So, I'm a bit late in reading stuff and just got around to reading the "death of Ryan Choi" recently. I think it was done as both shock value and to garner a strong reaction from comic fans (which it did to great effect).
I didn't follow Ryan Choi's career as the All-New Atom, mostly because I found the Silver-Age Atom Ray Palmer boring as hell (same way I feel about Barry Allen). The only time I found Ray Palmer interesting was when he became a loinclothed hero in Sword of the Atom. But seeing the reactions of people online, I guess Ryan's a much more interesting character than his predecessor.
But, come on. How stupid was Ryan Choi during his last moments, really? You know the most obvious way for a guy like him to avoid getting killed in that instance? Just shrink down to sub-atomic levels and wait for the bad guys to leave. Not a cowardly move, considering he knew he was outclassed. At least he would have lived to fight another day.