CALEB HAMMER

Real Name: Caleb Hammer

Identity/Class: Human (Old West era)

Occupation: Detective, formerly training for ministry

Group Membership: Pinkerton Detective Agency

Affiliations: Reno Jones, Outlaw Kid, Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid

Enemies: Absalom, Gunhawk, Kid Cassidy, Kid Colt, Corey Flynn, Jake Lovelace, Crawford McKie, Nightriders, Arthur Penfield, Clay Riley, Luke Sommers

Known Relatives: Thea Hammer (wife, deceased), Issak Hammer (younger brother, deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in the American west of the late 19th century

First Appearance: Marvel Premiere#54 (June, 1980)

Powers/Abilities: Caleb Hammer was a gunfighter who used revolvers and shotguns, as well as a knife. However, he preferred to avoid using firearms when he could, dispatching less-than-proficient enemies with his fists. He was also strong enough to snap the cylinder from a pistol.

History: (Marvel Premiere#54 (fb)) - In 1885, Caleb was studying to be a minister when his wife Thea was murdered by a drunken soldier who mistook her for his lover. Caleb's faith was shattered.

(Marvel Premiere#54 (fb) - BTS) - Caleb ended his studies as a minister and became an agent of the Pinkerton Detective Agency instead.

(Blaze of Glory#2) - Later in 1885, Hammer and a pair of Pinkerton agents (Drew Watson & Jed McCabe) pursued the outlaw Kid Colt to the town of Anaconda, Montana. When they found him flanked by Reno Jones, Marcel Fournier and the Rawhide Kid, Hammer backed down, promising to find Colt later. Colt responded by shooting both of Hammer's men dead. Colt and the other outlaws rode off.

(Blaze of Glory#3) - Hammer pursued Colt's trail towards the town of Wonderment, where he ran into the Nightriders, hired men assaulting the townspeople. The Nightriders soon captured the bounty hunter Gunhawk as well. Learning that both men were after Colt and had no quarrel with them, their leader Kid Cassidy decided to let them draw on each other to see which would live to chase Colt. However, the Ghost Rider (actually Reno Jones in disguise) suddenly appeared, and the Nightriders were thrown into confusion. Hammer and Gunhawk rode off to Wonderment.

(Blaze of Glory#4) - Hammer and Gunhawk kept close to Colt in Wonderment, promising to bring him to justice when the Nightriders had been dealt with. They fought the Nightriders together, but once the tide turned Gunhawk shot Colt in the back. Hammer was disgusted with Gunhawk for treating Colt this way, and drew on him; Hammer shot Gunhawk to death. After he and the Rawhide Kid had buried Kid Colt, the Outlaw Kid and the Two-Gun Kid, they rode off together, and Hammer pondered his actions.

(Marvel Premiere#54 (fb)) - On May 3, 1886, Hammer visited his brother Issak in Chicago when a strike broke out at the McCormick harvesting machine factory. He tried to keep scabs from crossing picket lines, but when riot police showed up it turned violent, and six men were killed-- including Issak.

    In 1888, Hammer tracked Arthur Penfield to a cabin in Montana, and was forced to shoot him in the shoulder when he drew on him. Trapped in the cabin by a blizzard, Hammer lived with Penfield for five months waiting for the weather to clear up. He got to know Penfield well, but Penfield died of gangrene from his wound.

    In 1890, Hammer took an assignment to track down Crawford McKie and Jake Lovelace, a pair of former soldiers who were abusing their status as heroes to terrorize small towns, and murdered a number of people along the way.

(Marvel Premiere#54) - Hammer followed their trail to Manacle, Wyoming. A local tough guy named Luke Sommers picked a fight with Hammer in a bar, but Hammer easily beat him in his attempted gunfight by simply punching him in the face. He checked in with the local sheriff and learned that McKie and Lovelace had passed through there.

    While riding after the fugitives, Hammer had another encounter with Sommers, who again challenged him to a gunfight. This time, Hammer beat him by throwing a rock at his chest. He then smashed Sommers' gun. When he reached the ranch McKie and Lovelace had been to, he sprung an explosive booby-trap in a barn, but survived.

    Hammer tracked McKie and Lovelace to a cabin on a cliff called "the Devil's Anvil." He played off of the two men's superstitions by approaching the cabin with the moon behind him, spreading his coat and howling. When an epileptic child being held hostage by the fugitives suddenly had a fit, the two men panicked and killed him. Hammer burst into the cabin and beat both men with his bare hands.

(X-Force I#37 (fb)) - Near the end of the 19th century, Caleb was in a small town in Wyoming when he was confronted by Absalom, who challenged him, wanting to best a legend. When Caleb refused to, Absalom shot him in the back, killing him. Absalom was hung for Caleb's murder, but his mutant powers surfaced at the hanging.

(Marvel Westerns: Outlaw Files) - In 1896 the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported that Caleb was shot in the back after refusing a challenge from outlaw Corey Flynn.

Comments: Created by Peter B. Gillis, Gene Day and Tony DeZuniga.

    From the original story, it seems that Hammer didn't become a Pinkerton until after his brother's death in 1886, as he was said to have made his name with the Pinkertons in the Arthur Penfield case. However, Blaze of Glory established him as a Pinkerton in 1885, so he must have already been a Pinkerton when he visited Chicago in 1886.

The names of Drew Watson & Jed McCabe were revealed in the Marvel Westerns: Outlaw Files.

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Caleb Hammer should not be confused with:

  • Justin Hammer, millionaire foe of Iron Man, @ Iron Man I#120
  • Captain Sylvester Hammer, UN marines peacekeeping force, @ Warlock and the Infinity Watch#14

Images taken from:
Marvel Premiere#54, cover
Blaze of Glory#2, page 9, panel 1


Appearances:
Marvel Premiere#54 (June, 1980) - Peter Gillis (writer), Gene Day (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
X-Force I#37 (August, 1994) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Paul Pelletier (artist), Harry Candelario, Scott Hanna, Charles Barnett (inkers), Bob Harras (editor)
Blaze of Glory#2-4 (February-March, 2000) - John Ostrander (writer), Leonardo Manco (artist), Mark Bernardo, Tom Brevoort (editors)


Last updated: 11/04/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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