Ulysses Hazard as seen on the cover of Men of War #23.
Art by Joe Kubert.
|First appearance||(1) Men of War #1|
(2) Checkmate vol. 2 #24
|Created by||(1) David Michelinie (writer)|
Ed Davis (artist)
(2) Greg Rucka (writer)
Eric Trautmann (writer)
Joe Bennett (artist)
|Alter ego||(1) Captain Ulysses Hazard|
(2) Tyson Sykes
|Team affiliations||United States Army|
|Notable aliases||Rook Alpha|
|Abilities||Trained military commando and marksman|
Gravedigger is a codename used by three fictional soldiers published by DC Comics. Captain Ulysses Hazard, the first Gravedigger, debuted in Men of War #1 (August 1977), and was created by David Michelinie and Ed Davis. Tyson Sykes, the second Gravedigger, debuted in Checkmate vol. 2 #25 (June 2008), and was created by Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann and Joe Bennett.
Captain Ulysses Hazard appeared in every single one of the original twenty-six issue run of DC Comics' Men of War. He is also the only fictional character other than Sgt. Rock to ever lead DC Comics' version of Easy Company.
Fictional character biography
Ulysses Hazard suffered from polio as a child, and was tormented by bullies. After a regimen of exercise he was able to condition his body to optimal level. When the United States entered World War II, Ulysses joined the army but found himself in a segregated military, in which all Black soldiers were put to work in menial units: burying bodies, supply delivery, or kitchen work. Frustrated that he has overcome polio, but is not allowed to fight, he invades The Pentagon to show that he has the skills necessary to fight. He is made into a special one-man unit by the Pentagon, codenamed "Gravedigger". Later, during combat with the Nazis, he receives a scar across his face that resembles a cross. Also, Ulysses had at least one son, Achilles Hazard, who joined the United States Marine Corps.
In the backup story "Snapshot: Remembrance" in the retrospective mini-series DC Universe: Legacies #4, set during a reunion on July 4, 1976, it is revealed that Ulysses Hazard did survive the end of the war, staying in the Army and reaching the rank of colonel. The other attendees are Jeb Stuart of the Haunted Tank, the Losers, Mademoiselle Marie and possibly the Unknown Soldier. Marie's son, who resembles Sgt. Rock, briefly appears.
Perseus Hazard is Ulysses's grandson, and the son of Achilles Hazard. He is the former leader of Squad K, a special response team tasked with apprehending Superman if he should ever turn rogue. He does not use the codename Gravedigger.
Tyson Sykes is the second African-American fictional character known to use the codename Gravedigger. He is a Checkmate operative whose field designation is Rook Alpha. Tyson gains special telepathic abilities by injecting himself with a solution called Apocritic made from Starro's DNA.
Powers and abilities
The Ulysses Hazard version of Gravedigger is a skilled marksman.
The Tyson Sykes version of Gravedigger has telepathic abilities ever since he injected himself with the Apocritic solution made from Starro's DNA
In other media
The Tyson Sykes version of Gravedigger made his live-action debut in the third season of the CW television series Black Lightning, portrayed by Wayne Brady. This version is a World War II soldier and half-brother of Black Lightning's grandfather Ben Pierce who sided with Markovia after the war and became one of the Markovians' few stable metahumans; developing super-strength and the ability to psychically control people through suggestions. Despite being from the 1940s, Gravedigger maintained his age due to a serum that Helga Jace used on Tobias Whale. During World War II, Tyson Sykes became a subject to a metahuman project collaboration between the United States and Markovia in exchange for not being court-martialed for assaulting a group of soldiers that taunted him with racist remarks. Tyson was the only survivor of this project. He takes control of the Markovian operation when Colonel Yuri Mosin has failed to produce results and has had battles with Black Lightning and his allies. He even upgrades himself with the meta-boost serum that Lynn Stewart left behind. In the season finale, Gravedigger has allowed the Markovian invasion to begin where his men briefly captured Lightning. When he raids the Pit, he mind-controls Gardner Grayle, Erica Moran, and the rebels to sleep, mind-controls Grace Choi to attack Thunder, and briefly fought Lightning and Brandon before fighting Black Lightning again. Lynn shoots the anti-boost serum into Gravedigger and Black Lightning defeats him. Using cloaking technology upon surviving the Pit's self-destruction, Gravedigger watches the congressional hearing in Gotham City where Black Lightning presents the briefcase that exposes the A.S.A.'s experiments as well as Markovia's own experiments. After exiting the building, Gravedigger sheds his disguise and walks off with satisfaction that the racist cover-up which fueled his anger has been exposed.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Gravedigger", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 148, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
Writer David Michelinie and artist Ed Davis presented an atypical war hero in Ulysses Hazard.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Nate Hollis
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Men of War #16 (May 1979). DC Comics.
- Superman #664. DC Comics.
- DC Universe: Legacies #4 (October 2010). DC Comics.
- First seen in Superman #664 (August 2007). DC Comics.
- As seen in Checkmate vol. 2 #24 (May 2008). DC Comics.
- Ng, Philiana; Seemayer, Zach (October 10, 2019). "Wayne Brady Joins 'Black Lightning' as Gravedigger (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (10 October 2019). "Black Lightning Adds Wayne Brady as WWII Supersoldier Gravedigger". TVLine.