Character Spotlight: Luke Cage

luke-cage-logo

(Image: Marvel Entertainment)

Our character spotlights for the Marvel Netflix heroes continues. Today’s discussion will be about the character of Luke Cage. Cage made his debut in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire in June of 1972. Created by Archie Goodwin, John Romita Sr.and George Tuska, Cage was intended to capitalize on the blaxploitation genre of films that emerged during the early 1970’s. After the 70’s, his popularity faded and he did not have much of a presence during the 80’s and 90’s. Brian Bendis took hold of the character during the early 2000’s and reignited his popularity. While he does not have as many successful titles as other characters on  this list, Luke Cage has become a key character in the Avengers and very important character to the greater Marvel Universe.

power-man

(Image: Marvel Comics)

Power Man and Iron Fist Epic Collection

Author: Chris Claremont, Mary Jo Duffy

Illustrator: Kerry Gammill, John Byrne, Trevor Von Eeden

Team-up comics were big during the 1970’s.Two movie genres that were also popular were black-centric action films and kung-fu films. Power Man and Iron Fist represented those genres best and Heroes for Hire was born. This series marks the first pairing and what would be a long time friendship of Luke Cage and Danny Rand. The Heroes took on any street level, urban threat for any client willing to pay. Other major characters featured in this series include Misty Knight and Collen Wing. Power Man and Iron Fist is most definitely a product of its time as it’s oozing 1970’s goodness. However, that shouldn’t stop from picking up the Epic collection if you enjoy buddy type action stories.

new-avengers-complete

(Image: Marvel Comics)

New Avengers The Complete Collection

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator: David Finch, Steve McNiven, Lenil Francis Yu,

As mentioned earlier, Luke Cage had varying success after the 1970’s. It really was not until he was brought on to the New Avengers where he became a main player in the Marvel Universe again. New Avengers made its launched in November of 2004 after the previous Avengers series ended. This was a more pro-active, team due to the events of the previous series. Along with Luke Cage this team features some of Marvel’s heavy hitters like Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Spider-Woman. It all begins with super villains breaking out the super max prison the Raft. The rest of the series dealt with a super villain conspiracy, an emerging hero who may be a foe, the alien invaders the Skrulls and much more. While not a Luke Cage solo big, he was central to the series and his character growth as a potential leader. Pick up the New Avengers if you want to see the team at their best.

thunderbolts

(Image: Marvel Comics)

Thunderbolts: Caged

Author: Jeff Parker

Illustrator: Kev Walker

This is a fun series that sees Luke Cage being tasked to lead the Thunderbolts on behalf of SHIELD.  Much different than leading the Avengers, it’s interesting to see who Luke chooses to be on his squad with the likes of Moonstone, Juggernaut, Cross Bones and Man-Thing.  Think of the Suicide Squad in some capacity, where these are high risk, kill or be killed missions. It’s hard to even call this team a “team” as everyone is out for themselves. The action is intense but it is also a very character driven series and it is great to see Luke Cage trying to lead a very different group of people from the Avengers.

mighty-avengers

(Image: Marvel Comics)

The Mighty Avengers Volume 1: No Single Hero

Author: Al Ewing

Illustrator: Greg Land

The Mighty Avengers features Luke Cage given full leadership of the team and handpicks his new squad of Avengers. Not your typical team, the line up consists of classics like Spider-Man but also Spectrum, White Tiger, The Blue Marvel and a new,young Power Man. The first volume sees the team taking on super villain terrorist Proxima and supernatural villain Shuma Gorath. Don’t let the eclectic team and strange villains fool you, this is classic Avengers through and through. It’s also one of the most diverse line up the team has had in ages. If you want to see Luke be the leader he was always meant to be, pick up the Mighty Avengers.

So that wraps up our spotlight on Luke Cage. Tells us what you think about Luke Cage in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twitter page. Next week sees our final character spotlight on the Netflix heroes with Iron Fist.

Written By: Eddie Sampson

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