Sweet Christmas! It’s Luke Cage’s turn now!
Many people know this
character as the tough as nails, bad-ass, out spoken big black man
standing tall along with the Avengers, but Luke Cage was actually
Marvel’s very first black character to helm his own on-going series!
That has to get some cool props for this character. The Blaxploitation
craze had just occur and Marvel wanted to quickly capitalize on it,
thus the creation of Luke Cage, a street-jive talker with a bright
yellow shirt that opened up to his navel and of course a tiara on his
head! Okay, I’ll stop that fake excitement, I hated the freakin’ tiara
and can’t stand when I hear fans say they want Cage with a tiara again.
Ugh! Talk about emasculating the black man. C’mon, people!
Luke Cage’s story started off with him as a young kid named Carl
Lucas in Harlem. He and his best friend, Willis Stryker, were members
of the gang, Rivals. Eventually, Lucas realized the strain being in a
gang caused his family, so he left the gang to actually better himself
as an adult and got a job while Stryker continued being a gang banger
as he rose in crime. Despite all this, Stryker and Lucas continued to
be good friends. It wasn’t until Stryker’s girlfriend broke up with him
due to his life style that the relationship between the two friends
caused a riff. Stryker’s girlfriend went to confide in Lucas, which
caused Stryker to suspect that Lucas was behind him and his girlfriend
breaking up. In revenge, Stryker planted heroin in Lucas’ apartment and
set the cops out for him. Wrongfully accused for a crime he had no part
of, Lucas is eventually sent to Seagate Prison where he becomes the
target of ridicule to security guard Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham. Due to
Rackham’s constant brutality, he is eventually fired from his job. At
the same time, Lucas’ is volunteered to a science experience by Dr.
Noah Burstein, a research scientist hoping to find a way of creating a
cell regeneration formula modeled after the Super Soldier serum.
Rackham, blaming Lucas for his job termination, returns and sabotages
the experiment in hopes of killing Lucas causing an explosion. During
this accident, Lucas realizes that he’s still alive, the experiment
giving him accelerated durability and super strength. Seeing this as an
opportunity brought up by the explosion, Lucas punches a hole in the
wall and escapes the prison.
After coming to shore, Lucas decides to legally change his name to
Luke Cage and becomes a hero for hire, becoming a superhero for the
right price. The problem though was that Cage constantly found himself
working for clients in need who couldn’t always pay or Cage himself
feeling just doing the job was enough. Though of course that didn’t
stop Cage from flying all the way to Doom’s castle to collect his $200
from the super villain. As the Hero for Hire, Cage came across various
enemies and superheroes who he eventually befriends. He took down
Stryker and befriended Spider-Man after being hired by J. Jonah Jameson
to take him down. He eventually became best friends with Iron Fist, the
two of them sharing the offices of Heroes for Hire. The partnership of
Iron Fist and Luke Cage has been cited by many comic readers to be the
essential hero team-up/partnership/friendship within comic-lore.
Over the years, Cage has modified his appearances, no longer
wearing the flamboyant yellow shirt, chain as a belt, and ridiculous
tiara, but instead regular attire of pants and a T-shirt. This recent
appearance has been a subject of debate for specific fans, those who
praise the low-key look for the hero who feels it fits with his every
man presentation while others prefer him with a superhero costume. In
recent years, the character’s popularity had grown due to writer Brian
Michael Bendis including him in a few of his works from Alias where he
became the love interest and father to main character Jessica Jones' child to
Daredevil, becoming Matt Murdock’s friend and body guard to eventually
a member and eventual leader of the New Avengers. The popularity of the
character continues to grow as he’s recently appeared in a few Marvel
video games, as a member of Marvel Age’s Avengers, and I have even
spotted him on a few T-shirts spotlighting characters such as
Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and a few others. There’s
also rumors of a Luke Cage movie in talks.
Luke Cage will eventually be leading the Thunderbolts in a few months. Me, I'm still waiting for that Genndy Tartakovsky mini!!!
Luke Cage Adventures can be found:
Essential Luke Cage/Power Man Vol. 1 and 2
Essential Luke Cage/Iron Fist Vol. 1 and 2
New Avengers #1 - current
Cage (1992) #1-20
House of Avengers
Black Panther: Bad Mutha
Luke Cage Noir
New Avengers: Luke Cage