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Loius Crandell was working as a lab assistant to Dr Barringer when an accident robbed him of his right hand. Barringer replaced the hand with a sophisticated metal prosthetic, but a subsequent accident temporarily unhinged Crandell, while also giving him a unique power; if he received a powerful electric shock, he would turn invisible for a varying period of time, the only part of him remaining visible being his steel hand. The deranged Crandell used this (on the face of it not terribly useful) power to commit crimes, but eventually the imbalance in his mind corrected itself and he became a crimefighter, becoming an agent of the British Secret Service's 'Shadow Squad' as the Steel Claw. For a time, he adopted a costum and effectively operated as a superhero, before leaving the Shadow Squad to become first a detective and then a bounty hunter. Eventually, he relocated to South America where he continued to battle injustice.
At some point, Crandell returned to Britain and was hunted down and imprisoned in Scotland's Castle Baaleskine along with a number of other powered or otherwise unusual individuals, including Tim Kelly, former weilder of the Eye of Zoltec. Their weaponry, including the Eye and Crandell's Claw, were confiscated, and they were kept locked up without trial for years before eventually being freed by Penny Dolmann and her associates in a mass jailbreak. Crandell retrieved his claw and was last seen recovering the Eye of Zoltec from Prime Minister Tony Blair for Kelly.
Crandell can become invisible for varying periods if subjected to an electric shock. His Steel Claw, however, remains visible (a minor drawback for an invisible man whose principle attribute is stealth).
Crandell's Steel Claw had a number of built in weapons and tools at various times including a mini-missile launcher, knockout gas and a radio transmitter. It could also at one point be detached and operated by remote control.
- The Steel Claw first appeared in the first issue of the British anthology title 'Valiant', publishhed on 6th October 1962 by IPC Magazines. The strip ran more or less uninterrupted in various British titles until 1975, when new stories ceased but earlier stories began to be reprinted in the title 'Vulcan'.
- The Steel Claw, or an alternate version of him, eventually resurfaced in Grant Morrison's Zenith series in the Sci-Fi anthology 2000AD, and another alternate take on the character, the Iron Tallon appeared briefly in Alan Moore's Captain Britain series for Marvel UK. Another version of the character appears occasionally in Image Comics' 'Jack Staff' title.
- The Steel Claw has enjoyed enormous popularity in reprint editions around the world, including much of Europe and India. His adventures were also made available in the US in a reprrint series from Quality Communications in the 1980's.
- 4 Appearances of Louis Crandell (Albion)
- 1 Images featuring Louis Crandell (Albion)
- Quotations by or about Louis Crandell (Albion)
- Character Gallery: Louis Crandell (Albion)