“The trailer for Luke Cage, Netflix’s new series and the latest tendril in the multi-limbed leviathan that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, depicts a hero far removed from the sleek, glamorous world of Iron Man andCaptain America.
Titular superhuman Luke Cage is struggling in a financially deprived section of Harlem, a victim of wrongful imprisonment and unwilling subject of body-altering experimentation. Luke breaks free from his glass prison shirtless, with metal shackles around his wrists. The imagery isn’t exactly subtle, but it’s effective – Luke Cage is the Harlem-born breaker of chains, the physical embodiment of hope against racial oppression. After a year of headlines dominated by racial turmoil in the US, watching the trials and tribulations of the Black Lives Matter movement, the arrival of bulletproof black man Luke Cage is almost too perfect.
Cage exists in the same world as Jessica Jones, and has already appeared in her series, the intention being that both themselves and Daredevil are to team up and form an unbeatable franchise one day. Like Jessica Jones, which was really a show about surviving the psychological consequences of sexual abuse (with added superpowers), Luke Cage looks to be strangely grounded and relatable for a Marvel superhuman. A reluctant hero, he doesn’t even call himself “Crimefighter-Man” or anything. Just plain old Luke Cage.
It appears Marvel’s steadily increasing line-up is slowly starting to diversify, in demographic and genre, as superheros begin to invade television drama and grow more subdued in the process. Having moved past the original comic and its blaxploitation roots, Luke seems an appropriate hero for the modern age. A stark contrast to the amusingly outdated Black Panther, who hails from fictional African nation, “Wakanda.” I’m not sure why it was necessary to dream that up, as Africa actually boasts several real-life nations to choose from, but whatever. Harlem is a real place, right…?”