Sweet Christmas: Luke Cage is Here

Sweet Christmas: Luke Cage is Here
Courtesy Photo Luke Cage, the latest TV series in the comic book Marvel Universe, will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 30.

Courtesy Photo
Luke Cage, the latest TV series in the comic book Marvel Universe, will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday, Sept. 30.

After months of anticipation, Luke Cage is finally dropping on Netflix this Friday.

Having already made his debut in Jessica Jones last year, Luke Cage (the character) set off for parts unknown at the end of that series. Carrying on Netflix’s Marvel plan, it turns out Luke didn’t go too far.

When we first catch up with him, Luke has settled in Harlem, working at a barber shop for his late wife’s father. After the events ofJessica Jones, which found Luke, himself indestructible and possessing super strength, under the control of a psychopath and going after someone he loved — granted, that love was a bit more than complicated. Still, as Jessica carried around her scars from her time with Kilgrave, Luke’s got some scars to carry as well.

“So how’d you get your powers?” Jessica asked him in an early episode of her series. Luke simply responds “Experiment.”

This oversimplification of his origin looks like it’s going to be solved in the series, as one of the trailers had him emerging from what I’m going to start referring to as a “Science Coffin” (you know, a metal box with lots of wire, usually sitting in water. They put Wolverine in one.) Upon emerging, Luke’s monitoring wires take on the appearance of his incredibly goofy costume from the ‘70s, complete with big silver tiara. It’s a charming, cutesy little scene in what is otherwise shaping up to be another one of Marvel’s serious, street-based-heroes shows.

While Daredevil has seen its eponymous hero struggle against forces much greater than the hero himself and the neighborhood he lives in, and Jessica Jones hyper-focused on something deeply personal to its eponymous hero, Luke Cage is fighting forces who are as human as you or I, but who have his old neighborhood in a strangle-hold. Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, portrayed by Mahershala Ali, has set himself up as something of a Kingpin in Harlem. Mariah Stokes, played by Alfre Woodard, goes by Black Mariah in the comics and appears to be some kind of elected official in the series itself. These forces align against Luke, and try to take down everything he cares about alongside him.

Fighting alongside Luke, or more accurately, supporting Luke while he does things only someone with titanium-hard skin can do, is Misty Knight (Simone Missick), a take-no-prisoners detective who ends up, in the comics at least, basically managing Luke Cage and Danny Rand (the next series in the lineup, Iron Fist) as they create Heroes For Hire; basically a bodyguard service with superheroes instead of ex-military.

The roles of all the characters above aren’t terribly clear yet. It’s a good bet that Misty won’t turn against Luke, as even the trailers have built her as an ally, and it’s an even better bet that the psychopath we see sporting a Wire-style Biggie Smalls crown and beating someone half to death isn’t going to be a friend to the man we know as a hero. Luke Cage may be trying to run under the radar, but the world he lives in; a world of gods, monsters, and superheroes, isn’t going to let a man with unbreakable skin and super strength fly under anything.

So come Friday, Sept. 30, Netflix is getting a new hero. And sweet Christmas, is it promising to be awesome. All 13 episodes drop at midnight.

Categories: Commentary