Marvel’s Luke Cage premiere excites audiences
By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor
On Sept. 30, fans of the Marvel superhero universe were introduced to the newest installment, “Luke Cage.” Fans were first introduced to Cage (Mike Colter) in the Netflix original series “Jessica Jones.” He was her boyfriend and helped her try to defeat the evil mastermind Killgrave. In his own spin off show, Cage has changed scenery and fled to Harlem, New York, where he is in hiding. Here he must battle his own enemies from his past and the crime bosses that are trying to run the city themselves in the shadows.
Another familiar face, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), from the series “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” appears to help Cage yet again. Temple is a nurse that has been removed from her post in New York general in Hell’s Kitchen and moves back home to live with her mom in Harlem. She first met Cage when Jessica Jones brought him under her care at the hospital with severe head trauma that would kill anyone without enhanced powers.
The first season of “Luke Cage” was impressive. It brought the classic action and drama that fans have seen in other superhero series such as these. Each episode presents a new battle to Cage, whether it is physical or run ins with the law, he never gets a chance to unwind. In addition to being wanted by police within Harlem for his actions as a “vigilante” he also is on the run from federal police in Georgia as well. He broke out of prison after an accident that gave him his superhuman strength and virtually indestructible and bullet proof capabilities. He was presumed dead in the explosion and had to change his name to remain in hiding before he could return to Georgia to prove himself innocent.
Along the way Cage faces two big foes, one being Cornell Stokes (Mahershala Ali), “Cotton mouth,” the gang leader of Harlem that runs most of the streets and wants to gain even more ground as well as Willis Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey), “Diamondback,” his childhood friend who also is revealed to be his half-brother. Diamondback also is heavily involved in the gang scenes and is not one to cross as he will kill whoever he needs to gain power. He has a deep hatred for Cage due to a childhood of being compared to him as the mistake child and feeling he was never good enough. Other players from the streets reveal themselves as enemies along the way and what they plan their role to be within the Harlem scene, but some may surprise viewers with how important they actually are and how they know Cage.
The series does not reveal much of his backstory until episode four, “Step in the Arena,” where viewers are introduced to a very different side of Cage. A side that is easily sympathized with as well as leaves more questions that unfortunately will not get answered this season. It is presumed that these questions will be addressed within the coming season from where the story ended. Viewers are left with the image of the hero turning himself into the federal police to face his charges within Georgia because he is tired of running and ready to clear his name.
Overall, this series is refreshing because it makes superheroes seem realistic and possible within the real world. Cage brings hope to Harlem, but still isn’t perfect. He brings clarity to the crazy world and brings a sort of hope that someday people really won’t have to worry. It also brings a new inspiration to see a hero that is African American and walks around in just a hoodie and jeans. He tries to be just an everyday guy that can be depended on as well.