Luke Cage #1 Review

comic books:
Christian Bone

Reviewed by:
On May 17, 2017
Last modified:May 17, 2017


The Hero for Hire's newest solo series opens with a strong start, thanks to some first rate writing that nails the voice and personality of the titular character.

Luke Cage #1 Review

With Mike Colter’s version of the character about to team up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist in Netflix’s The Defenders this summer, it’s the perfect time for Marvel to give Luke Cage his own solo series once again. The Hero of Harlem’s adventures have got a lot bigger and bolder over the years, but this series promises to return Luke to his more down-to-earth roots. With his wife and daughter nowhere in sight, the opening issue hits the ground running with that mission statement, as it’s full of pure Power Man goodness.

In Luke Cage #1, Cage leaves New York behind for New Orleans, to attend the funeral of Dr. Noah Burstein – the man who gave him his unbreakable skin. Whilst there, the Hero for Hire discovers that Burstein repeated his experiments on other patients after Luke. And it seems some sinister folks are out to exploit his work for their own ends.

Writer David F. Walker is on top form here, as his love for Luke shines through. The opening act, in particular, is a real treat, as it features Luke in his element and doing what he does best before the rest of the story takes him out of his comfort zone. There’s even a hallway/staircase fight scene that could come straight out of the Netflix series. Immediately, Walker establishes what makes Cage such an awesome character. He’s a heck of a tough guy, sure, but he’s a man of the people at heart and a true hero.

As the story moves to The Big Easy, things cool off on the action front for a while but Walker instead does a terrific job of building up the intrigue, as the questions get laid on thick: was Burstein murdered? Who’s the trenchcoated man following Luke around? What do those masked bad guys want with Burstein’s work? The fact that it’s all tied into Luke’s origins also makes this an easy jumping on point for new readers who might want to check out more from the character after seeing the Netflix shows.

Joining Walker is Nelson Blake II, who provides some excellent clean-cut artwork. There’s nothing particularly outlandish on show in the comic, so Blake’s nicely detailed style suits the book really well. Luke is often a stony-faced fella, but Blake does a good job of getting across his inner torment and grief through some subtle facial expressions. The artist is also able to let rip in the final pages and offer an exciting fight sequence. A shout out must go to Marcio Menyz here as well for bringing the panels to life with an effective blood red backdrop.

By the end of the issue, Luke is put in a fascinating position, as he’s caught in an emotionally dark place and all of a sudden his skin doesn’t seem that bulletproof anymore. Thanks to some excellent character work from a writer who seems to totally understand the protagonist, we look forward to seeing how things develop for the Hero Formally Known As Power Man in Luke Cage #2.

Luke Cage #1 Review

The Hero for Hire's newest solo series opens with a strong start, thanks to some first rate writing that nails the voice and personality of the titular character.