Our tale begins on a plantation in Alabama a long time ago. Lucious Cordell Hammer’s powers manifest as a child shocking his parents. Over time his parents and siblings grow old and die while he remains in his prime, unchanged. After leaving his home town to find his place in the world he briefly winds up a gangster and winds up behind bars. Upon release he tries his hand literally at sports but soon grows bored. Trying to make his life meaningful and use his abilities for good he enters WW2 and returns to America a hero. He soon learns however that he is still just another Nigger. It is here that he becomes inspired by the Harlem Shadow and spends the next few years training his body and mind so he can become a hero. Once back in the states he christens himself “Powerhouse”. He makes a name for himself and following Harlem Shadow’s footsteps he creates a black super team called “The Dream Team”. This doesn’t sit well with the American government who bring out there super weapon “The American way” to deal with this team.
Art- The art, oooh boy the art! Stylized cartoon meets exaggerated Muscles make this a very unique looking book. The colors also compliment the inks and Pencils used on this comic with smoothness akin to 90’s era Anime; A very unique and pleasing visual style 🙂
Story and Script the tale woven by Brian Williams is also highly emotive. He strikes the right notes for a first issue with enough of a history established right off the bat for his main character that one can literally see the possibilities and stories down the line for years to come. Key moments like the death of Lucius Mother most people can relate to. His journey into the world is also something most adults can relate to as well, that burning desire to be your own person and find yourself.
The most poignant pieces however were his venture into sports since it was a not so tongue in cheek way of looking at the black athlete and their overall worth as human being outside the sport.
The WW2 bit was another fist to the stomach moment which harkened back to the racist past of America. It brought memories of the real life black men who fought for America only to return home as second class citizens and Niggers. It pissed me off as it rightly should. It’s a powerful tie between reality and this world that Brian has made.
I also loved the super weapon of the Americas, the bastard child of Captain America and Superman. As an ode to past reality as well is how uneasy the American government was with the gathering of a large number of “colored” citizens.
New World This world is ripe with potential beyond the typical independent comic. Established in this issue are two black superhero teams and two major black superheroes. I just love it!
The mass market appeal is not there. Not a fault of the book itself but just a crude fact of being an independent comic.
Some fans will not pick this up with all the references to real world treatment of blacks.
Lucius powers are ill-defined and left mostly up to interpretation in this issue. On one hand he is invulnerable, immortal and has super strength….how and why would he sit behind bars when captured?
Action Junkies will be disappointed since this issue has none of those huge explosions and long earth shattering fights they love so much.
3.8/5 For a start with a bang!