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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Luke Cage Key Comic Books Part 3

Now we're actually getting into some Power here. Powerman that is. 

No more of this Hero for Hire. You wanna play with the big boys, you gotta have a big boy name! With a big boy name, then people gonna treat you like one. But even with a big boy name, doesn't mean you're gonna have a lot of big boy keys.

One thing that you can be sure of is some big keys issues are definitely better than none. 

So here we are with Part 3 to this Luke Cage key comic books series, and I should start changing the title up to Powerman key issues. I won't though. If you missed Part 2, you know what to do. Other than that, here more key issues for ya!




LUKE CAGE HERO FOR HIRE #16
1st appearance of Stiletto
Death of Billy Bob Rackham

Luke Cage decides to go to his informant Flea for answers, and, boy, does he have some. Two, in fact, and they are Comanche and Shades.

Comanche and Shades tell the Hero for Hire that they escaped prison seeking revenge on Rackham and also to set themselves up as costumed criminals in New York's underworld. Obviously not very bright escaped felons.

They also tell Luke Cage that Rackham had killed Fox, Mrs. Jenks is in Rackham's clutches, and Claire Temple is framed for Fox's murder. The four agree to work together to stop Rackham.

When they track Rackham to a home in Jersey and a battle ensues, a costumed freak named Stiletto also engages in the fray. While Cage is busy fighting this man named Stiletto, the house collapses and seriously injures Rackham and Mrs. Jenks.

Rackham stumbles around trying to escape but get hits by an arriving ambulance. Okay, that part was ironically funny. Stiletto stuns Cage long enough to make his escape.

Big Ben Donovan arrives with the police and gets a statement from Mrs. Jenks that clears Claire Temple from the murder of Phil Fox just before she dies of her injuries in the ambulance. Shades and Comanche would be arrested, but neither rat out Cage for also being an escaped felon.

Stiletto is Thomas Stuart, the son of prison warden Tyler Stuart who was fired from his post after Luke Cage escaped. Of course, Thomas sought revenge on Luke Cage. His skill was throwing knives. Bwahahaha!

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #16 was published December, 1973.

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POWERMAN #17
Comic retitled
Adopts the name Powerman
1st Luke Cage & Iron Man battle
1st Luke Cage & Iron Man team up

Who says that superheroes don't get jealous? When Luke Cage notices that all the other heroes get all the headlines, he realizes that he needs to adopt a superhero name like the others.

Orville Smythe, claiming to be from Stark Industries, hires Luke Cage for a job  to break into Stark Industries and steal an experimental suit of armor built for deep-space exploration in order to test the facilities security system. Of course, Luke Cage is all in when the right price is thrown out.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is all a trick, but Luke Cage doesn't figure that out until he meets and goes toe to toe with the Shell Head himself. During their battle, he learns that Orville is not an employee of Stark Industries.

Iron Man and Luke Cage team up and track down Orville who has managed to steal the suit of armor and a ship to make his escape while the two heroes were fighting. Orville ends up falling to his death in the fray, and when Luke Cage returns the ship back to Stark, he tells him to address him by his new superhero name: Powerman!

Powerman #17 was published February, 1974, and this is an important key issue within the comic series.

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POWERMAN #18
1st appearance of Steeplejack
1st appearance of Maxwell Plumm
Death of Flea

There are two versions of the villain Steeplejack. This, of course, is the original, and the original Steeplejack or Jack Mallard only makes a single appearance and then croaks.

Maxwell Plumm would later be the 2nd one to take up the mantle, but not in this issue. This issue sees the first appearance of just Maxwell Plumm, who is a building mogul.

At the end of this issue Luke Cage gets a call from Flea asking for help, and Luke Cage would find him dying in an alley. Before going, Flea would tell Powerman that he was poisoned by someone named Cotton Mouth.

Powerman #18 was published April, 1974.

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POWERMAN #19
1st appearance of Cottonmouth
1st appearance of Mr. Slick

More short-lived villains for Powerman to deal with. So here we have Cottonmouth and this guy is crime boss in the heroin trade. It was heroin from Cottonmouth that Diamondback used to frame Carl Lucas in the first place.

So when Cottonmouth asks our hero to join his organization, Luke Cage accepts only to be able to infiltrate it so he could gather enough evidence to bring it down. That would happen in the next issue.

Mr. Slick is Cottonmouth's right-hand man, and his demise would be in the next issue as well. More minor villains and another minor key issue in the Powerman comic series. Powerman #19 was published June, 1974.

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DEFENDERS #17
1st cameo appearance Wrecking Crew
1st Luke Cage & Defenders meeting

Okay in terms of the first appearance of the Wrecking Crew, I'm not entirely sure. Most sources say that this their first appearance, but they appear at the end of the story and only in a cameo.

So, I'm noting it as a cameo. Also there are three members of the Wrecking Crew that either make their first cameo appearance or first appearance in this issue. They are Piledriver, Thunderball, and Bulldozer.

The leader of the Wrecking Crew is none other than the Wrecker from Thor's rogue gallery. I'll get to more about them in the next listing. However, the more important key notation is that this issue holds the first meeting between the Defenders and Luke Cage.

This is probably the first time Dr. Strange and Powerman meet, and Kevin Feige has recently said in interviews that Marvel's TV characters will most likely cross-over onto the big screen eventually. 

Luke Cage would later be called upon to help aid the Defenders from time to time as an associate member of the non-team. As we all know, Luke Cage will be in the Netflix incarnation of the Defenders. 

This comic is still under the radar for the most part, but due to Kevin Feige's recent comments about Marvel's TV world eventually colliding with their big screen world, I think it's about the right time to start snagging issues like these soon. Defenders #17 was published November, 1974.







DEFENDERS #18
1st Luke Cage & Defenders team up
1st full appearance of wrecking crew

In this issue, we have the first Luke Cage and Defenders team up against the Wrecking Crew. As stated in the listing prior, the Wrecking Crew appeared briefly near the end of issue #17.
 
So who are the Wrecking Crew? Well, the story is the Wrecker, Dirk Garthwaite, meets a Dr. Elliot Franklin in prison. Elliot Franklin asks the assistance of Garthwaite in retrieving a gamma bomb that Franklin designed and created.
 
Escaping with two other inmates - Henry Camp and Brian Calusky - Garthwaite and Franklin are able to find the Wrecker's enchanted crowbar. While all four hold onto the crowbar as lightening strikes it, the enchanted power from the crowbar is distributed to the other men.
 
In the Wrecker's origin, he mistakenly received an enchantment that was meant for Loki. This enchantment made his crowbar nearly indestructible and granted him superhuman strength and near indestructibility as well.
The same would happen to Elliot, Brian, and Henry. Elliot became Thunderball and used a wrecking ball as an offensive weapon. 

Brian became Bulldozer and wore a helmet, neck and shoulder apparatus to further protect him when ramming an opponent or object.
 
Brian Calusky became Piledriver and was the stronger and more powerful of Elliot and Henry. He had over-sized hands that inflicted severe damage.

This super villain team does appear sporadically in Marvel Comics but are still pretty minor. Definitely under the radar for the first Luke Cage and Defenders team up. Not sure if this one will heat up or not. So far it's a not really. December, 1974 was when this comic was published.






POWERMAN #24
1st appearance of William Foster as Black Goliath
1st Powerman & Black Goliath meeting

Black Goliath! So, William Foster's first appearance as himself is in Avengers #32 in 1966. It would almost take the character a decade to become Black Goliath in this issue here.

So apparently we learn in this issue that Claire Temple was once with a William Foster and they had been married during their university days before Bill met the Avengers and became Black Goliath. Poor Luke finds out about this when he, her and David Griffith decide to go to a circus during their trip out to California.

And, of course, Black Goliath is mysteriously forced to be a member of this very same circus and attacks Luke in a jealous rage when he sees him with Claire Temple. First appearance of a cool character, yes, but not the greatest of first appearance stories.

Powerman #24 and the first appearance of Bill Foster as Black Goliath was published April, 1975.

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Two important Luke Cage key issues in this one, and one of them is a first appearance. None are related to the Netflix TV series unless they decide to throw in a little bit of Black Goliath for some odd reason.

However, Kevin Feige has just said mere hours ago that he thinks their TV characters will eventually transition over to the big film world. When that happens and it probably won't be for a while, you can be sure a lot first meeting keys might start to heat up.

Alright, less yabbering. PREVIOUS link below will bring you back if you missed the part prior. If you're ready to continue with more Luke Cage key issues and comic books, click the PART 4 link below.



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