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Created by Archie Goodwin (writer) and John Romita Sr. (artist)

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Also Known As:

Power Man, Mark Lucas, Hero for Hire, Ace of Spades.

Real Name:

Carl Lucas – Changed legally to Luke Cage

First Appearance:

Hero For Hire (1972)

 

Powers:

Steel-hard skin that cannot be cut by the sharpest of blades.
Super Strength that allows him to lift up to 25 tons.
Recovery time caused by Injury or trauma is one-third that of a normal human.

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from Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Abilities:  

Competent hand to hand combatant.
Superb Athlete.
Self Educated in Law and can speak several languages.

Rogues Gallery:

Chemistro – former chemist who uses the ‘alchemy gun’ capable of transforming matter.
Shades-  a clever criminal who knows how to play ‘the game’ to get what he wants.
Cheshire Cat- scout who has the ability to go invisible, become tangible and teleport.
The Purple Man- Mind Controller, can get people to do anything he says.
Cockroach Hamilton- Mob enforcer who has a powerful shotgun he calls Josh.
Cold Fire- Luke’s Brother James who becomes a protoplasmic being who can compose white-hot flames.
Tombstone- Hitman for the mob.
Moses Magnum- Terrorist capable of generating earthquakes and shockwaves.
Mr Fish- radioactive half man, half fish, gang leader.

Group Affiliation:

Avengers.
Thunderbolts.
Secret Defenders.
Heroes for Hire.
Fantastic Four.
Defenders.
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Highlights:

1972- The first black superhero to receive a solo series in Marvel Comics.
1978-  Iron Fist joins his series as its renamed Power Man and Iron Fist.
1992- New solo series call titled Cage
2005- Joined The Avengers
2006- Married Jessica Jones
2016- Netflix Series

History:

First comic story: Hero for Hire

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Luke Cage (then named Carl Lucas) is seen as a prisoner. We see him just leaving Solitary confinement. It’s clear even early on that though Lucas joins teams later in his crime fighting career he has always been comfortable alone. So when some prisoners pressure him into creating a riot, he refuses.. expressing that he is nobody’s puppet.
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A similar event happens when the prison guard/temporary warden named Rackham orders Lucas to act as a snitch and report on everything involving the prisoners. When Lucas refuses, the warden throws him back into solitary confinement and gives one of the guards authority to assault Carl. However given his respect for authority, Carl refuses to fight back which only taunts both the guard and Rackham even more.
It’s at this time that the New Warden appears. He had purposes arrived at the prison unannounced to see how the prison ran. Now seeing the disgusting way in which Carl was treated, the new warden fires the prison guard on the spot. Rather than firing Rackham though, the new Warden puts him back to work as a prison guard and orders him to obey the rules accordingly.

Lucas gets his wounds healed by a Doctor named Burstein, who tells Carl that he would like to work with him. Burstein has a science project and needs Lucas’s help to bring it to fruition.

Its now we get a flashback and a good look at Lucas’s origin story.

Carl Lucas was born and raised in Harlem. Spending most of his youth in a gang called the Bloods he made good friend’s with a boy named Willis Stryker. In and out of Juvenile Homes through his teens, it wasn’t until he saw how much his actions were hurting his family that he decided to better himself. While Carl was working in a legitimate job, his Friend Stryker was going up the criminal ranks. At one point Stryker was badly beaten by a mob and it was only thanks to Lucas that he was saved. Willis’s girlfriend now afraid of the life Willis was involved in decided to break up. Considering her closeness to Carl, Willis was convinced Lucas had stolen his girlfriend and out of jealousy and rage he planted heroin in Carl’s apartment. Falsely convicted Carl was thrown in Seagate prison.

Fast forward now to Doctor Burstein’s science proposition to Lucas.
The request was that Carl volunteer to have experimental cell regeneration. It was based on Super-Soldier serum Doctor Burstein had previously used on Warhawk.
Lukas agreed and the process began.
Lucas was placed in a electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound. Just before the procedure, Doctor Burstein left the area unattended.  former warden Rackham noticed what was going on and messed with the experiment control’s to try and to kill Lucas. However the process was instead exaggerated and granted Carl with a range of enhancements including Super Strength and durability.
Trying to grasp his new abilities, with his new found powers Lucas was able to escape Seagate and made his way to New York.
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It doesn’t take Lucas that long to realise that his enhanced abilities could be used to bring in profit.
Changing his name to Luke Cage he begins his career as the Hero for Hire.

Written by Tyrone Burns