Arts & Entertainment Just for Fun Opinion

Luke Cage: Steel man vs Poisonous snake

Written by Anthony Grafton

I have been watching the Netflix series Luke Cage. I have not currently finished season two but still want to talk about the character of Luke Cage. There will be spoilers for the series in this article, so do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. Luke Cage is very similar to the original Luke Cage in the comics so if you know his origin story from the comics it should be the same. I know there is also a House of M version of him so if that changes his origin, which I do not know of it does, it will not matter because that version is not in the show as I know of.

The first thing I like about Luke Cage as a show is how they treat his powers. He’s durable enough to where at the start of the show no one can hurt him. This is contrasted with the fact that he trusts two people. One is his dead wife that he found out lied to him so he doesn’t love her anymore. The other is his dead wife’s father. Luke was framed, sent to jail, and when he got out her father, Pop, gave Luke a job at his barber shop. Pop later dies because one of the people who worked at the barber shop robbed a crime boss. All of these events go out of had very quick and it is almost hard to keep track. Coming from eyes of Luke Cage, this is a good way to show that even though no one can hurt his outside, things still hurt him on the inside. Luke feels responsible for Pop’s death for multiple reasons. Pop was killed in the barbershop by a man walking in and spraying gunfire but Luke only had time to save a kid. Pop also went to jail but turned his life around and made the shop. Pop was a beacon for the community of Harlem and before the shooting his shop was considered Switzerland. The shooting was done by one of the mob boss’s, the mob boss’s street name is cottonmouth but he doesn’t like the name, even though Cottonmouth never told him to go. Luke Cage Blamed Cottonmouth for Pop’s death even though it had little to do with Cottonmouth. Cottonmouth did kill lackey because Cottonmouth use to be a part of Pop’s crew before he went to jail.

Then there is the comparison of Luke Cage to Cottonmouth. They are both very similar in thinking about relationships with both having a deep connection with Pop. Though Pop had just met Luke, he took Luke in and keep him at the shop even after his daughter’s death. Pop going way back with Cottonmouth, Pop gave Cornell Stokes the name after seeing him with missing teeth. Pop was a father to both of them when they had none. Cottonmouth couldn’t trust most of his family and the one person that had his back he had to kill. Cottonmouth is part of a big crimmal family that does good for the community. His grandmother ran the business but she never trusted his Uncle who pushed Cottonmouth’s love for music forward. This was until Mama Mable, Cottonmouth’s grandmother, saw his uncle as a threat because of Cottonmouth so Cottonmouth had to end it.  Luke’s father gave up on him after going to jail which makes Luke feel like he never cared in the first place. Luke later finds out that his father, who is a preacher, had a baby with his secretary. Luke grew up with him as his best friend never knowing he was his brother. His brother framed him their father bailed Luke out of a previous crime because he only claims one of his children. The preacher, named James Lucas, gave Luke Cage the name Charles Lucas but not his brother to keep people from realizing he had an affair. After framing his brother, he changed his name to Diamondback because he never had his real family’s name of Lucas. After people thought Charles died and gained his power, he changed his name to Luke Cage to leave all of his old life behind including the father that never visited him in jail. The big theme is one family and Cottonmouth is a foil to Luke in this sense. Luke wants nothing to do with his pass while his past and family history lead him to be a criminal power house.

Pictured from the Ablum art of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s Luke Cage soundtrack


About the author

Anthony Grafton