|First appearance||Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972)|
|Created by||Archie Goodwin|
John Romita Sr.
|Alter ego||Carl Lucas|
Heroes for Hire
|Notable aliases||Power Man|
Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972) and was created by Archie Goodwin, George Tuska, Roy Thomas, and John Romita Sr. He was possibly one of the earliest black superheroes to be featured as the protagonist and title character of a Marvel comic book.
Created during the height of the blaxploitation genre, Luke Cage had been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and gained the powers of superhuman strength and unbreakable skin after being subjected voluntarily to an experimental procedure. Once freed, he becomes a "hero for hire" and has forty-nine issues of solo adventures (comic title renamed to Luke Cage, Power Man with issue #17). In issue #50, Cage teams up with fellow superhero Iron Fist as part of a crime-fighting duo in the renamed title, Power Man and Iron Fist. He later marries the super-powered private investigator Jessica Jones, with whom he has a daughter. In 2005, writer Brian Michael Bendis added Luke Cage to the lineup of the New Avengers, and he has since appeared in various Avengers titles, and became the leader of a group of reformed supervillains called the Thunderbolts.
The character has been substantially adapted from the comics into various forms of media. Mike Colter portrayed the character in Marvel's Netflix television series Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and The Defenders, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Luke Cage was created following conversations between Archie Goodwin and Roy Thomas shortly after blaxploitation films emerged as a popular new genre. He debuted in his own series, with the cover trademark Luke Cage, Hero for Hire and the title Hero for Hire. The series initially was written by Goodwin and pencilled by George Tuska, with the character's costume designed by John Romita Sr. The character was the first Black American superhero to star in his own comic-book series, which was retitled with the cover trademark Luke Cage, Power Man and the trademarked title Power Man with issue #17. Cage's adventures were set in a grungier, more crime-dominated New York City than that inhabited by other Marvel superheroes of the time.
As blaxploitation's popularity faded, Cage was paired with the superhero Iron Fist, whose popularity was based on the declining martial arts film genre, in an effort to save both characters from cancellation. The series' title remained Power Man, though with issue #50 (April 1978) the trademarked cover title became Power Man and Iron Fist, retained through the series' cancellation with issue #125 (Sept. 1986). The series' final writer, James Owsley (aka Christopher Priest), attempted to shed Cage's blaxploitation roots by giving him a larger vocabulary and reducing usage of his catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!"
In 1992, Cage was relaunched in a new series simply titled Cage, set primarily in Chicago. The revived series updated the character, with Cage symbolically destroying his original costume on the cover of the first issue. The series, written by Marc McLaurin, ran 20 issues. Cage received exposure in other books at the time, including his own serial in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents. In the aftermath of the "Onslaught" and "Heroes Reborn" companywide storylines, Cage was included in the series Heroes for Hire, written by John Ostrander, which lasted 19 issues. In 2002, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Richard Corben collaborated on Cage, a standalone mini-series set outside the mainstream Marvel canon. The mini-series was published under the Marvel MAX imprint, which allowed for a much greater degree of violence, sexual content and profanity.
In 2010, Cage became a regular character in Thunderbolts, starting with issue #144, and continued as leader of the team when the title transitioned into Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175. Cage also reappeared as a regular character in the second volume of The New Avengers series.
In 2007, it was announced that cartoonist and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky would write and illustrate a four-issue limited series called Cage!, which would take place in a retro 1970s setting outside of the established continuity. The project was heavily delayed, but finally saw publication in 2016.
In 2016, a new volume of Power Man and Iron Fist was launched, written by David F. Walker. The series ran for 15 issues before transitioning into a new Luke Cage series (also written by Walker), which ran for another 10 issues.
Fictional character biography
Born Carl Lucas and raised in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, he spends his youth in a gang called the Rivals. With his friend Willis Stryker, he fights rival gangs and commits petty crimes. In and out of juvenile homes throughout his teens, Lucas dreams of becoming a major New York racketeer until he finally realizes how his actions are hurting his family. He seeks to better himself as an adult by finding legitimate employment. Meanwhile, Stryker rises through the ranks of crime, but the two men remain friends. When Stryker's activities anger the Maggia crime syndicate, he is badly beaten in a mob hit, saved only by Lucas's intervention. When Stryker's girlfriend, Reva Connors, breaks up with him in fear of his violent work, she seeks solace with Lucas. Stryker is convinced that Lucas is responsible for the breakup, so he plants heroin in Lucas's apartment and tips off the police. Lucas is arrested and sent to prison where contact with his family is sparse due to the resentment of his brother James Lucas Jr., who intercepts Lucas's letters to their father James and eventually leads each to believe the other is dead. During this time, Reva is killed by members of the Maggia, whose drugs Stryker had stolen to frame Lucas in the first place.
Lucas is consumed by rage over Stryker's betrayal and his father's supposed death, engaging in frequent brawls and escape attempts. Eventually transferred to Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia, he becomes the favorite target of racist corrections officer Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham, whose sadistic brutality ultimately leads to a demotion that he blames on Lucas. Research scientist Dr. Noah Burstein recruits Lucas as a volunteer for a cellular regeneration experiment based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process he had previously used to empower Warhawk. This experiment would later be revealed to be part of the Weapon Plus program, specifically, Weapon VI. Burstein immerses Lucas in an electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound; then he leaves Lucas unattended, Rackham alters the experiment's controls, hoping to maim or kill Lucas. Lucas' treatment is accelerated past its intended limits, inducing body-wide enhancements that give him superhuman strength and durability. He uses his new power to escape Seagate and makes his way back to New York, where a chance encounter with criminals inspires him to use his new powers for profit.
Adopting the alias Luke Cage and donning a distinctive costume, he launches a career as a Hero for Hire, helping anyone who can meet his price. He soon establishes an office above Times Square's Gem Theater, where he befriends film student D.W. Griffith. Burstein, aware of his friend's innocence, also relocates to New York and opens a medical clinic, assisted by Dr. Claire Temple, whom Cage begins dating. Although Cage is content to battle strictly conventional criminals, he soon learns that New York is hardly the place to do so. Stryker himself has become a Maggia agent known as Diamondback and dies battling Cage.
Although Cage has little in common with most of New York's other superhumans, an ill-conceived attempt to collect a fee from a reneging Doctor Doom leads him to befriend the Fantastic Four. Via a later retcon, Cage also befriends Jessica Jones, a young woman whose superhuman strength and unconventional style match his own. During a mission in which Cage and Iron Man track down Orville Smythe, who had duped him into stealing an experimental starsuit from Stark International, Cage follows the example of his new peers and takes the codename of Power Man. Cage battles a rogue Erik Josten for the use of the Power Man name, winning the right.
Shortly afterward, Luke Cage begins associating with the loose-knit super-team the Defenders, alongside whom he battles the Wrecking Crew and the Sons of the Serpent. Called to assist the Defenders against the Plantman, Cage begins to complain that his participation in their group is interfering with his paying work. Wealthy Defenders member Nighthawk solves this problem by placing Power Man on retainer, giving Luke a steady paycheck for his Defenders activities. For some time thereafter, Power Man serves as a core member of the Defenders. Together, they defeat minor threats including the Eel and the Porcupine, and major menaces such as the Headmen, Nebulon, Egghead's Emissaries of Evil, and the Red Rajah; but Cage feels out of place in the often-bizarre exploits of the Defenders and eventually resigns.
Power Man and Iron Fist
Having obtained proof of Cage's innocence in his original drug charges, the criminal Bushmaster abducts Burstein and Temple, using their safety and the hope of acquittal to blackmail Cage into abducting detective Misty Knight, who humiliated Bushmaster in an earlier encounter. Cage's efforts lead to a fight with Knight's boyfriend, the martial artist Iron Fist, who had spent most of his life in the extra-dimensional city of K'un-L'un and was unfamiliar with Earth society. Upon learning of Cage's situation, Iron Fist and Knight help him defeat Bushmaster and rescue his friends. Cleared of criminal charges, Power Man legally changes his name to "Lucas Cage". He briefly works for Misty Knight and Colleen Wing's detective agency, Nightwing Restorations, but soon elects to join Iron Fist in a two-man team, Heroes for Hire, founded by attorney Jeryn Hogarth and staffed by administrative wunderkind Jennie Royce. Although the streetwise Power Man and the unworldly Iron Fist seem to have little in common, they soon become the best of friends. Cage's relationship with Claire Temple proves less durable, and he instead begins dating model Harmony Young.
Power Man and Iron Fist achieve great success with Heroes for Hire, earning an international reputation and fighting a wide variety of criminals. Their partnership's downfall begins when the mysterious government agency S.M.I.L.E. manipulates Power Man and Iron Fist into the employment of Consolidated Conglomerates, Inc., which eventually frames Cage for the apparent murder of Iron Fist, causing Cage to become a fugitive.
A fugitive again, Cage breaks contact with his New York friends and relocates to Chicago, but, with Hogarth's help, he is cleared of criminal charges when Iron Fist turns up alive. Cage discovers that Iron Fist had been replaced by a doppelganger of the plantlike H'ylthri race, K'un-Lun's ancient enemies during his treatment. This doppelganger's existence and destruction at the hands of the Super-Skrull are part of a bizarre scheme engineered by Iron Fist's enemy, Master Khan.
Wanting a new start after his murder charge is dropped, Cage abandons his Power Man guise and begins operating out of Chicago as the plainclothes Luke Cage, Hero for Hire; he makes arrangements with the Chicago Spectator for exclusive reports of his adventures and frequently works with detective Dakota North. On his first mission in Chicago, he assists the Punisher in battling drug dealers. Cage attracts the interest of the refined assassin Hardcore, an employee of Cruz Bushmaster, son of the villain whose defeat cleared Cage's name the first time. Cage learns that Cruz, following in his father's extortion footsteps, has abducted Noah Burstein's wife Emma to force the scientist to recreate the process that had empowered Cage. Cruz undergoes the procedure himself, but the elder Bushmaster drains the power from his son, reversing his near-catatonia and declaring himself the Power Master. Cage teams with Iron Fist to thwart their plans, freeing the Bursteins while the Bushmasters apparently perish. Cage's power is augmented further by exposure to the Power Man virus.
While Cage tries to locate his surviving family members with the aid of Dakota North, his brother keeps moving his father around to keep Cage away from them. James Lucas Jr., is eventually recruited by the criminal Corporation, whose power-enhancing scientist Dr. Karl Malus mutates him into the superhuman Coldfire. As Coldfire, James Jr. hopes to be a match for his brother, whom he regards as a threat. Though James, Jr. works with the Corporation quite willingly, Malus has James Sr. held hostage as extra insurance of Coldfire's cooperation. When Cage learns the Corporation is holding his family, he invades their headquarters and battles Coldfire. The brothers ultimately join forces to rescue their father from Malus, and Coldfire sacrifices himself to destroy the Corporation's headquarters.
Heroes for Hire return
A few months later, Cage investigates the murder of Harmony Young and fights her killer, the demon Darklove, alongside Ghost Rider. The mystic Doctor Druid recruits Cage to serve in his Secret Defenders against the sorcerer Malachi. Cage returns to New York and, deciding his heart is no longer in superheroics, becomes co-owner of the Gem Theater with his friend D.W. Griffith. Even an invitation from Iron Fist to join a new and expanded Heroes for Hire fails to interest him; yet when the Master of the World tries to recruit Cage as a spy within Iron Fist's team, destroying Cage's theater in the process, a curious Cage plays along. Cage joins Heroes for Hire and serves with them for some time while reporting to the Master. Cage begins to sympathize with the more benevolent aspects of the Master's goals, but in the end, Cage can neither betray Iron Fist nor reconcile himself to the tremendous loss of life the Master's plans of conquest will entail, and he helps Heroes for Hire destroy the Master of the World's plans. Cage remains with the group thereafter, and dates a fellow member, the She-Hulk. When the Stark-Fujikawa Corporation buys out Heroes for Hire, Cage and Ant-Man are fired because of their prison records, and the rest of the team quits in protest.
Cage, bitten by the hero bug once more, continues to share adventures with Iron Fist and other heroes. Briefly resuming his Power Man identity, he is hired by Moon Knight to join an unnamed team of street-level New York vigilantes, but mere days after he joins, the group dissolves following clashes with the forces of Tombstone and Fu Manchu. Deciding that a return to basics is in order, he re-establishes his Hero for Hire activities and soon learns that, despite his international fame, he is almost forgotten on the streets where he originally made his reputation. He invests his money in a bar and sets about ridding his immediate neighborhood of criminal elements, deciding that the business of world-saving is best left to others.[volume & issue needed]
Jessica Jones and the New Avengers
After a sexual encounter with a drunken Jessica Jones, now a private investigator, Cage's life is briefly thrown into disarray by Jones's reaction to the incident. The two make peace while working as bodyguards for Matt Murdock. Cage extends emotional support to Jones when she is forced to revisit past abuses by the villainous Purple Man, and Cage's feelings for her grow. After Jones reveals that she is pregnant from their tryst, she and Cage move in together. Soon afterward, Jones becomes a superhuman consultant with the Daily Bugle. After she is attacked by the Green Goblin during a Bugle investigation, Cage, helped by Spider-Man, deliberately attacks Norman Osborn in order to provoke him into revealing he is the Goblin.
Months afterwards, Cage is present at the breakout at the supervillain prison 'The Raft' and becomes a founding member of the re-formed Avengers. Luke and Jessica Jones then have a daughter, whom they named Danielle, in honor of Danny Rand. Soon thereafter, he and Jessica are married. He also meets the Black Panther (revealed to be one of Luke's personal heroes), joining him and several other superhumans of African descent on a mission against vampires in New Orleans.
When the Superhuman Registration Act is enacted, Cage refuses to register, comparing the act to Jim Crow laws. He and Jessica agree that she will take their newborn daughter away to Canada where they can be safe, though he himself refuses to leave. S.H.I.E.L.D. forces come to arrest Cage, but he fights his way to safety with the help of Captain America, the Falcon, and Iron Fist (posing as Daredevil), and joins Captain America's "Secret Avengers". He fights alongside them in opposition to the act until Captain America surrenders to U.S. authorities.
Cage does not comply with the amnesty offered to the Secret Avengers, going underground and re-forming the New Avengers. Luke assumes leadership of the New Avengers after the assassination of Captain America, with the team now operating underground and provided with secure accommodation by Doctor Strange.
Following a Skrull invasion, Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes) organizes a meeting with the New Avengers at his home, offering it as a base of operations. Cage is offered the role as leader of the New Avengers, but turns it down, giving the role to Ronin.
Following the Siege of Asgard, Steve Rogers appoints Luke Cage leader of the Thunderbolts program. Soon after, he begins to recruit new Thunderbolts, a balanced mix of former and older members, personally inducting the Ghost, Moonstone, the Juggernaut and Crossbones, with MACH-V, Fixer and Songbird's cooperation, and using the Man-Thing's powers for long-distance transportation.
Reforming the Avengers
To convince Cage to rejoin the Avengers, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark sell the newly renovated mansion to Luke Cage for a dollar, allowing him freedom to recruit his own Avengers team and operate without directly taking orders from Rogers, though Rogers insists on having Victoria Hand join them as a liaison. Cage and his team are forced to assist Doctor Strange, Daimon Hellstrom, and Brother Voodoo in thwarting an attempt by Agamotto—the original owner of the Eye of Agamotto—to destroy existence, culminating in the apparent death of Brother Voodoo. Although initially against the idea of being paid for being on the team, Cage is convinced to accept the offer.
Following his imprisonment on Utopia, he decides, following a conversation with Daredevil, to resign from his Avenger duties to ensure the security of his wife and child. After the X-Men are defeated, Cage, Jessica, Squirrel Girl, and Iron Fist resign from the Avengers. In volume 2 of The Mighty Avengers, Luke Cage wears a costume reminiscent of his yellow Bronze Age outfit, with a yellow top and blue jeans.
All-New, All-Different Marvel
As part of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel", Luke Cage and Iron Fist take on the murder case of their former secretary, Jennifer "White Jennie" Royce, and discover she has been corrupted by an ancient African artifact called the Super Soulstone.
During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Luke Cage became a member of the Defenders alongside Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones. They alongside Cloak and Dagger, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Woman fought the Army of Evil during Hydra's rise to power where they were defeated by Nitro. Luke Cage and those with him were trapped in the Darkforce dome by Blackout when his powers were enhanced by Baron Helmut Zemo using the Darkhold.
During the "Hunt for Wolverine" storyline, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones assist Iron Man and Spider-Man in finding Wolverine when his body has gone missing from his unmarked grave. When the four of them arrive undercover at a submarine in international waters upon hearing that a genetic material will be auctioned off, Luke and Jessica are shocked to find that the genetic material that will be auctioned off belongs to their daughter Danielle. When Mister Sinister crashes the auction and attacks the unidentified seller claiming that he stole the DNA of Wolverine from him, the attack causes a hole in the submarine as Jessica Jones uses Luke Cage's body to help plug it up. After Mister Sinister is defeated with the help of X-23 and the seller Declan Foy is questioned, Luke Cage is given a special Iron Man armor as part of their attack on Mister Sinister's base on the Kerguelen Islands. After the database was destroyed and the mission was over, Luke and Jessica head home with Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and X-23 where Iron Fist had been babysitting Danielle Cage. After a talk with X-23, Tony informs Luke and Jessica that the destroyed database reveals that one of the X-Men members is not a mutant and there is a genetically-altered sleeper agent among them.
During the "Empyre" storyline, Vision and Doctor Nemesis meet up with Luke Cage as they investigate the Cotati's plants that have taken over Central Park. As Vision brings the fight with his plant-like opponent outside of Central Park, Luke Cage and Doctor Nemesis mistake it for a Cotati only for Vision to correct them by stating that his opponent is actually Plantman. Doctor Nemesis, Luke Cage, and Vision continue their fight with Plantman and his Sprout Soldiers. They managed to defeat Plantman, but are unable to make contact with Black Panther.
Powers and abilities
Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength and stamina, and has extremely dense skin and muscle tissue which render him highly resistant to physical injury. Cage possesses these abilities as a result of a cellular regeneration experiment which fortified the various tissues of his body. His skin can resist high-caliber bullets, puncture wounds, corrosives, biological attacks, and extreme temperatures and pressures without sustaining damage. A second exposure to said experiments further enhanced his strength and durability.
The same experiment which granted him his great strength and durability has also given him a faster-than-normal recovery time from injury.
Luke Cage is an exceptional street fighter and was a gifted athlete before receiving superhuman abilities. He has also studied martial arts under Iron Fist's instruction, learning how to couple leverage with his strength in order to increase his combat effectiveness against more powerful opponents.
He owns a jacket that is as durable as his skin, having been exposed to the "Power Man" treatment during his second exposure.
In the alternate future of Earth X, most of humanity has gained superpowers, but is still in need of policing. An older Luke Cage is a police officer, complete with uniform, and he recruits Peter Parker.
In an alternate reality depicted in the one-shot Exiles: Days of Then and Now, Luke Cage is Power Fist, a mix between the 616 versions of Luke Cage/Power Man and his friend Iron Fist. He is also this reality's leader of the Avengers. He leads them to eradicate the Vi-Locks and his life is saved by Sunfire when she is stuck on his world. He later moves to Quentin Quire's reality to replace one of his selves who had died when he shouldn't have.
"House of M"
A version of Luke Cage resides in the "House of M" reality. After gaining his powers, Luke forms a crime syndicate in Hell's Kitchen, which he later turns into a Human Resistance Movement and recruits several human heroes to his side, including Cloak, who looks up to Luke as a father figure. He is the first person to whom Layla Miller comes to 'awaken' from the House of M reality, and joins the force that takes down Magneto and his children in Genosha.
In the Marvel MAX Cage limited series, Cage's origin is much the same, with Luke and Willis Stryker growing up as hoodlums working for the deformed mobster Sonny "The Hammer" Caputo. When Willis double-crossed Luke and had him sent to prison, Luke retaliated by putting out a hit on his former friend. However, Caputo's men botched the hit, accidentally killing Reva Connors instead. While in prison, Cage voluntarily underwent an experimental procedure that gave him enhanced strength and durability. However, the procedure did not actually leave him bulletproof, as demonstrated when he was badly beaten and nearly killed by Mick "Mountain" Marko.
After being hired by the mother of a young girl who was killed by a stray bullet, Cage is drawn into a gang war among Caputo, Tombstone and Clifford "Clifto" Townsend. The mini-series ends on an uncertain note, with Cage standing between Caputo and Tombstone as both men fire their guns.
In Marvel Zombies, Luke Cage is a member of the Avengers and one of the first heroes to become infected by the alien virus, ultimately infected by the zombified Sentry, along with the other Avengers.[volume & issue needed] He also encounters Ash Williams not long after being infected.[volume & issue needed] He is among the few heroes who manages to eat the Silver Surfer, and receives cosmic powers by doing so.[volume & issue needed] At the end of the Marvel Zombies miniseries, he helps to devour Galactus and becomes a member of "The Galacti" (along with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Giant Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk), who travel across the universe devouring all life on planets, however Galactus's energy bolts hit the lower half of Cage's body.[volume & issue needed] Next, the Marvel Zombies attack a Skrull planet, only to encounter the Fantastic Four—consisting of Black Panther, Storm, the Thing and the Human Torch. It pleases the zombies so much that they attempt to capture the Fantastic Four and try to transport back to their fully populated reality, but the FF manage to escape.
Luke Cage also has a role in Marvel Zombies 2, joining Spider-Man in fighting against the other Galactus as he realizes that their hunger has faded over time.[volume & issue needed] His lost arm is replaced by a transplanted arm from an unknown being (possibly alien) and his lost lower half is also replaced with a cybernetic one. At the series conclusion, he is transported to another universe which also gets taken by the infection. Cage fights to defeat the hungry zombies of this reality, leading the converted Shi'ar against Earth, but is defeated and killed by the prime zombies of the new world.
- In the Battleworld domain of Spider-Island, Luke Cage was part of the resistance's attack on Spider Queen.
- In the Battleworld domain of the Valley of Doom, Luke Cage helped Sheriff Red Wolf keep the peace in Timely following the death of Mayor Wilson Fisk.
- In the Battleworld domain of the Warzone, Luke Cage was still on Captain America's side as the superhuman civil war has intensified.
- In the Battleworld domain of Arcadia, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones assisted in fighting a horde of zombies from the Deadlands after the female Loki attacked part of the Shield.
- In the Battleworld domain of the Walled City of New York, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are married and live in their residence in Harlem.
A different version of Power Man appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe as a member of the Defenders, although he is never referred to as "Luke Cage". In this universe, the Defenders consist of several people who want to be superheroes but have no superpowers, and appear to be more interested in the celebrity aspect of being heroes than actually doing anything heroic.
In other media
- Luke Cage appears in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Lil' JJ. This version is a member of Heroes for Hire alongside Iron Fist and Misty Knight in the episode "A Brat Walks Among Us". He also has a cameo appearance in the episode "And Lo... A Pilot Shall Come!".
- Luke Cage appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Christopher B. Duncan. In the episode "To Steal an Ant-Man", he and Iron Fist are hired by Hank Pym to retrieve the stolen Ant-Man suit from Scott Lang. Later on, Power Man becomes a member of the New Avengers and helps to fight off Galactus' invasion.
- Luke Cage appears in Ultimate Spider-Man, voiced by Ogie Banks. This incarnation is a teenager and part of Spider-Man's original S.H.I.E.L.D. team (along with Iron Fist, White Tiger, and Nova). He adopts the Power Man alias as he feels that he should name himself after his powers. Power Man's abilities are super strength and his impenetrable skin; however, he is not invulnerable as he was able to be gashed by the Rhino in the episode "The Rhino", and proven potentially helpful in containing an infectious Lizard outbreak since his unbreakable skin would make him immune to the Lizards' bites in the episode "Lizards". The episode "The Parent Trap" reveals that Luke received his powers from a S.H.I.E.L.D. version of the Super Soldier Formula developed by his parents (voiced by Phil LaMarr and Kimberly Brooks) and his civilian name is presented here as his actual birth name. He also finds his parents (Walter and Amanda) were working for Scorpio because they were lied to about Luke being captured and promised their son in return. He soon reunites with them at the end of the episode. The episode "Return to the Spider-Verse Pt. 1" featured a vampire version of Power Man who is loyal to Lizard King at the time when Spider-Man and Kid Arachnid visited this reality. Thanks to a combination of the Siege Perilous shard and a UV light, everyone gets cured of the vampire strain. In the episode "The Spider-Slayers, Pt. 3", after Nova attacks Scarlet Spider because he learned that he was the spy Doctor Octopus for revealing Spider-Man's identity, to endanger S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy and Aunt May, he along with Iron Fist and Squirrel Girl attack the Spider-Slayers and when they stop they agree to watch him with Agent Venom for his bad actions that deserve to be locked up for life, before his energy was drained by Kaine. At the end, "Graduation Day, Pt. 1 and 2", he, Iron Fist, Nova and White Tiger are with Spider-Man for the last time to find Doctor Octopus and protect Aunt May, and fight the Scorpion and Crossbones that becomes the new Lizard, and defeat them. Then at the graduation ceremony and reunited with his parents, he is trapped with the team in a contracting shield in the Triskelion and in the end is released by Spider-Man.
- Luke Cage appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Ryōkan Koyanagi.
- Luke Cage appears in the Netflix series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Mike Colter.
- Luke Cage first appears in Jessica Jones. In the first season, the character is introduced as a bar owner who Jones meets during the course of an investigation. He was formerly married to a woman named Reva Connors until Kilgrave manipulates Jessica Jones into killing her. He returned in that show's series finale in 2019.
- Luke Cage appears in Luke Cage.
- Luke Cage appears in The Defenders.
- Luke Cage appears in the third season of Jessica Jones. He shows up at Alias Investigations to see how Jessica is doing following the events of the season.
- A film adaptation of Luke Cage had been in development since 2003 by Columbia Pictures, with a screenplay penned by Ben Ramsey, Avi Arad serving as producer, and John Singleton directing. Jamie Foxx and Tyrese Gibson were considered for the lead role, while Dwayne Johnson, Isaiah Mustafa and Idris Elba expressed interest in playing Luke Cage. In May 2013, it was announced that the film rights for Power Man had reverted to Marvel Studios.
- In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that if Marvel's Netflix TV series such as Luke Cage become popular, "It's quite possible that they could become feature films."
- Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Greg Eagles. He is heavily a melee character and his powers include super strength and chain-related attacks. His New Avengers, Hero for Hire, Cage, and street costumes are included. Cage has special dialogue with Arcade and the Wrecking Crew. A simulation disk has Cage fighting Ultron in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Omega Base.
- Luke Cage appears in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Robert Wisdom. At the beginning of the game, he enlists Spider-Man's help in stopping a gang war in Harlem. He later becomes an assist character that the player can summon to help them fight enemies. During the symbiote invasion portion of the game, Cage and Mary Jane Watson help to evacuate the residents of Harlem. In the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions, Luke Cage appears as a NPC in the fifth level of the game, where he enlists Spider-Man's help in fighting symbiotes across the city. He serves as the boss at the end of the level, where he is either infected by a symbiote, or is trying to remove Spider-Man's symbiote costume, believing that it is controlling him (the latter occurs only if Spider-Man redirected a train full of symbiotes towards Cage's location earlier in the level). Either way, Spider-Man defeats Cage, who then becomes an assist character.
- Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Khary Payton. He is locked into the Anti-Reg side during the Civil War portion of the game. His stealth costume from Secret War is his unlockable alternate costume. His default costume heavily resembles his design seen in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows both in clothes and overall appearance.
- Luke Cage appears in Iron Fist's ending for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a member of his new Heroes for Hire and a card for the Heroes and Heralds mode. Additionally, his Power Fist counterpart from an alternate universe in the New Exiles series appears as an alternate costume for Iron Fist.
- Luke Cage appeared as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Luke Cage appeared as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Avengers Alliance. He is later transformed into one of the Worthy as Nul, Breaker of Worlds.
- Luke Cage appeared as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Heroes, voiced by James C. Mathis III.
- Power Man appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by John Eric Bentley.
- Luke Cage appears as a NPC in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Ogie Banks. He also appears in Disney Infinity 3.0.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers, voiced by Ogie Banks.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Future Fight.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Luke Cage appeared as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Avengers Academy.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Strike Force. He is a City Protector allied with the Defenders team. His default costume is based on his plainclothes costume, with elements of his Power Man identity in the yellow shirt and gauntlets.
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Puzzle Quest in two versions, "Hero for Hire" and "Power Man".
- Luke Cage appears as an unlockable playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, voiced again by James C. Mathis III.
- Luke Cage appears in Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D, voiced by Jesse Falcon.
- Luke Cage appears in Wolverine: Weapon X, voiced Trevor Devall.
- Luke Cage appears in War of the Realms: Marvel Ultimate Comics, voiced by Deven Mack.
In a 2008 poll, Luke Cage was ranked as the 34th-greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Luke Cage as the 72nd-greatest comic book hero of all time stating that "Cage embodies much of what we love about Marvel's heroes", and 15th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.
In her analysis of the comics, Sharon Packer, M.D., made connections between Cage's origin story and historical events taking place in the time of the comics' publication. Carl Lucas uses his newfound power to crash through the prison's cement barricades, he symbolically breaks through barriers that were once closed to him, similar to other black people of his era. Luke Cage's story has a distinct connection to unethical medical experiments; his comics presumably enhanced awareness of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments that made New York Times headlines in the very same month and year that Luke Cage debuted. Dr. Altman published a book on self-experimentation ethics, one of many texts discussing ethical breaches in medical experiments at that time, meaning that the Luke Cage stories likely picked up on the rhetoric on prison experiments during that time and tapped into opprobrium about ethics. Since his comics were released at the same time that the news broke about the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on black men in Alabama, an event which caused public outrage and swayed public opinion against non-consenting or coercive human experimentation, it can be inferred that Luke Cage's story influenced some of the aforementioned public opinion.
- Essential Luke Cage, Power Man Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1–16; Luke Cage, Power Man #17–27)
- Essential Luke Cage, Power Man Vol. 2 (Luke Cage, Power Man #28–49, Annual #1)
- Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1 (Power Man and Iron Fist #50–72, #74–75)
- Essential Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 2 (Power Man and Iron Fist #76–100)
- Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 (Cage #1–12, material from Marvel Comics Presents #82)
- Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 2 (Cage #13–20, Terror Inc. #11–12, material from Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #13–14)
- Cage (Marvel MAX: Cage Vol. 2 #1–5)
- Luke Cage Noir (Luke Cage Noir #1–4)
- Marvel Masterworks: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #1–16)
- Marvel Masterworks: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Vol. 2 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #17–31)
- Marvel Masterworks: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Vol. 3 (Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #32–47, Annual #1)
- Power Man and Iron Fist Epic Collection Vol. 1: Heroes For Hire (Power Man #48–49; Power Man and Iron Fist #50–70)
- Power Man and Iron Fist Epic Collection Vol. 2: Revenge! (Power Man and Iron Fist #71–72, 74–89, Daredevil #178)
- Power Man and Iron Fist Epic Collection Vol. 3: Doombringer (Power Man and Iron Fist #90–107)
- New Avengers: Luke Cage - Town Without Pity (Avengers: Luke Cage #1-3, Daredevil: Cage Match #1, Hero for Hire #1)
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He was the first black superhero to get his own comic book. Now, Luke Cage is the first black superhero with his own TV show.
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