Saturday, December 12, 2015

Iron Fist

Iron Fist (Daniel "Danny" Rand) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, he first appeared in Marvel Premiere #15 (May 1974). He is a practitioner of martial arts and the wielder of a mystical force known as the Iron Fist, which allows him to summon and focus his chi. The character starred in his own solo series in the 1970s, and shared the title Power Man and Iron Fist for several years with Luke Cage, partnering with Cage to form the superhero team Heroes for Hire. The character has starred in numerous solo titles since, including The Immortal Iron Fist, which expanded on his origin story and the history of the Iron Fist.

The character will be making his live-action debut in a Netflix developed Iron Fist television series, the fourth and final in a series of shows that will culminate in a Defenders miniseries alongside Daredevil, Jessica Jones and frequent partner Luke Cage.

Iron Fist, along with the previously created Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, came from Marvel Comics during a pop culture trend in the early to mid-1970s of martial arts heroes. Writer/co-creator Roy Thomas wrote in a text piece in Marvel Premiere #15 that Iron Fist's origin and creation owe much to the 1940s Bill Everett character, Amazing-Man. Thomas later wrote that he and artist/co-creator Gil Kane had

...started "Iron Fist" because I'd seen my first kung fu movie, even before a Bruce Lee one came out, and it had a thing called 'the ceremony of the Iron Fist' in it. I thought that was a good name, and we already had Master of Kung Fu going, but I thought, 'Maybe a superhero called Iron Fist, even though we had Iron Man, would be a good idea.' [Publisher] Stan [Lee] liked the name, so I got hold of Gil and he brought in his Amazing Man influences, and we designed the character together...

Debuting in a story written by Thomas and pencilled by Kane in the umbrella title Marvel Premiere #15-25 (May 1974 – October 1975), he was then written successively by Len Wein, Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, and Chris Claremont, with art by successive pencillers Larry Hama, Arvell Jones, Pat Broderick, and, in some of his earliest professional work, John Byrne. Following this run, Iron Fist was immediately spun off into the solo series Iron Fist, which ran 15 issues (November 1975 – September 1977). The solo series was written by Claremont and pencilled by Byrne. A subplot involving Steel Serpent left unresolved by the cancellation of the series was wrapped up in issues #63-64 of Marvel Team-Up.

To rescue the character from cancellation, Marvel paired Iron Fist up with another character who was no longer popular enough to sustain his own series, Luke Cage. The two were partnered up in a three-part story in Cage's series Power Man #48-50. The title of the series changed to Power Man and Iron Fist with issue #50 (April 1978), although the indicia did not reflect this change until issue #67. Iron Fist co-starred in the series until the final issue (#125, September 1986), in which he is killed off. Writer Jim Owsley (subsequently known as Christopher Priest) later commented, "Fist’s death was senseless and shocking and completely unforeseen. It took the readers’ heads clean off. And, to this day, people are mad about it. Forgetting, it seems, that (a) you were supposed to be mad, that death is senseless and Fist’s death was supposed to be senseless, or that (b) this is a comic book."

Iron Fist was revived half a decade later in Namor the Sub-Mariner #21-25 (December 1991 - April 1992), a story which revealed that the character killed in Power Man and Iron Fist #125 was a doppelganger. He then became a frequently starring character in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents, featuring in three multi-part story arcs and four one-shot stories within less than two years, in 1992 and 1993. Two solo miniseries followed: Iron Fist (vol. 2) #1-2 (September – October 1996), by writer James Felder and penciller Robert Brown; and Iron Fist (vol. 3) #1-3 (July – September 1998), by writer Dan Jurgens and penciller Jackson Guice. Also around this time, he was among the ensemble of the group series Heroes for Hire which ran 19 issues (July 1997 – January 1999).

Following a four-issue miniseries by writer Jay Faerber and penciller Jamal Igle, Iron Fist: Wolverine (November 2000 – February 2001), co-starring the X-Men character Wolverine and cover-billed as Iron Fist/Wolverine: The Return of K'un Lun, came another solo miniseries, Iron Fist vol. 4 #1-6 (May – October 2004), by writer Jim Mullaney and penciller Kevin Lau. The first issue of a new ongoing series, The Immortal Iron Fist, by co-writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and primary artist David Aja, premiered with a January 2007 cover-date. Duane Swierczynski took over the series from issue #17.

Iron Fist appearances outside his own title include three Iron Fist stories in Marvel's black-and-white comics magazine Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #10 (March 1975), an additional story co-starring the Sons of the Tiger in issue #18 (November 1975), and a six-part serial, "The Living Weapon", in #19-24 (December 1975 – May 1976). He made guest appearances in such titles as Marvel Two-in-One, Marvel Team-Up, the Sub-Mariner series Namor, Black Panther, and Daredevil.

Iron Fist appeared as a regular character throughout the 2010-2013 New Avengers series, from issue #1 (August 2010) through its final issue #34 (January 2013). In 2014 Iron Fist was given new life and set to star in a new twelve issue comic book series written and drawn by Kaare Andrews titled Iron Fist: The Living Weapon as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! event.

Daniel Rand was born in New York City, the son of Wendell Rand, who discovered the mystical city of K'un-L'un as a young boy. During his time in K'un L'un, Wendell saved the life of the city's ruler, Lord Tuan, and was adopted as Tuan's son. However, Wendell eventually left K'un L'un and became a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He married socialite Heather Duncan and had a child: Daniel.

Wendell later organizes an expedition to again seek out K'un L'un, taking his wife Heather; his business partner Harold Meachum; and nine-year-old Daniel. During the journey up the mountain, Daniel slips off the path, his tie-rope taking his mother and father with him. Meachum, who also loves Heather, forces Wendell to plunge to his death but offers to rescue Heather and Daniel. She rejects his help. Heather and Daniel come across a makeshift bridge that appears out of nowhere and are attacked by a pack of wolves. Heather throws herself on the wolves to save Daniel and is killed even as archers from K'un L'un attempt to save her. The archers take the grieving Daniel to see Yü-Ti, the hooded ruler of K'un L'un. When Daniel expresses his desire for vengeance, Yü-Ti apprentices him to Lei Kung, the Thunderer, who teaches him the martial arts.

Daniel proves to be the most gifted of Lei Kung's students. Rand conditions his fists by plunging them into buckets of sand, gravel, and rock to toughen them. At 19, Daniel is given the chance to attain the power of the Iron Fist by fighting and defeating the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, who guards the molten heart that had been torn from its body. During the battle, Daniel throws himself against the scar of Shou-Lao, which burns a dragon tattoo into his chest. Having killed Shou-Lao, he enters its cave and plunges his fists into a brazier containing the creature's molten heart, emerging with the power of the Iron Fist. It is later revealed that Daniel is part of a long lineage of Iron Fists.

When K'un L'un reappears on Earth after 10 years, Daniel leaves to find his father's killer. Returning to New York, Daniel Rand, dressed in the ceremonial garb of the Iron Fist, seeks out Harold Meachum, now head of Meachum Industries. After overcoming a number of attempts on his life, he confronts Meachum in his office, only to find the man legless—an amputation carried out when, after abandoning Daniel and his mother, he was caught in heavy snow and his legs became frostbitten.

Meachum accepts his fate and tells Iron Fist to kill him. Overcome with pity, Iron Fist walks away. At that moment Meachum is murdered by a mysterious ninja, and his daughter Joy blames Iron Fist for the death. Eventually, Iron Fist clears his name and begins a career as a superhero, aided by his friends Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, falling in love with the latter Notable adversaries in his early career include Sabretooth, the mysterious Master Khan (whom the ninja that killed Meachum once served), and the Steel Serpent, the exiled son of Lei Kung, who coveted the Iron Fist power.

Heroes for Hire
While working undercover, Misty Knight infiltrates the organization of crime lord John Bushmaster. When Bushmaster discovers Knight's treachery, he kidnaps Claire Temple and Noah Burstein, close associates of Luke Cage, better known as Power Man, and holds them hostage to force Cage to eliminate Knight. Iron Fist is on hand to stop him, however after a battle, the truth comes out. Rand helps Cage and the Daughters of the Dragon (Knight and Wing) battle Bushmaster, rescue Temple and Burstein, and obtain evidence that proves Cage's innocence of prior drug charges. Afterwards, Iron Fist and Power Man become partners, forming Heroes for Hire, Inc.

Iron Fist, in his secret identity of Daniel Rand, resumes control of his parents' fortune as half of Rand-Meachum, Inc., making him quite wealthy. This causes tension between him and Cage, who was raised poor.

Power Man and Iron Fist's partnership ends with Rand contracting cancer and being kidnapped as part of a plot masterminded by Master Khan. Just prior to a battle with the Black Dragon Chiantang (the brother of the mythical Dragon King), Danny is replaced by a doppelgänger created by the extra-dimensional H'ylthri. The double (who wears a red variant of the Iron Fist costume) is killed by Captain Hero a short time later. Cage, now the prime suspect in Rand's apparent death, becomes a fugitive.

Resurrection
While in stasis in K'un-L'un with the H'ylthri, Iron Fist manages to focus his chi, curing the cancer. He is later freed from stasis by Namor.

Rand and Cage reform Heroes for Hire, Inc. with an expanded team, this time working for Namor's Oracle Corporation. Namor ultimately dissolves Oracle as well as Heroes for Hire, Inc.

Iron Fist later loses his powers to Junzo Muto, the young leader of the Hand, and subsequently becomes the guardian of a pack of displaced dragons in Tokyo. His powers are eventually restored by Chiantang, who brainwashes Iron Fist and forces him to battle Black Panther. Black Panther is able to free Iron Fist from the creature's control, and the two work together to defeat the Black Dragon in Wakanda.

In the Iron Fist miniseries, Miranda Rand-K'ai also returns from the dead. The H'ylthri revive her and promise to restore her to full life if she retrieves the extra-dimensional artifact known as the Zodiac Key. To this end, she takes the identity of Death Sting, bringing her into conflict with Iron Fist as well as with S.H.I.E.L.D. When the H'ylthri try to kill Iron Fist, Miranda turns the power of the Zodiac Key against them, seemingly killing herself in the process. However, exposure to chemicals from the H'ylthri pods prevented her death.

Danny Rand as Daredevil. Art by Michael Lark.
Rand disguises himself as Daredevil to convince the media and the public that Matt Murdock is not the masked vigilante.

During the Civil War, he opposes the Superhuman Registration Act, joining Captain America while still pretending to be Daredevil. Rand is apprehended by Pro-Registration forces. He is later freed from the Negative Zone Prison, joining Captain America's team to battle Iron Man's forces.

New Avengers
After the arrest of Captain America, Rand joins the New Avengers, an underground group provided with secure accommodation by Doctor Strange and which includes his former teammate Luke Cage. In the public eye, Rand is able to avoid arrest with legal loopholes. Rand leaves the New Avengers due to a variety of problems but lets them know if they ever need him to give him a call. He later aids the New Avengers in locating and rescuing Cage from Norman Osborn after he suffered a heart attack and was summarily taken into custody as a fugitive.

The Immortal Iron Fist
Main article: The Immortal Iron Fist
Orson Randall, Daniel Rand's immediate predecessor, seeks out Daniel Rand in New York and gives him The Book of the Iron Fist, a sacred ledger supposedly containing all the Kung-fu secrets of previous Iron Fists, which Randall claims will be necessary if Rand is to compete successfully in the coming tournament of the Seven Champions. The Steel Serpent, whose powers have been greatly augmented by Crane Mother, dispatches Randall. On the brink of death, Randall surrenders his Chi to Rand, giving him sufficient power to battle the Serpent to a standstill. After the battle, Rand is summoned by his master, Lei Kung (who is also the father of Steel Serpent) to compete in a tournament that will decide the cycle according to which each of the Seven Cities of Heaven appears on Earth. However, the leaders of the Seven Cities had secretly erected gateways between Earth and each city without the knowledge of the populace. The corruption of the leaders of the Seven Cities of Heaven spurs Iron Fist, Lei Kung, Orson Randall's daughter, and John Aman to plan a revolution. Iron Fist discovers that Crane Mother and Xao, a high-ranking HYDRA operative, are planning to destroy K'un Lun by using a portal. Upon learning of the plot Steel Serpent helps Rand and the other Immortal weapons defeat Xao.

Rand destroys the train intended to destroy K'un Lun by extending his chi to find the train's electromagnetic field. Meanwhile, the revolution orchestrated by Lei Kung and Orson's daughter proves successful, with Nu-an, the Yu-Ti of K'un Lun fleeing in terror. When Rand confronts Xao, Xao reveals that there is an eighth city of Heaven before killing himself. Rand suggests Lei Kung as the new Yu-Ti, with Orson's unnamed daughter as the new Thunderer.

After learning that the Randall fortune that started Rand International was formed from the oppression of the Cities of Heaven, Rand decides to transform the company into a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping the poor. He also sets up the Thunder Dojo in Harlem to help inner city children, buys back the old Heroes for Hire building as the new Rand International Headquarters, and his new home, while offering Luke Cage a position at the company. He also tries to reconnect with Misty Knight. Rand on his 33rd birthday learns every single one of the previous Iron Fists died at the age of 33, except Orson Randell, who vanished at that same time.

Soon afterward Rand is attacked and defeated by Zhou Cheng, a servant of Ch'l-Lin, who claims to have killed the Iron Fists in order to enter K'un Lun and devour the egg that births the next Shou-Lao the Undying every generation, thus wiping out K'un Lun's Iron Fist legacy. Luke, Misty, and Coleen arrive and save Rand. Rand has his shoulder dislocated during in a second battle with Cheng, but manages to defeat Cheng even in his weakened state. Following the duel, the Immortal Weapons, Luke, Coleen, and Misty arrive, and reveal to Rand that they have discovered a map in Cheng's apartment that leads to the Eighth City of Heaven. Rand and the others realize that this is where the Ch'l-Lin originated, and depart for the Eighth City.

In the Eighth city he meets Quan Yaozu, the first Iron Fist, who became disillusioned with K'un Lun and rose up to rule the Eighth City as Changming. Rand and Fat Cobra manage to defeat Quan. Rand's actions during their battles impress Quan, who decides that Rand may be living proof that K'un Lun is not the corrupt city it once was. Rand and Davos agree to guide Quan to K'un Lun and arrange a meeting between him and Lei-Kung to give Quan a forum for his grievances.

However, when Rand returns to New York, he finds a HYDRA cell waiting for him at Rand International, seeking retribution for the death of Xao, and holding Misty hostage. In the ensuing battle, Rand Int. is destroyed, but Rand and Misty escape unharmed. Now left with only a fraction of his former net worth, Rand and Misty purchase a new condo in Harlem, and Rand decides to focus all of his attention and remaining resources at the Thunder Dojo. While moving into their new home, Rand asks Misty to marry him. Initially skeptical of the offer, Misty accepts and reveals that she is pregnant with Rand's child.

Avengers reform
In the aftermath of Siege, Rand joins the newly reformed New Avengers. After finding out that Misty's pregnancy was false, Misty and Danny decide to move out of their apartment and live separately, but continue their relationship.

Danny later has an encounter with someone who is going by the name of Power Man. He and Luke Cage discover that the Power Man is Victor Alvarez, a survivor of a building that Bullseye blew up. Iron Fist becomes the new Power Man's mentor and the two become a team.

During the Fear Itself storyline, Iron Fist and the Immortal Weapons are summoned to Beijing to close the gates of the Eighth City that are on the verge of opening. However, Danny is placed under mind control which creates a mystical interference with the ability of the Immortal Weapons to close the gate. He is then forced to battle his allies. Thanks to War Machine knocking him out, the mission is completed successfully. However, Doctor Strange realizes that Iron Fist is now an Immortal Weapon of Agamotto.

Iron Fist and Lei Kung bring Hope Summers to K'un Lun to train as an Iron Fist, in order to defeat the Phoenix-possessed X-Men.

Marvel NOW!
In the Marvel NOW! era, Iron Fist joins Luke Cage as the Heroes For Hire, having been employed by Boomerang to arrest his former colleagues in the Sinister Six.

Powers and abilities
Plunging his fists into the molten heart of the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying infused the dragon's superhuman energy into Rand; this along with training by Lei Kung the Thunderer gave Rand the power of the Iron Fist, allowing him to summon and focus his chi (or natural energy) and enhance his natural abilities to extraordinary levels. His strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes and senses can all be greatly intensified.

He is able to concentrate his body's natural energies into his hand, manifesting as a supernatural glow around his clenched fist. So concentrated, this "iron fist" can strike with superhuman hardness and impact, while his hand becomes impervious to pain and injury. However, the feat of summoning the power required leaves Rand physically and mentally drained, unable to repeat the act for a time, as long as even an entire day in certain instances.

He can also focus chi energy inward to heal himself or outward to heal others of injury, as well as telepathically fuse his consciousness with another person.

Rand is a master of all of K'un Lun's martial arts as well as various fighting styles from Earth.

MC2
Iron Fist appeared in the pages of Spider-Girl #24, in which he is retired after the death of Misty Knight (his wife in this universe). However, he temporarily steps back into costume to aid Spider-Girl against the might of Dragon Fist.

Marvel Zombies
Iron Fist is shown twice in battle during the Marvel Zombies miniseries. He can be seen in several splash panels, as well being bitten by a zombie version of Luke Cage, and again punching a hole through a zombified Black Cat and once again being bitten, apparently avoiding infection through his healing abilities. A different Iron Fist appears in Marvel Zombies Return in an alternate universe where he is unaffected by the zombie outbreak until the Wolverine from the Marvel Zombies universe kills him with his claws.

Ultimate Marvel
Daniel Rand has appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man. His first appearance in the Ultimate universe was in Ultimate Spider-Man #1/2. Later, he appeared in the Warriors story-arc (issues #79-85) along with Shang Chi, Moon Knight, and others. He reappears in the Ultimate Knights arc, as a member of a Daredevil-led team trying to take down the Kingpin. In Ultimate Spider-Man #107, however, he has apparently betrayed the group to the Kingpin. Daredevil has uncovered the deception and ends issue #109 demanding answers from Rand. In issue #110 Iron Fist reveals that he has a daughter and the Kingpin threatened her life, so he chose his daughter's life over Daredevil's, and the rest of the heroes that teamed up to take down the Kingpin. He did distract Kingpin while Daredevil grabbed Kingpin's wife. Rand is last seen with his daughter and his daughter's mother Colleen Wing.

House of M
In the House of M reality, Daniel Rand emerges from K'un-Lun, unaware of the mutant-dominated planet. He is attacked by mutant police, and eventually joins Luke Cage's Human Resistance Movement.

Earth-13584
In A.I.M.'s pocket dimension of Earth-13584, Iron Fist appears as a member of Spider-Man's gang.

Reception
Iron Fist is ranked as the 195th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Iron Fist as the 68th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that in the Marvel Universe, mastery of martial arts is enough to qualify as a super-power, and none are more "super" at the art of fighting than Iron Fist, and as #46 on their list of the "Top 50 Avengers"

Friday, December 11, 2015

Luke Cage

Luke Cage (born Carl Lucas and also called Power Man) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr., he first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972). Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, he gains superpowers in the form of unbreakable skin and superhuman strength. The character frequently teams up with fellow superhero Iron Fist, and is married to Jessica Jones, with whom he has a daughter. In 2005, writer Brian Michael Bendis added Luke Cage to the lineup of the New Avengers, and he has appeared in various Avengers titles since.

Actor Mike Colter plays the character in Jessica Jones, a live-action television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will headline in his own series, which will premiere in 2016.

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972).
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr. shortly after Blaxploitation films emerged as a popular new genre. He debuted in his own series, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, which was initially written by Goodwin and pencilled by George Tuska. Cage's adventures were set in a grungier, more crime-dominated New York City than that inhabited by other Marvel superheroes of the time. The series was retitled to Power Man with issue #17.

As the Blaxploitation genre's popularity faded, Cage became unable to support his own series and was paired with another superhero whose popularity was based on a declining film genre, the martial arts hero Iron Fist, in an effort to save both characters from cancellation. Though the series title would remain Power Man in the indicia for a while longer, with issue #50 (April 1978) the cover title became Power Man and Iron Fist. It would remain thus until the series's cancellation with issue #125 (September 1986). The series's final writer, James Owsley, attempted to shed Cage's Blaxploitation roots by giving him a larger vocabulary and reducing usage of his catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!".

In 1992, Cage was relaunched in a new series, simply titled Cage, set primarily in Chicago. The revived series updated the character for the Nineties, with Cage symbolically destroying his original costume on the cover of the first issue. The series was cancelled after twenty issues; the entire run was written by Marc McLaurin. Cage received exposure in other books at the time, including his own serial in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents. In the aftermath of the "Onslaught" and "Heroes Reborn" storylines, Cage was included in the series Heroes for Hire, written by John Ostrander, which lasted 19 issues.

Subsequently, Cage was featured in the Brian Michael Bendis-written series Alias, Secret War, The Pulse, Daredevil, and New Avengers.

In 2010, Cage became a regular character in Thunderbolts, starting with issue #144, and continued as leader of the team when the title transitioned into Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175. Cage also reappeared as a regular character in the second volume of New Avengers series.

Born and raised in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, Lucas spends his youth in a gang called the Rivals. With his friend Willis Stryker, he fights the rival gang the Diablos and commits petty crimes, often on the behalf of deformed mobster Sonny "Hammer" Caputo. In and out of juvenile homes throughout his teens, Lucas dreams of becoming a major New York racketeer until he finally realizes how his actions are hurting his family. He seeks to better himself as an adult by finding legitimate employment. Meanwhile, Stryker rises through the ranks of crime, but the two men remain friends. When Stryker's activities anger the Maggia / Syndicate, he is badly beaten in a mob hit, saved only by Lucas's intervention. When Stryker's girlfriend, Reva Connors, breaks up with him in fear of his violent work, she seeks solace with Lucas. Stryker is convinced that Lucas is responsible for the breakup, so he plants heroin in Lucas's apartment and tips off the police. Lucas is arrested and sent to prison where contact with his family is sparse due to the resentment of his brother James Jr., who intercepts Lucas's letters to their father James and eventually leads each to believe the other is dead.

Lucas is consumed by rage over Stryker's betrayal and his father's supposed death, engaging in frequent brawls and escape attempts. Eventually transferred to Seagate Prison off the coast of Georgia, he becomes the favorite target of sadistic guard Albert "Billy Bob" Rackham, whose brutality ultimately leads to a demotion that he blames on Lucas. Later, research scientist Dr. Noah Burstein recruits Lucas as a volunteer for experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of the Super-Soldier process he had previously used to empower Warhawk. Burstein immerses Lucas in an electrical field conducted by an organic chemical compound; when he leaves Lucas unattended, Rackham alters the experiment's controls, hoping to maim or kill Lucas. Lucas' treatment is accelerated past its intended limits, inducing body-wide enhancements that give him superhuman strength and durability. He uses his new power to escape Seagate and makes his way back to New York, where a chance encounter with criminals inspires him to use his new powers for profit.

Adopting the alias Luke Cage and donning a distinctive costume, he launches a career as a Hero for Hire, helping anyone who can meet his price. He soon establishes an office above Times Square's Gem Theater, where he befriends film student D. W. Griffith. Burstein, aware of his friend's innocence, also relocates to New York and opens a medical clinic, assisted by Dr. Claire Temple, whom Cage begins dating. Although Cage is content to battle strictly conventional criminals, he soon learns that New York is hardly the place to do so. Stryker himself has become a Maggia agent known as Diamondback and dies battling Cage. Subsequent opponents included Gideon Mace, an embittered veteran seeking a U.S. takeover; Chemistro (Curtis Carr), whose Alchemy Gun is a weapon later used by others, including his brother after Curtis reformed; and Discus, Stiletto, Shades, and Commanche, all criminals with ties to Cage's prison days who face him repeatedly over the years.

Although Cage has little in common with most of New York's other superhumans, an ill-conceived attempt to collect a fee from a reneging Doctor Doom leads him to befriend the Fantastic Four.Via a later retcon, Cage also befriends Jessica Jones, a young woman whose superhuman strength and unconventional style match his own. During a mission in which Cage and Iron Man track downOrville Smythe, who had duped him into stealing an experimental starsuit from Stark International, Cage follows the example of his new peers and takes the codename of Power Man. Cage battles a rogue Erik Josten for the use of the Power Man name, winning the right.

Shortly afterward, Luke Cage begins associating with the loose-knit super-team the Defenders, alongside whom he battles the Wrecking Crew and the Sons of the Serpent. Called to assist the Defenders against the Plantman, Cage begins to complain that his participation in their group is interfering with his paying work. Wealthy Defenders member Nighthawk solves this problem by placing Power Man on retainer, giving Luke a steady paycheck for his Defenders activities. For some time thereafter, Power Man serves as a core member of the Defenders. Together, they defeat minor threats including the Eel and the Porcupine, and major menaces such as the Headmen, Nebulon, Egghead's Emissaries of Evil, and the Red Rajah; but Cage feels out of place in the often-bizarre exploits of the Defenders and eventually resigns.

Having obtained proof of Cage's innocence in his original drug charges, the criminal Bushmaster abducts Burstein and Temple, using their safety and the hope of acquittal to blackmail Cage into abducting detective Misty Knight, who humiliated Bushmaster in an earlier encounter. Cage's efforts lead to a fight with Knight's boyfriend, the martial artist Iron Fist, who had spent most of his life in the extra-dimensional city of K'un-L'un and was unfamiliar with Earth society. Upon learning of Cage's situation, Iron Fist and Knight help him defeat Bushmaster and rescue his friends. Cleared of criminal charges, Power Man legally changes his name to "Lucas Cage". He briefly works for Knight's detective agency, Nightwing Restorations, but soon elects to join Iron Fist in a two-man team, Heroes for Hire, founded by attorney Jeryn Hogarth and staffed by administrative wunderkind Jennie Royce. Although the streetwise Power Man and the unworldly Iron Fist seem to have little in common, they soon become the best of friends. Cage's relationship with Claire Temple proves less durable, and he instead begins dating model Harmony Young.

Power Man and Iron Fist achieve great success with Heroes for Hire, earning an international reputation and fighting a wide variety of criminals. They have several struggles involving the nations of Halwan and Murkatesh, including incarnations of Scimitar and the Black Tiger. Their partnership's downfall begins when the mysterious government agency S.M.I.L.E. manipulates Power Man and Iron Fist into the employment of Consolidated Conglomerates, Inc.; during their first CCI assignment, Iron Fist suffers radiation poisoning. Cage takes him to K'un-Lun for treatment. Iron Fist apparently recovers, and soon after their return to the outside world, he encounters a young boy named Bobby. Bobby can change the molecular structure of his body because of a meteorite that fell from the sky, granting him superhuman powers and calling himself Captain Hero. The meteorite that gave him the powers also gave him a deadly spore that was killing him. During a painful episode caused by his illness, Bobby transforms into Captain Hero and pummels Iron Fist, apparently killing him. Cage is charged with the murder of Iron Fist and flees.

A fugitive again, Cage breaks contact with his New York friends and relocates to Chicago, but, with Hogarth's help, he is cleared of criminal charges when Iron Fist turns up alive. Cage discovers that Iron Fist had been replaced by a doppelganger of the plantlike H'ylthri race, K'un-Lun's ancient enemies during his treatment. This doppelganger's existence and destruction at the hands of the Super-Skrull are part of a bizarre scheme engineered by Iron Fist's enemy, Master Khan.

Wanting a new start after his murder charge is dropped, Cage abandons his Power Man guise and begins operating out of Chicago as the plainclothes Luke Cage, Hero for Hire; he makes arrangements with the Chicago Spectator for exclusive reports of his adventures and frequently works with detective Dakota North. On his first mission in Chicago, he assists the Punisher in battling drug dealers. Cage attracts the interest of the refined assassin Hardcore, an employee of Cruz Bushmaster, son of the villain whose defeat cleared Cage's name the first time. Cage learns that Cruz, following in his father's extortion footsteps, has abducted Noah Burstein's wife Emma to force the scientist to recreate the process that had empowered Cage. Cruz undergoes the procedure himself, but the elder Bushmaster drains the power from his son, reversing his near-catatonia and declaring himself the Power Master. Cage teams with Iron Fist to thwart their plans, freeing the Bursteins while the Bushmasters apparently perish. Cage's power is augmented further by exposure to the Power Man virus.

While Cage tries to locate his surviving family members with the aid of Dakota North, his brother keeps moving his father around to keep Cage away from them. James, Jr., is eventually recruited by the criminal Corporation, whose power-enhancing scientist Doctor Karl Malus mutates him into the superhuman Coldfire. As Coldfire, James, Jr., hopes to be a match for his brother, whom he regards as a threat. Though James, Jr. works with the Corporation quite willingly, Malus has James, Sr. held hostage as extra insurance of Coldfire's cooperation. When Cage learns the Corporation is holding his family, he invades their headquarters and battles Coldfire. The brothers ultimately join forces to rescue their father from Malus, and Coldfire sacrifices himself to destroy the Corporation's headquarters.

Heroes for Hire #1 (1997). Art by Pasqual Ferry.
A few months later, Cage investigates the murder of Harmony Young and fights her killer, the demon Darklove, alongside Ghost Rider. The mystic Doctor Druid recruits Cage to serve in his Secret Defenders against the sorcerer Malachi. Cage returns to New York and, deciding his heart is no longer in superheroics, becomes co-owner of the Gem Theater with his friend D.W. Griffith. Even an invitation from Iron Fist to join a new and expanded Heroes for Hire fails to interest him; yet when the Master of the World tries to recruit Cage as a spy within Iron Fist's team, destroying Cage's theater in the process, a curious Cage plays along. Cage joins Heroes for Hire and serves with them for some time while reporting to the Master. Cage begins to sympathize with the more benevolent aspects of the Master's goals, but in the end, Cage can neither betray Iron Fist nor reconcile himself to the tremendous loss of life the Master's plans of conquest will entail, and he helps Heroes for Hire destroy the Master of the World's plans. Cage remains with the group thereafter, and dates a fellow member, the She-Hulk. When the Stark-Fujikawa Corporation buys out Heroes for Hire, Cage and Ant-Man are fired because of their prison records, and the rest of the team quits in protest.

Cage, bitten by the hero bug once more, continues to share adventures with Iron Fist and other heroes. Briefly resuming his Power Man identity, he is hired by Moon Knight to join an unnamed team of street-level New York vigilantes, but mere days after he joins, the group dissolves following clashes with the forces of Tombstone and Fu Manchu. Deciding that a return to basics is in order, he re-establishes his Hero for Hire activities, intervening in a gang war between Tombstone, Sonny "Hammer" Caputo, and Clifford "Clifto" Townsend, and soon learns that, despite his international fame, he is almost forgotten on the streets where he originally made his reputation. He invests his money in a bar and sets about ridding his immediate neighborhood of criminal elements, deciding that the business of world-saving is best left to others.

Jessica Jones and the New Avengers
After a one-night stand with a drunken Jessica Jones, now a private investigator, Cage's life is briefly thrown into disarray by Jones's reaction to the fling. The two make peace while working as bodyguards for Matt Murdock. Cage extends emotional support to Jones when she is forced to revisit past abuses by the villainous Purple Man, and Cage's feelings for her grow. When Jones reveals that she is pregnant from their tryst, she and Cage move in together. Soon afterward, Jones becomes a superhuman consultant with the Daily Bugle. After she is attacked by the Green Goblin during a Bugle investigation, Cage, helped by Spider-Man, deliberately attacks Norman Osborn in order to provoke him into revealing he is the Goblin.

Months afterwards, Cage is present at the breakout at the supervillain prison 'The Raft' and becomes a founding member of the re-formed Avengers. Luke and Jessica Jones then have a daughter, whom they named Danielle, in honor of Danny Rand. Soon thereafter, he and Jessica are married.

After the Superhuman Registration Act is enacted, Cage refuses to register, comparing the act to Jim Crow laws. He sends Jessica and his newborn daughter away to Canada where they can be safe, though he himself refuses to leave. S.H.I.E.L.D. forces come to arrest Cage. He fights his way to safety with the help of Captain America, the Falcon, and Iron Fist (posing as Daredevil), and joins Captain America's "Secret Avengers". He fights alongside them in opposition to the act until Captain America surrenders to U.S. authorities.

Cage does not comply with the amnesty offered to the Secret Avengers, going underground and reforming the New Avengers alongside Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Fist, and Spider-Woman. Luke assumes leadership of the New Avengers after the assassination of Captain America, with the team now operating underground and provided with secure accommodation by Doctor Strange.

Following a Skrull invasion, Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes) organizes a meeting with the New Avengers at his home, offering it as a base of operations. Cage is offered the role as leader of the New Avengers, but turns it down, giving the role to Ronin.

Thunderbolts
Following the Siege of Asgard, Steve Rogers appoints Luke Cage leader of the Thunderbolts program. Soon after, he begins to recruit new Thunderbolts, a balanced mix of former and older members, personally inducting the Ghost, Moonstone, the Juggernaut and Crossbones, with MACH-V, Fixer and Songbird's cooperation, and using the Man-Thing's powers for long-distance transportation.

Reforming the Avengers
To convince Cage to rejoin the Avengers, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark sell the newly renovated mansion to Luke Cage for a dollar, allowing him freedom to recruit his own Avengers team and operate without directly taking orders from Rogers, though Rogers insists on having Victoria Hand join them as a liaison. Cage and his team are forced to assist Doctor Strange, Daimon Hellstrom, and Brother Voodoo in thwarting an attempt by Agamotto - the original owner of the Eye of Agamotto - to destroy existence, culminating in the apparent death of Brother Voodoo. Although initially against the idea of being paid for being on the team, Cage is convinced to accept the offer.

Following his imprisonment on Utopia, he decides, following a conversation with Daredevil, to resign from his Avenger duties to ensure the security of his wife and child. After the X-Men are defeated, Cage, Jessica, Squirrel Girl, and Iron Fist resign from the Avengers.

Marvel NOW!
During the series The Superior Spider-Man, Cage assembles an incarnation of the Mighty Avengers, and officially declares the new assembled group to be Avengers.

Powers and abilities
Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength and stamina, and has extremely dense skin and muscle tissue, which render him highly resistant to physical injury. Cage possesses these abilities as a result of a cellular-regeneration experiment which fortified the various tissues of his body. His skin can resist high-caliber bullets, puncture wounds, corrosives, biological attacks, and extreme temperatures and pressures without sustaining damage. A second exposure to said experiments further enhanced his strength and durability.

The same experiment which granted him his great strength and durability has also given him a faster-than-normal recovery time from injury.

Luke Cage is an exceptional street fighter and was a gifted athlete before receiving superhuman abilities. He has also studied martial arts under Iron Fist's instruction, learning how to couple leverage with his strength in order to increase his combat effectiveness against more powerful opponents.

He owns a jacket that is as durable as his skin, having been exposed to the "Power Man" treatment during his second exposure.

Other versions
Earth X
In the alternate future of Earth X, most of humanity has gained superpowers, but it still needs policing. An older Luke Cage is a cop, complete with uniform, and he recruits Peter Parker.

Exiles
In this reality Luke Cage is Power Fist, a mix between the 616 versions of Luke Cage/Power Man and his friend Iron Fist. He is also this reality's leader of the Avengers. He leads them to eradicate the Vi-Locks and his life is saved by Sunfire when she is stuck on his world. He later moves to Quentin Quire's reality to replace one of his selves who had died when he shouldn't have.

House of M
After gaining his powers, Luke forms a crime syndicate in Hell's Kitchen, which he later turns into a Human Resistance Movement and recruits several human heroes to his side, including Cloak, who looks up to Luke as a father figure. He is the first person that Layla Miller comes to 'awaken' from the House of M reality and joins the force that takes down Magneto and his children in Genosha.

Marvel Noir
In the Marvel Noir universe, former criminal Luke Cage uses his bulletproof reputation to clean up his life and neighborhood after a stay in prison.

Marvel Zombies
Luke Cage, dressed in his original disco shirt outfit, is a member of the Avengers and one of the first heroes to become infected by the alien virus, ultimately infected by the zombified Sentry, along the other Avengers. He also encounters Ash Williams not long after being infected. He is among the few heroes who manages to eat the Silver Surfer, and receives cosmic powers by doing so. At the end of the Marvel Zombies miniseries, he helps to devour Galactus and becomes a member of "The Galacti" (along with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Giant Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk), who travel across the universe devouring all life on planets, however Galactus's energy bolts hit the lower half of Cage's body. Next, the Marvel Zombies attack a Skrull planet, only to encounter the Fantastic Four - consisting of Black Panther, Storm, the Thing and the Human Torch. It pleases the zombies so much that they attempt to capture the Fantastic Four and try to transport back to their fully populated reality, but the FF manage to escape. He also has a role in Marvel Zombies 2, joining Spider-Man in fighting against the other Galactus as he realizes that their hunger has faded over time. His lost arm is replaced by a transplanted arm from an unknown being (possibly alien) and his lost lower half is also replaced with a cybernetic one. At the series conclusion, he is transported to another universe which also gets taken by the infection. Cage fights to defeat the hungry zombies of this reality, leading the converted Shi'ar against Earth, but is defeated and killed by the prime zombies of the new world.

Ultimate Marvel
A different version of Power Man appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe as a member of the Defenders, although he is never referred to as "Luke Cage". In this universe, the Defenders consist of several people who want to be superheroes but have no useful superpowers, and appear to be more interested in the celebrity aspect of being heroes than actually doing anything heroic. This version originally never had any powers, however in Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates, he and the Defenders all appear with powers, given by Loki.


Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, appears as a series regular in the 2015 Marvel/Netflix series Jessica Jones. The character is introduced as a bar owner who Jones runs into in the course of an investigation.
A series centered on the character, Luke Cage, is scheduled to premiere on Netflix in 2016 with Colter reprising the role and Cheo Hodari Coker serving as showrunner.
Colter is also set to reprise his role in The Defenders, a crossover miniseries.
Animation
Luke Cage appears in The Super Hero Squad Show, voiced by Lil' JJ. This version is a member of Heroes for Hire alongside Iron Fist and Misty Knight in the episode "A Brat Walks Among Us". He also has a cameo appearance in the very first episode "And Lo... A Pilot Shall Come!".
Luke Cage/Power Man appears as one of the main characters in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series,[voiced by Ogie Banks. This incarnation, a teenager, is part of Spider-Man's team (along with Iron Fist, White Tiger and Nova). The episode "The Parent Trap" reveals that Luke received his powers from a S.H.I.E.L.D. version of the Super Soldier Formula developed by his parents and his civilian name is presented here as his actual birth name. He also finds his parents, who were working for Scorpio because he said he had Luke captured and promised their son in return. He soon reunites with them at the end of the episode.
Luke Cage appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "To Steal an Ant-Man", voiced by Christopher B. Duncan. He and Iron Fist are hired by Hank Pym to retrieve his stolen Ant-Man suit from a thief who uses it in bank robberies.
Luke Cage appears in Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Ryōkan Koyanagi.
Film
A film adaptation of Luke Cage was in development since 2003 by Columbia Pictures, with a screenplay penned by Ben Ramsey, Avi Arad serving as producer and John Singleton directing. Jamie Foxx and Tyrese Gibson were considered for the lead role, while Dwayne Johnson, Isaiah Mustafa and Idris Elba expressed interest in playing Luke Cage. In May 2013, it was announced that the film rights for Power Man had reverted to Marvel Studios.
In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that if Marvel's Netflix TV series such as Luke Cage become popular, “It’s quite possible that they could become feature films."
Video games
Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Greg Eagles. He is heavily a melee character and his powers include super strength and chain-related attacks. His New Avengers, Hero for Hire, Cage, and street costumes are included. Cage has special dialogue with Arcade and the Wrecking Crew. A simulation disk has Cage fighting Ultron in S.H.I.E.L.D.´s Omega Base.
Luke Cage appears as a non-player character in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, voiced by Robert Wisdom. In the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions, Spider-Man helps him fight infected people. If the train tracks are switched to where Cage is fighting, he attacks Spider-Man in hopes of getting the symbiote suit off him. Otherwise, he becomes infected and attacks Spider-Man. When Symbiote-Cage is defeated, Cage becomes an assist character who uses his super strength on enemies.
Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Khary Payton. He is locked into the Anti-Reg side during the Civil War portion of the game. His stealth costume from Secret War is his unlockable alternate costume. His default costume heavily resembles his design seen in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows both in clothes and overall appearance.
Luke Cage appears in Iron Fist's ending for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a member of his new Heroes for Hire.
Luke Cage is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
Luke Cage is a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
Luke Cage is a playable character in the MMORPG Marvel Heroes, voiced by James C. Mathis III.
Power Man appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by John Eric Bentley.
Luke Cage appears as an NPC in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by Ogie Banks. He also appears in Disney Infinity 3.0.
Luke Cage appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers.
Motion comics
Luke Cage appears in the Spider-Woman motion comics, voiced by Jesse Falcon.
In popular culture
Actor Nicolas Cage, born Nicolas Kim Coppola, used the character's name to form his stage name to avoid the appearance of nepotism as the nephew of the director Francis Ford Coppola.
The Simpsons comics parody Luke Cage: Carl Carlson becomes Nuclear Power Man of Heroes for Rent.
Cage was parodied in Milestone Comics' Icon #13 as Buck Wild, Mercenary Man. This issue also took swipes at Black Goliath, Black Lightning, The Falcon, and Brother Voodoo, each of whose powers Buck had at different times managed to acquire for periods of time.
In the January 4, 2006 episode of the animated TV series The Boondocks, Huey Freeman is asked what a superhero based on him would be called. After stating that no superhero would ever be based on him, because it would not be commercial enough, he says. "Besides, all the black superheroes are corny. They'd probably give me a metal headband and a yellow disco shirt or something stupid," referring to Luke Cage's original look. This joke had also been used in an earlier Boondocks newspaper strip.
Reception
Luke Cage was ranked as the 34th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Luke Cage as the 72nd greatest comic book hero of all time stating that "Cage embodies much of what we love about Marvel's heroes", and 15th in their list of "The Top 50 Avengers" in 2012.

Collected editions
Essential Luke Cage, Power Man Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1-16; Luke Cage, Power Man #17-27)
Essential Luke Cage, Power Man Vol. 2 (Luke Cage, Power Man #28-49, Annual #1)
Essential Power Man and Iron Fist vol. 1 (Power Man and Iron Fist #50-72, #74-75)
Essential Power Man and Iron Fist vol. 2 (Power Man and Iron Fist #76-100)
Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 (Cage Vol 1 #1-12, material from Marvel Comics Presents #82)
Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 (Cage Vol 1 #13-20, Terror Inc. #11-12, material from Silver Sable & the Wild Pack #13-14)
Cage (Marvel MAX: Cage Vol. 2 #1-5)
Luke Cage Noir (Luke Cage Noir #1-4)
Marvel Masterworks: Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #1-16)
Power Man and Iron Fist Epic Collection Vol.1: Heroes For Hire (Power Man #48-49; Power Man and Iron Fist #50-70)