INDIE BLACK COMIC-BOOKS

ORIGINAL MAN #0

I’m going really old school here. All the way back to 1992, with the release of this “debut” issue of a new Black superhero, called Original Man. I put the word debut in quotes, because later issues suggest that this character may have been published before this, but I’ll get to that later. This a zero issue (it was a 90’s thing) and tells this new character’s origin. I just tracked down every published issue of this character, and have decided to do this series review, starting with this issue.

It’s published by Omega 7 Comics. Oddly, there are no real credits listed in this issue. Alonzo Washington is labeled “Publisher/Writer” on the cover. Now him I knew of. Not to be confused with Alonzo T Washington, the Maryland politician, this Alonzo Washington is a Civil Rights Activist and Crime Victims Advocate based in Kansas, who used to be a regular columnist on the Silver Bullet Comics website, now known as Comics Bulletin. He was noted for publishing his own indie comics, with Black characters featuring a pointedly pro-Black agenda. He was briefly part of a collective of independent Black comic-book publishers known as ANIA, until that fell apart due to various inter-company conflicts. See more about Ania HERE and HERE

I also see the name Christopher Higginson written on the cover, so I assume he is the artist for both the cover and the interior. I have looked up and found a man by that name online. And artist who runs his own studio. And while his portfolio doesn’t name this comic specifically, it does show that he has been in the business “nearly 25 years”, that he graduated college in 1992, and has a history as a freelance illustrator for comic-books, and that all fits the timeline. So I think it’s safe to assume that he is the artist (and possibly letterer) for this issue, and it was likely some of his earliest (if not his first) work.

This 21-page story has a surprisingly sci-fi slant for a superhero comics. It opens thousands of years in the future (the year given is 8992), Earth is the capital planet of an “Interstellar Federation” of multiple alien civilizations. Through the course of this issue, we learn that the Federation was originally founded by an alien race called The Cryogians, who went bad and tried to conquer the rest of the Galaxy, leading to a 300 year Galactic War, the only ended when a superhero called Original Man appeared and single-handidly defeated the Cryogians and had them imprisoned. We’re not given the exact origin of that Original Man, but apparently after that war, he went on to become the President of the Federation. We’re not given his first name, but his last name is Luxor. And now President Luxor has discovered that the Cryogians of escaped and are once more wrecking havok across the galaxy, having already destroyed 3 worlds, killing 30 billion beings. And so now President Luxor has determined that it’s time to pass on the mantle of Original Man to his son Mikal, whom he has summoned to meet him.

Mikal has some natural and undefined powers of his own, but he is then fitted with a suit which is designed to enhance his abilities and give him extra ones. The suit is made of “living fabric” which has been “genetically patterned to react to only his unique molecular structure. It’s invulnerable and insults him from heat and cold, as well as increases his strength. It’s also able to reshape itself to look like regular clothes, for when Mikal to hide his identity. His emblem is a communicator, universal translator, and holographic projector. His wrist-bands create fields for him to survive in the vacuum of space, and also grant him invisibility and time travel. The suit also lets him fly and shoot “ignite plasma atoms.”

Thankfully, pretty soon after putting on the suit, three Cryogians attack. The Cryogians are tall aliens who look suspiciously like the aliens from Predator film franchise. They attack, and Mikal barely holds them off, but they still manage to mortally wound his father, and escape, but only after revealing that they have operatives working within the Federation to help them. As his father dies in his arms, Mikal vows to avenge his father’s death and root out the traitors in the Federation.

So that’s the ending. Storywise, it’s not bad. It’s a complete tale, giving you most of the information you need to follow along, while leaving many possible plot-threads for the future. The artwork is someone amateurish (as is the coloring), which is understandable, but still decent, and doesn’t hurt the story. This new series was definitely off to a good start.

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