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Quote1 Sweet Christmas! Quote2
Luke Cage[src]

Lucas "Luke" Cage is a former convict from Harlem who was unfairly incarcerated, having been illegally tested on in a prison experiment that gave him unbreakable skin and superhuman strength. Using his powers, he explored the super hero scene as a business, acting as a Hero for Hire.[10] Cage has faced several adversities to prove his worth and innocence.[13] Establishing a reputation as the street-level warrior Power Man, he embraced an alternative niche of vigilantism by addressing issues ordinary civilians struggle with.[5] Across the years, Cage has channeled his determination into helping others while also integrating himself into the broader and more conventional super hero community.[14][15] This long trajectory has brought a perspective change to how super heroes interact with common folk.[16][17]

In the martial artist hero Iron Fist, Cage found a life-long partner and a best friend,[18][2][19] with whom he founded the organization Heroes for Hire to provide services as detectives, bodyguards, and vigilantes.[20] Cage is also an original member of the New Avengers, who rose up from the ruins of the preceding iteration of the group.[21] He had a crucial role within the team, expanding their scope of action to serve the local communities.[16] When the team was outlawed for infringing the Superhuman Registration Act,[22] Cage stepped up as the leader of the Avengers, representing a resistance against an oppressive and totalitarian regime.[23] He carried on his legacy in the form of his own version of the Avengers[24] and the urban vigilantes baptized as the Defenders.[25] Parallel to his life as a super hero, Cage became romantically involved with private investigator Jessica Jones.[26] Together, the married couple[27] raise their infant daughter Danielle in a world of wonders.[28]

Following the reign of terror against super heroes inflicted upon the city of New York by its corrupt mayor, the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk,[29] Luke Cage was elected as the new mayor.[30] He renovated how heroes acted in the city by reformulating the Thunderbolts as a traditional group of champions.[31] Even in this context, he was unable to prevent the eruption of a war among the criminal underworld factions in the city.[32] In this context, Mayor Cage was forced to readopt his identity as a street-level warrior to protect the innocent living in his city.[33]


Early life[]

Carl Earl Lucas, the man that would one day be known as "Luke Cage" was born and raised on the streets of New York in the district of Harlem. He was the son of Esther and James Lucas, a retired N.Y.P.D. detective. Lucas spent his youth causing trouble on the streets with his friends Willis Stryker and Reva Connors. He eventually joined a gang called The Rivals along with his best friend Stryker. He fought the rival gang the Diablos and committed various petty thefts,[10] often on behalf of deformed crime-lord Sonny Caputo a.k.a. Hammer.[34] Lucas was in and out of juvenile homes throughout his teens. He dreamed of becoming a major New York racketeer until he finally realized how his actions were hurting his family. Culminating in his voicing reservations about robbing a young prince from across the world, the two eventually parting on amicable terms after a brief scuffle brought on by Lucas feeling insulted over said acquaintance using a phony nickname. The hoodlum even gifting his would-be pigeon decent parting advice about family for the future out of favor of taking interest in said pretend identity.[35] Later seeking to better himself as an adult, eventually finding legitimate employment.[36] Meanwhile, Stryker rose through the ranks of crime, but the two men remained friends.[4]

Rivals (Earth-616) from Shadowland Power Man Vol 1 2 0001

The Rivals

Eventually Stryker's activities came to the attention of the Maggia (a.k.a. the Syndicate). He was badly attacked in a mob hit, but Lucas was there to save him. After that Reva ended their relationship and turned to Lucas for comfort. This created a rift between the two former friends and Stryker believed Lucas was the cause of the break-up. Stryker planted heroin stolen from Cottonmouth's organization in Lucas' place and tipped off the cops.[37] Lucas was arrested and sentenced to prison; he attempted to get revenge by contacting the Maggia, only for the group's attempt on Stryker's life to go awry - Stryker survived, while Reva was killed in the process.[10] After that Lucas lost contact with his family due to the resentment of his brother James, Jr., who intercepted his brother's letters to their father and eventually led each to believe the other was dead.[4]

Seagate Prison[]

Electro-Biochemical System from Hero for Hire Vol 1 1 001

While in prison, Lucas was consumed with hatred and rage by his friends betrayal and the supposed loss of his father. He spent his time getting into brawls along with various escape attempts. Because of this he was transferred to Seagate Prison, one of the toughest facilities off the coast of the State of Georgia. On his first day he became target of one racist and sadistic prison guard; Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham. His brutality toward Lucas was the reason he was later demoted, which made him hate the inmate even more. During his incarceration, Carl would watch news about a certain royal (whom said jailbird had unknowingly met prior to his imprisonment) revealing the traditionally hidden society he hailed from to the wider world at large.[38] Hearing tell of this, Luke came to admire the only black king whom was lord of his own marvelous metropolis; no matter how much cruller Rackham became to him in response.[39] Dr. Noah Burstein came to the prison to carry out secret medical research and recruited Lucas as a volunteer. He was secretly working on experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process. He had previously used to empower Warhawk.[4]

Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Hero for Hire Vol 1 1 002

He immersed Lucas in the "Electro-Biochemical System", a device that contained an electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound. When he left equipment unattended, Rackham tampered with the controls, hoping to kill Lucas. However, the treatment was accelerated past its intended purpose causing mutagenic change throughout Lucas' body, fortifying his cells giving him superhuman strength and durability. Lucas used his new-found powers to escape the prison and make his way back to Harlem. A chance encounter with criminals inspired him to use his new powers for profit.[4]

Hero for Hire[]

Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Hero for Hire Vol 1 3 0001

Luke Cage: Hero for Hire

Still a wanted man, he adopted the alias "Luke Cage". Now that he had powers, he decided to don a distinctive costume, and start a new career as a "Hero for Hire". He would help anyone who could meet his price. He found an office above Times Square's Gem Theater, which was owned by film student D.W. Griffith's family.[10] Dr. Burstein also relocated to New York and opened the Storefront Clinic, assisted by Dr. Claire Temple. He first met Claire after he was attacked by hitmen hired by his old friend Stryker. When she rushed to help him she was shocked to find that he wasn't injured by the attack, but insisted on having her colleague look at his bruises. At the clinic he met old friend Dr. Burstein. When Burstein was attacked by the syndicate looking to convince them into paying a protection fee, Claire suggested that they take up Luke's services. Claire was kidnapped and Luke tracked her to the perpetrators lair, where he was surprised to find that it was his old friend and betrayer Stryker. The two former friends fought. During the fight Stryker fell through a skylight and was blown up by one of his own trick switchblades, ruining any hope Luke had that Stryker could clear his name.[37]

Luke was next hired by veteran Owen Ridgely who had learned about Col. Gideon Mace, an embittered veteran who planned revenge on the US government. Mace enlisted disgruntled veterans, to paralyze Manhattan for a day to distract the cops. However this was a decoy as he planned to attack and rob Wall Street. Ridgely was murdered by Mace's men so he hunted down Mace and attacked his hideout, but when Mace tried to flee in a helicopter, Luke caused it to crash into the Hudson River.[40]

After a ghostly attack at the Gem Theater in the middle of the night, Luke was confronted by Daily Bugle reporter Phil Fox who was interested in doing a piece about Cage. He refused but that only furthered Fox's interest in the Hero for Hire. Luke was next hired by Jasper Brunt to investigate the "Phantom of 45th Street". In investigating, Luke learned that the Phantom was really Armand Lorning, the son of Brunt's former business partner. The two men fought but they fell out the window to their deaths.[41]

Black Mariah[]

Luke had an appointment with a man named Frank Jenks in the upper balcony of the Gem Theater. Luke arrived to find two thugs beating on Jenks. He managed to fight off the attackers but not before Jenks was stabbed. Luke went to the lobby to call Jenks' wife to inform her of his death and then placed a call to the police. Returning to the balcony, Luke was shocked to learn that Jenks' body had already been taken away by an ambulance. Luke made a vow to Jenks' wife to find his body.

Jenks' body had been taken by members of the Rat Pack, a group of criminals who use fake ambulances to rob dead people, working for Black Mariah, an obese crime lord.

Luke tracked the ambulance back to a warehouse on 17th street. He noticed an ambulance pull out of the warehouse but once the driver spotted Luke he turned around and quickly drove back inside. Suspicious, Luke went in after him, fully expecting an ambush. His suspicions were confirmed when he was attacked by Mariah's men. Luke pretended to get knocked out and was dragged before Black Mariah herself. Luke sprung back into action and beat up his captors. Mariah attempted to shoot him but the bullets bounced off Luke's unbreakable skin. Mariah tried a different tactic and lunged at Luke, using her weight and enormous size to her advantage. Reluctant to hit a woman, Luke braced himself against a wall and let Mariah run into it. Thinking herself bested, Mariah tried to flee on a speedboat. Luke jumped from a gantry and landed on the boat, capsizing it and leaving Mariah floating in the water. She was later arrested.[42]

Doctor Doom[]

Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Hero for Hire Vol 1 14 0001

Where's my money Honey?

Doctor Doom the ruler of Latveria, hired Luke to defeat a bunch of rogue Doombots who have disguised themselves as African-American New Yorkers. Luke took the job and destroyed the Doombots with ease. However Doom skipped town without paying his $200 fee, Luke borrowed the Fantastic Four's jet, flew to Latveria, and beat the living hell out of Doom until he paid him his fee. After he was paid he left Doom in peace and returned to the States.[43]

Calling Himself Power Man[]

During a mission in which Orville Smythe duped him into stealing an experimental starsuit from Stark International, Cage followed the example of his new peers and took the codename of Power Man.[5] He also fought with Steeplejack.[44]


Shortly afterward, Luke Cage began associating with the loose-knit super-team the Defenders, alongside whom he battled the Wrecking Crew and the Sons of the Serpent.[45] Called to assist the Defenders against the Plantman, Cage began to complain that his participation in their group was interfering with his paying work. Wealthy Defenders member Nighthawk solved this problem by placing Power Man on retainer, giving Luke a steady paycheck for his Defenders activities. For some time thereafter, Power Man served as a core member of the Defenders. But soon Cage felt out of place in the often-bizarre exploits of the Defenders and eventually resigned.[46]

The Man Called Cottonmouth[]

Returning to his office after a recent battle,[44] Luke found a package waiting for him. Inside were two live, venomous snakes. Luke easily defeated them, tied them both together, and tossed them aside. D.W. entered the office, attracted by the commotion, and informed Luke that he had visitors. Two large men walked in and introduced themselves as Mike and Ike. The duo noticed that Luke had received their boss's gift and wondered if Luke would appreciate his offer as well. Luke grew annoyed and grabbed Mike, demanding who they were working for. After a brief fight, Luke threatened to shove the two snakes down Mike's throat if he didn't give up his boss' name. Getting the answers he needed, Luke traveled to the Midtown office of drug kingpin Cottonmouth.[47]

Cottonmouth explained that he had sent the snakes as a test to see if Luke was worthy of a position in his organization's hierarchy. Luke, suspicious that the heroin used to frame him and send him to prion came from Cottonmouth's organization, accepted the job, reasoning that he would have a better chance at clearing his name if he was on the inside.[47]

For his fist mission, Luke was sent to retrieve a shipment of heroin that was stolen by Boss Morgan's gang.[47] Luke succeeded and was fully welcomed into Cottonmouth's organization. Over the following days, Cottonmouth's diminutive assistant Mr. Slick showed Luke the ins and outs of the operation. During this time, Luke hoped to find records of Cottonmouth's dealings that could clear his name but to no avail. Growing increasingly frustrated by his lack of progress, Luke resolved to call the cops, figuring that maybe they could find the records or at the very least shut the operation down. Cottonmouth learned of Luke's betrayal and attacked him. During the fight, Mr. Slick was accidentally knocked out the window and plummeted thirty five stories to his death. Distraught, Cottonmouth surrendered. Luke demanded Cottonmouth show him his records, a request Cottonmouth laughed at. Cottonmouth told Luke that Mr. Slick, who had a photographic memory, was his records. Luke knocked Cottonmouth out and called the police to have him arrested.[48]

Fantastic Four[]

When the Thing temporarily lost his superhuman powers, Cage was hired to replace him in the Fantastic Four,[15] but his tenure proved brief after the Puppet Master took control of him to fight his new teammates.[49]

Power Man & Iron Fist[]

Having obtained proof of Cage's innocence in his original drug charges, the criminal Bushmaster abducted Burstein and Temple. Bushmaster used their safety and his hope of acquittal to blackmail Cage into abducting Detective Misty Knight, who humiliated Bushmaster in an earlier encounter. Cage's efforts led to a fight with Knight's boyfriend, the martial artist Iron Fist. Upon learning of Cage's situation, Iron Fist and Knight helped him defeat Bushmaster and rescue his friends.[18]

Cleared of criminal charges, Power Man legally changed his name to "Lucas Cage". He briefly worked for Misty Knight and Colleen Wing's detective agency, Nightwing Restorations, but soon elected 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.[20] Power Man and Iron Fist achieved great success with Heroes for Hire, earning an international reputation and fighting a wide variety of criminals. During this time, Luke briefly dated New York socialite and model Harmony Young.

Island of No Return[]

After a day of working as a Hero for Hire, Luke went out to go on a date with Misty Knight but she did not show up. Luke went to the police station and after getting the information out of a criminal, discovered that Misty and other heroes around the city were disappearing. Luke went to her apartment, but was accidentally attacked by Cyclops and then intentionally attacked by a group of former foes. Luke escaped this group but was then caught off guard, knocked unconscious, and brought to a mysterious island.[50] However, Luke woke up and escaped just before getting there and swam to the island. He was chased by his kidnappers Mr. Lion and Mr. Tiger, who pursued him through the jungle and eventually caught Luke again after he fell unconscious after smelling some hallucinogenic flowers.[51] Professor Soos revealed himself as the man behind this and the heroes had been kidnapped for the purposes of fighting in a tournament to find a person skilled enough to fight the professor himself. Only Luke successfully defeated the professor's creations and as a "reward" faced Professor Soos himself. Professor Soos was initially winning, however, Luke knocked out Soos.[52]

Meeting Jessica Jones[]

Cage also befriended Jessica Jones, a.k.a. Knightress, a young woman whose super-strength and unconventional style matched his own.[53]


Downfall of Heroes for Hire began when the mysterious government agency S.M.I.L.E. manipulated Power Man and Iron Fist into the employment of Consolidated Conglomerates, Inc., which eventually framed Cage for the apparent murder of Iron Fist, causing Cage to become a fugitive.[54] A fugitive again, Cage broke contact with his New York friends and relocated to Chicago,[55] but, with Hogarth's help, he was cleared of criminal charges when Iron Fist turned up alive.

While staying in Chicago, Cage abandoned his Power Man guise and began operating as the plainclothes Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. During his stay, he befriended Detective Dakota North and fought Bushmasters son Cruz, saving Burstein's wife Emma. During his fight with the Bushmasters, Cage's powers were augmented further by exposure to the Power Man virus.[56]


While Cage tried to locate his surviving family members with the aid of Dakota North, his brother kept moving his father around to keep Cage away from them. James, Jr., was eventually recruited by the criminal Corporation, whose power-enhancing scientist Doctor Karl Malus mutated him into the superhuman Coldfire. As Coldfire, James, Jr., hoped to be a match for his brother, who he regarded as a threat. Though James, Jr. worked with the Corporation quite willingly, Malus had James, Sr. held hostage as extra insurance of Coldfire's cooperation. When Cage learned the Corporation was holding his family, he invaded their headquarters and battled Coldfire. The brothers ultimately joined forces to rescue their father from Malus, and Coldfire sacrificed himself to destroy the Corporation's headquarters.

Heroes for Hire Return[]

Cage returned to New York and, deciding his heart was no longer in superheroics, became 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 failed to interest him; yet when the Master of the World tried to recruit Cage as a spy within Iron Fist's team, destroying Cage's theater in the process, a curious Cage played along. Cage joined Heroes for Hire and served with them for some time while reporting to the Master. Cage began to sympathize with the more benevolent aspects of the Master's goals, but in the end, Cage could neither betray Iron Fist nor reconcile himself to the tremendous loss of life the Master's plans of conquest will entail, and he helped Heroes for Hire destroy the Master of the World's plans. Cage remained with the group thereafter, and dated a fellow member, the She-Hulk. When the Stark-Fujikawa Corporation bought out Heroes for Hire, Cage and Ant-Man were fired because of their prison records, and the rest of the team quit in protest.

Deciding that a return to basics was in order, he re-established his Hero for Hire activities and soon learned that, despite his international fame, he was almost forgotten on the streets where he originally made his reputation. He invested his money in a bar and set about ridding his immediate neighborhood of criminal elements, deciding that the business of world-saving was best left to others.

Cage & Jones[]

After a sexual encounter with a drunken Jessica Jones, now a private investigator, Cage's life was briefly thrown into disarray by Jones' reaction to the incident.[57] The two made peace while working as bodyguards for Matt Murdock.[58] Cage extended emotional support to Jones when she was forced to revisit past abuses by the villainous Purple Man, and Cage's feelings for her grew.[59] After Jones revealed that she was pregnant from their tryst, she and Cage moved in together.[60] Soon afterward, Jones became a superhuman consultant with the Daily Bugle. After she was attacked by the Green Goblin during a Bugle investigation, Cage, helped by Spider-Man, deliberately attacked Norman Osborn in order to provoke him into revealing he was the Goblin.[61]

Secret War[]

At some point after this, Nick Fury asked Cage for a favor. He and a number of other super heroes including: Spider-Man, Daredevil, Wolverine, Captain America, and the Black Widow were asked to travel to Latveria to help Fury overthrow the government of Lucia von Bardas, whom be discovered to be financing a number of technologically-based super-criminals in the United States.[62] Recognizing the potential terrorist ramifications of such an act, Fury decided to eliminate the threat despite being told to leave it alone by the American President.[63] Unbeknownst to the assembled heroes, Fury planned to make an example of von Bardas and brought down Castle Doom onto the city below, killing an untold number of people. Knowing that the superheroes could never condone such an action, he had the previous two days' activities erased from their minds.[64]

On the year anniversary of their attack on Latveria, Cage and Jessica Jones came home to their Harlem apartment to find von Bardas, who survived their attack, though now horribly disfigured, there waiting for him. She then blasted Cage with a concentrated energy beam which leveled his entire apartment as an act of revenge. Both Cage and Jones survived the blast, though Cage sustained a great deal of damage to his internal organs and lay in a coma. This was further compounded by the fact that Cage's unbreakable skin made it impossible for doctors to operate on him.[65] Realizing that the attack on Cage was possibly a retaliation for their Secret War in Latveria, Fury visited Cage in hospital. Captain America also arrived and got into an argument with Fury, having regained his memories about their actions in Latveria some months previously. The two men and Danny Rand then took the unconscious Cage and removed him from the hospital to ensure his safety from further acts of retribution.[63] When Jessica returned to Cage's hospital room, she found it empty and the hospital was under heavy attack.[65] Jessica spent the next several days searching for her boyfriend with the help of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. They finally found him at the Night Nurse's medical clinic, a place where super heroes can secretly go to receive medical attention. Rand brought Cage there after Fury told him to bring his friend someplace safe. Nick Fury then appeared to both a now-conscious Cage and Jessica and apologized for messing up their lives. He vowed that he would no longer interfere with them, or anyone else, and told them that they were good people.[66]

Marriage and the New Avengers[]

New Avengers Annual Vol 1 1 Textless

Luke and Jessica's wedding

Cage was recruited by Captain America into a new incarnation of the Avengers after a massive prison break on Ryker's Island and proving himself to Cap.[21]

Jessica and Cage are now the parents of a daughter and have gotten married. At the start of the Civil War Luke sent both Jessica and his daughter to Canada to avoid registration, though he himself refused to leave. S.H.I.E.L.D. forces came to arrest him at the stroke of midnight despite not having used his powers since the Act went into effect. He fought his way to safety with the help of Captain America, the Falcon, and Iron Fist (posing as Daredevil), and was a dedicated member of Captain America's "Secret Avengers" until Cap's surrender to U.S. authorities.[67]

After the events of the superhuman Civil War, Jessica returned with their baby from Canada due to horrific death of their good friend Captain America. Luke Cage and Spider-Man rounded up some of the remaining unregistered superhumans; Iron Fist (Daniel Rand), Spider-Woman (who was really the Skrull queen Veranke), Wolverine, and Doctor Strange to form a new team of New Avengers. Taking refugee in Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, Cage tasked the New Avengers with opposing the numerous escapees from the Raft prison while uncovering and exposing the truth behind the Raft breakout, the corruption in S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, the Civil War, and finding the connection between each of them.[68]

Cage and his comrades were often opposed by authorities and the Mighty Avengers for operating as illegal, unregistered superhumans. These actions caused him to develop a strong sense of caution, and even distrust when associating with registered super heroes such as Falcon. He initially found great difficulty trusting Clint Barton (formerly Hawkeye) for wanting to join the New Avengers' cause due to the former costumed crimefighter's original ties to the founding Avengers and why he wanted to work with a group of strangers instead of his friends. Doctor Strange however proved to Cage Barton's loyalty and trustworthiness, leading Cage to accept him as teammate and a friend.[69]

Cage proved to be an effective field leader, but was sometimes confronted with difficult situations that required additional tactical knowledge to determine the course of action. The New Avengers rescue mission in Japan and the time misplaced Invaders are two examples of this. He and Jessica eventually named their newborn daughter "Danielle" after his best friend Daniel Rand, whom they also declared as her godfather. Danielle and Jessica are, and continue to be, Cage's inspiration to his super-heroic activities.

Secret Invasion[]

In course of the New Avengers' mission to rescue Echo in Japan, the team discovered the Hand's leader, Elektra, to be a Skrull impostor after Echo killed her in battle. Cage and his teammates became very uneasy due to the alien's ability to perfectly impersonate any person and were not stray of the idea of there being more Skrulls on Earth. Suspicion became distrust as many of his teammates were no longer sure of one another's identity; Cage included. The team was soon betrayed by Spider-Woman (Queen Veranke), who stole the Skrull body in order to present it to Tony Stark and cut her ties to the New Avengers and new recruit, Echo.

After Strange's Sanctum was stormed by the Hood and his underworld of superhuman criminals, Cage relocated with the rest of his team to one of Iron Fist's leased apartments, but his wife and child took refuge with the Mighty Avengers at Avengers Tower. Angry that his wife had abandoned him with his child, he confronted her outside of the tower on her decision to register with the law and end all contact with him. Discovering she had no intention of returning with him due to a dangerous, and unsuitable environment for their child, Cage stormed back to his team's new headquarters. He was very disturbed with Jessica's decision. Due to the discovery of the Skrull invader, he was very worried about his family's safety; as well as his marriage.[70]

After a Skrull ship crashed in the Savage Land, Luke took the New Avengers there, confronting the Mighty Avengers. During the battle, Luke ripped open the Skrull ship, only to have a large group of 1970's versions of several heroes, including himself, emerge claiming to be the real heroes. However they were exposed as Skrulls, thanks to a device made by Reed Richards. The Avengers flew back to New York and meet up with the other heroes to fight the final battle with the Skrulls in Central Park. During the midst of the fight Jessica Jones came into the battle and fought with the heroes, while admitting that Luke was right about the Skrulls and apologized. After the Skrulls surrendered the Skrull impersonating Jarvis disappeared with their daughter, leaving Jessica desperate and upset.[71]

Dark Reign[]

After the battle ended, Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes) organized a meeting with the New Avengers at his home, offering it as their base of operations. When Luke, Jessica and Carol arrived at Bucky's home, the New Avengers contacted the Fantastic Four and Iron Fist to begin searching for Danielle. They attacked various villains such as A.I.M., HYDRA, Electro, and Red Skull for any information regarding the Jarvis-Skrull, thinking he might have contacted them for a way to escape New York City, possibly the Earth. Eventually they found a Skrull pretending to be an ex-SHIELD agent at a bar. After a brief confrontation, the Skrull was about to reveal where Danielle was when another agent shot the Skrull in the head, leaving Jessica convinced Skrull Jarvis was going to kill Danielle. Meanwhile, with the rest of the New Avengers unaware, Luke asked Norman Osborn for help in their search, agreeing do to anything he asked of him. Osborn helped Cage recover Danielle, but when Bullseye killed the Jarvis-Skrull, Cage reneged on his offer to serve Osborn and returned to the New Avengers. Cage was attacked by the Hood's Gang when Harrow use his power drainer on the New Avengers. Afterwards Cage went into cardiac arrest forcing him to ask Osborn for help due to his unbreakable skin and the fact that he possessed the disruptor. Cage was later saved by the Avengers before he could be interrogated by H.A.M.M.E.R., but during the operation a bomb had been placed in his heart, forcing The Wasp and Doctor Strange to save him.[72]

Heroic Age[]

After Osborn was defeated in the Siege, Steve Rogers became the nation's top cop. Taking over the Avengers organization, he offered Luke a spot on the team. Unfortunately, Luke had no interest in joining up with another government-driven Avengers. Despite Steve assuring him that it was all on a voluntary basis, Luke considered taking the offer to be a giant step backwards.

As a solution, Tony sold the old Avengers Mansion to Cage for one dollar (which he had to borrow from Iron Fist), and Cage was allowed to operate his own independent Avengers team with minimal interference from the government. He, his wife Jessica, Iron Fist, and several other heroes soon moved into the mansion and set up shop.[73]


Luke also took on the job of running the Thunderbolts program for Steve Rogers in order to give super-powered criminals a chance to turn their lives around like he did.[74]


When Daredevil suddenly returned to New York by building a castle out of a destroyed building, Cage was one of the many "street-level" heroes who thought Murdock was getting out of hand. When news that he had a change of heart in his heroism (shown when he mercilessly killed Bullseye) reached his ears, Power Man and Iron Fist went to confront him, but the Man without Fear retreated.[75] Later, while at Rand's restaurant, the two conversed about Murdock's growing 'insanity.'[76]

Avengers vs. X-Men[]

Namor McKenzie (Earth-616) vs Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Avengers vs

Atlantean King vs. Harlem Streetmaster

When it was revealed that the Phoenix Force was heading towards Earth looking for a new host, Cage answered Captain America's call in invading Utopia.[77][78] He helped Thing fight the Atlantean Namor.[79] He later left the New Avengers to raise his daughter peacefully.[80]

Mighty Avengers[]

Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Mighty Avengers Vol 2 1 cover 001

Luke and his Heroes for Hire fought the Plunderer, and after Spider-Man intervened, he and Power Man grabbed a coffee. He insisted that the heroes weren't doing enough to keep the world safe. He and his team, now the Mighty Avengers, began fighting off Thanos' invasion on Earth.[81] After the initial threat was over, he officially declared the new assembled group to be Avengers.[82]

The Mighty Avengers were eventually forced to close their operation after being sued by a morally inverted Tony Stark for using the trademarked name of "Avengers."[83]

All-New All-Different[]

After dealing with former Heroes for Hire employee Jennifer Royce turned evil by the power of an ancient African amulet, Luke (reluctantly) and Iron Fist reverted to crime-fighting as the Heroes for Hire.[84] Luke and Iron Fist later helped out some reforming former criminals battle the Americops which resulted in Danny being arrested. Luke then came into conflict with Captain Marvel after the Inhuman profiler Ulysses Cain predicted him orchestrating a jailbreak.[85]

Secret Empire[]

During Hydra's rise to power Luke, alongside Jessica, Daredevil, and Iron Fist would form the Defenders. The Defenders, alongside Cloak and Dagger, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Woman would team up to take on the Army of Evil however they would end up defeated by the super villain Nitro. Luke and the rest of his team would discover that Manhattan was covered in a dome made of Darkforce energy created by Blackout whose powers were enhanced by Baron Helmut Zemo using the Darkhold.[86]

Hunt For Wolverine[]

When news spread that Wolverine's body had been removed from an unmarked grave, Luke and Jessica joined Iron Man and Spider-Man in investigating the whereabouts of the corpse. The first lead in the group's investigation brought them to a submarine where genetic material was being auctioned off. To Luke and Jessica's shock the genetic material belonged to their daughter Danielle.[87] The auction was disrupted by Mister Sinister who attacked the unidentified seller, claiming they stole the D.N.A sample of Wolverine. Luke's body was used by Jessica to plug up the hole created by Mister Sinister.[88]

Devil's Reign[]

Luke and Jessica tried to keep a low profile while Mayor Wilson Fisk started a war against vigilantism and super heroes as part of a vendetta against Daredevil, but when the Shocker caused a bus to crash while trying to arrest Darkhawk, Luke and Jessica had to step in, rescuing some civilians. They both defeated Shocker and the Thunderbolt units that tried to arrest them, with Luke giving a speech to the people about how Mayor Fisk can't stop them from helping people.[89] After reuniting with some heroes on the old Avengers Mansion, everyone decided that Luke should run for Mayor in order to stop Fisk.[90] In light of Fisk's new Powers Act, Foggy Nelson acted as Cage's legal representative during his campaign, allowing him and his family to remain free during the elections. The heroes later discovered that Fisk was using the Purple Man's powers to manipulate the city.[91]

After a failed attempt by the heroes to kill Mayor Fisk, Otto Octavius was allowed to keep the city under surveillance with his "anti-crime" drones. The heroes also learned from Rhino that Fisk was trying to kidnap the Purple Man's children in order to secure his victory at the election.[92] When Fisk sent the Purple Man supercharged with the power of his children onto New York to kill all heroes, Cage was among the few who fought against the army of mind-controlled villains.[93] During the battle, one of the Purple Children, Joe, managed to stop his father with the help of Luke.[94] With the city saved and Fisk disappearing from the public, Cage won the election and became the new Mayor of New York. Although vigilantism was still illegal and the Thunderbolt Units still existed, Luke decided to change the Thunderbolts into what they were before Fisk got a hold on them. He and Jessica also decided to adopt Joe, the only remaining child of the Purple Man who still had powers.[30]

Luke briefly took time off his duties as a mayor to help Pei, Danny's ward, after she was almost expelled from school due to a fight she started.[95]

Gang War[]

As various criminal organizations warred across New York, Luke assembled a small team consisting of him, his wife Jones, his best friend Iron Fist, and Cloak and Dagger, to help in the war. They first went to Ryker's Island where they repelled Alistair Smythe's Spider-Slayers before ambushing him in his laboratory. However, Smythe managed to wound Iron Fist before escaping and setting his lab to self-destruct. The team quickly fled, and while Rand was recovering, Luke went to his office, only to be attacked by Smythe.[96] Cloak intervened to save Luke, despite violating the Anti-Vigilante Act, and at Cage's order left to get backup. Luke and police proceeded to fight the Spider-Slayers, but despite being joined by Cloak, Jones, Iron Fist and Dagger, they were being overwhelmed. Luckily, Iron Fist provided Luke with a technological armor developed by his company that allowed him to be on equal footing with Smythe.[97]

He and his team continued fighting the Spider-Slayers, while protecting the present police officers. Unfortunately, Smythe was undeterred and kept sending in his Spider-Slayers. As Luke fought, the news channels witnessed him violating the Anti-Vigilante Act, but regardless of the consequences he and his allies would receive, he continued the fight. After his armor was destroyed, Luke and his team finally managed to destroy all of the Spider-Slayers. This proved the public that vigilantes like the mayor were needed in dire times like this, and began questioning the usefulness of the Anti-Vigilante Act. Though the day was saved, Luke and his team were still prepared to continue fighting in the war.[98] He later participated in the climax of the criminal war.[99]


Power Grid[116]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Experienced Fighter:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/None:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Bulletproof:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Superhuman (800 lbs-25 ton):Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Learned


  • Burstein Process: Luke Cage possesses various superhuman physical enhancements after undergoing a Super-Soldier experiment known as the Burstein Process, which was designed to increase his body's cellular regeneration rate.[10][100]
    • Superhuman Strength:
      Lucas Cage (Earth-616) from Cage Vol 1 18 01

      Luke Cage lifting a large bulldozer over his head with ease

      After undergoing the original experiment, Cage's strength was increased to superhuman levels. Initially, it was only sufficient enough to lift approximately 5 tons. However, with extensive physical training and years of experience as a super hero, his strength was increased to approximately 25 tons and he is able to punch through barriers as thick as 4-inch steel plate.[101][100] While his experience in fighting crime allows for him to gauge the amount of force he exerts, Cage has been known to cut loose in cases of extreme stress.[102] This is compatible with the statement that Cage probably possesses a strength level even higher than 25 tons, as established in an official handbook.[103] For example, Cage was seen lifting a large bulldozer over his head and throwing it without any strain, and was able to easily bend a metal baseball bat with his bare hands.[102] He was able to knockout the Rhino, a villain known to be a rival with the likes of the Hulk, with one punch.[4] Cage's herculean strength allows him to seamlessly move extremely heavy objects with ease or trade blows with insanely strong extraterrestrials resulting in mild seismic activity,[104] as seen when Luke Cage almost effortlessly carried a semi truck over seven city blocks because he couldn't get the engine to start.[105] He was strong enough to send a woman flying with just the impact of his thunderclap.[73] His strength also extends to his legs enabling him to leap in a manner similar to the Hulk; however, his leaping is not equal to the Hulk. Nevertheless, he can carry himself at speeds that outdo even the fittest of athletes.[82][105] His most impressive feat of strength is grabbing onto the bottom of the airplane and dragging it hard enough to caused the pilot to shut down the plane.[106]
    • Superhuman Stamina: Cage's muscles generate less fatigue toxins than the muscles of ordinary humans, granting him superhuman stamina. This helps Cage pull off astonishing feats of athleticism despite his excess mass.
Defenders Vol 5 5 Textless

Cage's bulletproof durability

    • Nigh-Invulnerability: Luke Cage's body is as hard as titanium steel.[10] His muscles and bones tissue are super-dense, granting him much greater resistances to physical injury.[100] He can withstand conventional handgun fire of 4 feet and cannot be cut by the sharpest of blades, although in the event of required surgery his skin can be lacerated with an overpowered medical laser.[100] He can withstand up to one-ton impacts or blasts of 150 pounds of TNT without serious injury, and he is impervious to temperature extremes and electrical shocks.[100] His current level of durability enables him to withstand gunfire at point-blank range, and to withstand being lit on fire without suffering any serious or permanent injuries. He has withstood impacts from superhumans a good deal stronger than himself, destructive energy attacks including electricity, and falls from great heights such as ninety story high skyscrapers.
    • Accelerated Healing Factor: Luke's invulnerability is usually enough to protect him from damages. However, if injured, Luke's recovery time from injury or trauma is customarily one-third that of an ordinary human.[100] This ability allows for him to rarely require medical attention after even his most tedious of fights.[101]


  • Expert Combatant: Cage is a self-taught hand-to-hand combatant with years of street fighting experience. He also says he has had extensive training with Iron Fist. Through him, he has learned to utilize leverage with his strength in order to increase his combat effectiveness against more powerful opponents.[108][100]
  • Skilled Athlete: He is also a gifted athlete, even without his superhuman abilities.[108][100]
  • Extended Education: Cage is self-educated in the law and fluent in several languages.[100]
  • Strong Speaker: He has proven to be very good at speaking positively, truthfully, and with charisma in front of large audiences. His innate nobility has earned him the respect and friendship from a good number of different persons.[16]


  • Near-Unbreakable Flesh: Since Cage's skin cannot be lacerated by conventional materials, his superhuman durability is a hindrance if he suffers injuries that are too severe for him to heal on his own and require surgery, such as internal injuries. While his skin can be lacerated by a highly powerful medical laser and weapons composed of Adamantium, neither of these would be readily available or easily accessible.[109]
  • Radiation: Enough exposure to massive amounts of radiation and the resulting burns can kill Cage, if the injuries are extensive enough.[110]



  • Cage owns a leather jacket which is, like his skin, impervious to virtually any injury; however, he wears it infrequently and is often left with shredded clothing in the wake of his adventures.[100]



  • Noted for the catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!".[112]
  • His former code-name "Power Man" had its origins in the term "Black Power", Luke deciding to call himself that when Orville Smythe was surprised that he managed to break into his escape vehicle and Cage responded "Just chalk it up to Black Power, man!"[5]
  • When Luke Cage was still going by the name Carl Lucas he met the future Panther King in Harlem while they were still youths. Although initially taking offense when the latter used the moniker 'Luke Charles', knowing the name was false, Carl later remarked 'I like that name Luke, though'. Raising the possibility that Cage took inspiration from T'Challa's fake identity when choosing his own new name later on.[35]
  • He was voiced by Deven Mack in War of the Realms, Iron Fist: Ultimate Comics.


  • Luke Cage was the first black super hero to helm his own ongoing title. Black Panther headlined in Jungle Action (Vol. 2) the following year, and wouldn't get his own self-titled book until 1977, five years after Hero for Hire #1.
  • Actor Nicolas Cage (who would go on to play, among others, the original Ghost Rider), changed his surname from Coppola to Cage based on the character, so he could pursue his acting career without relying on his relation to filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, his uncle.
  • Luke Cage was Marvel's response to the "blaxploitation" movies of the time such as Shaft and Baadassss.
  • Nick Fury's intel classified him as power level 8,[113] while Captain America (Sam Wilson) and Tony Stark considered him to be a Beta level Threat.[114]

See Also

Links and References


  1. Alias was first used in Hero for Hire #1, and later legally changed in Power Man and Iron Fist #50
  2. 2.0 2.1 Power Man and Iron Fist #50
  3. Cage #17
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Power Man #17
  6. The Variants #5
  7. Power Man #31
  8. Avengers / Invaders #9
  9. Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 3) #14
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Hero for Hire #1
  11. Avengers (Vol. 8) #41
  12. White Tiger #4
  13. Hero for Hire #1416
  14. Defenders #17
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fantastic Four #168
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 New Avengers #17
  17. New Avengers #34
  18. 18.0 18.1 Power Man #4849
  19. Power Man and Iron Fist #115
  20. 20.0 20.1 Power Man and Iron Fist #54
  21. 21.0 21.1 New Avengers #13
  22. Civil War #7
  23. New Avengers #2732
  24. Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #13
  25. Defenders (Vol. 5) #110
  26. Alias #128
  27. New Avengers Annual #1
  28. The Pulse #13
  29. Devil's Reign #16
  30. 30.0 30.1 Devil's Reign: Omega #1
  31. Thunderbolts (Vol. 4) #15
  32. Gang War (Event)
  33. Luke Cage: Gang War #13
  34. Cage (Vol. 2) #4
  35. 35.0 35.1 Rise of the Black Panther #5
  36. Cage #3
  37. 37.0 37.1 Hero for Hire #2
  38. Rise of the Black Panther #3
  39. Black Panther (Vol. 4) #10
  40. Hero for Hire #3
  41. Hero for Hire #4
  42. Hero for Hire #5
  43. Hero for Hire #89
  44. 44.0 44.1 Power Man #18
  45. Defenders #1725
  46. Defenders #3646
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Power Man #19
  48. Power Man #20
  49. Fantastic Four #169170
  50. CAGE! #1
  51. CAGE! #2
  52. CAGE! #34
  53. The Pulse #14
  54. Power Man and Iron Fist #125
  55. Marvel Comics Presents #82
  56. Cage #16
  57. Alias #12
  58. Alias #15
  59. Alias #2526
  60. Alias #28
  61. The Pulse #5
  62. Secret War #2
  63. 63.0 63.1 Secret War #1
  64. Secret War #5
  65. 65.0 65.1 The Pulse #6
  66. The Pulse #9
  67. Civil War #27
  68. New Avengers #28
  69. New Avengers #2832
  70. New Avengers #3739
  71. Secret Invasion #8
  72. New Avengers #4850
  73. 73.0 73.1 New Avengers (Vol. 2) #1
  74. Thunderbolts #144
  75. Shadowland #1
  76. Shadowland #2
  77. New Avengers (Vol. 2) #24
  78. Avengers vs. X-Men #1
  79. Avengers vs. X-Men #2
  80. New Avengers (Vol. 2) #30
  81. Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #1
  82. 82.0 82.1 Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #3
  83. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9
  84. Power Man and Iron Fist (Vol. 3) #14
  85. Power Man and Iron Fist (Vol. 3) #710
  86. Secret Empire #0
  87. Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #1
  88. Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #2
  89. Devil's Reign #1
  90. Devil's Reign #2
  91. Devil's Reign #3
  92. Devil's Reign #4
  93. Devil's Reign #5
  94. Devil's Reign #6
  95. Marvel's Voices Infinity Comic #5156
  96. Luke Cage: Gang War #12
  97. Luke Cage: Gang War #3
  98. Luke Cage: Gang War #4
  99. Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 6) #44
  100. 100.0 100.1 100.2 100.3 100.4 100.5 100.6 100.7 100.8 100.9 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z #2
  101. 101.0 101.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #10
  102. 102.0 102.1 Cage #18
  103. Civil War: Battle Damage Report #1
  104. Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #2
  105. 105.0 105.1 New Avengers (Vol. 2) #10
  106. Power Man and Iron Fist #112
  107. Avengers (Vol. 8) #43
  108. 108.0 108.1 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #23
  109. Captain America and The Falcon #5
  110. Age of Ultron #4
  111. Luke Cage: Gang War #34
  112. Power Man #27
  113. Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury #1
  114. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1
  115. Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
  116. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 2