Superheroes being born of tragedy is such a cliché in the medium of comic books. It’s the origin framework for heroes such as Batman, Spider-Man, The Punisher, Spawn, and so many more. It is a tried and true method of developing some pretty great characters. The tragedy these characters experience become imbued with their very psyche; creating the best and sometimes the worst of their attributes. This brings us to today’s featured hero: Power Man II.
Victor Alvarez is the son of Reina Alvarez and Hernan “Shades” Alvarez. Those who are versed in the Luke Cage television show on Netflix immediately recognize that Shades is an antagonist. This holds true in the comics also; Shades is indeed a supervillain. Victor was raised primarily by his mother in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, with his father being sent to prison very early in his life. It would not be until Shades returned to Victor’s life that things would change forever.
Upon Shades return from his recent stint in jail, he seemingly had turned over a new leaf—becoming a community organizer and protest leader. Victor and his father had begun the process of reconnecting and things seemed to be becoming better between the two. Then, while accompanying his father during a protest, the supervillain Bullseye set off an explosion that would kill the 107 individuals who were present at the protest. Victor would be the sole survivor of this tragic event. The reason he survived was due to his father, Shades. During the explosion, fragments of Shades’s shades were lodged into Victor’s body. All these years, Shades has been able to go toe-to-toe again the likes of Luke Cage and Iron Fist was due to the very shades he wore-they absorbed bio-electric energy, aka chi, from the environment. The fragments of the visor inadvertently caused Victor to absorb the spectral chi energy of the 107 who died, including his father’s.
Armed with this newfound ability of augmented strength, chi-absorption, and mimicry of the skills he absorbed from the 107 individuals whose chi are permanently within him, Victor took on the name of Power Man—the name previously utilized by Luke Cage himself. Victor would even team up with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, though reluctantly due to his father’s history with the heroes. As Power Man, Victor would go on to do great things while protecting Hell’s Kitchen. He would go on to work with a myriad of superheroes along the likes of Spider-Man, Amadeus Cho (The Hulk), Spider-Girl, and X-23. He would even join the Heroes for Hire and the Avengers Academy. Though sometimes hot headed and unapologetically direct, Victor is a hero who is highly motivated to do what’s right and remain loyal to the neighborhoods he swore to protect.
Brandon Blackmon was born and raised in Clinton, NC. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology. He attended Pfeiffer University where he received a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is currently a licensed marriage and family therapist. Brandon is a proud blerd (Black nerd) and a firm advocate and believer that representation matters in all forms of media.