Partner Content by truth
Some powers make sense in comics but aren’t possible, practical, or sensible for the screen. Other powers, though, don’t make sense period . Sorta like tobacco, so we teamed up with truth to put together a few powers that TV Luke either didn’t get, or didn’t get right.
The yellow disco-blouse “classic” costume, probably the second weirdest thing about Luke. The first weirdest thing is that Marvel wants you to believe that’s actually a leather jacket. By comparison, the fact that the “jacket” became bulletproof as part of Luke’s experiment seems downright reasonable. Yes, part of the process for making Luke into a super soldier was raiding Cher’s wardrobe and then letting (making?) him wear the stolen goods. Far be it from us to question the rigorous testing standards and control variables of illegal jailhouse super scientists or their government sanctioned experiments, but this all seems… off. But even if it doesn’t add up, Luke’s fashion senses paid off later when they help him to find and defeat a vampire based solely on its footwear (honest).
Okay, maybe this is the weirdest thing
Our Luke’s got a bit of a dark side when it comes to animals. Apparently during the first hour of his hero-ing, Luke ran out of humans, buildings, and construction vehicles to pummel. And yet, he still had fists. Comic Scientists theorize that the one and only solution to this problem was for Luke to go after the entire animal kingdom. As evidence they cite the embarrassing number of issues (old and new) where Luke went after every creature, great and small. Every creature. We’re talking snakes, big cats, even lion tamers. Oh yes, you read that right: one of Luke Cage’s arch enemies, his Two-Face or Doc Ock, was either Siegfried or Roy. Actually, he’s fought at least two lion tamers, so I guess it was both.
This happens too often to be anything but personal. Seriously buddy, get help.
Luke is shown to have an impressive knowledge of the law, second only to Daredevil. Their two key differences are:
1. Daredevil can’t see how ridiculous Luke looks in that outfit.
2. Luke uses his knowledge to better skirt, bend, or even break the law as a hero for hire. Presumably, Luke’s legal cram sessions were him taking 13 volumes of American Jurisprudence Legal Forms and trying to fit them all under Doctor Doom’s rib cage.
Dude has no play when it comes to his legal fees.
All this was over the theft of $200 . Meaning an Avenger caused an international incident over a crime that could have gone to small claims court when he could have fought something closer to home.
My absolute favorite thing about Luke is his relationship with his wife and daughter. From the fact that they named their daughter “Danielle” after Luke’s buddy Danny “Iron Fist” Rand (who has a similarly ridiculous costume) to the extent Luke will go to in order to protect the ones he loves. Luke has the biggest heart and the worst fashion sense of any Marvel hero. He’s also the only one with a Lifetime Ban from Ringling Bros.
The Cage Family: So heartwarming, it almost makes up for all those animals Luke murdered.
A lot of heroes crack wise, including Luke’s buddy Spiderman. But Luke takes it to a new level. Not only does he bring a blistering barrage of insults that would impress Muhammad Ali (the clear inspiration here), Luke follows that talk up with action. The best example is the tale of Luke’s nickname, “Power Man.” As it turns out that name was already in use by a villain, Erik Jonsten. Luke didn’t know that before he started using it and got the 70s version of a DMCA takedown notice; an invitation to a fight. Jonsten showed up on time, in his costume, and full of threats. Things were going well for him… until Cage actually arrived and calmly punched some knowledge into him. When the other Power Man came out of his power coma, he decided it would be easier to just to order new stationery.
This is what happens when you take the Internet’s advice on Fair Use Laws, Eric.
While Luke was waging a war in Harlem to build a name for himself in the late 70s, Big Tobacco companies were fighting their own battle to decide who would be the biggest name in menthols. “The Menthol Wars”* which lasted until the 90’s, saw corporations dispatching company vans to high traffic areas in African American communities in order to hand out free cigarettes, among other marketing tactics. All to be the biggest name in menthols. Now, 88% of African American smokers use menthol cigarettes, and they have the highest rates of tobacco-related cancer.
The Menthol Wars overlapped with Marvel’s first Secret Wars, from which Luke was absent. We’re not saying that Luke stayed home to smash the engine blocks out of cigarette vans, we’re just saying that the records of that time on Earth are extremely spotty and covered in a lot of motor oil.
Check out this video from truth to learn more about how Big Tobacco targets African American neighborhoods.
*Yerger, V. B., Przewoznik, J., & Malone, R. E. (2007). Racialized Geography, Corporate Activity, and Health Disparities: Tobacco Industry Targeting of Inner Cities. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 18(4A), 10-38.
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