Coming off the heels of critically acclaimed Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, fans were eagerly awaiting the release of Luke Cage, the bulletproof behemoth with superhuman strength. What we were left with, however, was a giant disappointing piece of shit plagued with stupid characters and god awful writing. Let’s see what this Luke Cage review has in store for us…
Quick History Lesson
Luke Cage, aka Power Man, was a Marvel character from the 1970s, like many comic book characters from that time, featured a wacky suit and semi-interesting backstory. A product of the 1970s Blacksploitation era, he was the first black superhero to be featured in his own title comic, titled Luke Cage: Hero For Hire. Born Carl Lucas, Cage was an ex-convict who had been wrongfully imprisoned. He was later subjected to a science experiment against his own will, that left him imbued with superhuman strength and seemingly unbreakable skin. He would later team up with Iron Fist, a white guy that knew Asian martial arts, in Power Man and Iron Fist. Perhaps one day, we will see an actual major Asian male superhero, but that’s a discussion for another time.
The show itself starts off decent enough. We are reacquainted with Cage following the events of Jessica Jones (if you aren’t familiar, just go watch that instead and avoid this piece of shit). Luke is keeping a low profile sweeping floors at a barbershop, while holding down a job as a substitute bartender at a nightclub run by mob boss Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes, played by Mahershala Ali (shame he got caught up in this mess, and killed off way too early as well).
Some shit goes down, people end up dead including Pop, reformed gangster and barbershop owner who had taken Cage under his wing. He was a childhood friend of Cottonmouth, but had gone straight years ago to mentor the youth. Pop had a corny ass saying, “Forward, always,” which were his dying words to Luke. Uh huh sure–I did not see that coming at all.
I should have known that vomit-inducing predictable scene was just a hint of the terrible bullshit the rest of the show had to offer. Instead of analyzing every single episode and making myself angry, I’ll highlight examples of god-awful character writing decisions made by the douchebags in charge.
A street-wise detective that has a brief romance with Cage. In one episode, she plays a game of HORSE with a teenager to extract information out of him. Her name written on the basketball court was apparently enough street cred for the kid to just give up information, after losing a game to her. She also has the ability to put herself in a crime scene by looking at pictures, which allows her to pick up clues where others can’t. Awesome. Misty also has some more going on in the comic, but I stopped giving a shit after the game of HORSE.
Hernan ‘Shades’ Alvarez
Do I even need to say anything about how big of a douchebag one has to be to wear sunglasses inside? Apparently in the world of Luke Cage, it makes him badass enough to throw his weight around. Sorry, but I don’t buy it at all. Cottonmouth or Luke should have just thrown his dumbass out a window and spare the viewers.
I mean honestly, is anyone buying this? What a tool.
Luke’s half brother, who happens to spit bible verses whilst trying to kill his bro, is way too over the top. The character simply did not fit into a show that already had trouble maintaining its tone and message. It felt like the writers knew they had to fit him in, and rammed the character down our throats, instead of finding an appropriate way to fit him into the story line.
Something that really bothered me was the difference between Cage in Jessica Jones and Cage in this show. Viewers were introduced to a solitary, brooding bartender in Jones. There he found some common ground with Jessica, which led to both of them opening up together, only to be drawn into chaos that the Purple Man wrought onto her life. After the events at the conclusion of Jones, Cage moves uptown to Harlem, and suddenly finds himself with a more lighthearted and humorous demeanor.
What the hell?
Stopping for My Own Sanity
After dragging my feet through the first 10 episodes, I had to stop for the sake of my own mental and emotional well-being. I may try to finish for the sake of The Defenders, which will be released in fall of this year, but probably not. If you like poor predictable writing, stupid characters, and a general mess of a TV show, then this right up your alley!
He's a Fine Arts degree holder with formal training in fine art since he was just a lad hitting puberty. He originally started pursuing art because of a love for the sequential art medium aka the fancy word for comics. From there, he went into the traditional painting world and has since circled back to the world of comic creation.
He's currently working on his own comic creation that you might see published here and drawn using modern digital artist tools/software. It's a departure from the mediums he's used to, but a good learning experience.