Sweet Christmas! Is that the time already? Yes, it’s almost time for Luke Cage to uppercut his way onto our laptop screens and smart TVs in his own solo series! I’m brimming with excitement. Are you brimming with excitement? You better be, because given Marvel’s track record vis-à-vis Netflix shows, we’re in for one hell of a ride.
So who is Luke Cage, anyway? Born as Carl Lucas, Cage spent his early years on the streets of Harlem stirring up trouble with his friends, one of whom would become a prominent name in the world of crime. The two friends fell out, resulting in Lucas being wrongly accused of drug offences and subsequently incarcerated.
While in prison, Lucas lost touch with his family and friends and caught the attention of a particular prison guard who made his life a misery. All of this changed when Lucas agreed to be a part of a secret medical experiment on cell regeneration based on the Super-Soldier serum we know and love. Ultimately, the procedure went wrong, as it does. But Lucas didn’t die – much to the dismay of the saboteur. Instead he mutated and acquired super strength and durability. Couple that with years of street fighting experience and accelerated healing and now he could pretty much punch his way out of any situation.
Lucas, as any smart man would, used these powers to escape prison and then legally changed his name to Luke Cage. A random encounter with criminals encouraged him to use his powers for good. Well, money actually. After all, a wanted man with no family or friends to support him has to make a living somehow.
New powers and new identity, Cage began to make a name for himself as a mercenary under the alias of Power Man. I use the term mercenary loosely here. If you were to contemplate it in terms of the alignment chart, think less ‘chaotic neutral’ like Deadpool and more ‘lawful neutral’.
This eventually led him to joining a group of superheroes called the Defenders and occasionally fighting beside The Hulk, Doctor Strange and Valkyrie. On one of his jobs, he teamed up with Daniel Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist – an other-worldly man from the mystical extra-dimensional city of K’un-Lun – and the two became best friends and partners in Heroes for Hire, Inc.
Cage’s first comic book appearance was in 1972 as a primary character in an ongoing title, five years before Black Panther’s self-titled debut. Marvel created Luke Cage as a response to the Blaxploitation films like Baadassss and Shaft in the 70’s, which isn’t really the best reason to create a black character, let’s be honest. And given the current situation with police brutality, I’d be very interested to see if or how the show incorporates this into the theme of the series. Can you imagine, a black man in that social climate who is bulletproof? That’s golden material for some very thought-provoking television.
By now you should have seen Luke Cage’s intro to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a supporting character in Jessica Jones. If you haven’t watched it yet, do that immediately. And I mean right this second. Mike Colter does an excellent job and in my mind was a perfect casting. Interestingly, comic book Luke Cage marries Jessica Jones, but here they’re just friends, but I wonder if that’s going to be played on in his solo series. It’s good to remember that events occurring in the comic book stories we’re most familiar with (Earth-616) are completely separate to that which occurs in the MCU (Earth-199999) and so nobody really knows what to expect.
Having said that, I’m eager to see the introduction of Misty Knight, a detective with powers of deduction rivalling that of Batman and Sherlock Holmes. Her character is tied to both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, but is by no means a sidekick or expendable pawn. I would also love to see the beginnings of his friendship with Iron Fist, and a cameo or two of Jessica Jones and possibly even Daredevil, given that Marvel are gearing things up for the Defenders series.
So there you have it; your quick guide on what’s to know about Luke Cage. The self-titled Netflix series premieres on the 30th of September, which gives you enough time to binge-watch Jessica Jones to prepare.
We’d love to hear your predictions and theories on the storylines it might cover. Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter!