Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend (actor)) is a mild-mannered school teacher in Washington, D.C. His neighborhood is terrorized by a local gang called ''The Golden Lords'', led by Simon Caine (Roy Fegan) and allied with drug lord Anthony Byers (Frank Gorshin). One night, Jeff steps in to rescue a woman from the gang only to end up running from them himself. Hiding in a garbage dumpster, he manages to escape. As he climbs out, he is struck down by a glowing, green meteorite. His spine is crushed and he receives severe burns. A small fragment of the meteor was left over and taken by a Vagrancy (people) named Marvin (Bill Cosby). Reed awakens several days later in the hospital, but when his bandages are taken off, he is miraculously healed of all injuries.