Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "luke-cage"

Book Review: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire (1972-1973)) Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire by Archie Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume collects the first sixteen issues of Luke Cage, Heroes for Hire.

The book starts out with a solid origin story written by Archie Goodwin for Luke Cage befitting of the blacksploitation wave Marvel was playing into. Lucas is a man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, chosen for prison experiment which goes wrong thanks to a sadistic guard and gives Lucas skin that' not hurt by bullets. He then escapes prison, takes the name of Luke Cage and becomes a hero for hire.

From Issue 3-13, the book is fun (Steve Engelhart took over for Goodwin with Issue 5), although a bit sillier than you'd expect a Marvel comic at the dawn of the Bronze age to be. Cage battles Gabriel Mace, a man whose hand is a mace. He sleuths out a couple mysteries in Scooby Doo style. He's hired by Doctor Doom to fight robots who are disguised as Black men, and faces a Christmas plot to wipe out the human race.

During these issues, the action is good, even though the attempts to give Luke Cage a supervillain rogue's gallery mostly fizzle. Black Mariah is the classic. Engelhart decided to take the typical nickname for a paddy wagon and give it to a large Black supervillain whose entire gig is running out phony ambulances to take dead bodies and roll them.

Luke Cage has a great style of dialogue fitting the times. However, his catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!" isn't uttered in this book as it wouldn't be used until Issue 27 although we get a few, "Sweet Sister!" and "Christmas!" exclamations

The book takes a turn for the awesome with the three issue story, "Retribution" which also featured a shift from Engelhart to Tony Isabella with artist Billy Graham helping plot it. Several plot threads from previous issues are brought together as sadistic guard responsible for Cage's powers has retired to the city, two prison buddies of Cage break out to hunt down the guard, a gossip columnist has gained a journal from the Doctor Who was experimentin on Cage and wants to blackmail, and the woman he loves finds herself a murder supect. It's a high flying conclusion and easily the best issues of the book.

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Published on August 27, 2018 17:16 Tags: bronze-age, luke-cage, marvel

Book Review: Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1

Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 by Marc McLaurin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collects the first twelve issue of Luke Cage's solo series from the 1990s plus an insert from Marvel Presents #82. This book starts off really bad in the first couple of issues, then has a decent enough two-parter featuring the Punisher, Nitro, and most interestingly kickback. Then we get the awful Evil and the Cure four-parter. The final third of the book is pretty good with a two part story featuring the Rhino and the Hulk, a Christmas tale, and then a double length 12th issue that includes the reunion with Danny Rand. From a writing perspective, the best thing about the book is the subtlety of the arc which allows most tales to be read in their own right, but in retrospect, fit into the larger story.

Why the book doesn't earn a higher rating from me comes down to the art. The art is horrible. It's an example of why 1990s comic art is loathed. An ugly book with a few good stories.

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Published on June 30, 2019 23:02 Tags: 1990s, luke-cage, marvel

Book Review: Luke Cage, Power Man Masterworks Vol. 2

Luke Cage, Power Man Masterworks Vol. 2 (Power Man (1974-1978)) Luke Cage, Power Man Masterworks Vol. 2 (Power Man by Tony Isabella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Issues 17-31 represent a shift for Luke Cage from the Heroes for Hire to the name of Power Man but continuing the same shtick.

The first ten issues in here are really good. We get a crossover with Iron Man, a trip cross-country where Cage runs into an abusive small town in typical 1970s fashion, a meeting with the crime circus that also includes the introduction of Black Goliath, and we also meet Cottonmouth. You also have to love a book where Cage was given the name "Power Man" and someone forgot that a minor villain had the name, so they square off and battle in a movie theater.

The last five issues by Bill Mantlo on fill in and Don Macgregor aren't nearly as good. I don't think they had a great grasp of the character. Piranha Jones and Cockroach Hamilton are good eyes for villains for Cage, but their first appearance doesn't work me.

Overall, this is still pretty decent Bronze Age marvel stuff, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first volume.

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Published on January 18, 2020 10:55 Tags: bronze-age, luke-cage

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing
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