Luke Cage (born Carl Lucas) was raised in the slums of Harlem, New York. He spent his childhood in a gang called The Rivals along with his friend Willis Stryker. Lucas engaged in many gang fights with The Diablos, a rival gang. He also committed petty crimes and worked for a crime lord named Sonny Caputo.
Eventually, Lucas was put through the juvenile justice system and realized the pain he was causing his family. He changed his ways and in his adulthood, he joined The NYPD ( New York City Police Department) as a police officer. Willis Stryker rose through the ranks of crime. Stryker's actions brought the anger of The Maggia, a New York crime syndicate.
The Maggia ordered a hit on Stryker and he was badly injured, only to be saved by Carl Lucas. Stryker's girlfriend (Reva Conners) grew fearful of his line of work and began to distance herself from him. She breaks up with him and finds comfort in Lucas. Stryker then believes that Lucas is the one responsible for the break up between him and Reva. In revenge, he planted drugs in Lucas' Harlem apartment and tipped off the cops. Lucas is then wrongly convicted and imprisoned.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin, Roy Thomas, George Tuska and John Romita.and first appeared in Hero for Hire issue 1 (1972).
Luke Cage was one of the first African American super heroes in mainstream comics among the likes of the Falcon and the African hero, the Black Panther. However, his creation was criticized by some for promoting racial stereotypes, as he was initially involved in gang crime. The character's public perception has began to change as times progress and has even, grown in popularity. But some criticism remains.
Major Story Arcs
Luke Cage Hero for Hire
While incarcerated, Lucas grows angry and hateful towards Willis. He engages in jail fights and makes numerous failed escape attempts. Lucas, is then transferred to a prison on the coast of Georgia. He faces racism from one of the guards named Quirt. Captain Rackham blames Lucas for being demoted when a new warden dislikes how the prison is run. Lucas then volunteers for an experiment which will shorten his sentence. Dr. Noah Burstein puts him in an electrical field with a chemical compound, leaving him unattended for a moment. Rackham tampers with the controls, causing an overload. Pushed way past its original intent, the resulting incident empowers Lucas with super strength and gives him nearly impervious skin. Lucas uses his power to escape from the prison and later makes his way back to New York City.
Lucas then adopted a costume and the name "Luke Cage" and became a Hero For Hire, working for anyone who can meet his price. He set up an office in Times Square in the Gem Theater, and is eventually proven innocent and exonerated from his crimes. Luke then continues his work as a super powered mercenary. He eventually runs into his old friend, Willis Stryker, now a Maggia agent who goes under the name "Diamond Back." Luke Cage and Diamond Back have an intense battle but Diamond Back is killed. Luke then went on to face many foes such as Gideon Mace, Chemistro, Discus, Stiletto, Shades and Comanche over the years.
Luke's Hero for Hire business continued to boom. He later did a job for Doctor Doom and after Doom failed to pay him, Luke became a close ally to The Fantastic Four. Cage was then hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find and capture Spider-Man. After getting to know Spider-Man, he returned Jameson his money. This led Jameson to spin bad publicity about Luke in his newspaper, the Daily Bugle. Cage later met his future wife Jessica Jones, also known by her hero name, Jewel. During one mission, Luke was tricked into stealing a suit of armor from Stark International. The two initially clashed, but then became friends after Luke tracked down the person who tricked him.
Later, Luke began calling himself "Power Man." He began to associate with the team know as The Defenders where he helped them face off against The Wrecking Crew. Power Man later got a spot on the Fantastic Four when Ben Grimm (The Thing) lost his abilities. Luke was later mind controlled by the Puppet Master and was used to fight his teammates on the Fantastic Four. Cage later went solo and fought more villains including Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton and Ray " Piranha" Jones.Power Man was later called to help out the Defenders against Plantman. He began to complain that working in their group was messing up his paying work.
He was then paid by Nighthawk, who gave Luke a steady paycheck for helping the Defenders. Luke remained on their team as a main member as a result. He later worked with Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, Nighthawk and Red Guardian. They defeated many threats such as Egghead and Headmen. Cage somehow felt out of place and later quit the team because he thought that he was not suited for teamwork.
Months later Cage's innocence in his drug charges was proven and John Bushmaster kidnapped Noah Burstein, then began to blackmail Cage for his safety. Cage was later ordered by John to kidnap Misty Knight, which led to Luke fighting Iron Fist (Danny Rand) from the city of K'un-Lun. Cage talked to Rand and explained the situation, Rand and Cage teamed up to defeat John Bushmaster and save his friends. Cage later on would work for Misty Knight in her detective agency.
Power Man and Iron Fist
Luke and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) would later establish a Heroes for Hire business together. They had an attorney named Jeryn Hogarth and the business was managed by Jennie Royce. Although the streetwise Cage and the unworldly Iron Fist seemed to have little in common, they soon became the best of friends. Cage and Iron Fist had great amounts of success with Heroes For Hire, then earned a reputation and fought a vast amount of criminals such as Sabretooth and the Constrictor. Luke and Iron Fist had their first mission where Iron Fist got radiation poisoning and Cage took him to K'un- Lun for treatment.
Cage had a relationship with Claire Temple, that did not last long. After this, Cage became involved with Harmony Young. Luke and Iron Fist worked with Spider-Man, Daredevil and Moon Knight, however they barely helped in the larger issues which The Avengers were in charge of. Their friendship made a turn for the worst when S.M.I.L.E. used Cage and Iron Fist to join Consolidated Conglomerates Inc. Luke would later be accused of murdering Iron Fist while he was actually being impersonated by a member of the H'ylthri race.
A New Start
Luke was now on the run and moved to Chicago and he was later cleared of the charges with help. Daniel Rand later appeared and wanted to start over with Luke Cage. Cage tried to locate his surviving family members with the aid of Dakota North, but his brother kept moving his father around. Luke's girlfriend, Harmony Young, was killed and Ghost Rider aided him in finding her killer. Luke's heart was no longer set on heroics and he later helped run The Gem Theater with his friend. Luke later rejoined Heroes For Hire for one last mission. Luke then went back to Heroics and joined a group called Marvel Knights, but mere days after he joined, the group disbanded following clashes with the forces of Tombstone.
The new Heroes for Hire
Luke later decided that a return to basics was in order, he re-established his Hero for Hire activities, enlisting the help of his old friend Iron Fist, along with a group of new heroes such as Hercules, the new White Tiger and the Black Knight. The group helped intervening in a war between a number of Crime Lords, Hammerhead and Tombstone.
Luke later has a one night stand with Jessica Jones. Cage had a crisis later when Jessica reacted to the fling, however, her and Luke made peace and later worked together when Matt Murdock was accused of being Daredevil. Luke later told Jessica his feelings towards her grew and she told him she was pregnant. Cage and Jones moved in together and Jessica later became a superhuman consultant for The Daily Bugle. J. Jonah Jameson still resented Luke though, for denying the job of capturing Spider-Man previously.
Shortly after, Luke is hired by Matt Murdock to accompany him to the Raft, a prison off of Ryker's Island to visit Robert Reynolds, the Sentry. They meet with Jessica Drew and with Foggy Nelson in tow, visit Reynolds. However, during the visit Electro stages a prison break. As Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man arrive to help maintain order during the ensuing riot, something unexpected happens. The New Avengers form. Following the riot, Captain America asks all the heroes to join, however Matt Murdock declines. Despite this, the team begins to pursue the cause of the riot, Electro. After which they go to the Savage Land to find the real reason for the breakout, Karl Lykos, better known as Sauron. After a run-in with Sauron, the Savage Land mutates, and S.H.I.E.L.D. troopers (Led by Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow), the New Avengers have some relative downtime in which they notice the continued presence of the Young Avengers.
The New Avengers (partially) were sent to deal with Wrecker of the Wrecking Crew, who had escaped during the Raft riot. Cage, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, and Spider-Man fight Wrecker and capture him, sending him back to jail. They have no time to rest though as they go confront the Sentry in his house about why nobody remembers him. With the help of the Fantastic 4, Namor, the Inhumans, S.H.I.E.L.D., Doctor Strange, and the X-Men, they defeat Robert's dark side, the Void. After this, the complete New Avengers help fight off a second Kree- Skrull War with the Young Avengers. The cause being Hulkling, a member of both races. Afterwards, the team goes to Japan to fight Hydra and the Hand.
Upon returning from Japan, the New Avengers officially announce their team roster and Jameson bad-mouths the team for it's members, including Cage as a convicted heroin dealer. The team ignores this and per Luke's request, visit Highland Park, Detroit on one of their off days, to help clean up a neighborhood of it's scum and villainy. The visit is cut short though, as the team has to run off to go fight the Collective, a battle that they win. During this time, two important things happen. The first is that Jessica has their baby, a girl that they name Danielle after Danny Rand, Luke's best friend. In addition, Luke and Jessica get married, which was officiated by Stan Lee. However, the bliss was not to last, as the Senate was beginning to have talks about the Super Human Registration Act.
Luke would later oppose the Super Human Registration Act, along with Captain America and the Anti-Registration forces. Luke felt the act was like slavery and fought alongside Iron Fist, Captain America and the rest of the Secret Avengers until Captain America gave himself to the government and ended the Civil War. Luke had sent Jessica and Danielle to Canada where they would be safe from the new law. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Gabe Jones comes to arrest Cage and Luke fights his way through the S.H.I.E.L.D. forces were he and would join Captain America's Secret Avengers .
Hidden Heroes and Secret Invasion
After Captain America was assassinated, Jessica returned with the baby. Luke Cage and Spider-Man got together with a group of unregistered heroes, many of which had been on the anti-registration side. From here the continued The New Avengers. The team, at this point, included Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman (she was secretly the Skrull Queen) and Doctor Strange. There base was Doctor Strange's Sanctum. Cage's Avengers and the Mighty Avengers fought many times in the ensuing months over registration. Luke often had trouble trusting Clint Barton due to his past of criminal activities, however Cage was later proved wrong when Clint Barton had proved himself by taking out a group of ninjas single handed.
The Avengers would later rescue Echo in Japan and found out that Elektra was a Skrull impostor. Cage became very worried about the Skrulls' powers to copy a person. Luke also had a theory there were more Skrulls on Earth. Many of the Avengers were not sure they could trust anyone and the team was betrayed by Spider- Woman, as it was The Skrull Queen.
Later The Sanctum would be raided by The Hood and his gang. Cage moved to a new location with the team and thought Jessica had abandoned him with the child. Luke and his wife, Jessica, got into an argument and had many disagreements. Luke sent the New Avengers to check out a Skrull Ship crashing landing in The Savage Land. Luke ripped open the ship and noticed many versions of heroes. The Avengers later fought The Skrulls in Central Park. Jessica helped in the effort to fight and admitted Luke was right about the Skrulls. Jarvis Skrull took Danielle Cage and vanished leaving Jessica and Luke upset.
After the intense battle ended, James Barnes (Captain America), called a meeting with The New Avengers at his home and offered them to use his house as a base for their operations, due to the Sanctum's previous destruction. Luke, Jessica and Ms Marvel arrived at Bucky's home. The Fantastic Four and Iron Fist are looking around the city for Jarvis Skrull seeing as Danielle is still missing. They raid various villain's bases such as A.I.M., HYDRA, Electro and The Red Skull. Looking for intel on the missing baby, they later found a Skrull in a bar dressed as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and he was later shot by another agent. Jessica felt hopeless and thought Danielle was going to get killed by Jarvis Skrull. Luke got desperate and knew he was running out of options and then asked Norman Osborn to aid in the search for their baby. Luke promise d Norman he'd do anything Norman asked for. Norman later helped Luke get the baby back and Luke Cage reneged on his offer to do anything for Osborn and the New Avengers.
Osborn later tries to get some revenge on Luke and then brainwashes Iron Fist and tell him to kill Cage. Due to Luke and Danny Rand's relationship, Luke is easily able to break the brainwashing and they escape. The New Avengers are hit by the reverse engineered power drainer from Chemistro. Luke had heard pain and turns himself into Osborn for help. Though he is later rescued by the New Avengers, he is taken to a secret location and it is revealed that Luke has a tracker in his heart. Dr Strange is able to get it out and puts it in Norman Osborn's home. Osborn then sent a missile to the tracker and his house got destroyed.
Luke Cage helps Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, along with Bucky in fighting Living Laser, Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors (The remaining remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to fight off the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. Steve Rogers g ave an inspiring speech to the New Avengers, Young Avengers and Secret Warriors. He says that they are going to take back this country and put Norman's Reign to an end. Captain America and Luke Cage along with New Avengers, Young Avengers and Secret Warriors go to Asgard to help Thor and Maria Hill in the attack that Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers along with The Thunderbolt's had made on Asgard. Osborn had ordered his troops to fight harder until he realized The Void was out of control he was turning into a demonic form. Luke later helped the heroes defeat The Void and end Siege Of Asgard.
The Heroic Age
After the defeat of Norman Osborn, Steve Rogers is appointed the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D. As a result, Steve appoints Luke as the new head of the Thunderbolts, given his past experience in jail. Steve Rogers said that if somebody who was unjustly put in jail can stay the straight, narrow and become an Avenger, that person surely can have insights into helping others with dark pasts become the heroes they can be. After reviewing his list of options, Luke chooses Juggernaut, Moonstone, Ghost, Crossbones, Songbird, and Man-thing. Luke joined the Thunderbolts on a number of occasions, often as their team leader, but other things were in store for Luke, too. He was soon brought back into the Avengers fault, while still remaining his spot as team leader of the Thunderbolts.
Reforming the Avengers
When Captain America asks Cage to rejoin the Avengers Cage and several of the Avengers who opposed the Super-Human Registration Act felt as if opposing the registration act was pointless if they end up working for the government anyway. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark end up selling the mansion (which was recently renovated) to Luke Cage for a dollar, allowing him freedom to recruit his own Avengers team and operate without directly taking orders from Rogers, though Rogers insists on having Victoria Hand join them as a liaison. While inviting his team over for a discussion, Cage and his team are forced to assist Doctor Strange ,Daimon Hellstorm, and Brother Voodoo in thwarting an attempt by Agamotto - the original owner of the Eye of Agamotto - to destroy existence, culminating in the apparent death of Brother Voodoo. Although initially against the idea of being paid for being on the team as it reminds him of the reasons they opposed the Act in the first place, Cage is convinced to accept the offer.
When it comes to the attention of the other heroes that Daredevil has set up his "Shadowland" within Hell's Kitchen, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor accept it because they believe his rule will stabilize the empty power vacuum that resides after the events of Siege. However, they also state that once the heroes are truly back on their feet, his reign would have to end and because of certain aspects that have changed about his personality and methods, they send Luke and Iron Fist to tell him how things are going to work out.
When the pair arrives at Daredevil's stronghold they find him and his hand minions engaged in a heated battle with his arch-nemesis Bullseye. Luke and Iron Fist offer to back up Daredevil, but he turns them away because they will not swear their full allegiance to The Hand. Fearing that their friend's new direction will end terribly, they try to shut down the fight, but instead are forced to look on in terror as Daredevil takes matters into his own hands and brutally murders Bullseye.
Avengers vs. X-Men: Retirement
During the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Luke was imprisoned in Utopia but managed to escape. After returning to his normal duties, he meets with Daredevil and reveals that he could potentially disband the New Avengers, to be with his family. After the Avengers captured her, Luke and Daredevil managed protect Emma Frost from the Purifiers. Afterwards, Cage disbanded the team and went on to retire from heroics to be with his family.
During the events of Infinity, the Avengers left earth to confront and prevent the Builders from destroying all life in the galaxy. While the Avengers were off-planet, the mad titan Thanos decided to invade Earth. Prior to Thanos' invasion, Luke decided to get back into the Heroes for Hire business. He offered internships to Avengers Academy graduates, Ava Ayala and Victor Alvarez.
After preventing Parnival Plunder from stealing robot parts, Luke and his interns have a run-in with the "Superior" Spider-Man. This "superior" Spider-Man is really Doctor Octopus with his mind implanted into Peter Parker's body (readers commonly refer to him as "SpOck"). During the encounter, SpOck labeled Luke and his interns "hired thugs", which led to an argument with Victor Alvarez. The argument was interrupted by Ava, who agreed with SpOck and decided to resign from the internship, stating that as heroes, they all should be doing more.
Luke respected her decision and allowed her to leave. He then attempted to calm Victor down, who was still fuming from SpOck's comments, by treating him to coffee. Luke agreed with Victor that SpOck's comments were inappropriate. He also agreed with Ava's comments about "doing more." He told Victor about his retirement from the Avengers (to take care of his daughter) and how since doing so, he hasn't done much to make the world a better place for her to grow up in. Victor misinterpreted this as Luke saying he no longer wants to be in the Hero for Hire business and stormed out of the restaurant.
Later, the streets of Manhattan are flooded with demons led by Thanos' general Proxima Midnight. Luke immediately began to combat the demons alongside several other heroes who were in Manhattan at the time. SpOck, Monica Rambeau and "Spider Hero" (Blade), all joined Luke to fend off the demons. Luke also combats Proxima for a while and at one point, gained the upper hand, but was ultimately put down by the powerful general. During the battle, his resilience and determination to win angered Proxima, and when she was unable to kill him (due to his unbreakable skin) Thanos ordered her to return to base. Another one of Thanos' generals, Ebony Maw, joined the fight and used his special abilities to manipulate an infected Dr. Strange into summoning Shuma-Gorath! However, the multidimensional demon was not at its full strength. When the Blue Marvel, Victor, and Ava later arrived in Manhattan to help clear up the remaining demons, they joined Monica Rambeau and combined their abilities to send Gorath back to it's own dimension. During the battle, Victor dubbed them the "Mighty Avengers". The team remained together until the events of Secret Wars, when an incursion seemingly destroyed the Marvel Universe, but was actually reshaped and luckily returned to normal soon.
The Boys are Back
Luke and his buddy Danny get in over their head when they do a favor for their mutual friend, Jennie Royce, upon her release from prison. She tells them that Tombstone came into possession of her grandmother’s heirloom necklace, and she wants them to get it back. It is actually the magical Supersoul Stone, and Tombstone won it fair and square. So, he sics all the neighborhood goons on them.
To get Tombstone off their case, they need to hunt down Jennie, who took the stone and ran. She teamed up with Black Mariah and was getting corrupted by the stone. Now, Jennie is targeting Tombstone, and Tombstone would rather hire Danny and Luke for protection rather than kill them.
Based on the know-how of Senor Magico, Danny and Luke needed to do more than fight demonic Jennie. They needed to reach her on an emotional level, which they accomplish with the help of her new friend Black Mariah
In the midst of the Avengers’ second civil war over a new precognitive inhuman, Ulysses, Danny and Luke get hired by some retired ex-cons they used to tangle with because they were being hunted by a gang called Preemptive Strike. That gang followed the ex-cons to Danny’s place where a fight broke out. When the cops showed up, Danny was arrested with half of the ex-cons, while Luke got away with the other half.
Desperate, Luke decided to stage a jailbreak, but Ulysses saw the whole thing. When he reported it to Captain Marvel, she decided her team was going to stop them. Danvers’ Avengers confronted Luke Cage and his makeshift team outside of Rykers’ eventually spilling into the prison causing the breakout. Danny was able to get in on the fight, but cooler heads eventually prevail. Danny and Luke walk away but not without giving Carol an earful about her preemptive actions.
The New Pride
It turned out Preemptive Strike was using a supernatural software that could use facial recognition to create criminal records for innocent people. Danny with Luke makes it their top priority, but Alex Wilder, back from Hell, steals the tablet with the software before they can do anything about it. Alex is using it to create a new criminal network, the New Pride, by manipulating people with trumped up charges he creates. Jennie gets roped into his demonic drug that causes possession but hires Danny and Luke to help her when she gets cold feet. They find themselves in the middle of a gang war between The New Pride and former members of the Fang Gang they were trying to push out. Ultimately, the demon they were deriving the drug from attacks Alex, freeing everyone from his manipulation. Discouraged, Danny thinks about quitting until all the ex-cons they helped show up to pitch in cleaning up the neighborhood
With Diamondback (Willis Stryker) inexplicably back from the dead and with superpowers, he targets Luke and his friends: Danny Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil. They decide to work together to flush Stryker out and defend their city. Unfortunately, that means clashing with The Punisher (gunning for Stryker), avoiding Black Cat’s gang (dealing with Stryker), and many trips to Night Nurse’s clinic.
They are finally able to track him down when he shoots Black Cat causing a “crazy pants gang war” (Jessica Jones’ words). With their combined strengths, they are able to beat Stryker and get him arrested. Luke and his new team still have the gang war to contend with, mixing it up with Elektra, Deadpool, The Punisher (again), and Stryker (still). Luckily, with help from a bunch of allies, they take down an amped-up Stryker.
Danny Rand's Best Friend
Luke has been settling into the quiet life with Jess and his daughter, but his best bud, Danny, can't stay out of trouble. Luke has had to come to his rescue on multiple occasions.
Since the Defenders broke up, the first big problem Danny needed help with was a supernatural fungus that escaped K'u-Lun through subterranean tunnels to New York. Danny called in a bunch of heavy hitters including Luke to fight off the zombie-like horde, while Moon Knight connects to the hive mind and drives it crazy.
Unfortunately, later, Moon Knight turns on his superhero friends when Khonshu gives him special ankhs to steal the oldest mantles on Earth, including the Iron Fist, to prepare for a fight against Mephisto. When the Avengers convinced Moon Knight to give up Khonshu's crusade, the final mantle yet to be activated, the Phoenix Force, landed on an island next to Avengers Mountain. Luke volunteered with Danny to watch over the island while members of the Avengers were kidnapped by the Phoenix to fight in a tournament for the honor of being its new host.
Luke even answered the call when the dragons of the Heavenly Cities were being targeted by Brenda Swanson. Luke would fight alongside the Immortal Weapons as if the Heavenly Cities were his own home.
Despite having settled into a quiet, non-superhero lifestyle with Jessica and their daughter, Kingpin still targeted them with his new Thunderbolts when he waged war against all of New York City's superheroes. Stark's plan was to run for mayor against Kingpin, but the superheroes collectively believed that Cage was a better candidate, not only for his history of never wearing a mask, but also due to his ability to inspire.
When crime drones were released, it made it difficult for Luke and the Avengers to take on the Thunderbolts. However, when Fisk using the Purple Man powers to remind him of Daredevil's identity, he started acting erratically. He used the Purple Man influence to start a riot to keep them busy. Armed with Purple Man cancelling gadgets, Luke and the Avengers did their best to keep the peace.
When Joseph, the last of the Purple Children to be detained, was being overwhelmed by Purple Man, Luke Cage gave up his gadget to protect Joe. Killgrave instead tried to control Luke to kill Joe, however, Luke was able to fight it long enough to give Joe the pep talk he needed to fight back against his father, ending the riot.
With Fisk arrested thanks to Daredevil, Luke was now running unopposed. He won the office of mayor, but the anti-vigilante law stayed in place. It was controversial political ground, so instead he decided to use it to his advantage and rebrand the Thunderbolts his own way. Meanwhile, Joe, the only purple child to retain his powers, joined his family.
After Luke Cage won the mayor's office, the Thunderbolt soldiers were still on the streets. The anti-vigilante law was still in effect and proved controversial politically to repeal. Luke Cage was stuck with it. Rather than let the Thunderbolts continue to run rampant, he re-branded them as an official superhero team with Hawkeye returning to leadership duties. Hawkeye was unable to choose his own team and was instead saddled with a team created by a marketing algorithm.
- Ms. America
- Power Man (Alvarez)
- Gutsen Glory
- and Spectrum, placed on the team by Luke Cage
Unfortunately, the team is not the biggest success. Despite the budget they were spending, there was not a significant drop in crime. This is mostly thanks to Nightmare secretly targeting the team with psychic attacks, especially Ms. America, who he has been following since her time as a West Coast Avenger. Luckily, The Thunderbolts were able to focus as a team and hit him with everything they got.
Despite the team's failure in the public eye, Luke Cage kept them around probationally.
The effects of the Anti-Vigilante Law started to turn for New York City. Luke saw the crime statistics go up as costumed criminals under orders from various crime lords increased their frequency and damage. With a repeal of the law still out of arm's reach, Luke decides to break it instead. He gets himself a mask and costume to hide his identity and take his fight to the streets. By his side is his new team: Jessica Jones, Danny Rand, Cloak, and Dagger.
Together, they shut down Alistair Smythe's new lab where he was manufacturing state-of-the-art Spider-Slayer androids. They were attacking cops across the city, and the cops were severely outgunned. After blowing up his lab, Smythe, who had discerned Luke's real identity, sent his sentinel sized Spider-Slayers to city hall. With a mech-upgrade from Danny Rand, Luke took them all on, before rejoining the fight with Spider-Man.
- Height: 6'6"
- Weight: 425 lbs
- Eye Color: Brown
- Hair Color: Black
- Citizenship: American
- Place of Birth: Harlem, New York City, NY
- Marital Status: Married
- Occupation: Adventurer, security for hire; formerly bar owner, theater owner, criminal
- Known Relatives: James Lucas Sr (father), Esther Lucas (mother, deceased), James Lucas Jr/Coldfire (brother), Jessica Jones (wife), Danielle Cage (daughter), Joe (foster son)
Powers and Abilities
As a result of volunteering for a chemical experiment involving AVX, Luke Cage possesses formidable superhuman capabilities. His physical attributes have all been enhanced to much higher levels of human capacity. Cage possesses superhuman strength which allows him to lift up to 25 tons. He has considerable stamina which allows him to perform strenuous work without taxing himself for extended periods of time. Most notably, Cage possesses nigh impenetrable skin, which protects him from high caliber bullets, knife wounds, and powerful explosions. His durability has greatly superseded some super humans.
However, Luke's durability does not extend beyond his skin layer, as his internal body parts are not nearly as well protected. Thus, as he may be all but invulnerable externally, his interiors can still be damaged if he is attacked with enough force.
Luke Cage is a skilled brawler and street fighter. He also possesses formidable leadership qualities.
On Earth X, most of humanity is mutated by airborne terrigen mists, causing the world to fall into chaos and anarchy. Luke Cage, whose history reflects his Earth-616 history, believes the world needs a sense of law and order. As such, he joins the New York Police Department and attempts to recruit other heroes to join, including a version of Peter Parker who had retired from being Spider-Man.
He would eventually join a team called The Law, led by Marshall Muldoon. Along with other superhuman deputies, like Spider-Man, Angel, and Iceman, they protected the “Human Torch,” a device created to burn the terrigen mists out of the air.
Ultimate Power Man
In the Ultimate Universe, Power Man was a member of The Defenders, wannabe Ultimates with no superpowers who had convinced Hank Pym to join them. They made fools of themselves when they were beaten up by some random thieves and Hank Pym was forced to go Giant Man without a big enough costume to save them.
Soon after, these Defenders fell off the grid and showed up as Class 10 Superheroes. Power Man had bulletproof steel skin. They were being manipulated by Loki, who made a Faustian deal with them for their powers if they helped him get vengeance on his brother, Thor, by taking on his team.
House of M
Like the Earth-616 original, Luke was a Harlem native who turned to crime out of desperation. He was arrested for a murder he did not commit and sent to jail. When Magneto started the Mutant-Human War, the US government realized it would need more than Sentinels to take on the mutant forces. They started super soldier experiments on prisoners, including Luke.
After the war, he returned to New York City and grew his criminal enterprise in the predominantly human Sapien Town neighborhood. He would eventually cross paths with costumed vigilantes like Hawkeye, Iron Fist, and Moon Knight. With his ranks bolstered, they became a human resistance against the bigoted mutants.
That is until Layla Miller showed up and revealed the truth to Luke that this life was due to a reality warping spell of Scarlet Witch to make mutants the predominant species on the planet.
On Earth-8441, Luke Cage is the President of the United States.
On Earth-90124, most of Earth-616’s most famous heroes were active during Prohibition. Luke Cage, who became a local Harlem legend thanks to his unbreakable skin, was finally getting out of Ryker’s after a 10 year stint. He returned home to find his childhood friend, Willis Stryker, is now the Godfather of Harlem. He wants Luke Cage on his crew and under his thumb. However, wealthy socialite, Randall Banticoff, offered Luke a job. Randall’s wife was killed in a Harlem back alley, and Randall needed someone with local knowledge to investigate it for him.
As he investigates, Luke finds that he is being framed for the murderer and needs to find out by who and for what purpose.
Marvel Super Hero Squad
Luke Cage appears in the Marvel Super Hero Squad episode "A Brat Walks Among Us" voiced by Lil' JJ. He is a member of Heroes for Hire alongside Iron Fist and Misty Knight. He also has a cameo appearance in the very first episode of the same series "And Lo... A Pilot Shall Come!".
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Luke Cage appears in this series as a recurring character in the second season of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He and Iron Fist make their debut when they are hired by Hank Pym to find out who stole his Ant-Man suit in the episode "To Steal an Ant-Man". They both reappear in "New Avengers", where they appear as part of the titular team of substitute heroes and battle Kang the Conqueror.
Cage makes his final appearance in "Avengers Assemble", where he appears as part of a huge team of Avengers tasked with stopping Galactus. He and Black Widow battle Stardust, and are rescued by the Falcon. Luke was voiced by Christopher B. Duncan.
Luke appears as one of the lead characters in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series voiced by Ogie Banks. Like Iron Fist, he is a teenager and a classmate of Peter Parker. His costume is heavily based off that of the Victor Alvarez version of Power Man. Together, with Spider-Man and the others they represent a new generation of heroes and potential Avenger candidates being trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. He is confident in his own abilities, but he is not arrogant. He hates bullies and bickering.
Due to his younger age in this adaptation, his powers came from a serum developed by his scientist parents rather than a prison experiment. Luke Cage also happens to be his birth name rather than his second chance alias, with his father being renamed Walter Cage instead of James Lucas.
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
Luke Cage appears in the Japanese anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced Ryōkan Koyanagi. He is one of the heroes partnered with a young boy named Edward.
Mike Colter portrays Luke Cage in Jessica Jones, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the show, he is introduced as the mysterious owner of a bar in Hell's Kitchen, who is revealed to have superhuman abilities. His past is kept vague, though he indicates that his powers are the result of some sort of experimentation, and it is implied that he may be a fugitive from the law. He is also a widower, as his wife, Reva, was apparently killed in a bus accident a year prior to the start of the series.
He begins a romantic relationship with Jessica Jones after finding a kindred spirit in her, though she is conflicted since she knows the truth about what happened to his wife. After Luke nearly kills the bus driver he believes responsible for the accident, Jessica is forced to reveal that she actually killed Reva while under the control of Kilgrave. This news causes their relationship to end, with Luke telling Jessica that she's a piece of shit for deceiving him.
He returns in the final two episodes of the series, where he tries to help Jessica track down Kilgrave. Though it initially seems like he has forgiven her, it later turns out that he was actually under Kilgrave's control the entire time. A brutal fight ensues, and Jessica manages to save her own life after knocking out Luke with a shotgun blast to the face. He is later revived by Claire Temple, and goes back on the run again without saying goodbye to Jessica.
Mike Colter reprises his role in the Luke Cage solo series. The show picks up sometime after the finale of Jessica Jones, with Luke laying low by working at a barber shop in Harlem. Luke has befriended Pops, the shop's owner, with the old man encouraging Luke to use his powers for good. When a gunman working for Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes accidentally kills Pops, Luke sets out to free the neighborhood from Stokes' corrupt influence.
As the show progresses, more of Luke's backstory is revealed. Like in the comics, Luke is shown to have been jailed for a crime he didn't commit. While in jail, he met and fell in love with Reva, and she ultimately had him subjected to genetic experiments to save his life after a brutal beating.
Luke's past continues to haunt him when Wills "Diamondback" Stryker, his former childhood friend (and secretly his half-brother) arrives to take revenge on him. Though Luke ultimately defeats Diamondback, he is sent back to prison after his identity is publicly revealed.
Mike Colter reprises his role in The Defenders, between the first and second season of his solo series.
When Cage's rivals Shades and Mariah went underground due to the emergence of a new player, referred to as White Hat, Luke starts shaking tress. Eventually, he crosses paths with Danny Rand and gets into a fight. After describing Danny to Claire, she recognizes his Iron Fist and arranges a meeting.
After a fight with The Hand at Midland Circle, Cage and Danny end up falling in with Jessica Jones and Daredevil, who start working together to stop The Hand's takeover of the city
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, released in 2006, Luke Cage appears as a playable character. He is specifically a melee character, and features chain attacks. The game also gives him super strength. His alternate costumes are his appearance in New Avengers, his classic Heroes For Hire appearance, a street costume, and a modern wear costume.
Spider Man: Web Of Shadows
In Spider Man Web Of Shadows, Luke Cage makes an appearance as an NPC in the game. He helps assist the player. In some different variations of the game, the player may fight Luke Cage depending on their actions.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, released in 2009, Luke Cage appears as a playable character. The player can play and unlock Luke Cage if they choose to pick the Anti-Reg side in the story. His unlockable costume is his attire he wore during the events of the Secret War.
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3
In the fighting game, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Luke Cage makes a cameo in Iron Fist's ending in the game. He is seen standing next to Iron Fist, wearing a white tank top and sunglasses.
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online
In the MMO, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, Luke Cage is a playable character. He is a melee style fighting character. He is seen wearing a tan tee shirt, and sunglasses.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
In the game, Marvel Avengers Alliance, Luke Cage appears as a playable character. A player can purchase him as a playable character for 23 command points.
Luke Cage appears as an NPC in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes. He is voiced by Ogie Banks.
In the MMORPG Marvel Heroes, Luke Cage appears as a playable character. He is included in the Ultimate Founders Pack, or a player will be able to purchase him in game. He cn also be found as in game loot.
Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Lego Marvel's Avengers and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
Luke Cage is a playable character in multiple mobile app games. He is available in Marvel: Contest of Champions, Marvel Future Fight and Marvel Strike Force.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Luke Cage is a playable character in the third Ultimate Alliance game, voiced by James C. Mathis III.
- Toy Biz released a figure of Luke Cage in his classic Power Man costume for the Mojo Build-a-Figure Marvel Legends wave.
- Bowen Designs released a statue of Luke Cage in his classic Power Man costume. They later released a variant showing him in his modern New Avengers clothing.
- Eaglemoss Publications released a Luke Cage statue.
- Hasbro released two Luke Cage figure for the Marvel Universe line. One was Classic Luke Cage in his Power Man outfit and is a part of Marvel's Greatest Battles Comic Packs that came with Iron Fist figure. Another one was Luke Cage in his more modern outfit.
- Hasbro released a Luke Cage figure in his Thunderbolts outfit as part of an SDCC 2013 exclusive Marvel Legends Thunderbolts wave.
- A retooled version of the Thunderbolts figure was later released as an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends box set.
- Diamond Collectibles released multiple Minimates of Luke Cage.
- Diamond Collectibles released a PVC statue of Luke Cage based on his appearance in the live-action Netflix series.
- Kotobukiya released a Luke Cage statue.
- Funko produced several Luke Cage bobbleheads for the Pop! line.
- A Luke Cage figure based on his Netflix incarnation was later released as part of an exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack with Claire Temple. An alternate figure was part of the SDCC Defenders box set.