Luke Cage aka Power Man, was created by Archie Goodwin, George Tuska, Roy Thomas, and John Romita Sr., and was published under Marvel Comics. He first appeared on Hero for Hire # 1 released in June 1972. Interestingly, Luke Cage was created during the height of the blaxploitation genre.
In the comic series, He was an ex-convict that was imprisoned for an offense he did not commit. While in jail, he achieved the bulletproof skin and power of superhuman strength on a failed prison experiment. Once released, Cage becomes a hero for hire and has 409 solos on comics with his own name as the title. In comic issue #50, Cage was teamed up with a superhero named, Iron Fist. Moreover, in the subsequent series, Cage married Jessica Jones, a superhero and private investigator, with whom he has a daughter.
Luke Cage: The Power Man
Carl Lucas, also known as Luke Cage, was born and brought up in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He fights against gangs and commits small crimes with his friend Willis Stryker. During his childhood, Lucas dreams of becoming a major New York racketeer. However, after realizing that his actions hurt his family, Lucas tried to make himself better by seeking legitimate employment. Stryker, meanwhile, is rising in criminal ranks, though the two remain friends.
Subsequently, Stryker’s girlfriend breaks up with Stryker in fear of his criminal activities. Reva Connors, Stryker’s girlfriend, found solace with Lucas. Because of this, Stryker was convinced that Lucas is to blame for the breakup. He then planted heroin in Lucas’s apartment, and tip the police. Following the incident, Lucas was detained and sent to prison, where there he had little contact with his family. In that period, Reva is murdered by members of Maggia, whose drugs were stolen by Stryker to frame Lucas.
Lucas, consumed by rage over Stryker’s betrayal, was engaged in frequent brawls and escape attempts. Consequently, he was eventually transferred to Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia. In there, he became the favorite target of the racist correctional officer, Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham, whose sadistic brutality led to a demotion that he blamed on Lucas. Following the event, a research scientist named Dr. Noah Burstein recruited Lucas as a volunteer for a cell regeneration experiment. This experiment was based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process that Burstein had previously used to empower Warhawk.
Burstein immersed Lucas into an electrical field, operated by an organic chemical compound and then leaves him unattended. Unbeknownst to Burstein, Rackham changes the controls of the experiment in the hope of killing Lucas. The experimentation was then accelerated beyond the intended limits, leading to over human strength and durability throughout Lucas’ body. With this great power, Lucas flees Seagate. He returned to New York, where an opportunity drives him to take advantage of his new powers.Adopting the alias Luke Cage, he begins a career as a hero for hire, supporting anyone who can reach his costs. Cage soon set up an office above the Gem Theater of Times Square, where he joined a film student named DW. Griffith. Burstein also relocates to New York and opens a doctor’s office with help from Dr. Claire Temple. Although Cage is eager to fight criminals, he soon realized that New York isn’t the place to do so.
While Cage does not share much with most New York superheroes, an attempt to collect a fee from renegade doctor Doom leads Cage to become a Fantastic Four’s friend. Cage also enters into a friendship with Jessica Jones, a young woman who also had her own superhuman strength. On a mission to hunt Orville Smythe, Cage takes the name of Power Man.
Shortly thereafter, Luke Cage starts to associate with the super-team, Defenders, together with the Wrecking Crew and the Serpent Sons. With Cage being usually called to help the Defenders, he begins to complain that his involvement with the group has been interfering with his paying work. Consequently, Nighthawk, a wealthy member of the Defender, solves this problem by giving Cage a salary every time he had an activity with the Defenders. After that, Power Man has been a key member of the Defenders for some time.Together they combat minor threats, as well as major threats, such as Egghead’s Emissaries of Evil, Headmen, Nebulon, and Red Rajah. However, Cage felt out of place in the Defenders’ often weird exploits, so he eventually resigned.
Superhuman Abilities and Power
Luke Cage has superhuman strength, and a dense skin and muscle tissue, making him resistant to any physical injury. The cellular regeneration experiment conducted in the prison had strengthened various tissues of Cage’s body. With this, his skin can withstand high-class bullets, puncture damage, corrosive damage, biological attacks, and extreme temperatures without damage. This experiment also provided him with great strength, durability, and accelerated recovery from an injury.
Before receiving superhuman abilities, Luke Cage was an exceptional street combatant and an athlete. Under Iron Fist’s instruction, he had also studied Martial Arts and learned how to use his strength to increase his effectiveness in fighting stronger opponents.