Lucius Hammer is the explosive tale of a black superhero born from the pages of American Myth and forged in the fires of our country’s civil rights struggle! Lucius is a man searching for his place in the world. His amazing powers have enabled him to become America?s most visible and controversial superhero. But just when Lucius thinks he’s found his calling in life, certain “powers that be” join forces in a campaign to smear his good name changing his status to public enemy number 1. This sets the stage for the greatest black superhero story ever told.
From Ravenhammer Comics, the same publisher that brought us THE HARLEM SHADOW comes this comic, written by Brian Williams and drawn and colored by Christian Colbert. The timeline seems a bit unclear, but it begins in the distant past, as we see Lucius as a young boy, with his poor sharecropper parents in a small town in Alabama. He already exhibits superhuman strength, which his parents can’t explain (although we’re told a rumor is that he’s really the bastard son of the folk hero, John Henry). By the time he grows up and his mother dies, Lucius goes out to see the world, with his now-elderly father warning him to keep his abilities secret, and to never stop believing in God. Lucius briefly gets involved in the criminal underworld in Chicago, but after getting arrested and spending some time in prison, he gives up that life. He becomes a professional baseball player, but finds that unfulfilling, and then joins the army when WWII breaks out, becoming a war hero thanks to his invulnerability and strength.
Still disillusioned with the racism he faced after returned home from the war, one day Lucius reads a newspaper article about The Harlem Shadow, who becomes his new role model, and he sets out to train so that he can become a superhero, too. Creating a costume and adopting the name POWERHOUSE, Lucius begins his crime fighting career, fighting a supervillain called Red Devil. By now it’s the 1970’s, and Lucius gathers a group of other Black superheroes, to form what he calls The Dream Team, but President Richard Nixon isn’t too crazy about he idea of Black superheroes teaming up, and so sends America’s special (White) superhero, called THE AMERICAN WAY, to go after Lucius. And that’s the cliffhanger ending to part 1 of this story.
It’s a short book, just 10 pages, and could use a little more filling out, storywise. Lucius’ initial turn to crime seems out of character, considering his upbringing and how he says when he first left home he wanted to be a hero. And part of his later training involves hitting the gym, which seems unnecessary, since he’s already super strong. And more info about The Dream Team would be nice. But if this issue is just supposed to be a little “primer” for the character and the Ravenhammer Comics Universe, it works well enough, although I’d expect more in future issues. But I have absolutely no complaints about Colbert’s art, which is beautiful. So, for what it is, I’ll give this book 4 STARS.