New Avengers: Luke Cage #1


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New Avengers: Luke Cage #1


  • Words: John Arcudi
  • Art: Eric Canete
  • Colors: Chris Chuckry
  • Story Title: Town Without Pity
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 7, 2010

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, made it famous as Power Man in the seventies. A product of the blaxploitation movement, Power Man and Iron Fist had their adventures, cleaning up the streets a drug dealer at a time only to fall into obscurity in the eighties and nineties.

Resurrected by Brian Michael Bendis in the pages of Alias and New Avengers, Luke Cage has evolved into a leader, role model, and family man. In a medium of constant fluctuation between familiar status quos, Cage has been allowed to evolve.   

Writer John Arcudi (B.P.R.D., Wednesday Comics) brings Luke Cage back to his old beat while still respecting the current developments of his life. Tonally, the first half of this book fits neatly into the confines of Luke's life as a New Avenger. It seems to take place after Siege, but the Superhuman Registration Act is mentioned as a concern (which one assumed would no longer be an issue during the Heroic Age). It seems that this mini series is going to dance between the raindrops of Siege and the Avengers re-launch. 

After a quick team up with Ronin and Spider-Man, an old friend from the not so chummy slums of Philadelphia summons Cage. After much resistance from his wife, Jessica Jones, Luke convinces her that he has to do this one last favor. It's a familiar hero's flaw, sacrificing personal needs and desires in the service of others. A man like Cage is defined by his status in the community and dependability as a role model. He didn't set out to be one, but now that he is, he takes the responsibility seriously (see New Avengers #22 for a top notch example of this). What transpires is a turf war bridging some of Cage's early days as Power Man to the appearance of a few of Spider-Man's current rogues.

This is a nice little set up issue, introducing you to the character's ordinary world and then shaking it up a little bit. Arcudi's style is always reliable and solid. He's able to capture the everyman mentality of these heroes, making them relatable and defined at the same time. A funny bit about cell phones at the beginning of the issue exhibits this conceit nicely. I never would've considered losing cell phones frequently an occupational hazard of super people, but it works.

The big curve ball thrown with this mini is the dynamic art by Mr. Eric Canete. I am most famous for his animation work, especially on such programs as Aeon Flux and Justice League Unlimited. He was most recently seen illustrating Rick Remender's The End League and last year's Deadpool-centric Amazing Spider-Man. He has a frenetic and exaggerated line that balances quite nicely with Arcudi's everyman approach. The way he handles the flashback to Cage's Power Man days is such a wonderful scene, so well written and illustrated, that I almost wish this whole series lived in that time period. From the sun drenched colors of the seventies to the fun slang, which never tips over the edge of ham fisted. It really makes this issue shine.

Arcudi and Canete deliver a fun mini series that successfully utilizes the best aspects of this character. He's a man of action, team player, family man, and above all, he tries to do the right thing. By not attempting to redesign the wheel, this creative team does right by Luke Cage and his expanding legacy.

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  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Apr 8, 2010 at 10:26am

    ACK! Forgot to pre-order. Nice review, I'm curious about this one ...

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