pym’s Ant-Man to Ray Palmer’s Atom.
This category that Ant-Man wins, hands down, even if it’s hard to say how he could use this in a fight against Atom.
So, the thing about Ray Palmer and his size alteration prowess is that it only goes one way – shrinking. He can either get to his normal human size or go smaller – no option to go in the other direction. And that isn’t a problem, as his best work usually comes when he is super tiny – like subatomic tiny.
However, Hank Pym can alter his size in both ways while maintaining a certain level of strength and durability in the process. When Ant-Man is tiny, he still possesses the strength of his full-size self, making him a powerful little projectile. His strength is proportionately amplified when he goes bigger – growing over 100 feet tall – although it makes him tired much quicker.
The point is, Ant-Man can go subatomic, just like Atom, but he can also grow into a giant, whereas Atom doesn’t have that option at all. It could be useful to catch Ray Palmer by surprise or use the extra size to overpower the tiny dude. In any case, the size alteration category is Ant-Man’s to take.
Point: Ant-Man (1:0) Atom
Now, this is something that can give Atom a real edge in a potential fight against Ant-Man. While he can’t go giant-sized, he can do something that Ant-Man can’t do – alter and control his weight at will.
In ‘Power of the Atom’ #1-3, Ray needs a new suit, so he uses a friend’s help to make one out of the material of a white dwarf star. Atom can control the suit with a unique headpiece tuned into his unique brainwaves. It also allowed Ray Palmer to alter his weight with literally his thought.
I don’t mean his size – I mean, literally, his weight. Staying at his normal size, Atom could send his weight into an unknown dimension, essentially becoming light as a feather, and use wind currents to fly – or glide, so to speak – through the air. Ant-Man would need to ride the back of a flying ant to accomplish that feat.
He can do the same thing with his suit – he can send most of its atoms to another dimension, making the suit appear or disappear while actually still being on him, allowing the illusion of Ray Palmer shrinking and growing without his suit on. Not only that – Atom has 100% control over his own bodily atoms and rearranges them at will.
Finally, the mental link formed with the white dwarf star allowed Ray to draw upon the mass from the different dimensions and amplify his strength momentarily, becoming strong enough to easily punch through walls, etc.
So, although Ant-Man can go bigger or smaller, he can’t control his weight on a whim. Atom gets his first point here.
Point: Atom (1:1) Ant-Man
Speaking of manipulation, let’s not forget one of Atom’s most potent powers – matter manipulation. By shrinking in size and having full control of atoms, Ray Palmer can rearrange atoms to create different molecules, thus creating different compounds, thus creating various effects he wants to create, enabling Atom to essentially manipulate matter at will.
Once, Atom got into Superman’s bloodstream and rearranged atoms from within to create Kryptonite in Supes’ blood. He can do the same with any atom of any matter anywhere if allowed to do so.
On the other hand, Ant-Man can go subatomic as well, just like Atom – but he can’t manipulate matter in any form. The best he could do was alter the size of objects and others by using his Pym Particle technology – so he could, for instance, make a building the size of a suitcase, etc. But, in terms of matter manipulation, Atom is clearly superior.
Point: Atom (2:1) Ant-Man
Suit & weaponry
For Ant-Man, his suit is an absolute necessity. Without the Ant-Man suit, there’s not much he could do. The same goes for Atom, too, but there’s a difference in what their suits bring to the table. Let’s break down Ant-Man’s first.
Hank Pym’s suit relies on Pym Particles to allow Ant-Man to use his size-altering powers. Should he run out of Pym Particles, the suit is essentially useless, other than the headset allowing Ant-Man to communicate with ants. It doesn’t provide that good of armor, nor is it equipped with some special weaponry – not regularly.
Ant-Man relies on cool gadgets and his ants to do what he wants, but most of his fighting comes in hand-to-hand combat.
On the other hand, Atom is insanely prolific with a sword, and his suit is almost always equipped with laser blasters, making him much more of a threat than he would be as a hand-to-hand combatant. Also, his suit works as a very strong armor and isn’t relying on any expendable particles to work properly. Hence, Atom deserves a point here.
Point: Atom (3:1) Ant-Man
So, Hank Pym and Ray Palmer are considered geniuses in their own respective universes. However, I believe one of them has a slight advantage in that regard over the other.
Although Ray Palmer is incredibly intelligent, I do believe that Hank Pym’s technology and knowledge supersedes Ray’s. The reason behind that opinion is the fact that Hank will, in fact, stop at nothing to get the results he wants.
I mean, the guy created Ultron – which turned out to be one of the most intelligent artificial intelligence beings of all time – and one of the Avengers’ most dangerous enemies in history.
I’m not saying that Atom is not a genius – I’m just saying that Hank Pym – who belongs to the upper echelons when speaking about the smartest people on Earth – is just a step above.
Point: Ant-Man (2:3) Atom
In any other situation that is not a fight, Ray Palmer would get a point in this category over Hank Pym. He’s kinder, more morally sound, less controversial, less erratic, and by far more held back when it comes to doing ‘everything it takes’ to win. And that’s exactly why Hank Pym gets this category.
Although he is usually a hero, Pym has a dark history of aggression, egoism, and ugly breakdowns. The guy will stop at nothing to win, and despite being the hero for the most part, he has done some very questionable things over the course of his superhero career that Ray Palmer wouldn’t even dream of doing.
While it might make Atom the ‘better’ hero than Ant-Man, it could prove to be his downfall in a potential fight. Hank Pym wouldn’t hold back – at least not as much as Atom would.
Point: Ant-Man (3:3) Atom
Finally, although Atom works with other superheroes regularly, he doesn’t have an army he can call upon on a whim. Ray usually flies solo and fights his own fights.
On the other hand – Ant-Man isn’t Ant-Man just because he can be small. He is Ant-Man because he can communicate and control ants wherever he is and for whatever purposes he might need them.
Ant-Man can use his brainwaves to manipulate ants and control their movements and actions through a specially-designed headpiece in his helmet. That’s how he can fly on an ant or make them obscure a camera.
He literally has an army of millions at his disposal, which could prove incredibly useful in a fight against Atom – the ants couldn’t kill Atom, but they could overwhelm them, and Ant-Man could win due to sheer strength in numbers.
Point: Ant-Man (4:3) Atom
Ant-Man Vs. Atom: Who wins?
Although it would evidently be a very close fight, Ant-Man has a higher chance of winning it due to several advantages that Atom would have too much trouble overcoming. It would always depend on the writer and the story, as with everything else in the comics, but objectively speaking, their powers match in a way that gives Hank a slight edge over Ray.
While Ray might have more weaponry at his disposal and better control over atoms and subatomic particles, he would be reluctant to use those weapons for deadly purposes or serious damage to Pym. Especially the atom–rearranging bit that could seriously hard or even disfigure Pym – Palmer wouldn’t do that for moral purposes.
On the other hand, Ant-Man likely wouldn’t hold back in finding a way to defeat Atom – whatever way that is. He’d defeat his opponent with all his powers, intelligence, and resources. Add to that the sheer strength in numbers he has over Atom with the army of ants at his disposal, and you get why I gave Ant-Man a slight nod over Atom.
Generally, I believe the score reflects a potential battle perfectly – out of seven fights, I’d give Ant-Man at least four victories over his enemy.
Who do you think would win in this fight?