When Marvel’s Luke Cage first debuted in the comics in 1972, the New York City-based black superhero with super-strength and unbreakable skin was very much of his time. As the civil rights movement stepped onto a new stage, Blaxploitation movies like Superfly and Shaft snagged big box office and America’s cities slid further into decline, the Hero for Hire struck a chord but was never able to find steady success at the newsstand.
With the launching of the very strong Luke Cage the TV series on Netflix on September 30, this version of the hero is already a big success in my opinion and very much of its time. As showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker said at Comic-Con this year, “When I think about what is going on in the world right now, the world is ready for a bulletproof black man.”
Yes, as I say in my video review above, and the world is also ready for one of the most socially relevant and smartest shows on the small screen you will see this year. In fact, with star power deluxe from lead Mike Colter and House Of Cards alum Mahershala Ali as the villainous Cornell Cottonmouth Stokes, the 13-episode first season is one of the best shows on the air and on the horizon.
Linking to the Greater Marvel Universe with finesse, hip-hop’s alternating swagger and reserve, the zeitgeist, and the iconic legacy of Harlem, the series reaches both back and forward into the culture of heroes and an America looking for a true game-changer. With a muscular cast that includes Alfre Woodard, Theo Rossi and Rosario Dawson, plus every episode named after a Gang Starr track, the wide-ranging and deeply intended drama is further proof that Marvel’s highest quality resides on the small screen.
In this year of election and divide, the series executive produced by Coker, Charles Murray and Jeph Loeb just might be the flexing of the muscle we need.
Click on my review of Luke Cage above and tell us if you will be binge-ing on September 30.
This review was originally posted on Sept. 7, 2016