Erik Josten

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Facts and Stats

Atlas (Erik Josten), formerly Power Man, Smuggler and Goliath, is a former supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe and a former member of the Thunderbolts.

Character biography

Erik Josten was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was originally a mercenary who was convinced by the Enchantress to undergo the same 'ionic-ray' treatment (from a machine invented by Baron Heinrich Zemo) as Wonder Man, making Josten super-strong. Taking the name Power Man, he became the Enchantress' partner and battled the Avengers at her request.-Avengers #21-22- He became a professional supervillain and partnered with the Swordsman, and the two fought the Avengers again under the leadership of the brainwashed Black Widow.-Avengers #29-30- Alongside the Swordsman, he became an unwitting pawn of the Red Skull, and fought Captain America.-Tales of Suspense #88- He briefly served as an agent of the Mandarin.-Avengers Special #1- He later fought the Avengers again as a member of the first Lethal Legion.-Avengers #78-79-

Eventually, Josten met Luke Cage, a hero who for a brief time had assumed the name Power Man. The two fought over the right to use the name, and Cage won.-Power Man #21- Josten then joined Count Nefaria's new Lethal Legion. However, Nefaria stole Josten's powers (along with those of his other superhuman underlings), which greatly reduced his powers.-Avengers #164-

His strength fading, Josten changed his costume and became a smuggler, taking the unimaginative yet appropriate name the Smuggler. In his first and only appearance as the Smuggler, he was defeated by Spider-Man.-Spectacular Spider-Man #49-50- Spider-Man then assisted Josten against the Maggia.-Spectacular Spider-Man #54-

Later, he gained the ability to grow to giant size from the criminal Doctor Karl Malus, who used a sample of Henry Pym's growth serum. He then took on the name Goliath, a name used previously by superheroes (see Goliath, Black Goliath) and again changed his costume. He fought James Rhodes as Iron Man and the West Coast Avengers, who defeated him. -Iron Man Annual #7- Using this ability, he was sent by Doctor Doom to kill Spider-Man, but, thanks to the hero's newly-acquired cosmic powers, Goliath was defeated.

Under the leadership of the Grim Reaper, Goliath again battled the West Coast Avengers alongside Man-Ape, Nekra, and Ultron.-West Coast Avengers Vol. 2 #1-2; Vision and Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #1-2- His escape attempt was foiled by Avengers.-Iron Man #206-

Josten joined a new fourth version of the Masters of Evil, founded by the second Baron Zemo. During his time with this group, Josten was one of the villains who invaded and captured Avengers Mansion and beat Hercules severely .-Avengers #273-274-

Goliath later battled Spider-Man during the "Acts of Vengeance."-Web of Spider-Man #60, 64-65- His attempted breakout at the Vault was foiled by the Avengers and Freedom Force.-Avengers: Deathtrap - The Vault- He also battled Wonder Man in an attempt to usurp his fame.-Wonder Man #1-

He later fought Giant-Man,-Marvel Comics Presents #114-118- Ant-Man,-Marvel Comics Presents #137-, and then Clint Barton as Goliath.-Avengers West Coast #92- He then had a rematch with Wonder Man.-Wonder Man #24-25- He was then victimized by Kosmosian criminals, and rescued by Giant-Man.-Avengers #382-

When Zemo later decided to disguise the Masters as a superhero team called the Thunderbolts, Josten created the original identity (and costume) of Atlas.-Thunderbolts ยด97 Annual- However, like most of the Thunderbolts, Atlas began to enjoy public admiration, and eventually reformed to become a genuine superhero, even after the Thunderbolts' criminal past was publicly revealed. After absorbing the energy from one of Nefaria's weapons, an "ionic bomb", Josten mutated into an "ionic energy creature" similar to what Wonder Man had become. In this form, he came to inhabit the body of Dallas Riordan, a woman he loved.

When they were separated, Dallas took the ionic energy, leaving Josten powerless, a situation which lasted until Fixer gave him a new dose of Pym particles. This lasted until the end of the Avengers/Thunderbolts limited series, when Erik asked Henry Pym to remove the particles from his system. However, he regained the ability to change his size, by reclaiming the ionic energy from Dallas, leaving her a paraplegic again.-New Thunderbolts #1-

Altered again by the Wellspring, during a battle against the Grandmaster in which he had to surrender his powers temporarily to Zemo, he was left stuck in a giant form, too heavy even to move and communicate. However he was able to send back some ionic energy to Dallas, restoring her legs.

Atlas was restored to normal size by scientists at Camp Hammond, and registered Atlas as part of the Initiative. Though registered, Atlas' size changing powers were considered too unreliable to be placed on an Initiative team. However, Nighthawk hired him along with other questionable heroes after his Defenders team was decommissioned by SHIELD-Last Defenders #3-

Powers and abilities

Erik Josten gained his superhuman powers as a result of the application of mutagenic processes developed by Baron Heinrich Zemo and later Dr. Karl Malus. He has the ability to increase his size and mass at will from his normal 6-foot height to his maximum 60-foot height and back again. Josten psionically draws the additional mass from an extra-dimensional source, to which it returns as he decreases in size. Possessing superhuman strength and durability even at his normal size, Josten gains additional strength as he grows. He achieves his maximum level of strength at his maximum height. Attempting to increase his size and mass too rapidly or beyond his maximum safe limit will induce physical collapse or even coma.

Josten is a good hand-to-hand combatant, and received combat training as a mercenary.

Other versions

Marvel Zombies

Atlas appears alongside the Thunderbolts in the Dead Days one-shot of the Marvel Zombies miniseries attacking Thor. He is seen in one panel being hit in the face with Thor's mighty hammer, under the assumption that it destroyed Atlas as he was no longer seen in the Marvel Zombies miniseries.

Other media


Erik Josten appears in the Captain America/Avengers portion of The Marvel Superheroes.

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