One thing everyone loves about a hero is their rise from obscurity to stardom. Some characters remain in developmental hell for years and some never get out at all. Then you have a character that had lots of potential, but were only mildly popular. Luke Cage is a character that was given one more shot at greatness after years of floundering and became so popular he was given his own Netflix series.
After his appearance on Netflix's Jessica Jones, Luke Cage became a name known by more than just the average comic book fan. While he may be on his way to becoming a household name, there are still a few great moments that the casual fan may not know about Luke "Power Man" Cage.
He Does Things Differently
When Captain America asked Luke Cage to be an Avenger, after the two of them and six other heroes thwarted a super-prison jail break in New Avengers: Breakout, Luke agreed. The one thing Luke requested was that he be heard on a certain issues. He wanted to try things differently than what the Avengers are used to.
He didn't want to just sit around doing nothing on their days off. Luke wanted to make a difference in the world as an Avenger by doing more than just fighting aliens. He wanted to clean up the streets and remind the regular, everyday people that the Avengers were there and they were ready and willing to fight for them.
My favorite part of this was when Luke was talking to the press. They went to Captain America immediately, but Cap being the stand up guy he is, directed the reporters to Cage. As Luke explained his plan, Iron Man and Captain America looked at him in awe saying that he's so good at taking charge and he doesn't even realize it. Maybe writer Brian Michael Bendis was foreshadowing that Luke would one day take the reigns as leader of the Avengers.
The Revolution Will Be Televised
New Avengers #22 is a defining moment for Luke Cage. The Superhuman Registration Act was going to be law at midnight and Luke and his wife Jessica Jones had not decided whether or not they would sign up. After Iron Man and Carol Danvers came to Luke's house to try and convince them, Luke is reminded of something that Wolverine said to him when they talked about the pros and cons of the registration act: "The world ain't a nice place."
Luke realized that signing the registration act goes against what he represents. Freedom and the ability to help people the way he sees fit. Luke can't do that under the thumb of the government. Iron Man tells Luke that if he doesn't sign up that S.H.I.E.L.D. would take him from his home in the middle of the night. Luke asked Stark if this was Mississippi in the 1950s because being taken from your home just for being who you are had a very familiar tone to it.
Luke stood up for what he believed in and when S.H.I.E.L.D. inevitably came to get him, he didn't surrender. Luke fought and fought hard. The best part was everyone in his community saw him fighting for them, an image they wouldn't ever forget.
A Natural Leader
The best leaders aren't usually the ones who stand up and want to be leaders. They tend to be the ones who lead by example. They get up every morning and do good deeds because they know it's right. Luke Cage is that leader. When Captain America was shot and killed, Luke Cage took it upon himself to do what Cap would do. He continued to fight and save people the way he thought was right.
Luke didn't ask for the other heroes to follow him into the life of a renegade Avenger. But they did anyway, because they saw in him what other heroes see in Nick Fury, Cyclops, and Captain America. They saw a man willing to risk life and limb for a righteous cause. When Luke was asked if he wanted to be the leader, he said no. But despite not wanting to be in charge, he always seemed to end up right back in that spot. Leaders make themselves known and Luke Cage did just that.
From New Avenger To Mighty Avenger
Luke Cage left his life as an Avenger behind to raise his daughter in a safer environment. Jessica told Luke that living in the Avengers Mansion was not a safe place to raise a child. After time passed, Luke realized what was really important was his wife and daughter. So Luke left the Avengers with Jessica to start the next chapter in their life. That new life didn't last long.
The Avengers left the planet to battle Thanos and his minions in space. With the Avengers gone, Thanos thought Earth was ready to be taken over and sent some of his strongest people to conquer. What Thanos didn't know is that the human spirit never quits. So when one of Thanos' strongest followers said that Earth had no hope because the Avengers were all off world, Luke stood tall and told her to look around, telling her: "We're the Avengers." After the fight was won, Luke opened up a Heroes for Hire type of office for the Avengers. This was set up to make sure that the regular every day person had somewhere to turn to when they needed help.
Luke went from being a stereotype blaxploitation character to being one of the most popular heroes of the last few years — and that's no shock considering moments of leadership like the ones above.
What was your favorite Luke Cage moment? Would you like to see him lead the Avengers in the movies someday? Let me know in the comments below!