By Chrissi DiMartino ’18
“I believe in the people who make Harlem what it is.” —Luke Cage
Marvel’s Luke Cage was so highly anticipated, Netflix servers went down the weekend it was released —and for good reason: Luke Cage is packed with drama, action-packed fights, politics, and a hip-hop playlist. Fans of Marvel’s previous Netflix series will recognize Luke from Jessica Jones, where we learned about his superpower, his unbreakable skin.
In his own series, Mike Colter’s Luke makes his way in a divided Harlem, trying to leave his past behind him and move forward. Former nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) from Jessica Jones and Daredevil returns as well, remaining one of the best characters in the MCU canon for her no-nonsense approach to the many superheroes in her life. Simone Missik shines as Misty Knight, an NYPD detective who sticks to her guns and faces corruption head-on to make her city safer. Oscar winner Mahershala Ali is Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, and Alfre Woodard is his cousin Mariah Dillard. This conniving, ambitious pair will send shivers down your spine. Sons of Anarchy’s Theo Rossi also stars as “Shades” Alvarez, a sideline manipulator who gets what he wants.
Die-hard comic fans will appreciate the nods to Luke’s original costume and superhero alias (Power Man), although some other straight-from-the-comics moments were altered (one of the villain’s relationship to Luke and the fate of Misty Knight, for example).
There are also many references to other Marvel shows and movies, such as Iron Man 2’s main villain, Tony Stark himself, and many other events from the movies. Marvel fans may also recognize Alfre Woodard from her cameo in Captain America: Civil War.
The series weaves together its many plot points and character arcs seamlessly, leading to a riveting finale. Luke Cage is due to appear alongside Daredevil Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist in the Marvel Netflix original, The Defenders.
Fun Fact: Every episode of season one is titled after songs by Brooklyn hip-hop duo, Gang Starr.