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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Luke Cage Key Comic Books Part 2

We got more Luke Cage key comic books comin' atcha in Part 2, and there will be some famous first meetings with our hero and some big Marvel icons. Of course, we have some first appearances of some extremely minor villains in this one as well.

Forgot to mention in Part 1 that actor Nick Cage once said that Luke Cage was his favorite comic hero as a youth, and he actually changed his last name of Coppola to Cage because of that. Doesn't sound too off since it's no secret that Mr. Cage also collects comics as investments as well.

If you missed Part 1, you know what to do. If not, let's turn up the power and roll through some more Luke Cage key issues.

1st meeting between Luke Cage & Dr. Doom

Before this issue, Luke Cage's stories were all dealt within his own world without connecting to the larger Marvel Universe. It's this issue that signifies that Luke Cage is indeed part of the larger mainstream canon or universe when he first meets Dr. Doom.

Dr. Doom is actually Luke Cage's client and hires him to track down and destroy his rogue robots that have been let loose upon the city. Cage fulfills his end of the bargain, but when he goes to collect payment, he finds that Doom stiffed him and went back to Latveria.

April, 1973 is the publishing date for the eighth issue of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

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1st Luke Cage & FF meeting
1st battle with Fantastic Four
1st battle with Doctor Doom

Issue #9 of Luke Cage's first comic series does see the first time Luke Cage and the Fantastic Four actually meet, and in typical comic book fashion, the result is in a mighty clash between the two. Because Luke Cage is a badass, he is able to fend off the mighty four in a standstill all by his lonesome.

When Cage explains to the Fantastic Four that he broke into the Baxter Building to obtain a ship so he can hunt down Doom for the money that the villain owes him, Reed Richards concedes. Cage flies to Latveria and has his first ever battle with the menace known as Doctor Doom.

Double whammy when it comes to first battles with other iconic superheroes and villains. Triple whammy key issue. In the end, Doom ends up paying up. This comic was published May, 1973.

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1st appearance of Senor Suerte

Since the Jenks job, Luke Cage has been constantly attacked by thugs, and he decides to get himself some answers as to why. He visits Mrs. Jenks again, and she tells him that her late husband was not a well-liked man and this all may have something to do with his safety deposit box.

The two go to the bank to check out the box and find a match book to a Spanish restaurant, but when Cage checks it out, the establishment has been burnt to the ground. Elsewhere in the city, enter Senor Suerte who is relishing in the fact that he was able to silence Frank Jenks before he could expose his illegal gambling ring.

In true and dumb comic book fashion, Suerte gets a big ole ego and decides he wants to reveal his identity to others. Dubbing himself Senor Muerte, he puts on a specialized costume that has a roulette wheel built into the chest, and when spun, charges one of his hands with an electrical jolt.

Suerte/Muerte then heads out to show his enemies who is actually boss. This issue also sees Phil Fox sneak into Noah Burnstein's clinic and stealing an experiment log.

When Muerte finds out that Cage had been snooping around the Spanish restaurant, he and his men go to greet Luke Cage at the Gem Theater. The clash ends up with Luke Cage out for the count and chained to a wall of a water passage near the harbor to drown once the passage fills up.

Not the greatest of villains. If they even use this character in the TV series, expect Senor Suerte to be extremely changed up so that he's more realistic and less tacky.

Sure, a normal street-level gangster running an illegal gambling ring I can see. A guy with a roulette wheel on his chest? Not unless it's a tattoo. June, 1973 is the publishing date for this comic, and Senor Suerte would die in the next issue.

1st Luke Cage & Spider-Man meeting
2nd Luke Cage cross-over

Looks like business is going good for Luke Cage, and his next client would be none other than J. Jonah Jameson from the Daily Bugle. Always thinking of ways to catch the Spider-Man menace, Jameson hires Luke Cage to capture our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

So, there it is. Luke Cage first meets and battles Spider-Man in this issue. Of course, Spidey is able to talk some sense into Cage, and in the end, they leave on good terms. Luke visits Jameson's office and tells the grump to stuff his 5 grand down his throat.

The Amazing Spider-Man #123 was published August, 1973.

1st appearance of Chemistro

What? Another lame villain for Luke Cage? Nah!

Okay, yes! This issue sees the first appearance of Curtis Carr or Chemistro, and he is the first out of three to take the mantle of this Luke Cage villain. A chemist, Carr created an "alchemy gun" capable of transmuting matter from one form to another such as a piece of glass to wood.

Unfortunately, he created this gun at his place of work at Mainstream Motors, and when Carr expressed his intention of keeping the gun, his boss argued that since the invention was made on company time and grounds, it belonged to the company.

Ultimately, his boss fired him, and, of course, Carr took the identity of Chemistro to get revenge and extort his former employer. His first altercation with Luke Cage saw himself beaten and taken to jail, but that would not be the last of Chemistro unfortunately.

August, 1973 is the publishing date for this comic, and this issue does come after the events of The Amazing Spider-Man #123. 

1st appearance of Big Ben Donovan
Death of Phil Fox

Big Ben Donovan would go toe to toe with Luke Cage when the big guy takes Mrs. Jenks out for dinner and won't take no for an answer. So ole Luke has to teach the dude some manners.

The two fight but it's a draw and the two call a truce. Big Ben Donovan is a lawyer, and after his intoxicated scuffle with Luke, Ben Donovan would be z competent lawyer for Luke Cage and eventually become his friend. Unfortunately, Donovan would turn to crime later on and become involved in drug trafficking with the Maggia Crime Family.

Back to this issue. Shades and Commanche (both 1st appeared in issue #1) are old cellmates of Luke Cage escape from prison with the goal of exacting revenge on their tormentor Billy Bob Rackham. In the meantime, Rackham and Phil Fox meet each other and decide to team up in order to expose Luke Cage.

The two super geniuses decide the best way to trap their enemy is to kidnap Luke's girlfriend Claire Temple. Instead, they end up kidnapping Mrs. Jenks back at her house.

Fox is the one who realizes that they kidnapped the wrong woman, and the two men argue. Claire Temple arrives at the apartment looking for Luke when she hears the men arguing and the sound of a gunshot suddenly going off.

When she enters the apartment, she finds Fox's murdered body on the ground. Mrs. Jenks and Rackham are gone. Stupidly, she picks up the murder weapon just when the police arrive and immediately assume she is the murderer.

October, 1973 is the publishing date for this comic issue.

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We see Luke Cage 's introduction into the actual mainstream continuity of Marvel with three big first meetings in Part 2. Fantastic Four and Spider-Man? Can't get much bigger than that. Dr. Doom as the first villain to cross-over over into his title outside of it? Definitely, a big one there.

Concerning actual villains created within the title, not really much to say about them except not so great things. Speculating on which may be used in the Netflix series, hard to say as well.

I say that because I'm sure a lot...and I mean a lot...of liberties will probably be taken for any villains they actually decide to use for the Netflix series. They may actually make them normal average street hoods or gangsters and scrape off the all comic book cheese, or they may just not use them altogether.

Then again, Luke Cage does need some super powered villains, and I just don't think a guy with a roulette wheel strapped to his chest and an over-glorified hand buzzer does the trick or is in anyway a cool villain most people would want to see on any screen.

What is certain about Luke Cage's supporting cast so far is that it is a constant triangle of Noah Burnstein, Claire Temple, and David Griffith. Yes, I made the two supporting Luke Cage characters we've yet to see on-screen italicized for a reason.

But aside from speculation, they are actual key issues within the Luke Cage title series, and they are what they are. If you're looking for any major villains to be introduced in this comic series, not gonna happen.

Alright, if you missed the PREVIOUS part, that big ole link will bring you back. Click the PART 3 link below to carry onward.


  1. Spoiler Alert!

    I bet the team up issues with Iron Fist come next. These really took the series to a new level - it' s like a Bud Spencer and Terence Hill cooperation ;-)

    Porky Pig

  2. Right on the money, Porky!

    But first Mayhem has to list that Luke Cage becomes Powerman and the title is changed accordingly.

    Spider Ham