Disclaimer: NO Spoilers Ahead–Enjoy! 🙂
As I’m writing this, I am just after finishing watching the first episode of Netflix’s newest Marvel TV series Luke Cage, and to be honest, it’s taking my everything not to just go ahead and binge watch the whole thing before I go and write this. I wanted to look at the series a little more critically than I normally would, and am going to do a mini-breakdown of the first episode for you guys, and then in the future, I may do a series overview, but don’t hold me to it.
Let me start by giving you guys a little introspective as to where I am coming from in the world of Marvel’s Luke Cage. I started reading comics late in to the 90’s, late ’98-99, early 00’s. At the time I was collecting UK reprints of the US titles, before later on getting access to the US titles in their true form. My main reads where the X-Men and Wolverine mainly, with the odd Spider-Man and Deadpool thrown in for good measure and only the smallest dose of the Avengers. Surprisingly, I didn’t meet Luke Cage in the world of comics until a certain title called The New Avengers (2004). The world of the Avengers had just fallen apart at the hands of writer Brian Michael Bendis and a certain story called ‘Disassembled’, where basically the team was torn apart and it was left to Captain America and Iron Man
to assemble a team of New Avengers. Who was among one of those New Avengers than none-other than Luke Cage himself. This character was brand new to me, and to be honest, when I first saw him, I thought he was a brand new character, but alas that wasn’t to be the case as I later found out. What I did find strange was how come this guy, who was super strong and bulletproof wearing plain clothes, instead of a costume. Then I found out his original costume of yellow and blue–let’s not forget the tiara, and laughed my ass off before deciding he was better off without the costume! So my knowledge of Luke Cage isn’t 100%, I will admit. I did have to research some of the characters in the show to see their backgrounds and how they fit into the world of Luke Cage in the comics, but all in all it was fairly quick and easy to figure out who Luke Cage was, even if you aren’t a comic book reader.
Ok, but for real now, let’s get down to business. Have you watched this show yet? Why the heck not?!? Because even if you are not a Luke Cage fan, you will love this series for all the other Marvel references alone. The show, by the end of episode one, is already linked/tied-in with Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Marvel’s The Avengers movie. The Jessica Jones link is by default, as her show introduced us to the character and how/why he grieves for his former partner, a mention of Fisk (Wilson Fisk) tells us that this series takes place between series 1 and 2 of Daredevil (or possibly after), and then you have the stall with the guy selling footage of “The Incident” which references to the Battle of NY
where the aliens invaded New York in the The Avengers movie as the guy calls out descriptions of the members of the Avengers without actually mentioning any of their names. If that wasn’t enough for you, there are plenty other Easter-eggs to be found throughout, and I’m sure I didn’t even cop half of them. Remember those Hammer Industries goods that were involved in the shoot-out? I’m sure you’re probably wondering why does Hammer Industries sound so familiar? Well, if you’re a long time Marvel Studios fan, then you’ll probably recognise it from way back in Iron Man 2. Sam Rockwell portrays Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. This version is closer to Iron Man (Tony Stark) in age, and is an American defence contractor and rival. Hammer is present when Stark is summoned to Congress to discuss selling Iron Man’s armours. Yes, it’s the very same Hammer Industries. You’re welcome.
Let’s not forget about the other characters within the show. We’re
introduced to our villain Mr. Stokes, or Cotton Mouth, as well as Shades, a mysterious shadowy figure who I’ve heard can be described as the Littlefinger of Luke Cage’s world. We don’t know much about these guys or Diamond Back, another potential Big Bad for Luke, but all we do know is we should be very wary of them. But not all are bad, as we also get to meet the beautiful Misty Knight. Well known in the Marvel Comics universe for her detective skills, and a fellow member of the
Heroes for Hire alongside Luke Cage, it looks like she’s also being set up to star alongside Luke in the next upcoming Marvel/Netflix series The Defenders. Misty has been a long time supporting character in books such as the X-Men and Heroes for Hire and she shall potentially serve as a strong supporting character for Luke Cage, especially when they move forward to The Defenders together.
With powerful backstory behind him, a strong female supporting character as well as some potentially nasty villains, it looks like Marvel’s Luke Cage is set to be a very
strong and successful series, and not just another TV series thrown into the mix to help lead up to something great, which is known to be done with Marvel Studios’ movies. My first impression when I heard Luke Cage was getting his own series was that it wouldn’t do great and that they were only making it so that they could introduce story lines and characters that would help the development of the upcoming Defenders series, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Thankfully Marvel and Netflix have done their homework with this one, and it doesn’t seem like it will flop anytime soon. Once again, I will suggest that you give this show a go, even if you’re unfamiliar with the character/haven’t read the comics, because let’s face it, there’s a strong 80% out there that probably have never picked up a Luke Cage comic book.