I just got done watching the Netflix series Luke Cage. I want to say that this is a fracking great show! Usually for a new series, it takes a couple of episodes generally to bond with new characters but the glory of this Netflix show is that Luke Cage has already been introduced in the Jessica Jones series.
Before anything can be said, one of the most important aspects of Luke Cage is that he is an original Marvel Comics character that was born and raised in Harlem, NY. In the comics he is a very powerful black superhero both physically and in character. He was introduced in 1972 and he held his own title and appeared in many other titles since then. His character has evolved but he and his stories are still a representation to be what black society must endure today with aspects like discrimination and hate. It is very gratifying to see a black superhero who can not only defend himself from the harms that are inflicted on him and the people of his community but do so in a way that inspires the viewer to hope for change for the better. This series shows what is going on in the world, in a sci-fi superhero way, but is still a product of what black Americans have to go through daily. Cheo Hodari Coker, series writer said it best at San Diego Comic Con this year- “When I think about what is going on in the world right now, the world is ready for a bulletproof black man.”
This series focuses on Luke Cage after he leaves Jessica Jone’s series and how he is reconnecting to his home neighborhood in Harlem. He does not want to be a hero at first. Definitely a very humanize person. If you are unaware of this, Luke us an enhanced being with unbreakable skin and super strength. He attained these powers through an experiment that originally was just suppose to him him. This happened while he was in prison for a crime that he was framed for by his half brother Diamondback, also known as Willis Stryker. More on that later.
The main character is Mike Colter as Luke Cage and his performance is spot on. I was impressed with the episodes he appeared in Jessica Jones and even more so now with him having the spotlight shined solely on him. Originally in the comic book, he his character was based in the 70s and had a much different look. The comic of today reflects a much more modern Luke and Colter brought in his own take to the character. He demonstrated and literally made me cry at a speech he makes in one of the later episodes. He is a black superhero who lives in Harlem and he is incredible. I am quite happy that the series ends on a not that inspires hope and lets the viewer know that this is not the end. There is so much more to come from this character.
The supporting cast includes Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes played by Mahershala Ali. He appears to be the main villain at first. His cousin is Mariah Dillard played by the wonderful Alfre Woodard. She is a councilwoman and is known in the comics as Black Mariah. Vastly different from her comic counterpart, but still played in her own way on this series. We also have one of Cage’s ally’s Misty Knight played by Simone Missick. And I will just say it. She steals the show at times. I love her character. She plays Misty so awesomely that I want her to have her own Netflix series. Seriously, she can do it. There were times that I wanted to see more of her than of Luke. For me to want to see a female character over a hot guy like Colter, that says a lot. She appears very similar to her comic book counterpart at the end of the series. I totally squeed at that!
Can we appreciate the misdirection of the super villains in this show? Cottonmouth appears to be the big bad and I was totally thinking that he would be the one developing super powers himself, similar to the comics. But things changed. It changed with the shifting of power to Cottonmouth’s cousin Mariah and also to his rival Diamondback (Cage’s half brother Willis Stryker) played by Erik LaRay Harvey. The Shades character played by Theo Rossi was also a huge component to this and was not who I was expecting at all. I just assumed his character was going to be a thug but his tactics placed him on top and created a unusual relationship with Mariah. That is great writing. I love it when a series completely takes the viewer by surprise and shifts power to different characters.
The origin story that was given not only to Luke Cage, but to the villains as relatable characters was believable and well written. It was thorough and I was very much interested in seeing Cottonmouth and Mariah’s family dynamics. It felt legitimate on their family and how their experiences shaped their futures.
Overall, the series was totally worth it. I cannot wait to see Luke Cage team up with the other Netflix Marvel characters of Daredevil, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones in the Defender series. Even more so, I cannot wait to see Luke and Iron Fist join forces for their own Heroes for Hire series. The seeds were definitely planted in this show. It will happen. I will see a bromantic relationship between them damnit. It must happen. I will leave it on that note, but definitely check this series out. As all of the Marvel shows, I will be watching it a second time for Easter Eggs. There are several that I missed and want to see again. Vanity Fair has a great composite list of if you are interested.
What did you think? I know this is very basic overall thought for the series, but I cannot express how much I really enjoyed the series.