Netflix has flooded the streaming streets with Luke Cage — the first time a Black character portrayed by an actual Black person is set to star in a title role in the Marvel/Disney universe. For those of us who periodically forsake the rest of our lives on weekends to binge watch things this is a big deal. For others who have never picked up a comic book or even heard of Luke Cage, this can still be a better way to spend your weekend in lieu of pressing “send” and setting of a cataclysmic chain of events that ends with a visit to either jail, doctor, or public defender’s office for reason that you can’t clearly explain to your parents without disappointing them.
So for the uninformed folks out there, here’s a quick rundown of who and what Luke Cage is about on the page and screen:
He was Marvel Comics answer to every bad Black movie idea from the 1970s
All of the elements of a Blaxploitation movie sans a bass-heavy funk soundtrack were thrown together. First, we throw in the time-honored Black-man-wrongfully-accused-of-some-shit-by-the-man trope. Then we add some a dash of the corrupt prison industrial complex experimenting on brothers for the sake of experimenting on brothers. Next, add in a ton of John Shaft and Mr. T from Troubleman levels of not taking any shit and a sense of righteousness and we’ve got ourselves a superhero.
He’s the prototypical "Big, bad, Black dude" that America fears and seems to categorize all Black men (and women) as
During Cage’s Anthony Bouvier-like unfortunate incarceration he was on the business end of some sketchy experiments that resulted in him becoming a super strong Black man with bullet proof skin — which sounds exactly like what Darren Wilson said about Michael Brown.
Sure, Cage dressed like a hyper-masculine Solid Gold Dancer back in the day, but now he just dresses like your cousin who works construction during the week and cuts hair at his house on Saturdays. Out of costume Peter Parker has set the standard for the “everyman” trope that has always been present in the various media based on the comic genre, but Cage wakes up in uniform and goes to sleep in uniform.
The series is putting a lot of Black actors to work, browning the shit out of your television
Mike Colter, who stars as Luke Cage, is reprising his role from Jessica Jones, which means a Black man not named Dwayne Johnson or Kevin Hart draws a paycheck. With Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Mahershala Ali, and Rosario Dawson rounding out the cast, the show is Black as fuck.
Every superhero needs a theme song
Every episode is named after a Gangstarr song. Cage has a soundtrack that Marvel has placed on Spotify that matches the street origins of the character both on the page and the screen. With artists ranging from EPMD to Big Daddy Kane not only do I know why the caged bird sings, but I know what I’ll be listening to during today’s cardio session.
He’s fought both gangsters and supervillains
Whether its super-powered pimps or Victor von Doom, Cage has always been depicted as a guy with the reputation of being a hero that will work for money. Ultimately, he’ll do the right thing for people who can’t defend themselves as a dude in his neighborhood or with the Avengers. Here’s hoping that Disney does the right thing and lets its television heroes get some screen time with the big guns in the movies. A Luke Cage/Black Panther collaboration is what America deserves. #BecauseSouthCarolina
Keith lives in Charleston, SC. He has a stupid hot wife, an accent, and a beard with an attitude of its own. He's the lone Oakland Raiders fan without a felony. If given time he can make a comic book or WWII analogy work in any situation. He writes once a year at Up Here on Cloud 9.