LUKE CAGE #1 | Writer: David Walker | Penciler: Nelson Blake II | Colorist: Dan Brown | Marcio Menyz | Letterer: Joe Sabino | Release Date: 5/17/17 | Price: $3.99
The new Luke Cage series is already my cup of coffee. But can I really be surprised? With the work of the illustrious David Walker, and art by Romulus’ Nelson Blake II, how can you go wrong? I was upset when I saw that Power Man and Iron Fist was coming to an end, but when I saw that Walker was going to take over the new Luke Cage series, I was reinvigorated! From page one, the book was everything I wanted and more.
Luke Cage is from the hood. He’s been around the world, lead teams like the Avengers and The Thunderbolts, but he never forgot where he came from. He always returns to his home to help the people in need. They have his number. I like Walker’s focus on this key aspect of Cage’s character. It’s established in the first six pages, the kind of person that Luke is. He did a similar thing in Power Man and Iron Fist, but this one was a little closer to home.
As we dive into the story, established with Luke’s public service to the locals of Harlem, we take unexpected twists and turns that lead us through the start of an enticing story. Dr. Noah Burnstein, the man that gave Luke Cage his powers, has died. The death was deemed a suicide. But like in all good stories, we find that this may not actually be the case, and immediately a mystery is underway.
I can appreciate the introduction of key characters with well-defined personalities to help drive the plot along. Cyril Morgan, for example, can almost assuredly be labeled the “mad scientist” archetype, or at least a character that’s headed in that direction. I base this on the subtle remarks he makes about Luke being a “Magnificent Specimen” and even having before referred to his own son as “The Great Experiment.” He’s one to keep an eye on. I think he may develop into something more serious as the story continues. Then there’s Mitchell Tanner also known as “Warhawk” in older Cage and X-men stories. Someone who seems like an ally, but based on his “defect” can become a potential threat.
Walker also established something that reminds me kind of, of Wolverine, but can really be said of many heroes (Captain America, Spider-Man, etc.). There are others out there like him. Attempted experiments with attempts to duplicate and perfect his abilities. People with side effects like Tanner’s that can create powerful foes down the line. To me, this is great series set up, and opens the door for all kinds of interesting characters that can help carry the story.
The real shocker that develops into the conflict that I think will drive the plot going forward is the fact that there is something out there that can physically hurt Luke Cage! The main power that Luke Cage has is that his skin is impenetrable, and here, he is quite easily penetrated! This will be the major hook. This will keep us reading. How can Luke Cage be physically harmed! It’s one of the things that make us cringe, because our hero is vulnerable, but how can a story be good without any really tough adversity?
The art in this book is on point. I’ve praised Nelson Blake II before about other books, but man, this is clean! Every page is visually appealing. Character details have a finesse to them, and Luke Cage has a look and presence that commands his book. If a reader who had no idea who Luke Cage was, turned to a random page in the book, then they’d know that he was the centerpiece. Combine this with the bright colors and the writing and you have an amazing creative team on this project.
I think this was a strong opening for the series. Characters have been introduced, the catalyst has been set and questions of been poised. It is a perfect set up for a great series. Go to your local comic shop and grab Luke Cage #1 and then list the series! Jump into this book early! You won’t be disappointed.