May 9, 2010

Marvel Snapshot: Character Spotlight: Luke Cage

Welcome once again to Marvel Snapshot! In this week’s exciting spotlight, we’ll be looking at one of my recent favorite characters, Luke Cage! This dude is one bad mofo and doesn’t take crap from anybody. He’s the subject of this week’s discussion so get ready to take it to the streets! (click here for some more Luke Cage love)

Luke was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita in 1972, in the book Luke Cage- Hero for Hire. One thing before I go nuts here to make clear; I only got heavy into Cage when he appeared in New Avengers #1 back in 2005. I knew previously he was linked to Misty Knight, and Iron Fist (Heroes for Hire), but that was about it. Upon reading some older books and researching him, I find that he and I have absolutely nothing in common. He’s from the mean streets of Harlem, where he had to fight for his life amongst gangs. I’m from the not-so mean streets of nowhere Pennsylvania. I think I just dig his attitude about not taking any B.S. and his persona of not being a puppet for anybody. He’s his own man for sure, and has shown that although he’s one tough cat, he also is very protective and caring for his family.

In New Avengers #1, we saw Luke being the bodyguard for Matt Murdock on a visit to The Raft prison. Murdock was going there at the behest of Reed Richards to talk to a man named Robert Reynolds. We see a mass breakout that was orchestrated by the Skrulls. In the end, Luke pounds the beejeezus out of the Purple Man for a previous act on his part. He then joins the New Avengers and has been a stalwart member ever since. I did previously read about Cage in Secret Wars (Nick Fury) but it didn’t focus mainly on him because he was hospitalized by a sneak attack at the hands of Lucia Von Bardas. During this time, Luke had a one night stand with Jessica Jones and he planted the seed. One of the great subplots of Secret Invasion for me personally was Cage and Jones’ relationship, and the birth of their child. This was a great way to have an escape from all the secret stuff and also show a real life side to a couple of heroes.

After helping to quell the Skrull invasion, Luke went on to oppose Norman Osborn and his boot-licking group of “Avengers” (of the Dark variety), and help the resistance movement. He also almost got killed when he was captured by Osborn and had a tracking device surgically implanted to his heart. Once that drama was over, we saw an issue that showed Luke and Jessica making some hard choices as far as their lifestyle as heroes and its affect on their baby. Luke has kind of been in the backdrop of Siege but he is slated to join and lead the Thunderbolts in the next issue or so. I might start ordering that book as well as the new Avengers book that he will be a part of too because I think he is just that cool!

Luke did make an appearance in Immortal Iron Fist issue #6. He and Misty Knight kicked the crap out of a plethora of ninja, wise-cracking the whole time a la Spider-Man. That was really cool to see Cage in that book and I hope Marvel doesn’t start to overexpose him like they have with Wolverine and Deadpool. I’ve heard rumors that Iron Fist is going to start back up or continue on from where it stopped, so hopefully we can see more issues with Iron Fist and Cage kicking some tail again.

Cage is so cool, he's got his own My Little Pony!

Well, that’s about all for now but I will say that in retrospect, I think I’ve figured out why I like Luke Cage so much. We’re both good looking, both have a way with the ladies, and we both have a knack for spitting out one-liners at the best times. See you next week for another exciting character spotlight!

Suggested Reading
Essential Luke Cage, Power Man Vol. 1 & 2 Tpb
Power Man & Iron Fist Vol. 1 & 2 Tpb
Heroes for Hire Vol. 1
New Avengers Vol. 1 #1 -present

Billy Dunleavy



  1. I’m in the dark when it comes to Luke Cage…I just never really gave him or Iron Fist a shot.

  2. Isn’t their baby a skrull? Or was he switched back?

  3. I had a love/hate thing with Luke Cage when I was growing up as it seemed as if it was easier for the writers to show him as an angry Black guy all the time and his dialogue was horrendus as well and it just painted an ignorant picture of yet another poorly written Black superhero who had a good story every so often.

    However over the years he’s been treated a little better and Bendis did a hell of a job with the guy during Secret Invasion and I’ve liked what I’ve been seeing for some time but I agree with Billy that over exposure is going to kill a character that doesn’t have the fan base as Wolverine or Spidey. He’s got a solo mini series comin’ out, a noir book that just wrapped, he’ll be leading the T Bolts soon as well as being an Avenger.

    ummm..Billy, is that your Luke Cage pony?

  4. @Kris-apparently that was a red herring during the secret invasion storyline but I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to bring it back later on down the line to spice things up.

  5. Kristin

    What do you mean by “red herring?” I’m unfamiliar with that phrase. It was at the very end of the issue, and it was a huge page, where the eyes of the baby flashed green Skrull eyes or something. It was way obvious. Um…I guess it was after the baby was kidnapped by fake Jarvis? Or before maybe? I don’t even remember anymore.

  6. i’m sorry “red herring” is a deliberate attempt to misdirect and so far that’s what that was. I forgot the interview I was reading when that story line was winding down but it was even stated there by Bendis that it was used as such.

  7. Billy

    @Andy- Bendis really did make Cage a better character as Speech said. The recent stuff in Secret Invasion and since has been great. Brubakers (and Fraction)run on Iron Fist was great as well.
    @Speech- I hope Marvel doesn’t go to nuts with him because I don’t want to hate him 2 years from now because he’s in 5 books a month. And yes, white kids were only allowed to purchase Cage Ponies, not the real action figures. lol
    @Kris- Speech is saying that the writers threw that out there to throw you a curveball. To my knowledge, nothing ever came of it. Spider-Woman needs to use her SSkrull detector around the baby just to make sure though. If you read her book THAT GOT CANCELLED (Marvel- that was a mistake) she’s got some tech that lets her locate alien life forms that S.W.O.R.D. gave her. 😀

  8. Kristin

    That doesn’t even make any sense. Why scream it at you if it’s meaningless? Seriously….

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