By Warren Tutt
The super strong, steel skinned ‘hero for hire’ of Harlem. This is Netflix’s title character for their newest offering for their Marvel serial slate, Luke Cage. However, after more than a century of super humans and demigods triumphing over alien attacks and evil scientists, do we really need another thirteen hours of it? Yes, as it would turn out.
By focusing on the limitations of his powers rather the concrete smashing, bulletproof nature of Luke Cage’s abilities, creator Cheo Hodari Coker finally captures a believable hero. Ditching Cage’s traditional yellow shirt and golden ‘tiara’ allow him to blend into a modern Harlem, balancing protecting the vulnerable from criminals whilst still having to pay rent. Reality constantly being re-established by Luke’s annoyance at having to buy new clothes every time someone thinks shooting him will have any impact on him.
With great effect a whole ensemble of supporting characters are given the time and imagination to develop as individuals. A family of corrupt business owners and politicians lead the onslaught to keep Harlem under a tight grip whilst detective Misty Knights deals with the consequences of an exploited police force. Perhaps learning a lesson from predecessor Jessica Jones, female characters in the drama are given more screen time than any Marvel product before. If there’s one think bullet-proof skin can’t protect you from, its the colliding of strong, un-alterable female characters who will do anything for what they believe in.
After the success of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is another step before the next instalment Iron Fist, released early this year, sets the franchise up for The Defenders. Hoping to match the popularity of The Avengers, Netflix and Marvel will combine all the heroes of New York to form another super hero team up. Here’s hoping Cage keeps his individual flavour and style and isn’t wrestled into comic book spandex!