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It is easy to get lost amidst the various characters of Invincible and end up not paying that much attention to some heroes. I know I am guilty as charged of this. There’s a type of person who’s always been there, expertly doing their job but somehow unnoticed.
Black Samson is just that kind of hero. Before I wrote this article, I hadn’t even stopped to think much about him, although I avidly consumed every issue of Invincible and its spin-offs. If that is the case with you, this Black Samson Invincible Guide will fix things up and give you a closer look at the hero.
My Bottom Line Up Front
Imagine someone as rich as Batman, who came out of poverty and had to earn his own money. Imagine this guy is a superhero who’s been a part of every version of his world’s Justice League. Moreover, this guy gives back to his community outside of his crime-fighting duties. I think you’ll agree that it is nothing less than awesome.
Rundown of the article
- Basic information on Black Samson
- Arcs in Invincible and spin-offs
- Opinion- Is he awesome or lame?
- And the award for best quote goes to…
What and who is Invincible?
Invincible is the story of a teenage boy with superpowers that has to stop the invasion of an alien race whose men look like alternate versions of Freddie Mercury and Magnum P.I. On top of that, Mark Grayson, AKA Invincible, has to deal with other everyday real-life things like dating, studying, and spending time with his friends.
You may be thinking you have seen a story like that before, minus the aliens with flashy mustaches. But I assure you that what starts with basic cliches soon turns into a complex story with well-developed characters, epic fights, drama, relationships, commentary on important social issues, and lots and lots of blood.
See also: Invincible Characters Guide
Black Samson is a very wealthy man and superhero who makes his debut on issue 6 of Invincible. It is unknown how he got his powers or acquired his wealth. He is a founding member of the Guardians of the Globe and was the only one on the team who Omni Man didn’t kill. That happened because Samson lost his powers and was expelled from the team. Being removed from the group was a tough deal, but it was a blessing in disguise.
After losing his powers, Samson became sad and obsessed with finding a way to get back to the team. Samson is not one to give up so quickly, and he eventually shows he can do anything he sets his mind to. His powers include super strength and invulnerability. Like Wonder Woman in her first movie, he can’t fly, but he can jump long distances.
Black Samson is a very serious and focused man. However, he spits out some witty remarks, especially when interacting with people in his charity barbershop. He possesses great tenacity and determination. He didn’t give up when he lost his powers, instead opting to rise from the ashes and find a way to keep doing his job.
This hero is quite loving and understanding. He has honest conversations with teammates to help them see the good in themselves. Moreover, he is deeply involved with his old community. Not only does he give free haircuts in his old neighborhood, but he also interacts with children and citizens at large, providing support and inspiration.
Samson is a tall black man with brown eyes and black hair, although he keeps his head shaved. He has appeared in three different costumes throughout his superhero career. The first chronologically is a purple T-shirt with a yellow lightning symbol, black paints, and a yellow belt.
The second is Samson’s power suit that protected him and served as a mode of attack while he had no powers. The power suit is a black one-piece with blue details and yellow armored parts on his chest, arms, and legs. It also includes blue boots. The last one is a maroon and beige one piece which is the prettiest one in my opinion both in color and design.
Cecil Stedman: Black Samson has a very amicable relationship with Cecil. Even when other heroes part ways with the government high-up, he keeps working with the man. Eventually, after Robot and Monster Girl travel to the Flaxan dimension, Black Samson becomes one of Cecil’s most trusted allies alongside Brit. The fact that Samson doesn’t look at Cecil’s methods makes me think he is a very no-nonsense guy despite his loving nature.
Darkwing(second version): After Omni man killed the first Darkwing, his sidekick became the new Darkwing. If that isn’t clear yet, that references Batman and Robin. The former sidekick went through a dark period where he started killing criminals, but he reformed after much soul searching. Black Samson supported Darkwing’s presence on the team and helped him deal with his guilt.
Immortal: They were colleagues on the first Guardians of the Globe team for years, but Immortal always kept his distance from people. However, after the whole team died, he was willing to stop closing off from people. Immortal and Black Samson did grow closer over time with the second version of the team.
Samford: He was Black Samson’s butler and loyal friend. He became enraged when the Guardians expelled his master from the team and decided to take revenge. However, the Guardians were killed before he could do anything. By the time he got to the heroes’ funeral, his mental state was already damaged, but Black Samson did everything to help his friend.
Loss of powers and Power Suit
Black Samson debuts in issue six of Invincible. He lost his powers and was kicked out of the Guardians of the Globe. So he decides to commission a power suit from Art that will give him the ability to fight. This suit will still take a few days to be ready, and Samson wallows in despair.
Art calls Omini man because someone stole the power suit, and suspicions fall upon Samson. During the Guardians’ funeral, a man emerges wearing Black Samson’s power suit and screaming that the Guardians couldn’t have died before taking his revenge against them. It’s Sanford, Samson’s Butler, who appearance-wise is a mix of Alfred and Sinestro. He was enraged because Samson was kicked out of the Guardians and wanted to take matters into his own hands.
Sanford wants to destroy the bodies of the dead heroes, but Omini Man stops him. Samson holds the man, clearly disturbed and worried by his actions. Sanford is taken prisoner, and Samson vows to help him mentally recover and reform.
See also: Iron Man Characters Guide
New Guardians of the Globe
Cecil tasked Robot with creating a new Guardians of the Globe team, and the new leader selected Black Samson to be a part of it in issue 9. Now that he got his power suit back, he could keep up the superhero work. The new Guardians dealt with various threats, including the Flaxan invasion. But there was a powerful threat still to come and change everything for Samson.
Titan, a lowlife criminal, deceived Invincible so the hero would help him defeat the crime lord Machine head. Titan had declared he needed to take down the boss to live free with his family, but it was all a lie so he could become the new crime lord. When Invincible opposes him, Titan sends Battle Beast to defeat him. He is badly beaten. The Guardians arrive but are defeated. Battle Beast almost kills bulletproof and Black Samson, and Black Samson enters a coma.
Black Samson Returns
In issue 27, all heroes are fighting Ominpotus, the world shaper. What a mouthful of a name! And my silly brain could only think of hippopotamus. Maybe that was the intention. Anyway, Robot and Tech Jacket open a portal to the villain’s dimension, but they don’t have the power to force them through.
Black Samson arrives. With his powers, he woke up from the coma, and Cecil teleported him to the fight. His powers returned, but they returned much stronger than before. So he can send the bad guy through the portal.
A while later, Black Samson tries on his old costume but tells the Immortal it doesn’t work anymore. When the Immortal asks him how he is, he says he is fine now. All the time without his powers built up to make him stronger, but the surge of power is now gone.
Immortal says he’s glad Samson is back, but the latter replies with disbelief. He was in a coma for months, and Immortal never visited him. Immortal says he cares, and he is trying to change. Then he opens up about how hard it is to have lived for so long.
He never really wanted to get close to the Guardians, so he wouldn’t have anything to lose. But now he regrets it because all members are dead except the two. He says he met someone, Dupli- Kate, and Black Samson teases him about Kate being too young for him.
In the next issues, Black Samson would fight various threats alongside the Guardians of the Globe, such as Mastermind, Doc Seismic, and his lava monsters, the sequids, and the giant. Each time the Guardians handled it well, but with the return of Doc Seismic, more heroes had to be involved.
In issue 48, Doc Seismic traps all superheroes in giant cocoons that can’t be destroyed from the inside. Fortunately, the new Darkwing pops up and saves everyone from their cocoons. Mark snaps because Darkwing, a murderer, is working with Cecil. Mark and Cecil argue, and the government high-up activates a device that interferes with Mark’s equilibrium and causes immense pain.
With the help of Robot, Mark destroys the device, but his relationship with Cecil is damaged, and the two do part ways. Other heroes side with Mark, initiating a divide. Black Samson, however, keeps working with the Government, insisting he is not going to go away. His motivations are not clear, but maybe he is not close friends with Mark is a factor. After these events, Black Samson congratulates Darkwing on his performance against Doc Seismic.
In issue 58, Samson and Darkwing have a heart-to-heart. Darkwing explains how he looked up to the Guardians and wanted to please them, but after their deaths, he strayed from the path and started killing criminals. He thought what he was doing was right, but his decisions have changed him forever. Samson says that Midnight city is a tough place and no one can judge him for his actions. He and Immortal are proud of him and his growth. He has earned the name Darkwing.
I think that is such a sweet moment, and it shows how forgiving and mature Black Samson is. It is one of the highlights of the character.
Heroes reunited and a demise
After the events of the Invincible war, when Invincibles from alternate realities caused great damage to the world, Cecil needs a new Guardians of the Globe team. As always, Black Samson is in. Cecil asks Mark to lead, but he refuses, asking Brit.
The new roster of the Guardians keeps fighting threats such as the sequids and the Flaxans once again. I guess some villains never give up! When the Flaxans arrive, Rex and Monster girl jump to their dimension. So Cecil needs to recruit new members one more time, and this event ties directly into Guarding the Globe Vol 1.
In issue 112, Rex initiates his world domination plans. He appears at Black Samson’s barbershop, which greets him nicely. Robot immediately kills him because he doesn’t want any heroes interfering—a sad and meaningless death out of the blue. I’m confident to say Black Samson deserved so much more!
Samson appears on the reboot arc, issue 126, where the Original Guardian defeats the Flaxans.
Astounding Wolf-Man:(Appears in #11;20) In issue 11, Samson fights Invincible alongside the Guardians because the young Viltrumite is helping Wolf Man, who is being accused of murder. Invincible is convinced Wolfman is innocent, as it will be later confirmed. In issue 20, Samson appears alongside Bulletproof and Cecil as backup against a villain.
Guarding the Globe Vol 1:(Appears in #1-6) This spin-off begins in the middle of the Flaxan attack, where Rex and Monster girl travel to their dimension. The Guardians are understaffed, and Cecil decides not only to add new heroes but to make the team do justice to their name and go global.
The first issue shows Black Samson throwing a small gathering at his mansion with Bulletproof and Shapesmith, which shows they are friends. Later on, Black Samson recruits new members alongside the existing team.
In the main arc of the spin-off, the heroes fight against the order, a group that unites the criminal bosses of various territories around the world. Samson keeps recruiting new people and becomes the public face of the Guardians due to his founding member status. This is a role he would instead not perform but still does. Cecil has frequent meetings with only Brit and Samson because they are the most experienced and trusted team members.
In the end, they can defeat the order, but this would be far from over. The story is a bit convoluted with the addition of all the new characters. Samson doesn’t get to shine, but it is clear he has a vital role in the team due to his experience and abilities.
Guarding the Globe Vol 2:(Appears in #1-6)
The Guardians fight various threats with the lurking menace of the order rising once again. They defeat Set and Thoth, the Egyptian gods behind all the conflict with the order. However, other parallel stories are happening in between the major plot points.
As the issues focus on the newer characters, Samson doesn’t get many remarkable moments. But he has a sweet one during issue 3 when he is in his charity barbershop. He explains the importance of giving people free haircuts and how this simple action helps them in their day-to-day lives.
This moment is even better when Elephant pops in to rob the shop, and Black Samson inquires why he does that after defeating him. Elephant says he can’t find a typical job, and Samson offers him a position in the shop. This is such a great moment because it keeps with the theme of reforming criminals Invincible addressed many times. Besides, it makes me like Samson even more.
Invincible Universe:(Appears in #1-8;10-12) Invincible Universe picks up right after the events of Guarding the Globe Vol 2. The comic has many different arcs, each focused on different characters, and Samson appears as a supporting character in most of them.
Samson is great during the action, but he’s even better at personal moments. In issue 11, he plays with the kids from his old neighborhood. When one of the moms confronts him about beating up villains, primarily poor and black people, he says he can’t punch racism out of the country. But if he didn’t beat the villains, kids like those in their neighborhood would be dead.
This is another moment where Black Samson is sensitive, although practical. It is essential to address social issues, and this comic does that with ease a few times.
Awesome or lame?
Black Samson is a pretty awesome character, yet, he doesn’t get enough attention to stand out. His powerful moments are few and far between. After his initial arc, where he lost his powers and got them back again, he doesn’t get much to do. Even the spin-offs spend much more time introducing and developing new characters than exploring Black Samson.
His kindness and work with his community stand out. I love that he knows the importance of giving back and does so. He made his fortune which makes him even more badass. Unfortunately, we don’t get an arc that explores his qualities to the fullest. So despite being awesome, Black Samson’s potential is little more than an unrealized promise.
And the award for best quote goes to…
Black Samson: I made some good money in my life. I figure I owe it to my old neighborhood to help out in some way. So, when I get some time off from saving the Universe, I come in here and cut hair for free. (…)
When people are down and out, they have to let things like looking presentable slide. It isn’t much but my shop helps them look good for job interviews, court appearances, parent-teacher meetings, whatever. Hell, it could be this work here does more good than all the ass-whippings I’ve dished out over my whole career.
Guarding the Globe Vol. 2, Issue 3
This phrase is the essence of Black Samson. He is not only a superhero that punches bad guys. He is a superhero who helps people in a more direct albeit simple manner. This theme of finding new ways to help people is one of the various things that differentiates Invincible from other superhero comics.
I loved when Atom Eve decided to use her powers to help diminish poverty in Africa and when Mark became aware of the importance of reforming criminals. These situations have a profound impact on the story and they make us question why superheroes do what they do. This Black Samson quote is a wonderful example of that. There are plenty of ways to be a superhero and not all of them involve punching people.
I can be a superhero. You can be a superhero. Maybe we just have to find a way we can help people.
Question: Can Black Samson fly?
Answer: No, but he can leap high and cover a distance of up to 300 feet.
Question: Who voices Black Samson?
Answer: He is voiced on the Amazon show by Khary Payton.
Question: Why does Robot kill Black Samson?
Answer: Because he didn’t want any heroes stopping his plan to control Earth. He thought Black Samson was a threat and would oppose him.
Question: What are Black Samson’s powers?
Super strength, resistance to physical injury, high stamina, and strong recuperative abilities.
No matter how awesome you are, if you don’t get a good story it will be hard to stand out. That is definitely the case with Black Samson, but given the sheer amount of characters Invincible has created I can understand that.
However, with Robert Kirkman’s big involvement with the Amazon adaptation of the comic we have already begun to see changes that flesh out characters who didn’t get the spotlight in the comics. One can only hope the same will happen with Black Samson. We’ll just have to wait and see.