Atomic Thunderbolt

Real Name: William Burns

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Former merchant marine sailor

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Professor Josiah Rhonne, Rigor, Mortis

Enemies: Unidentified criminals

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Willy the Wharf Rat, Thunderbolt

Base of Operations: Bags Beach

First Appearance: Atomic Thunderbolt #1 (Regor Company, 1946)

Powers/Abilities: Able to fly and fire bolts of atomic energy, or to deliver same with a punch. He's also invulnerable, shrugging off explosions and bullets.

Height: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown

Summary: Mutated in an experiment that alters his atomic structure, ex-sailor William Burns discovers he has gained superhuman powers and decides to fight for humanity as the Thunderbolt.

History: Professor Josiah Rhonne is working on a way to alter the atomic structure of people so as to make them immune to radiation and nuclear explosions. Requiring someone to experiment on, he recruits William Burns, a.k.a. Willy the Wharf Rat, who had suffered shell shock from a Nazi torpedo during the war, leaving him jumpy at any sudden noises and uncaring whether he lived or died, as he feels he is no good for anything any more. Meanwhile a pair of small-time crooks have been unsuccessfully trying to locate the professor's hidden lab and steal his research to sell, sure that it must be valuable even though they don't know exactly what atomic secrets Rhonne is working on.

    During the experiment the professor pulls the wrong lever, blowing up his entire lab. Willy is sent flying, sending him flying through the air to land in the nearby ocean, capsizing a boat being used by the two crooks. They trio are pulled from the water by the crook's boss, but, having realized the source of the explosion and unhappy at the loss of the professor's work, he guns them down, only to discover that Willy is now bulletproof. An annoyed Willy makes short work of the boss and his other hoods, then, realizing he has been empowered by the late Rhonne's experiment, swears to honor the scientist by devoting his life to saving mankind from itself, adopting the costumed identity of the Thunderbolt.

Comments: Created by Robert Peterson and Mort Lawrence.

   Though the comic is titled Atomic Thunderbolt, the character only refers to himself as Thunderbolt.

   As well as appearing in his own origin strip in Atomic Thunderbolt#1, the hero also makes a guest appearance in the comic's second strip, Rigor and Mortis. Because he only dons his costume in the final panel of his origin story, he's actually in costume more as the Thunderbolt in his guest appearance than in his own story.

Appearance checklist (not including reprints):

CLARIFICATIONS: Atomic Thunderbolt should not be confused with

First Posted: Circa 14/09/2004
Last updated: 25/05/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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