Above image by Marvel.
By Edward Gutierrez
What more is needed within Marvel’s Netflix series? They gave us Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Punisher, yet Luke Cage has potential to become their crown jewel. It delivers a solid story line where politics and real-life issues collide into one, thus giving the viewers a superhero they can sit and binge watch and at the same time possess a sense of reality. Luke Cage is a show that attacks race and police brutality, yet still holds its integrity and continues to be what makes this show so unique from its Marvel counterparts: unapologetically Black.
This is a superhero that needed the limelight in today's America, a black man that is bulletproof. One that is relatable to minorities and middle-class fans. The same fans that continue to deal with real world issues that are brought up in the series such as gangs, drugs and the wrongful killings of African-Americans, an issue that will not be shunned anymore in today's America.
Having being set in present day Harlem, New York, the show continues to remind us the focal point of unity, power and diversity. It continues to throw out subtle hints of real-life individuals such as ASAP Rocky, Langston Hughes and even a quick, yet valuable cameo from Method-Man himself. It delivers an essence of reality and at the same time brings Luke Cage (Mike Colter) into the limelight, showcasing his origin and even diving deeper into his inner demons. Marvel continues to be successful with the way they focus more on the character as a person rather then just glorifying them as a superhero. The show even leaves a sense of connection with its villains such as Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes (Mahershala Ali), the tailored kingpin who continues to be a shadow of his past. He becomes the face of violence in the Harlem streets, portrayed with a sense of elegance and hate.
And that alone, filled with an impressive cast of Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodward and Theo Rossi, the show continues to attack the issue of Cage being a target. Throughout the show, Cage is faced with the brash reality of being a black hero targeted by the system sworn to protect him. Within the series Cage is seen as the number one suspect whenever a crime is taken place, no matter where he is in America. He posses the proverbial target on his back that many young African-American males have in today's society.
The show continues to showcase the reality America and African-Americans deal with on a daily basis by showing two completely different sides of the spectrum. Cage represents those who do good and still find themselves being gunned down, while ‘Cottonmouth’ and other villains represent the large population that has the odds stacked against them. A world where the only way to be successful and gain respect is through crime and violence.
Cage and company not only remind us of the cruel reality America is dealing with but of the past we continue to forget. Full of pride and unity by where he is from, Luke Cage reminds us of the good inner cities have to offer. And that no matter what the system throws your way, there is a positive outlook on life. Yes, Luke Cage has indestructible skin and super human strength, but the element that makes this series great is his emotion. His resilience and passion to bring good back to Harlem. Cage is the superhero America needed to see on screen.