September 18, 2022 12 min read
Power Man/Luke Cage is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska, he first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972).
Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, he gains superpowers in the form of unbreakable skin and superhuman strength. The character frequently teams up with fellow superhero Iron Fist, and is married to Jessica Jones, with whom he has a daughter.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr. shortly after Blaxploitation films emerged as a popular new genre. He debuted in his own series, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, which was initially written by Goodwin and pencilled by George Tuska. Cage's adventures were set in a grungier, more crime-dominated New York City than that inhabited by other Marvel superheroes of the time. The series was retitled Luke Cage, Power Man with issue #17.
As the Blaxploitation genre's popularity faded, Cage became unable to support his own series and was paired with another superhero whose popularity was based on a declining film genre, the martial arts hero Iron Fist, in an effort to save both characters from cancellation. Though the series title would remain Power Man in the indicia for a while longer, with issue #50 (April 1978) the cover title became Power Man and Iron Fist. It would remain thus until the series's cancellation with issue #125 (September 1986). The series's final writer, James Owsley, attempted to shed Cage's Blaxploitation roots by giving him a larger vocabulary and reducing usage of his catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!".
In 1992, Cage was relaunched in a new series, simply titled Cage, set primarily in Chicago. The revived series updated the character for the Nineties, with Cage symbolically destroying his original costume on the cover of the first issue. The series was cancelled after twenty issues; the entire run was written by Marc McLaurin. Cage received exposure in other books at the time, including his own serial in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents. In the aftermath of the "Onslaught" and "Heroes Reborn" storylines, Cage was included in the series Heroes for Hire, written by John Ostrander, which lasted 19 issues.
Subsequently, Cage was featured in the Brian Michael Bendis-written series Alias, Secret War, The Pulse, Daredevil, and New Avengers.
In 2010, Cage became a regular character in Thunderbolts, starting with issue #144, and continued as leader of the team when the title transitioned into Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175. Cage also reappeared as a regular character in the second volume of New Avengers series.
Born and raised in Harlem, Carl Lucas spent his youth in a gang called the Bloods. With his friend Willis Stryker, he fought the rival gang the Diablos and committed petty thefts, often on behalf of deformed crimelord Sonny Caputo, a.k.a. Hammer. In and out of juvenile homes throughout his teens, Lucas dreamed of becoming a major New York racketeer until he finally realized how his actions were hurting his family; he sought to better himself as an adult, finding legitimate employment. Meanwhile, Stryker rose through the ranks of crime, but the two men remained friends. When Stryker's activities angered the Maggia (a.k.a. the Syndicate), he was badly beaten in a mob hit, saved only by Lucas's intervention. When Stryker's girlfriend, Reva Connors, broke up with him in fear of his violent work, she sought solace from Lucas. Convinced that Lucas was responsible for the breakup, Stryker planted heroin in Lucas's apartment (that he stole from drug kingpin Cornell Cottonmouth) and tipped off the police. Lucas was arrested and sent to prison; contact with his family was sparse due to the resentment of his brother James, Jr., who intercepted Lucas's letters to their father James and eventually led each to believe the other was dead.
In prison, Lucas was consumed by rage over Stryker's betrayal and his father's supposed death, engaging in frequent brawls and escape attempts. Eventually transferred to Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia, he became the favorite target of sadistic guard Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham, whose brutality ultimately led to a demotion that he blamed on Lucas. Later, research scientist Dr. Noah Burstein recruited Lucas as a volunteer for experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process he had previously used to empower Warhawk. Burstein immersed Lucas in an electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound; when he left Lucas unattended, Rackham misused the experiment's controls, hoping to maim or kill Lucas. Lucas's treatment was accelerated past its intent, inducing body-wide enhancement that gave him superhuman strength and durability. He used his new power to escape Seagate and made his way back to New York, where a chance encounter with criminals inspired him to use his new powers for profit.
Adopting the alias Luke Cage and donning a distinctive costume, he launched a career as a Hero for Hire, helping anyone who could meet his price. He soon established an office in Times Square's Gem Theater, where he befriended film student D.W. Griffith. Burstein, aware of his friend's innocence, also relocated to New York and opened a medical clinic, assisted by Dr. Claire Temple, whom Cage began dating. Although Cage would have been content to battle strictly conventional criminals, he soon learned that New York was hardly the place to do so. Stryker himself had become a Maggia agent as Diamondback and died battling Cage. Subsequent opponents included Gideon Mace, an embittered veteran seeking a U.S. takeover who would become a frequent foe; Chemistro (Curtis Carr), whose Alchemy Gun would be a weapon later used by others, including his own brother after Curtis reformed; and Discus, Stiletto, Shades, and Commanche, all criminals with ties to Cage's prison days who would face him repeatedly over the years.
Although Cage seemed to have little in common with most of New York's other superhumans, an ill-conceived attempt to collect a fee from a reneging Doctor Doom led him to befriend the Fantastic Four. He was subsequently hired by Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson to capture Spider-Man, the wisecracking adventurer who doubled as Jameson's personal demon, but Cage came to sympathize with Spider-Man and forcibly returned Jameson's deposit, earning a place on the publisher's lengthy list of superhuman personas non grata. Cage also befriended Jessica Jones, a.k.a. Jewel, a young woman whose super-strength and unconventional style matched his own. During a mission in which Orville Smythe duped him into stealing an experimental starsuit from Stark International, Cage followed the example of his new peers and took the codename of Power Man.
Shortly afterward, Cage began associating with the loose-knit super-team known as the Defenders, alongside whom he fought the super-strong Wrecking Crew and the racist subversives known as the Sons of the Serpent. When the Thing temporarily lost his superhuman powers, Cage was hired to replace him in the Fantastic Four, but his tenure proved brief after the Puppet Master took control of him to fight his new teammates. Meanwhile, Cage continued in solo action against an odd assortment of villains, including the maddened professional wrestler X the Marvel, the uninspired Maggia agent Mister Fish, mobsters Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton and Ray "Piranha" Jones, the racist Wildfire, the vengeance-seeking Mangler and Spear (whose brother had died under Dr. Burstein's treatment), rival crimelords Baron and Big Brother, the obsessive Goldbug, and Zzzax the Living Dynamo.
Called to assist the Defenders against the Plantman, Cage began to complain that his participation in their group was interfering with his paying work. Wealthy Defenders member Nighthawk solved this problem by placing Cage on retainer, giving Luke a steady paycheck for his Defenders activities. For some time thereafter, Cage served as a core member of the Defenders alongside the likes of Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, Nighthawk and the Red Guardian (Dr. Tania Belinskya). Together, they defeated minor threats including the Eel and the Porcupine, and major menaces such as the Headmen, Nebulon, Egghead's Emissaries Of Evil and the Red Rajah; but Cage felt out of place in the often-bizarre exploits of the Defenders and eventually resigned. He believed he was unsuited to teamwork, little realizing how wrong he would be proven months later.
Having obtained proof of Cage's innocence in his original drug charges, the criminal Bushmaster abducted Burstein and Temple, using their safety and the hope of acquittal to blackmail Cage into abducting detective Misty Knight, who had humiliated Bushmaster in an earlier encounter. Cage's efforts led to a fight with Knight's boyfriend, the martial artist Iron Fist, a native of the extradimensional city of K'un-Lun and still a newcomer to Earth society; however, upon learning of Cage's situation, Iron Fist and Knight helped him defeat Bushmaster and rescue his friends. In the course of the encounter, Bushmaster forced Burstein to mutate him as he had Cage, but was nonetheless defeated and soon became paralyzed by the process. Cleared of criminal charges, Cage briefly worked for Knight's detective agency Nightwing Restorations but soon elected to join Iron Fist in a two-man team, Heroes for Hire, founded by attorney Jeryn Hogarth and staffed by administrative wunderkind Jennie Royce. Although the streetwise Cage and the unworldly Iron Fist seemed to have little in common, they soon became the best of friends; however, Cage's relationship with Claire Temple proved less durable, and he instead began dating model Harmony Young.
Cage and Iron Fist achieved great success with Heroes for Hire, earning an international reputation and fighting a wide variety of criminals, including the genius Nightshade, the international crimelord Montenegro, Sabretooth and the Constrictor, Warhawk, and the druglord Goldeneye. They had several struggles involving the nations of Halwan and Murkatesh, including incarnations of Scimitar and the Black Tiger. They occasionally worked alongside fellow street-level heroes such as Spider-Man, Daredevil and Moon Knight, but rarely participated in the larger-scale crises that occupied the likes of the FF and the Avengers; however, their adventures took occasional turns toward the extraterrestrial or the extra-dimensional, areas which held little appeal for the down-to-earth Cage. Their partnership's downfall began when the mysterious government agency S.M.I.L.E. manipulated Cage and Iron Fist into the employment of Consolidated Conglomerates, Inc.; during their first CCI assignment, Iron Fist contracted radiation poisoning. Cage took him to K'un-Lun for treatment. While there, Iron Fist was, unknown to Cage, replaced by a doppelganger of the plantlike H'ylthri race, K'un-Lun's ancient enemies. Soon after their return to the outside world, the doppelganger was destroyed, pummeled by the alien Super-Skrull, as a result of a bizarre scheme engineered by Iron Fist's archenemy, Master Khan. Cage was blamed for the apparent murder of Iron Fist.
A fugitive again, Cage broke contact with his New York friends and relocated to Chicago; but, with Hogarth's help, he was cleared of criminal charges when the real Iron Fist turned up alive. Wanting a new start, Cage abandoned his Power Man guise and began operating out of Chicago as the plainclothes Luke Cage, Hero for Hire; he made arrangements with the Chicago Spectator for exclusive reports of his adventures and frequently worked with detective Dakota North. He soon attracted the interest of the refined assassin Hardcore, an employee of Cruz Bushmaster, son of the very villain whose defeat had cleared Cage's name the first time. Cage learned that Cruz, following in his father's extortion footsteps, had abducted Noah Burstein's wife Emma to force the scientist to re-create the process that had empowered Cage, regardless of how many test subjects suffered in the process. Cruz underwent the procedure himself, but the elder Bushmaster drained the power from his son, reversing his near-catatonia and declaring himself the Power Master; however, Cage teamed with Iron Fist to thwart their plans, freeing the Bursteins while the Bushmasters apparently perished.
While Cage tried to locate his surviving family members with the aid of Dakota North, his brother kept moving his father around to keep Cage away from them. James, Jr. was eventually recruited by the criminal Corporation, whose power-enhancing scientist Doctor Karl Malus mutated him into the superhuman Coldfire. As Coldfire, James, Jr. hoped to be a match for his super-powerful brother, whom he regarded as a threat, and he used his hatred of Cage as a focus for his energy powers. Though James, Jr. worked with the Corporation quite willingly, Malus had James, Sr. held hostage as extra insurance of Coldfire's cooperation. When Cage learned the Corporation was apparently holding his family, he invaded their headquarters and battled Coldfire; however, the brothers ultimately joined forces to rescue their father from Malus, and Coldfire apparently sacrificed himself to destroy the Corporation's headquarters.A few months later, Cage investigated the murder of Harmony Young and fought her killer, the demon Darklove, alongside Ghost Rider. Not long afterward, the mystic Doctor Druid recruited Cage to serve in his Secret Defenders against the sorcerer Malachi. Cage returned to New York and, deciding his heart was no longer in superheroics, became co-owner of the Gem Theater with his friend D.W. Griffith. Even an invitation from Iron Fist to join a new and expanded Heroes for Hire failed to interest him; yet when the would-be world conqueror called the Master tried to recruit Cage as a spy within Iron Fist's team, destroying Cage's theater in the process, a curious Cage played along. Cage joined Heroes for Hire and served with them for some time while reporting to the Master. Cage himself even began to sympathize with the more benevolent aspects of the Master's goals, and the Master and Cage seemed to become genuinely fond of each other; but in the end, Cage could neither betray his best friend Iron Fist nor reconcile himself to the tremendous loss of life the Master's plans of conquest would entail, and he ultimately helped Heroes for Hire destroy the Master of the World's plans. Cage remained with the group thereafter, and dated a fellow member, the She-Hulk. When the Stark-Fujikawa corporation bought out Heroes for Hire, Cage and Ant-Man were fired because of their prison records, and the rest of the team quit in protest.
Cage, bitten by the hero bug once more, continued to share adventures with Iron Fist and other heroes. Briefly resuming his Power Man identity, he was hired by Moon Knight to join the "Marvel Knights"; but mere days after he joined, the group dissolved following clashes with the forces of Tombstone and Fu Manchu. Deciding that a return to basics was in order, he re-established his Hero for Hire activities, intervening in a gang war between Tombstone and Hammerhead, and soon learned that, despite his international fame, he was almost forgotten on the streets where he had originally made his reputation. He invested his money in a bar and set about ridding his immediate neighborhood of criminal elements, deciding that the business of world-saving was best left to others.
After a one-night stand with a drunken Jessica Jones, now a private investigator, Cage's life was briefly thrown into disarray by Jones's reaction to the fling; but the two made peace while working as bodyguards for Matt Murdock, whose public denial of his Daredevil costumed identity cost him a bit of Cage's respect. Shortly afterward, Cage extended emotional support to Jones when she was forced to revisit past abuses by the villainous Purple Man, and Cage's feelings for her grew. When Jones revealed that she was pregnant from their tryst, she and Cage moved in together. Soon afterward, Jones became a superhuman consultant with the Daily Bugle, where Jameson's ire at Cage has by no means dwindled over the years. Cage was recently recruited into a new incarnation of the Avengers, New York's premiere super-team, and he and Jessica had daughter and got married.
Since then, Cage became leader of his own Avengers team and was placed in charge of the Thunderbolts by commander of superhuman affairs Captain America (Steve Rogers).
Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength and stamina, and has extremely dense skin and muscle tissue, which render him highly resistant to physical injury. Cage possesses these abilities as a result of a cellular-regeneration experiment which fortified the various tissues of his body. His skin can resist high-caliber bullets, puncture wounds, corrosives, biological attacks, and extreme temperatures and pressures without sustaining damage. A second exposure to said experiments further enhanced his strength and durability.
The same experiment which granted him his great strength and durability has also given him a faster-than-normal recovery time from injury.
Luke Cage is an exceptional street fighter and was a gifted athlete before receiving superhuman abilities. He has also studied martial arts under Iron Fist's instruction, learning how to couple leverage with his strength in order to increase his combat effectiveness against more powerful opponents.
He owns a jacket that is as durable as his skin, having been exposed to the "Power Man" treatment during his second exposure.
Over the years Luke Cage has worked with and teamed up with a number of heroes including his wife Jessica Jones(Jewel), Daredevil, Iron Fist, Spider-man, Nova and many more.
Luke Cage has made a number of enemies including Chemistro, Willis Stryker, Shades, Cockroach Hamilton, Spear, Purple Man, etc.
Luke Cage appeared in season 1 of Jessica Jones as a supporting character. The character was portrayed by Mike Colter. Mike Colter's portrayal was appreciated by both fans and critics worldwide.
You can check out the trailer below
Luke Cage is an upcoming Netflix series which is going to be a part of the MCU. The character is played by Mike Colter who is reprising his role as the character from Jessica Jones. All the episodes are going to be released on Netflix on September 30th.
You can check out the trailer below
|Alias #24-28 “Purple”||Brian Micheal Bendis||Micheal Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth|
|Luke Cage: Noir #1-4||Mike Benson||Shawn Martinbrough, Nick Filardi|
|Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #8-9||Steve Englehart||George Tuska|
|Power Man #48-49||Chris Claremont||John Byrne, Dan Green, Francois Mouly|
|Pulse #11-14 “Fear”||Brian Micheal Bendis||Micheal Gaydos, Matt Hollingsworth|