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|For other uses, see Luke Cage (disambiguation)|
- "People are scared but they can't be paralyzed by that fear. You have to fight for what's right every single day, bulletproof skin or not. You can't just not snitch, or turn away or take money under the table because life has turned you sour."
- ―Luke Cage
Carl Lucas is a former policeman from Savannah, Georgia, who was wrongfully convicted into Seagate Prison, where he met and fell in love with therapist Reva Connors. During his time in prison, he was subjected to an experiment by Noah Burstein to save his life, leaving him physically enhanced with superhuman strength and seemingly unbreakable skin. After he escaped from his prison, he changed his name to Luke Cage and moved to New York City, marrying Connors and living there until her death seemingly due to a random bus crash.
Months later, Cage came across private investigator Jessica Jones during the course of an investigation and started a relationship with her, but he discovered that Jones was involved in the murder of his wife due to the influence of Kilgrave. Following his encounters with Jones and Kilgrave, he moved from Hell's Kitchen into Harlem in order to build a new life, working for Pop. However his life became more complicated due to the actions of Cottonmouth, whose henchman Tone killed Pop, starting a war between the pair which only ended when Cottonmouth was found dead.
Blamed for Cottonmouth's murder, Cage was forced to go on the run, hunted by his ally Misty Knight and his former friend Willis Stryker, who returned to tell Cage they were brothers before attempting to kill him. Eventually Cage defeated Stryker but he was still arrested by the police to continue his original sentence.
Carl Lucas was the son of James and Etta Lucas. James was a highly popular and influential preacher in Savannah, Georgia. Etta was unable to have a child for many years, but miraculously she gave birth to Carl, and he was called a "miracle baby". James had another son Willis Stryker, from his church secretary, although Lucas and Stryker grew up as best friends, Lucas was unaware they were related by blood. James and Carl were not very close, and later in life Lucas would say that his father "didn't care for him much", but he still treated him like a son, unlike Stryker, who he ignored.
As a teenager Luke was a skilled athlete and excelled at football. One night he was jumped and beaten up outside a bowling alley by some street punk. Luke couldn't let it pass due to personal pride and asked Willis to teach him how to box. After receiving his training, Luke fought his attacker and won.
Months later, Lucas and Stryker stole a red corvette just for a joyride. While driving they began arguing over musicians Prince and Michael Jackson, they were soon caught by a police officer and both were arrested. Lucas' father, being a man of influence was able to persuade the judge to allow Lucas to join the marines instead of going to jail. Stryker did not get the same treatment and he was sent to jail. After finishing his tour of duty, Luke became a police officer in the Savannah Police Department.
Tortured by Rackham
- "You can't trust nobody in a place like this."
"Because you used to be a cop?"
"I ain't the first cop to do time, and I ain't never sent anybody to Seagate so I ain't got that problem. But trust in places like this, sets you up for failure"
- ―Carl Lucas and Reva Connors
Years later, Lucas was sent to Seagate Prison for a crime that he didn't commit. During his first day, he lined up with a bunch of other prisoners and were scolded by Albert Rackham. Lucas scoffed at Rackham and got hit in the gut by him, taunting that he was a former sheriff. He, then, sent Lucas, as well as the other prisoners, back to their cells. Lucas spent his first lonely night in his cell, frustrated, saying his name over and over to remember who he is and to get through prison time.
He was sent into an intervention with the other prison mates, where he met Reva Connors, their councilor. She tried to get as many inmates to change as possible, by having them tell how they ended up in prison in the first place. She started with Squabbles who detailed his story about how he used to have a job and family, but ever since he wound up in jail, they simply don't care anymore. She turned her attention to Lucas, taking note that he was a former cop while he had worked in Savannah and he agreed, stating that as a cop, he never put someone in Seagate Prison.
Squabbles then caught up with Lucas, trying to convince him that Connors means no harm. Lucas responded that being reminded of what you once had can turn you mean. Squabbles still kept trying to comfort Lucas, but he just rejected his kind offer of friendship. Later, Rackham, Shades and Comanche were spying on Lucas, who was working out in the courtyard, with Rackham guessing that Lucas had angered someone and was sent here to rot. That day, they decided to keep tabs on Lucas, wanting to see if he is unbreakable.
Later that night, while Lucas was sleeping, he was attacked by both Comanche and Shades. They placed a bag over his head and started punching him, however, Lucas was able to subdue them, flipping shades over. Comanche tried to stab him, but Lucas subdued him with his cell door. Comanche, then, tried to grab him by his back, however, Lucas slammed him out of the cage and against the wall; the noise of the fight alerted the guards as they handcuffed Lucas, but Rackham, who was watching the whole time, declared that he found himself a gladiator.
Lucas was locked in solitary confinement, where he spent hours sitting alone considering why he was being targeted. Once a long period of time had passed, Rackham visited Lucas in solitary confinement, complimenting his fighting abilities. He made him an offer that if he can fight other convicts, it will benefit the both of them, promising to bring Lucas money, extra rations and even conjugal visits. Despite Rackham's promises and the threat of future attacks, Lucas compared the offer to slavery and declined. Rackham just stared and left him in his cell for even longer.
Finding Friends in Prison
Lucas visited the courtyard, the next day, where he saw Comanche. Enraged from what happened the other night, Lucas took one of the weights from the workout equipment and began to charge at him. However, he was stopped by Squabbles, who told him the best way to survive Seagate is to stay away from trouble. They sat down on the bench and started a friendship. They began bonding in the lounge room, having a joking conversation about Lisa Bonet and various other attractive women.
Lucas had another intervention with Reva Connors, who continued to get the prisoners to talk about their past, noting that one prisoner was always looking for excuses for his mistakes. Connors told the inmates that they must take responsibility for their own actions, but Lucas decided to ask her the same question. He began to ask her to tell the inmates about herself, but she declined to do so, saying that it wasn't her job. He, then, asked Connors if she was doing this out of guilt because of a family member. With that, she dismissed the session, clearly unnerved by Lucas' comments.
While the inmates began to leave, Connors stopped Lucas, noting this was the most he said in the interventions. She confessed that it was his brother who died in prison that she did this job, feeling guilty that she neglected him while she went to get her masters. Lucas felt guilty, but Connors knew that it was only to avoid her questions, asking what was said sparked in him. He answered that he knows what it's like on the other side; Connors asked if he was innocent, but Lucas said it did not matter. Connors believed his innocence, but Lucas stated that he was guilty of a lot of things.
Bonding with Reva
- "You know how I caught that bad break? Talking to people, trusting them."
"So why do you come here?"
"Because you provide hope."
- ―Carl Lucas and Reva Connors
A third intervention was held, where Reva Connors reassured the inmates that the rumors that were being spread about experiments on the other inmates were false. Squabbles, stated, that an inmate, Jimmy Quinto, would have gotten a reduced sentence if he went through some experiments; the suspicion rises when they take note that Quinto went missing and not reported dead. Connors tried to shut down those rumors, but Lucas took note that Connors works for Seagate Prison and that even if it does exist, she wouldn't admit it. Squabbles then jokingly reassured Lucas that when Connors gives her word, it was obviously serious.
Once the session had been completed, Lucas helped Connors clear up the chairs, apologising for not being a gentleman sooner. She made it a point that Lucas was not like the other prisoners and that he just made a bunch of mistakes. She asked him why he doesn't talk more often, he, then, told her that the reason he got into the prison was because he talked and trusted the wrong people. When Connors asked Lucas why he still goes to the sessions, Lucas responded that it was because she provided hope, which delighted Connors before he began teasing her yet again.
Then, they were interrupted by Albert Rackham, who called Lucas away from her. Rackham took him to the lounge area and offered more benefits in exchange for fighting for him. Again, Lucas declined the offer, but Rackham gave him an alternative. He told Comanche to stab someone and had the blame put on Squabbles, followed by the guards pinning him down. Rackham threatened to tear everything apart if he doesn't fight for him, hitting Lucas in the gut. Lucas finally agreed and Rackham called the guards to go easy on Squabbles; Lucas, then, demanded that Squabbles be by his side.
Back in the Seagate Prison courtyard, Lucas began being trained in boxing by Squabbles. Lucas asked if he ever boxed, but Squabbles stated that he learned to fight by watching Kung-Fu movies and it helped him through self defense. Squabbles admitted that he liked Jet Li, but Lucas was surprised he chose him over Bruce Lee. Lucas continued his own form of training, joking that he would not use Squabbles anymore.
Lucas and Squabbles entered the arena with Comanche, as he detailed the rewards for winning. Lucas made clear that he didn't want any of those prizes; Comanche asked what kind of "nigga" he was and Lucas said he doesn't like to be called that word. As they continued to the ring, where a fight was already happening, Lucas noticed some cameras directed at the ring; Lucas asked if the fights were being handed out and Comanche welcomed him to the internet. Squabbles was worried about how tough the opponents are, but Lucas shrugged it off and brought up Jet Li.
Stepping in the ring and facing his opponent, Lucas began the first fight, with Albert Rackham and Shades watching closely from the sidelines, his first opponent had the upper hand. Squabbles still gave Lucas encouragement, shouting out boxing strategies. After that, he knocked out his opponent with ease, throwing him from the ring; Rackham smiled at this win. Cage would go through the next slew of opponents and would knock all of them out, one by one. After the matches, Rackham took money from the other cops, having bet on Lucas; Noah Burstein, all the while, was watching Lucas.
Getting some time to themselves, Lucas and Squabbles when down to the ring on their own and continued their training there. While Lucas was sparring, Squabbles noted that he was changing, due to the fact that he didn't shower nor cut his hair in a long time. Lucas replied that once he finds a way to get out of Rackham's hands, he will take better care of himself, reassuring him that he has never lost his way. The next day, Lucas was watching TV in the lounge area of Seagate Prison and Reva Connors motioned him to meet her in the other room for a quiet talk on their own.
When Lucas entered the room, Connors was shocked by all the bruises and cuts. Lucas admitted that he got into a fight or two. She took note that Lucas has not been to the group in months, but he responded that plans have changed; Conners was heartbroken that Lucas reverted back to the speechless man. Lucas asked about Noah Burstein, who was watching them talk, and Connors asked if their was anything Lucas would like to talk about, but Lucas denied it. Connors then told Lucas that she knows something is wrong because Squabbles would not talk about her.
Lucas simply put that there were things he couldn't say because it would cost more than his life, Connors just left heartbroken, seeing that getting through to him has failed; as he watched her leave, he noticed Shades approaching Connors. Rackham approached behind Lucas and taunted him, causing Lucas to grab him by the scruff of the neck and violently slam his against the fall in a rage. However, Rackham threatened him that he now has another person to bargain with other than Squabbles. Lucas let him go and Rackham left, laughing at the situation which he was controlling.
- "The guards established a fight ring and the convicts fight until they're broken, what happens to them after that I don't know. That's why my face looks the way it does, and I may have dragged you into this bullshit unintentionally."
- ―Carl Lucas to Reva Connors
While Reva Connors was working at her desk, Lucas snuck up to the door and motioned her to come to him. He asked if she has talked to anyone else, but Conners told him that she only speaks to Noah Burstein. Lucas asked what he does, with Conners answering that he only does psych evaluations to his patients; with that said, she told Lucas to trust her. Lucas exposed to her the fighting arena held by the corrupt cops where inmates fight until they are broken; with their bodies are not found, afterwards. He also warned Connors that Albert Rackham will go after the ones he cares about, her and Squabbles, begging her to leave. She objected, but Lucas gave Connors the address to his lawyer telling her that afterwards, he will take care of Rackham, himself; she agreed and he left.
Then, Lucas came up to Squabbles and told him of the plan to expose Rackham. Squabbles agreed to the plan, but as Lucas left, Squabbles was approached by two of Rackham's men. Lucas, then, got himself a a haircut since he got into Seagate Prison. As he went into his cell, he was approached by Shades, who complimented Lucas on his fighting, however, Lucas found his appearance suspicious. He was, then, approached by Comanche, demanding to know why Lucas wanted out of the arena, admitting that they got the information through Squabbles by force. Admitting that they were not happy that Lucas planned on exposing Seagate, they beat him up until he was severely injured.
Lucas was sent to the infirmary, being treated by Noah Burstein, and was put under life support. Reva Connors came in to visit him, devastated at the state that Lucas was in. Burstein gave Connors the news that he was dying, she then informed to Lucas that Squabbles died trying to keep the information secret. Connors went up to Burstein and demanded that Lucas went under the experiment; Burstein objected, stating that he would probably die from the experience, but Connors demanded that he do it for her. Burstein agreed, asking Connors to take a trip home, then went up to Lucas, informing him that this is going to be a different treatment.
Burstein put Lucas in a tank, injected his shoulder with a syringe, and attached two cuffs, a tiara and a breathing tube. He closed the tank and went to his computer, starting the procedure and filling the tank with clear liquid. As he began scanning Lucas, Albert Rackham busted in, demanding the whereabouts of Lucas. Burstein tried to stop him, but Rackham pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill Lucas for ratting him out. He turned up the heat in the tan and overloaded it, causing the lights in the room to burst into sparks.
Submersed in the boiling liquid, Lucas screamed in pain as his injuries turned purple and then vanished. Rackham's attempt to murder Lucas backfired and the tank exploded. Lucas came out of the ruins of the tank and got to his feet, fully healed. He took note of the changes in his body. He moved around and looked at Burstein coughing and the dead body of Rackham. The alarms went off, reacting to the explosion, and in frustration of no way out, Lucas hit the wall, causing it to crack severely without any harm to himself. Lucas discovered he his strength was enhanced and proceeded punch a hole in the wall and escape Seagate Prison.
Lucas finally reached land and into someone's back yard, where he noticed someone's laundry drying. He took the shirt and pants, while tying a chain to it like a belt. As he walked off, he looked at his reflection, stating that he looked foolish, as he took off the tiara. He went to the nearest phone booth and called Connors.
A New Life with Reva Connors
- "She died. Bus crash."
- ―Luke Cage
Lucas met Reva Connors at the nearest motel, where he began to shave in the bathroom. He came out completely clean shaven, leaving only a goatee, and Connors, who deleted any records on Lucas, was questioned about the experiments. She stated that it was a chemical bath that was meant to heal people at an accelerated rate, meaning that Packham's tampering with the tank and causing the bath to be heated caused Luke's abilities. She promised that she would tell him everything that he needs to know, eventually, stating that his records were pulled up because he wasn't always a convict. Cage thanked Connors for saving him and she thanked Lucas for changing her. She asked him what his new name would be and he responded with his father's favourite bible verse from the book of Luke and his quote that a free man would never be caged, thus, Luke Cage was born.
Connors took Cage to Pop's Barber Shop in Harlem where he met Pop. When Cage explained what he was, Pop found the story very shaky, but he simply ignored it. At one point, Cage came to the shop, asking for a job, and lifted a refrigerator with no effort in front of Pop's eyes. Pop decided to keep that secret between the two of them, as Cage stated that he owed him one. Eventually, the two got married, but later on, Connors was tragically killed, seemingly in a bus accident. Believing that there was more to the case than was being revealed to him, Cage dedicated much of his life to learning more about the incident so he could find whoever was responsible. He was even dragged out of the MTA by eight guards when he angrily confronted the administrator there, Serena Grier, to find out more about the crash and she was unable to calm him down. However, he did find a clue that Reva's death was not an accident when he found instructions in an envelope of her's that lead him to a warehouse at the corner where she died to dig up something hidden under the foundation, which he found was empty. 
Cage opened a bar in New York City called Luke's, named after himself, where he employed Roy Healy as a bartender alongside him, taking great care of the bar and constantly ensuring it was as clean as possible. While working at the bar Cage tried to keep a low profile, avoiding complicated relationships and dealings with the police; he did however begin a sexual relationship with Gina, whom he had previously flirted with in the bar. As Cage looked out of his apartment window at the city one night, Gina walked over to him wearing only underwear and they had sex.
Meeting Jessica Jones
As Cage took the trash out one night, he came across Jessica Jones looking through the bar's window and invited her inside, claiming he would make it ladies night if she agreed. Jones came inside and drank until all the guests and Roy Healy had left; Cage and Jones both avoided questions about their personal lives, although Cage learned that Jones was a private investigator. They both flirted with each other and Jones worked out that the bar was special to Cage.
When Cage asked Jones what she wanted, it did not take long until they were both upstairs in his apartment having sex. Due to his great strength, Cage felt the need to apologize when he feared he had hurt Jones, but she pushed him to continue. Once they were finished, they both lay silently on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Jones got up and went into Cage's bathroom for a while; when she returned, she hastily put on her clothes and left while Cage sat on the edge of the bed, only telling him that she was sorry without explaining why.
- "You can put your wedding ring back on."
"So I'm married, I'm just a booty call for you anyway."
"I stay away from complications."
- ―Luke Cage and Gina
Two police officers came into Luke's to speak to Cage; they revealed photographs taken by Jessica Jones and asked him about her, as she was being investigated about a homicide case. Once they had gone, Jones arrived and tried to explain herself to the angered Cage, claiming she had been hired by the suspicious husband of Gina. Jones admitted that she should not have slept with him and Cage told her to leave.
Cage was later visited by Gina who tried to flirt and have sex with him once again, but Cage refused as he did not wish to get involved with liars. She argued that she had never had a chance to lie to him but Cage explained he did not get involved with married women either. Gina claimed that her husband did not care and their marriage was basically over, but Cage informed her that her husband had hired Jones to investigate her affair. Although Gina claimed she did not believe him Cage told her to go home and ask her husband herself, which she did as she left Luke's in a hurry to return home.
Discovering Jessica Jones' Powers
- "Can you punch through a wall? Can you stop a moving car?"
"A slow moving car."
- ―Luke Cage and Jessica Jones
Gina's husband Andre came into Luke's that night to confront Cage, bringing a group from his rugby teammates to attack him. While Cage fought them off, he was joined by Jessica Jones who had come to help. Cage witnessed Jones throw men twice her size across the bar with ease, while Cage soon knocked out all the men. When Andre tried to stab Cage in the neck, his unbreakable skin saved him and he ordered Andre to return home.
Knowing that Jones' strength was superhuman, Cage went to her apartment to confront her about seeing her throw men across his bar with one hand, although she tried to claim it was adrenaline. Cage however insisted she was enhanced and admitted that he knew she had seen he was too. To demonstrate his powers, Cage picked up a nearby buzz saw and pushed it against his stomach, causing sparks to fly off but not cutting his skin. As Jones touched his skin, Cage told her that she could not fix him as he was unbreakable.
Sexually excited by the idea of finding another enhanced person, Cage and Jones began taking off each others clothes while testing each other's strength, with Jones proving herself to match Cage. As the pair had sex against the wall, they would accidentally break various parts of the apartment due to their over-enthusiasm. Jones at one point told Cage to put her down as she spotted her neighbor Ruben watching them from the hallway as his sister Robyn was complaining about the noise.
The couple went out into New York City to have some dinner together and discuss their gifts and how they had gotten their powers, with Jones asking how unbreakable he was, but Cage made it clear he was unsure about testing it. Jones revealed the extent of her strength and claimed she could not fly but jump incredibly high. Cage asked how many more gifted people she believed there were apart from them and the Avengers, Jones revealed she knew of one man. They talked about becoming heroes and Jones revealed she had tried, Cage then teased her about costumes.
They decided to go back to Cage's apartment and have sex again, even going as far as to break his bed. It was agreed that Jones would stay with him that night and she went to brush her teeth and wash her face, however Cage found Jones in his bathroom looking at a photograph of Reva Connors he kept. Believing that the photograph had upset and confused Jones, Cage revealed that Connors had died in a bus crash years earlier. Jones said she was sorry and decided to leave, claiming she had to work, leaving Cage alone.
While cleaning up Luke's, Cage was visited by Jessica Jones who apologized for leaving the night before, although Cage admitted he perhaps should not have mentioned his dead wife. Jones asked if Cage knew any drug dealers and he jokingly asked that as he owned a bar in Hell's Kitchen what did she think, Jones revealed that she needed a specific drug used to knock people out for surgery which she needed for questionable reasons, but Cage admitted that he could not help there.
Instead of talking, they decided to go upstairs and have sex. When they were finished and catching their breath, all Cage could think to say was Sweet Christmas. Cage pushed Jones to tell him what she was hiding from him, jokingly asking if it was a racial issue. Jones revealed that her mind was focused on a man with the power of mind control, Cage questioned if this had anything to do with the Hope Shlottman case he had been questioned about. Although Cage remained skeptical, Jones revealed that she believed Shlottman was telling the truth.
A few hours later Jones knocked on Cage's apartment door with a look of sadness and cuts across her forehead but refused to reveal what she had done. Although Cage invited her inside, she refused, claiming that she could not come in ever again as she believed it was not right, although Cage argued that it felt alright to him. Jones told him that she had unfinished business and he had already suffered enough because of her, however Cage became convinced she was leaving because of the drama surrounding his dead wife and told her to do what she needed to do.
Having heard that Serena Grier had information about Reva Connors' death, Cage agreed to help find her brother Antoine in exchange. Cage at first confronted the man to whom Antoine owed money, but after a brief fight learned that Grier had disappeared without paying. Cage traveled to the Alias Investigations Office to ask for Jessica Jones' help, offering to pay her; however he was confronted by an agitated Malcolm Ducasse, who threatened him as he believed he had been Kilgraved.
Jones refused to help, offering him the name of another Private Investigator named Angela del Toro, but Cage insisted that he wanted her help and nobody else's, claiming that he needed the job handled fast. Once Jones agreed to help Cage explained the situation. Although Jones tried to hand his money back to Cage, claiming she owed him a favor, Cage insisted that she take it as he was not asking for a favor and she told him to text him information so they could explore Grier's home for clues though the next day.
The next day Cage went to Antoine Grier's Apartment and began exploring until Jones arrived a few hours late, which he confronted her about. He and Jones looked through Grier's possessions to try to find any clues about where he might have gone as Jones proved he had not been kidnapped due to his toothbrush also being gone. While going through his trash, Jones worked out that he liked to enter competitions and called his phone claiming he had won an Xbox, while Cage watched, amused by her techniques.
As they stepped outside while discussing Jones' techniques, Jones confronted two men she believed had been sent by Kilgrave; however Cage recognized them as the men working for Len Sirkes whom he had beaten up the day before. They were then confronted by Sirkes himself who claimed not to have taken Grier, noting that he was also looking for him; Cage then proposed a deal where they work together to find him, despite Jones' protests. Once the deal was made, Cage gave Jones a lift home on his motorcycle, noting she had to wear a helmet as it was the law.
Understanding Jones' Past
- "You are a hard-drinking, short-fused, mess of a woman, but you are not a piece of shit."
- ―Luke Cage to Jessica Jones
Once they were outside Jessica Jones' Apartment Building, Cage asked what was next in finding Antoine Grier and Jones told him she would dig up information online and promised to call if she found anything. As Jones went inside, Cage was confronted once again by Malcolm Ducasse who wanted to know if his interests in Jones were his interests. Confused, Cage tried to leave but was then asked about being approached by a British man, Cage simply told him not to get attached to Jones and was told she had been to hell and back.
Cage and Ducasse spoke in length about Kilgrave and Cage learned that Jones had spent months under his control being raped and mentally tortured. Mortified, Cage returned to the Alias Investigations Office and tried to apologize for not believing her when they had discussed Kilgrave's control over Hope Shlottman, promising to try and make it right. Opening the door, Jessica Jones told him he had not done anything wrong and she was a piece of shit; however, Cage told her that despite her flaws, she was not a piece of shit.
Locating Antoine Grier
Having spent the night together, Cage spent the morning watching Jessica Jones sleep, They discussed whether or not Jones would still be facing Kilgrave alone and she insisted she had to. They were interrupted when a man claiming to be Antoine Grier phoned to pick up his Xbox. Before they went to find him, Cage confessed to barely knowing Serena Grier and he was doing this as she had proof that Reva Connors' death was not an accident, telling Jones about what had happened after her death about the pain he had experienced.
Cage and Jones met up once again to look for the man claiming to be Grier, with Cage buying coffee first. They soon spotted Victor storming out and followed him as he got into a taxi. They tracked him down to an abandoned warehouse where Jones gained them entry by ripping off the lock on the door. Once inside they discovered a massive stockpile of marijuana. As they explored the warehouse they were confronted by Victor's dogs Myers and Krueger, Cage decided to calm down the dogs while Jones looked for Grier, noting that sharp teeth were his specialty; while Jones was gone Cage subdued the dogs without hurting them before looking for Grier.
Cage later found Jones with Grier, fighting Len Sirkes and his men. Cage joined the fight and easily knocked back Sirkes' men while informing Jones that he had not harmed Myers and Krueger. As Jones protected Grier, Cage fought Sirkes one on one before being put in a headlock and hit repeatedly in the chest by Sirkes' men, Cage then watched in disappointment as Jones escaped from the warehouse with Grier, leaving him to fight alone. However it did not take long for Cage to overpower them all.
Having caught up with Jones at Serena Grier's Apartment where she was handing over Antoine, Cage confronted Jones about leaving him. Grier handed over a file with the information Cage wanted, but Jones tried to convince him that it may not be worth finding out as it would only hurt him and those around him. Cage ignored her pleas and opened the file, learning that the bus driver, Charles Wallace, was drunk when he caused the crash that killed his wife and was still working. Furious, Cage stormed out to hunt down Wallace.
Cage tracked down the bus Charles Wallace drove and boarded it, sitting at the back and riding all the way to the end of the line and waiting for everyone else to depart. Cage then asked Wallace if him before revealing that he was Reva Connors' husband, Wallace tried to express his grief and explained he had been sober since the accident. However in a fit of rage, Cage threw him through the bus' windshield.
As Cage prepared to kill Wallace, Jessica Jones arrived and begged him not to; however, Cage proved unstoppable. Jones then revealed that Wallace did not kill Connors, but she did while under Kilgrave's control. Cage pinned Jones against the bus and told her to shut up, but she revealed she had hit her so hard her heart stopped. Furious and enraged, Cage hit the bus, denting it before questioning why she had slept with him and if she would have ever told him the truth. When Jones did not answer Cage told her she was a piece of shit and walked away towards New York City to be away from her.
Controlled by Kilgrave
- "Tell me the truth, did you bugger my chances with her?"
"No, you screwed that up yourself."
"I'll have to think of a fitting response to that."
- ―Kilgrave and Luke Cage
Still furious about having been lied to, Cage followed Jessica Jones to a restaurant. However to his shock, instead of seeing Jones leaving, he spotted Kilgrave running out with Albert Thompson. Enraged at seeing the man who had ordered his wife's murder, Cage charged at Kilgrave intending to beat him to death. Kilgrave however spotted him just in time to order him to stop before asking who he was; Cage revealed his name and that he had come to kill him, confusing Kilgrave.
Kilgrave ordered Cage into his car where he tried to convince Cage that he was not the one to blame for Connors' death, arguing that he could not allow her to go free after learning his origins and getting the video footage from her. When Kilgrave asked how Cage knew Jones, he admitted they had been lovers; Kilgrave rudely compared it to a pity shag, but Cage made it clear they had had something special. Kilgrave demanded to know if Cage was responsible for ruining his chances of having a relationship with Jones, but Cage insisted that it was Kilgrave's fault alone that Jones now despised him.
In an attempt to horrify Jones, Kilgrave ordered Cage to return to Luke's and blow it up as soon as Jones arrived. Cage did as instructed; despite desiring to stop, he was unable to break free of Kilgrave's power. As soon as Jones came into view, Cage set the gasoline alight and his bar exploded. However due to his unbreakable skin, he was able to walk out safely, despite much of his body being aflame. Jones ran to his aid and managed to put the flames out. When the police arrived, the pair hid and Jones asked exactly what Kilgrave had told him to do. Cage informed her what had happened and confirmed he had not been ordered to die.
Tricking Jessica Jones
- "I've got no right to offer this but..."
"Don't apologize, I don't want that from you."
"How about, I forgive you, for everything, and I'll say it everyday for as long as you need to hear it."
- ―Luke Cage and Jessica Jones
The couple went back to the Alias Investigations Office where Cage questioned why there were bullet holes and destroyed walls as if a fight had taken place. Cage admitted he had been a fool for trying to attack Kilgrave alone but Jones insisted he was not. Jones told Cage that when she had been forced to kill Reva Connors, it had broken his control over her. Cage told Jones he wanted to help kill him, but Jones insisted he wait at least twelve hours until Kilgrave's power wore off before they did anything further to find him.
The next morning Jones told Cage to stay at his apartment, but he insisted he was free of Kilgrave, despite knowing that Kilgrave was indeed still controlling him. Jones suggested that he leave now, open a new bar and forget about her however Cage told her that he wanted to see Kilgrave dead and vowed to stay by her side until it happened, believing him, Jones allowed him to come along. As they were leaving they were discussing how Kilgrave would be using Albert Thompson to increase his power when they came across Malcolm Ducasse who was moving out to get away from Jones.
Cage and Jones traveled to the room she had first found Kilgrave's parents in the hopes to find a clue. They were confronted by Bunny Wiles who rudely told them they could not have Thompson's belongings as she had sold them when he failed to pay his rent. Wiles told them about some chemicals he had left, but when she tried to make Jones pay for them, Cage easily picked her up and moved her aside. They worked out that one of the chemicals came from a nearby ZALK lab and decided to investigate it.
While Jones investigated the lab, Cage stayed back in case Kilgrave was inside. Jones informed Cage that Kilgrave had been in there and had forced the staff to work nonstop, causing many to urinate themselves and faint. Cage told Jones about how he had felt moments before destroying Luke's for Kilgrave, telling her that he was wrong to blame her for Reva Connors' murder. Following the orders Kilgrave had left him, Cage told Jones that he forgave her and would tell her everyday for as long as she needed to hear it.
Eventually a ZALK employee left with a bag of chemicals. Believing he would take them to Kilgrave, Cage and Jones followed him to Central Park. When they arrived however Jones told Cage not to follow in case he became controlled by Kilgrave. Cage soon learned that Kilgrave had taken the chemicals before Jones could catch him, forcing the man to commit suicide. Returning to the Alias Investigations Office, Cage comforted the disappointed Jones. They soon discovered Trish Walker outside her apartment, Cage left the two friends to talk, noting that his wife was a big fan of Walker's show.
Cage called Roy Healy and informed him of Luke's destruction until Jones returned. Jones went to her asked and pulled out a yellow USB stick which she told him belonged to his wife, explaining that there was footage of experiments on children, including Kilgrave. Once he had had a shower, Cage told Jones about how he had tested his powers like Kilgrave might be, noting that Kilgrave would have played it off a magic act, this led them to discover a case of an entire room of parties being ordered to shut up by Kilgrave.
The pair traveled to the hall where Kilgrave had been to try to get some answers; once inside they spoke to the Venue Manager where they claimed to be investigating underage drinking to get to the CCTV footage. The Manager reluctantly tried to look up the footage but found it had been erased. Looking at the screens they discovered that Kilgrave had arrived and was calling Jessica Jones to the stage; Cage was ordered to leave with the Manager while Jones confronted him.
However, following the orders given to him by Kilgrave, Cage returned to the room once Jones had learned the truth and knocked her across the room with a single punch, while Kilgrave gloated about having increased his powers to last twenty four hours rather than the original twelve. Cage claimed that he could never forgive Jones for killing Reva Connors but Jones insisted that it was not him talking but Kilgrave. Kilgrave then claimed that Jones had failed his test and so he ordered Cage to kill her, which he attempted to obey without hesitation.
Cage and Jones engaged in a furious fight; while Jones tried to hold back and reason with Cage, Kilgrave's power over Cage proved too strong for him to be stopped. Equally matched in strength, Cage threw Jones across the room and protected Kilgrave from her while the fight went through the building's many corridors and rooms. When Jones resorted to hiding, Cage soon found her and ripped her through a wall; although Jones' words began to break Kilgrave's connection, it proved too strong to stop Cage.
As Jones ran outside to escape, Cage followed and confronted by a police officer; Cage threw the man outside, knocking him and his partner out. Jones attempted to defend herself with the police car's door, but Cage continued to hit it repeatedly before throwing it aside. Jones then tried to hide in the door but Cage pulled her out. As Cage stood over her to deliver the finishing blow, Jones aimed a shotgun at his chin, begging him to stop. Cage told her to do what was needed and she reluctantly fired the gun, knocking Cage out.
Saved by Claire Temple
Jessica Jones rushed Cage straight to Metro-General Hospital, where he's diagnosed with brain trauma with possible edema. The doctors and nurses, including Claire Temple continuously tried to inject an IV into him, which failed due to his unbreakable skin, confirming that he had super-powers. Knowing that Cage's life was in danger, Jones managed to convince Temple to help her take Cage back to Alias Investigations Office. As Temple took Cage out, Jones dealt with an attack from Kilgrave.
Temple managed to get Cage back to Jessica Jones' Apartment Building without being seen and lay him on Jones' bed until Jones herself returned, having escaped the hospital. Although at first he appeared stable in his condition, without warning Cage began to have a seizure, but it was quickly established that an injection to stabilize him seemed to be impossible. As Jones walked in, Temple ordered her to use her strength to hold him still so she could drain the cerebral spinal fluid; with no other choice, Temple injected Cage through his eyeball, successfully stabilizing him.
Having been asleep for the last few hours, eventually Cage awoke, sore and confused about his situation. Temple told him that Jessica Jones had killed Kilgrave and Jones was in the process of being arrested. Knowing that Jones should not go to prison for killing Kilgrave, Cage tried to get up so he could help her, but Temple told him otherwise as it would only result in his own arrest. Cage asked Temple for a glass of water to help him recover, but as soon as she left the room, Cage got out of bed and left the building.
Return to Harlem
Working for Pop
Getting away from Jessica Jones, Cage eventually found himself settled down in Harlem, where he found employment at Pop's Barber Shop, working for an old friend of Reva Connors, as well as taking another job as a dishwasher at the Harlem's Paradise. Five months later, Cage was working both jobs, keeping low profile, trying to stay out of trouble, enjoying the company of those who came to get their hair cut.
Cage often found himself falling out of favour with one costumer in particular, Shameek Smith, who viewed himself as a successful rapper in New York City and often mocked Cage for his job, which he viewed as a lesser career than his own, although Cage was still able to intimidate him. While working in the shop, Cage was flirted with by Patricia Wilson, whose son Lonnie Wilson often had his hair cut there, although Cage still rejected her many and persistent offers to go out and get coffee together, much to the constant amusement of Smith and the other customers of the Barber Shop.
Later, Cage was confronted by Pop who noted that Cage often had trouble stopping pacing as another man freed from prisoner. Pop continued to try and convince Cage that he should use his powers to help others, noting how Daredevil was doing the same down in Hell's Kitchen and how Connors had encouraged it. However, Cage made it very clear that he just wanted to be left alone and sweep hair at the barber shop. Despite all of Pop's arguments however, Cage was unconvinced, noting how Seagate Prison and gaining his powers had now ruined his life due to the pressure they put upon him.
While taking out trash in the back of Pop's Barber Shop, Cage bumped into one of the shop's hairdressers, Chico Diaz, which caused a gun to drop from his coat. Concerned for his safety, Cage asked Diaz what it was for, only for Diaz to ask if Cage's real name was Fredo Diaz, noting that Cage was not his father and that he had never needed one since his own had died. Cage then watched as Diaz left with Shameek Smith. Not wishing to get involved with criminal activities, Cage let them leave despite fearing for their safety due to their own young age.
Afterwards, Cage left Pop's for the night to work his second job at Harlem's Paradise, Cage walked down the streets of Harlem, being offered raw footage from Battle of New York from a young man called Dave Griffith who promoted the footage of the Avengers despite Cage's lack of interest. When he approached a newsstand. Oliver gave Cage the usual paper, with Cage enjoying that a blind man could smell him coming due to the bleach that Pop made him use, and warned him that his landlady, Connie Lin, was on the hunt for Cage to get her rent for his apartment.
While walking close to Genghis Connie's and attempting to get home only being seen by Jin Lin and not Jin's more dangerous wife, he was suddenly approached by Connie who had been waiting for him, and who reminded him that his rent is ten days late. He paid her his total income, but Connie stated that it was not enough. Cage however promised to gather the rest as soon as he was able to get to work at Harlem's Paradise, but Connie warned him to get it tonight or be at risk of being thrown out of his apartment which Cage knew she meant as Connie clearly took no prisoners with her apartments.
Meeting Misty Knight
As Cage started cleaning dishes at Harlem's Paradise, he was approached by Nate who asked Cage if he could fill in for bartender. Cage asked he had any payment, but Nate said it wasn't in, yet. Nate gave Cage a bar tending suit that was smaller than him. Cage sighed and agreed to take the job, stating that bar tending clearly makes more money.
As he continued to fill in as bartender, he approached Misty Knight, asking her about her empty glass, stating it was a cosmos. As Cage began to make Misty another glass, she noted that his suit was way too small for him. He retorted by stating her dress was, as well. Once Cage had refilled her glass, she started glancing at the balcony that contained Cornell Stokes and Mariah Dillard. Cage took note and asked her if she was looking for something. She denied it and claimed that she was just listening to Rafael Saadiq, reminiscing about his old album. Cage called her old fashioned, which Knight retorted back to him much to both of their shared amusement.
She continued to look up at the balcony and Cage asked if she was one of Cottonmouth's models, to which she denied. Cage stated that she is beautiful, but a tad older than what Cottonmouth is used to. Before Knight denied the tip, Cage finished by stating that idiots like little girls and he only liked real women. Flattered, Knight asked for another cosmo, but before he could make it, he was approached by Candace Miller, who stated that Cottonmouth wanted more drinks, noting she did not like to go up alone, to which he obliged. He finished making Knight's Cosmo and told her to wait for him.
Cage and Miller entered the balcony which sat Cornell Stokes, Mariah Dillard, Domingo Colon and Tone, and gave them bottles of Ace of Spades. Before Cage could leave, Cottonmouth stopped him and asked why he looked strange, Dillard answered because his suit is too small. He asked Cage what happened to Dante Chapman, the usual bartender, Cage replied that he must have called in sick. Cottonmouth, then, offered him a job that would give him better pay, asking if he had ever held a gun. Cage denied the offer as he did not want to get involved and left the balcony with Miller.
Grabbing a Coffee
- "Don't you have somewhere you need to be?"
"Yeah, home, just got off."
"Can't crash relations, you wanna go grab a coffee?"
"I don't like coffee."
"Neither do I."
- ―Misty Knight and Luke Cage
When Cage's shift at Harlem's Paradise was over, he managed to catch up with Misty Knight by the street. He told her where the bus station is, noting that she was about to call an Uber. He asked if she was waiting for Cottonmouth, because he already left in his car. She asked him if he had anywhere else to go, he replied home with reluctance. Before he could leave, she asked if he wanted to get some coffee. Cage replied that he doesn't like coffee, to which Knight stated that she did not, either, so they both ended up at Cage's apartment where they then had sex.
Later that night, after making love, Cage woke up from a nightmare featuring his past at Seagate Prison. He saw that Knight was taking a call; after she was done and started to put her clothes on, she stated that Cage talks in his sleep, stating that he uttered Shades and Comanche. She stated that the phone call was her job, when asked what her job was, she stated that she was an auditor. He asked if he could call her, but she states that he would need her number for that and that she would find him at Harlem's Paradise. As she left, Cage looked out his window, to take another look at Knight.
A Sad Discovery
- "Everyone has a gun, no one has a father."
"Ain't that the truth."
"You sure they did it?"
"People started calling me half an hour after it happened."
- ―Luke Cage and Pop
The next day, Cage was sweeping the front entrance of Pop's Barber Shop, where he stumbled across a newspaper on the streets, with the story of Dante Chapman's death. In the barber shop, Pop and Cage sat down and started reminiscing about Chapman, Shameek Smith and Chico Diaz. He talked about how he tried to keep them away from the gangs. Still in disbelief that Smith and Diaz would kill Chapman, Pop asked Cage if he saw anything. Cage denied what he saw, refusing to tell Pop about Diaz and the gun he had seen.
While walking down just past Genghis Connie's while then heading towards his second job in the night at Harlem's Paradise, Cage still managed to catch eyes with Connie Lin who continued to ask him for his rent money before he was approached by Zip and his crew who worked for Cottonmouth. Zip gave Cage one of Mariah Dillard's pamphlets, urging to keep Harlem black which seemed to be the message of Dillard's political campaign. As they left, Cage looked on in suspicion before still heading quietly to his work and continuing to try and stay out of trouble however he possibly could.
As he was cleaning dishes, Cage stopped Nate and asked where his money was at, to which he responded that he will pay him whenever he feels like it. Then, he noticed Shameek Smith entering the kitchen, being personally escorted by Tone. He overheard the conversation that Cottonmouth now wanted to meet with Smith, personally. Before leaving the kitchen, Smith gave one glance at Cage and left. Before Cage started to do something about it, Shades then walked into the kitchen, whom Cage immediately regonised from Seagate Prison, stopping him in his tracks and making him leave.
Becoming a Defender
- "I don't like your tone, you're being disrespectful, it's unnecessary."
"I think, he think, he gonna bring it."
"I can, not the way I want to, I'd kill you."
- ―Luke Cage and Sugar
Cage began pacing in his apartment, considering whether or not to leave Harlem and get away from Shades from could expose his past life as Carl Lucas and have him sent back to jail. However, Cage looks at Reva Connors's book, Invisible Man, and reminisced meeting her at Seagate Prison and teaching her the importance of not living a lonely life. He went into his bathroom and pulled out a picture of Connors, finally making a decision, quietly stating to himself that he was ready.
Later that night, Cage was walking past Genghis Connie's, where he noticed that Zip and his crew of thugs were taunting and threatening both Connie Lin and her husband, Jin, for more donation money in order to support the political career of Mariah Dillard, smashing the Lin's property when they refused. Cage went up to the entire crew, stating that they were being disrespectful. Sugar, one of Zip's crew members, assumed Cage wanted to fight, but Cage stated that he could not because most of them would die if he hit them.
Zip showed no sign of intimidation, asking Amos to take care of Cage, assuming that Amos would be more than strong enough due to his reputation of having a powerful punch. Amos punched Cage in the face, but his unbreakable skin causes him to break his hand. Amos recoils in pain, to which Cage threw him out of a window. Zip tried to use a baseball bat on him, but that didn't affect Cage, either, as he threw him against the wall. Koko tried shooting Cage, but he grabbed the gun while the gun shot in the palm of his hand. He, then, slammed him down on the ground. Cage showed Sugar the bullet, asking him if he would like to fight, causing him to flee in fear.
After the brawl, Cage went up to Jin and Connie, apologizing for the broken window and various other bits of damage he had inadvertently caused. To his surprise however, Connie was not angry and instead gave Cage some money, which he denied, stating that he owed her money for rent. Jin stated that he made things worse and that Zip and his crew would be back for more money soon enough under the orders of Dillard and Cottonmouth who would not allow such a defeat to go unnoticed. As Cage left, Connie stated that she wants to hire him. Cage states that he is not for hire, but he would defend her regardless. Cage then stepped out into New York City, putting his hood over his head and considering his next move.
- "Pop, got some fresh towels right here, you got some dirty ones, I could take them out if you want, no sweat at all."
"I'm good Luke..."
- ―Luke Cage and Pop
The next day, at Pop's Barber Shop, Cage and Pop had a discussion on Donald Goines. The conversation lead to Pop discussing how Zip and his men were attacked at Genghis Connie's, with Cage subtly confirmed that it was him. Cage showed Pop the pamphlet for Mariah Dillard's campaign and asked if Zip worked for her or Cottonmouth. Pop confirmed that it was both and told him that Dillard and Cottonmouth were cousins. He told Cage about their upbringing with Mama Mabel. Pop then told Cage that Cottonmouth is on the hunt for Chico Diaz.
As they were speaking, they are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Cottonmouth, along with Shades and Tone, who enters to get shave with a straight edge razor. Cage continued to do his job and swept the floor, as he overheard the conversation between Pop and Stokes while he got a shave from Pop, taking note of Stokes scarred hands, clearly from confronting Shameek Smith. Cage analyzed the room and the thugs, estimating the time it would take to take them all out. He glanced over at Shades, remembering his own past with him at Seagate Prison, driving him to break his broom.
This caught the attention of Shades, which caused Cage to claim that it was old. Shades said he is back home for nearly three years; Cage asked if it was college, but Shades replied Seagate Prison. He, then, proceeded to ask Cage if he has ever seen Chico Diaz, remembering that he used to hang out at the Barber Shop; Cage denied that he saw him, then asked Pop, very subtly, if he would like to get rid of Cottonmouth, which Pop denied. Recognizing Cage, Cottonmouth mocked at him having two jobs and asked for his name, when Cage replied, Cottonmouth admired it, referring the old biblical text.
Once the shave had been completed, Cottonmouth said that his favourite verse from the Bible was "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." When Pop asked about turning the other cheek, Cottonmouth simply replied that it was Jesus' job. Then, Tone asked the two of them to call Cottonmouth or his crew if they have found Diaz and before they could leave, Cage pointed out that Cottonmouth forgot to pay, which was one of the key rules of the Barber Shop. Pop denied the offer, but Cottonmouth gave Tone the order to pay the full amount as had been requested, then they left after doing so.
Pop claimed that Cottonmouth had got Shameek Smith, having seen his knuckles. Cage said it was not true, then Pop told Cage that Diaz does not have to share Smith's fate. Cage declined the job, but Pop referred to his past finding people, claiming if he could get Diaz in the shop before the crew finds him, he can set up a parle. When Cage declined the offer, Pop told Cage that he owed him one after keeping both secrets when Reva Connors brought Cage home, knowing he was an ex-convict, and the other time he found out he had powers, stating that time is due and he is collecting.
Finding Chico Diaz
- "Pop thinks he has a way to clear this mess up, I know you didn't kill Dante, or Shameek, all you guys wanted was the cash, it was an inside job, Dante's safe idea. I found you in four hours, for free, imagine how fast someone Cottonmouth pays will find you. The only chance you have of survival is if you come with me."
- ―Luke Cage to Chico Diaz
Cage walked all around Harlem, in the hope of finding Chico Diaz's whereabouts. He asked everyone he could find on the streets, but with no such luck. As he continued his search, he noticed that Cottonmouth, Shades and his crew entering the Crispus Attucks Complex. Although he found it suspicious, he decided to ignore what was going on.
Cage found Diaz locked up in a hotel, as he kicked down the door. Surprised, Chico pointed a gun at him, but Cage claimed that he could not shoot him. Cage explained that Shameek Smith was dead and Cottonmouth and his crew are looking for him and the other half of the money. Cage claimed that he could care less about him, but he was sent by Pop. Despite Diaz's objections, Cage said he knew that he didn't kill Dante nor Shameek, but that it was all an inside job for the cash and that Pop claimed that he can create a negotiation between him and Cottonmouth, if he stays at his barber shop.
To further convince him, he asked him to imagine how fast it would take for Cottonmouth to hire someone to find him, offering him to come with him back to Pop, one last time. Diaz however became insulted when Cage noted that Pop was doing this out of respect for his late father Wilfredo "Fredo" Diaz Sr., who Diaz felt had never been there for him so once again, Diaz declined the offer and asked Cage to tell Pop that he is sorry and that he was always good to him; Cage responded that Pop deserves better and then left him alone with the money to consider what was said and make his mind up.
Learning Pop's Past
Later, Cage caught up with Pop, who was sitting down and eating catfish outside his barber shop. He joined him and confirmed that he found Chico Diaz, but would not be coming. Cage apologized, saying that he cannot save everyone, but Pop disagreed as he told Cage of his past life in a gang with Cottonmouth and Wilfredo Diaz, Chico's Father. He told Cage how he got the name Pop, because of the sound his fist made when he hit someone in the face, and how he reformed, due to being caught with a gun and not seeing his wife or son for years.
Pop told Cage that he never turned back to a life of crime when he returned to Harlem, because he was not that guy, anymore. Cage said he wasn't, either, but Pop pointed out that he was innocent from the start. Pop stated that the reason he made his barber shop was so that people like Cage and Diaz could have a place to get away from crime. Cage, then, admitted that when he stopped Zip and his crew from terrorizing at Genghis Connie's, he felt at peace with himself and that he decided that he was done running. Cage, then, hoped that this would be the perfect opportunity to find out who he is.
Once they finished their conversation, the pair went back inside the barber shop, where Bobby Fish and Turk Barrett were playing a game of chess. As Pop began to leave for the back room, Diaz entered, causing Pop to scold at him and embraced. The noise caught Cage's attention asking what it was, Pop said that it was Cage saving the day. However, despite the happy occasion, Barrett looked at Diaz with interest, claiming he was looking for the bathroom. Cage demanded that Barrett leave the shop, which he obliged, and then asked Pop to hide Diaz, knowing Barrett was not to be trusted.
Another Meeting with Misty
As Pop continued to scold Chico Diaz, he and Cage both heard the door open. When Cage looked towards the main, he saw Detective Rafael Scarfe and took note that he was a cop, urging Pop to hide Diaz. After hiding him in the bathroom, Pop came out and greeted both cops, with Cage still hiding in the back room. However, when Pop was greeted by Misty Knight, Cage immediately recognized her voice as he eavesdropped on their conversation.
As the conversation continued between Pop and Scarfe concerning Diaz, Cage decided to come out while Pop tried to explain about the last time he saw him. He protested against the claim that Diaz would kill his friends, Dante Chapman and Shameek Smith. Knight saw and noticed Cage, pretending to meet him for the first time, to which Cage played along. Pop noticed the awkward tension between the two and told them that Diaz missed work for two days and that he has no control over him outside the shop. Knight and Scarfe urged them to give them a call if they saw Diaz and they began to leave.
Once the Detectives had left, Pop asked Cage about Knight, which he knowingly claimed they had just had coffee. Cage asked Pop if he was going to confront Cottonmouth, but Pop urged Cage to do it instead, as the police have an interest in the shop and he needed to guard them from Diaz. Pop also stated that these negotiations don't happen on the phone. Cage became hesitant, but Pop told him that Diaz's father, Wilfredo Diaz, died on the streets and did not want his son to end up the same way. After asking again, Cage agreed to help out in whatever possible way he could.
Setting Up a Parley
As Cage returned to Harlem's Paradise, he was approached by Nate who called on his late arrival and said he has the money. However, Cage ignored him as he continued towards Cottonmouth. Cage approached Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard, but not before being approached by Tone and patted down to check for concealed weapons. He told Cottonmouth that he is speaking to him on Pop's behalf. When asked why he couldn't come himself, Cage said that he wants to set up a parley between him and Chico Diaz, not wanting him to end up like Shameek Smith.
Cottonmouth denied what he was talking about, but Cage retorted that he does referring to his bruised knuckles. Cage said a talk can be arranged at Pop's Barber Shop, his money returned to him and Chico leaving New York, never to return. Cottonmouth mocked him, claiming that he could talk to Pop when he wanted. Cage gave Cottonmouth the picture of him, Pop and Fredo Diaz when they were young, asking him to remember his history. Cottonmouth agreed to get a haircut at the shop around the same time and fired Cage, but Cage claimed he quit before he could even fire him, as he left.
Farewell to Pop
- "Pop! Come on, you hear those sirens, they almost here, they're coming. Someone call a goddamn ambulance!"
"Swe... Swear... Swear... Jar..."
"I will, I will."
"Luke... Forward... Always... Always... Forward... Forward..."
- ―Luke Cage and Pop
Cage returned to Pop's Barber Shop and told Pop that Cottonmouth would only speak to him within the shop. Suddenly, Chico Diaz came downstairs with the money, wanting to buy a tv for the back room. Suddenly, the shop got attacked by Tone, as Cage rushed towards Lonnie Wilson to deflect the bullets from him. Diaz got injured in the arm, while Pop got shot in the neck and started to bleed violently. As the bullets continued, Cage told Wilson to play dead, ensuring the bullets only hit his unbreakable skin.
Once the bullets stopped, Tone and Shades entered the remains of the shop, checking to see if anyone survived and took the bag of money. As they left, Cage asked if Lonnie was alright and noticed Pop on the ground, as he bled hard. He rushed to his side, as he lay dying and screamed for an ambulance. With Pop reaching his final few moments, he asked Cage to swear to "move forward, always." Cage agreed and Pop died in his arms. As Cage mourned the loss of his friend, his anger for Cottonmouth and Mariah Dillard grew as he blamed them both for Pop's tragic and untimely death.
As the police began investigating, Diaz was taken to an ambulance and Pop put in a body bag, he was approached by Misty Knight, who asked if he was alright. She began to question how he survived the bullets, to which he quickly refused to answer. He just told her that he quickly shielded Wilson and that's all that happened. Knight asked him how long he worked at Pop's, to which he answered five months. She then asked if Diaz was hiding at the shop the whole time, but Cage did not answer. As Knight left him, Cage continued to blankly stare out, reeling from the events that happened.
Back at his apartment above Genghis Connie's, Cage sat in silence on his own and continued to mourn the loss of his dear friend Pop and the destruction of the barber shop. He sat down on his chair, looking at his swear jar, which had also been hit by one of Tone's bullets. Seeing what he considered to be the symbol of Pop's vision for his barber shop, a peaceful place where there was no crime or even swearing, Cage decided it was time to take action. Then, he looked up at Dillard's New Harlem Renaissance pamphlet which had been given to him by Zip the night before.
Lecture About Crispus Attucks
- "Do you even know who Crispus Attucks was? A free black man, the first man to die for what became America, he could have acted scared when those Brits raised their guns, blended in in the crowd, but he stepped up, he paid with his life, but he started something. That's what Pop did, not me, I laid in the cut until he stepped up and it cost him his life too. I ain't laying back no more!"
- ―Luke Cage to Mamba
Cage looked towards the Crispus Attucks Complex, waiting, when he was approached by a gunman. He told the kid that he was unable to believe that he would point a gun at him in front of a building named after one of their own greatest heroes. When the gunman ignored what Cage said, he lectured him about Crispus Attucks and what he had stood for during the American Revolution, comparing him to Pop and what he stood for, stating that he will never run again.
He, then, demanded the gunman to shoot him, furiously insulting the boy's fear and calling him a "nigga" as he demanded that he pull the trigger, but the gunman didn't. An impatient Cage then took his gun, stating that he will do it for him, and shot himself in the stomach, with the bullet bouncing off his own unbreakable skin, causing the gunman to flee in terror. As Cage looked on at the building, he noticed a black car drive towards the building. There, he saw Mariah Dillard exit the car with the bag of money that Shades stole. There, he quoted Pop's own philosophy to "move forward, always."
The next day, Cage woke up to the sight of Pop's swear jar, reminding him of the tragedy that befell his friend. He walked next to Genghis Connie's, as he noticed that Connie Lin was less hostile about the rent. Finally, he stopped by Pop's Barber Shop, which had now been turned into a memorial for Pop where the residents of Harlem had been laying flowers and showing their respect to the man. Cage at the memorial and admired a picture, repeating Pop's words: move forward, always.
At the funeral home, Cage began browsing through coffins with the assistance of Joel Spurlock, bewildered that Spurlock suggested the most expensive one which was vastly out of his price range and seemed too much for the funeral. As it soon became clear that Cage did not have much money to afford a top range coffin, Spurlock gave Cage a much more affordable option. Cage asked if he could see the body, but he said it just came back from the morgue and needs to be prepped for viewing. Cage talked about how Pop was like a father to him and Reva Connors, who has also passed, and would like to wait until he can afford the funeral and pay for the coffin.
However, they were both interrupted by Cottonmouth, who said he had taken care of all the expenses and mocked Cage for the lack of money to afford a proper funeral. Cage merely responded that the funeral should match the man's integrity. Cottonmouth, at this remark, asked the manager to leave. As he did so, Cottonmouth told Cage about his and Pop's differences, but always cared for him, but Cage still blamed Cottonmouth for Pop's death, even though he put the blame on Tone who he recently executed. After that, Cottonmouth threatened Cage and mocked him for losing both jobs.
War on Cottonmouth
Planning a Robbery
Later, Cage entered Pop's Barber Shop, overwhelmed at the amount of damage taken. As he was examining Pop's old hat, he was greeted by Bobby Fish, who was surprised that Cage finally made it after all that waiting, stating that it was hard for him to enter, himself. Cage asked Fish how he knew Pop, he told them he used to play chess with him in Central Park, but when he got too busy, he started visiting the barber shop. Cage asked what will happen to the shop, to which he responded that a bank would take the place, eventually revealing that he also used to do Pop's taxes for many years.
Cage, then, vowed that he wouldn't let anyone take the shop for themselves. However, Fish claims it to be impossible unless he pays the bank on time, although technically not too late despite the fact that they would need to somehow raise eighty thousand dollars. Cage, then, reveals that he plans to take the money from Cottonmouth, due to the fact that Shameek Smith stealing all the money was the reason Pop died in the first place. He plotted out what he was going to do, all the while not laying a finger on Cottonmouth. Afterwards, Cage left to check up on Chico Diaz while he recovered in the hospital.
As Cage entered the hospital that Diaz was staying at, he bumped into Misty Knight, again. She stopped him, telling Cage that he could go no further, due to the fact that he was the only suspect to be seen both at Pop's Barber Shop and at Harlem's Paradise, all the while connecting them to the killings of Dante Chapman, Shameek Smith and Pop. Cage asked to find the real killer instead of bothering him, Knight replied that their business are one in the same. Cage then stated that she still knew where he lived and they can conduct their business there, then he left to speak with Diaz in private.
Cage visited Diaz, reassuring him that Cottonmouth is no longer trying to kill him, as he executed Tone for his rash shootout and taken the money. Diaz assures Cage that he was no longer getting into trouble, but Cage told him that Pop died the minute he decided to help him. Diaz, then, replied that it may be on Cage, because one of those bullets bounced off of his skin, calling Cage one of them, but Cage quietly denied this. Diaz stated that regardless, the death is on Cottonmouth, to which Cage asked to find a way to hurt him, asking about all there is to know about Cottonmouth's operations.
Diaz explained Cottonmouth's operation and that the money goes into different storehouses, with the main being Crispus Attucks Complex, where the money was hidden. Diaz warned about the complex being heavily guarded so Cage asked about the other stash houses and the shootout that had happened, Diaz replied that Dante Chapman and he took note of a few and the shootout was probably Domingo Colon. Cage, then, planned to cause tension between Cottonmouth and Colon by robbing those stash houses and have the money moved to Crispus Attucks, stating that he will do it all by himself.
Cage began hitting a few of Cottonmouth's stash houses, smashing through the doors before beating up anyone who would stand in his way, easily subduing them due to his incredible strength. Before he left, he would take the guns and twist them so they would not be used again. He would also leave the cash wide open, which baffled the police. Only one person witnessed Cage, a young woman who was high on drugs at the time, when Detectives Misty Knight and Rafael Scarfe questioned her about the "mysterious hooded man," all that she could say was that he was fine looking.
Later, Cage spied on the Crispus Attucks Complex, planning out how to infiltrate strategically. He looked over and saw Mariah Dillard enter, taking note how heavily fortified it was, now that he made with all his break-ins at Cottonmouth's stash houses. He simply looked away and plotted the next move, ensuring that he was not seen by Zip or anybody else who might recognise his face and warn Cottonmouth early.
Later that night, Cage watched the complex, as Dillard left with a few of the soldiers. Seizing the opportunity, he put on his headphones, played music by The Wu Tang Clan and headed out. Seeking a weapon to increase his strength, Cage ripped off a car door and busted through the fortified door of the complex. The noise stirred up a bunch of soldiers to attack. Regardless, Cage was able to get past through all of them with little effort, even binding a soldier to the car door before throwing him and the door down the stairs where he crashed into the other soldiers heading upstairs.
Cage went to the next few floors, still breezing through the soldiers, while looking for the vault. He encountered the last guard, as he threw a couch at him. The man dodged the couch, causing it to be launched out of the window and smash hard against the ground while the man locked himself in front of a bar door, spraying a barrage of bullets. However, the bullets bounced off of Cage and he just walked closer towards him while his hoody was torn apart by the bullets, grabbing him by the neck and knocking him out against the door. With that done, Cage kicked the door down and continued.
With all the guards either subdued or having run in terror of the bulletproof man, Cage walked inside Mariah Dillard's office, looking around for another entrance. He saw another door on the opposite side and entered, despite there being a second steel door, which he pulled off it's hinges with almost no effort required. He came across the locker room and looked into one of the ziplock bags; he smiled when he found the money and walked out with it, stepping into New York City's streets and disappearing into the night before he could be caught by the police or any more of Cottonmouth's thugs.
Cage returned to Pop's Barber Shop, still covered with bullet holes, startling Bobby Fish, who swore a storm. Cage joked that he must pay the swear jar, but Fish said he had nothing on him. Cage dropped the bag of money on his lap and told him that he did. Fish asked how he got this, Cage responded that it did not matter and the money should be used on the barber shop, which Fish happily obliged, not being able to leave with the state that the shop was in. Cage noted that the facility should still be open, despite the fact that he nor Fish were barbers; after that, he left for Genghis Connie's.
Trapped in Genghis Connie's
- "If they can't get to use we'll have to get to them."
"Okay Connie, the best way I can put this is... I'm kinda strong."
- ―Luke Cage and Connie Lin
Cage had dinner at Genghis Connie's, where he was greeted by Connie Lin, who was amazed at his appetite. Cage gave Lin some of the money taken from Cottonmouth's storehouse. She refused, but Cage stated that he wanted to make things right. This touched Lin and she hugged Cage. However, Cottonmouth had discovered Cage's involvement and his location and used a rocket launcher to get rid of him. Cage saw the coming missile and shielded Lin from the explosion. The blast caused the building to collapse on them both and knocked them out, much to Cottonmouth's pleasure.
Later, Cage finally woke up in the ruins, after having a dream of life in Seagate Prison. He looked around and finally found Connie Lin, who's leg was under a huge pile of rubble. He told Lin that they have to be extremely careful, due to a gas leakage that could mean if that made a spark they could cause another explosion which could kill her. Lin became skeptical about getting out, but Cage assured her that if they rescue services could not get to them in time, he would free them, himself; he, then, began to pick up piles of rubble and showed off his superhuman strength to the amazed Lin.
Cage, finally, got the rubble off of Lin's leg, stating that it was broken. She then asked how Cage was doing this and Cage hesitated about telling her his secrets, continuing to dig them out. Then, Cage saw a hole that was a little further down and informed Lin that she needs to crawl underneath; she began to, although she struggled, due to her leg causing her incredible pain. Cage, remembering how he escaped Seagate Prison, began to punch the top of the rubble, until he, finally, created a way out by punching straight through the concrete and reaching the outside where the police were waiting.
Cage was greeted by firefighters who asked if he could move, he answered that he was fine, but Lin needed help because of her broken leg. As Cage was carrying her, Lin still could not believe what Cage did, which Cage answered is why what happened should be kept a secret. While being examined by medical, he was approached by Misty Knight, who wanted answers about what happened in the rubble, but Cage stated that it was for another time. As he left, he was approached by the press who wanted to know the mysterious hero; he turned around and said: my name is Luke Cage.
Framed by Cottonmouth
The next morning, Cage was digging through all the rubble of Genghis Connie's and his apartment. Many spectators came to watch, one of them being Misty Knight, who was still surprised at Cage's strength. Cage kept digging until he finally found what he was looking for, Pop's "Swear Jar". He left the rubble, unaware that Knight went to the rubble and found the picture of Reva Connors.
Cage returned to Pop's Barber Shop, where he was greeted by Bobby Fish, who hired Dapper Dan to tailor a suit for Cage. As Cage tried on his suit, Dan stated that he saw him on tv and was impressed that he survived the wreckage. Cage stated that he was just lucky, but Fish called it a blessing. Cage tried to change the subject by asking Dan about Mike Tyson, but Fish turned that subject around by stating that when the world knows who he is, just be the good person that he can be. With that, Cage thanked Dan as he left and began to walk with Fish.
As they walked into the next room, They started to become prepared for Pop's funeral. Fish pointed out that Cage's popularity has increased, noting the amounts of letters stacked on the front door. Fish noted that going to the funeral may be the hardest thing, taking note of some of the women going. After Cage and Fish admired Pop's past life, Fish gave Cage the key to Pop's apartment upstairs, noting that he would have probably wanted him to have it, since Genghis Connie's blew up. He reluctantly took the key, stating that he will find a way to earn his keep, with Fish agreeing, stating that they need to keep the shop up and running.
Suddenly, he was visited by Aisha Axton, who demanded to see Cage. She asked him about Zip and his thieving. Curious, Cage asked what she meant, she answered that Zip and his crew stole her father'S ring and hit a few other people, putting the blame on him. Aisha begged to get the ring back, nothing that it was the only thing to remember him by. Cage was hesitant, but Aisha furiously told him to stand up, noting what happened at Genghis Connie's.
As she left, Fish took note that it was probably Cottonmouth trying to get Cage driven out by all of Harlem. As Cage began to leave, Fish asked what he was doing, Cage answered that he would clear his name. As Cage left Pop's Barber Shop, he was approached by more of the victims of Zip and his crew, demanding that Cage get back the items that they stole. Cage stated that he was on it and left.
Cage started fighting Zip's crew, reclaiming all the stolen objects. As soon as he stopped some more thugs, he threatened to come after them if the so much as say his name and then demanded that they tell everyone that they shouldn't fear Cottonmouth. He, then, knocked out the thugs.
As he walked down the streets of Harlem, he heard a scream. He walked towards the source, seeing Sugar on a stretcher, complaining about someone, who he called a "bitch", shooting him. Cage asked if he knew who he was and Sugar recoiled. He asked who shot him, Sugar just groaned and stated that he was "moving back to Raleigh" and "had enough of this shit".
As Cage kept walking, He was approached by another girl who stated he wasn't working fast enough, pleading that he get the ring back for Aisha, who had shot Sugar. She told him the tragic story about her and her father, who got ill and left her alone on the streets. When she stated how tough Aisha was, Cage asked if it was Aisha who shot Sugar, she stated that Sugar mocked her and her father's ring. When he asked where she got the gun and where Aisha was, she stated that she got the gun from her and that she doesn't know her whereabouts. With that, she left.
Suddenly, Cage encountered Misty Knight and Rafael Scarfe, much to his annoyance. Knight found it odd that Cage kept showing up at different crime scenes and showed him the picture of Reva Connors, refusing to give it to him, claiming it as evidence. Scarfe, then, showed Cage the cuffs and tiara from Noah Burstein's lab, asking what his connection with Cottonmouth was. Cage answered that he got mad that Cottonmouth fired him, then Knight told him to back down and let them do their job or get out of Harlem. Cage told her he would take care of Cottonmouth and then go; as he left, Knight told Cage to not go to Pop's memorial.
Later, Cage entered Harlem's Paradise to talk to Cottonmouth, but as soon as he got inside, he was greeted by his henchmen who surrounded him. As they inched closer to him, Cottonmouth loomed over him and mocked him for being Harlem's savior. Cage stated that he was ending Cottonmouth's reign, then Cottonmouth told him that he can't have Harlem, to which Cage replied that he didn't want Harlem, but he wanted to protect it from him. Cottonmouth, then, stated that it was his home and not Cage's.
The henchmen, then, began to fight Cage. However, Cage easily gained the upper hand, knocking out all three of the henchmen. One of them even tried to shoot him, but the bullets just bounced off of him. Shades recognized his fighting style and, unbeknownst to Cage, figured out that he was really Carl Lucas.
Enraged, Cottonmouth came down to Cage, but Cage mocked him for using a gun after surviving his rocket launcher. Cottonmouth threatened war, but Cage stated that all of his men are down, which angered him further. He mocked Shades, revealing that he knew him. He, then, threatened Cottonmouth to no longer say his name; Cottonmouth asked why and Cage said nothing and left.
Retrieving the Ring
Cage, finally, came across Zip, who was playing craps on the streets. He mocked them and asked if any of them were at the raid of Crispus Attucks Complex. With that being said, everyone left in fear except Zip. As Cage approached Zip, he began firing his gun at Cage, but the bullets bounced off of him.
Zip froze and shook with fear, then Cage took his gun and twisted it in a knot. He, then, grabbed Zip by the scruff of his neck. He demanded Aisha Axton's ring, but Zip shook his head no. Cage told him to think again, noting that the place was named after Jackie Robinson, and began to choke him more. He, then, proceeded to look in Zip's coat pocket. He found Aisha's ring, let Zip go and left.
Cage entered the baseball shop, but she wasn't there, finding the place a complete mess. Then, he came across Eddie Axton, Aisha's father, who asked if he was one of the thrives, stating that he has nothing left. Cage told him that he needed to find Aisha to return the ring, but Eddie claimed it wasn't worth anything, But Cage noted that it might have reminded her of better times. Axton talked about his failed Baseball career and how Aisha came up with the shop to set a positive example for himself. Disgusted, Cage told Axton to shape up and to let Aisha know that he stopped by.
- "He listened to their problems. And he made them feel better about the world and themselves. We have to strive on a daily basis to do the same for each other. And sometimes, that's gonna mean standing up to a bully. Especially if he calls himself a friend. I don't believe in Harlem. I believe in the people who make Harlem what it is."
- ―Luke Cage's speech at Pop's memorial
Cage went back to Pop's Barber Shop and took off his coat. He took a look in the broken mirror and saw the bullet holes in his shirt that Dapper Dan had given him, which had been caused by Zip's gun. He cursed under his breath and, knowing where he was, put a dollar in the swear jar.
Cage entered Pop's funeral, listening to his illegitimate son talk about him. As he continued to walk, people started to stare at him, taking note of Misty Knight and Cottonmouth who were attending, and sat down next to Aisha Axton. He told her that the job was taken care of and to take her hand away from her concealed gun. She did so and Cage, secretly, crushed her gun.
Bobby Fish asked if anyone would like to say a few words, as Cage started to get up, he was interrupted by Cottonmouth who went up and began his tribute. He listened to his story about how he grew up with Pop while living with Mama Mabel and how he got his name. Cottonmouth claimed that he will protect Harlem from criminals, mentioning that Tone went missing. The crowd cheered him on, as he finished his tribute.
Cage, then, came up after Cottonmouth, looking at the picture and remembering how Pop died, then began his tribute. He told the people his memories of Pop and the reason why he had a swear jar in his barber shop in the first place. He told what he think Pop would have wanted, for people to be protected and find the good in them, while using the ring as an example, and telling the people to stand up against criminals. After he was done, he approached Aisha and gave back her father's ring. Aisha asked if he was one of them, Cage responded that he does give a damn and hugged her.
After the service, Cage came face to face with Cottonmouth, mocking him for trying to get Harlem against him. Cottonmouth laughed and stated that the war was still going on between them, but Cage gave another threat. As he left him, Cage was approached by Misty Knight, who was furious that he got all of Harlem involved with his heroism. She pleaded to let her get Cottonmouth the legal way, but Cage took note that it will all lead to him getting out of jail. Knight took note that Harlem was vulnerable and that he needed to leave, but Cage stated that he was going nowhere and entered Pop's Barber Shop.
Reunited with a Friend
Cage jogged one morning, unknown that Trish Walker did a radio segment on her show dedicated to him. One woman thought that he was not to be trusted where as one man said he knew him personally and that he means good. Walker took note that the only ones complimenting Cage were folks that knew him personally. She gave him a personal thanks, knowing that he is using his powers for good.
Later, he stopped by Mariah Dillard, who was doing an interview for the news. Once the interview was over, he gained her attention. He informed Dillard that once he shuts Cottonmouth down, she will be next. Dillard asked if that was a threat, but Cage said it wasn't and left.
Later, at a local diner, Bobby Fish continued pushing Cage into helping. Cage, however, insisted that he wasn't a hero. Fish joked, claiming that could be his tag line: I am no hero, pay me. The two men chuckled and continued to eat their meal.
Later, he was greeted by Claire Temple who asked if he remembered her when Jessica Jones brought him to Metro-General Hospital. It took a while, but he then remembered her. Fish greeted Temple, complimented her beauty and left the two of them alone, together. Cage offered her a seat, which she accepted, causing awkward silence between the two of them.
Cage started the conversation, claiming that Temple didn't have to do what she did for him back at Jones' apartment; however, Temple told him that all she wanted to know was wether he was ok after the said events, reminding him of the shotgun blast. Cage asked if she thought he was a freak, but she stated that he was amazing.
Cage, however, stated that he wants to be normal, just like everyone else, but Temple asked why he should hide his gifts if he was never going to use them. Cage paused and paid for his meal. He claimed he had to be somewhere and left. Temple, however, followed.
Cage walked back to his apartment, with Claire Temple following behind him, claiming the reason that he went to New York was to remain hidden. However, Temple noted that surviving a fallen building and surviving bullets would cause a lot of attention. When he opened the door, he was surprised to find the door unlocked. He and Temple followed a trail of blood and found Rafael Scarfe bleeding on the floor in the back room.
Scarfe demanded no cops, not even his partner. Cage asked why he wanted his help and Scarfe claimed it was because he didn't trust him. When Temple suggested taking him to a hospital, he refused that, as well, claiming he would get killed, stating just like how they found Chico. Cage helped Temple move Scarfe to one of the barber chairs, where Temple began to operate.
- "You should be more ambitious."
"What if my ambition is to sweep hair... wash dishes... and be left the hell alone?"
- ―Pop and Luke Cage
Keeping a low profile, avoiding altercations that might attract suspicious or police activity and generally remaining as normal a person he can be, Luke Cage tends to be aloof, mysterious and sometimes cold due to having to remain as physically and emotionally distant as possible to keep his his tragic and violent past from catching up with him in the present. Whilst attempting to lead a normal life, in some situations like running his own bar in Hell's Kitchen or in Harlem, Cage is capable of being sociable and genial but ultimately makes few friends on a whole. His choice to fight crime was only due to Pop's death, as he was guilty over his striving to lead a normal life leading to someone close to him dying. Beforehand, Pop had to refer to the debt Cage owed him for keeping his secret to get him to help Chico Diaz. Also, he strove not become too exposed lest his past as Carl Lucas be revealed and he'd be imprisoned yet again. Viewing his abilities as a curse, Cage dreads to use his super-strength and durability, that is unless the situation is absolutely necessary, as he only "protects [himself] and what's [his]". This mentality is evident when he fights off several opponents in his bar, unknowingly revealing his abilities to a group of patrons and when he agreed to find Antoine Grier for his sister. Jaded as he is, Cage is a good man at heart and a loyal friend to the few he has.
Cage also loved his wife, Reva Connors dearly as she was the only thing during his time at Seagate that gave him hope and kept him sane. When she was killed, he was said to have become obsessed over discovering how it happened. He was even dragged out of the MTA by eight guards when he angrily confronted the administrator there, Serena Grier, to find out more about the crash and she was unable to calm him down. When confronting the man (who supposedly) killed Reva, Cage, blinded by love for his wife and rage, reveals his super abilities with the full intention of murdering him, although he did have enough restraint to calm himself down from attacking Jessica Jones when it was revealed she was the one that killed Reva but scolded her quite harshly over this confession. Upon discovering that Reva was aware of the experimentation at Seagate and also recommended him to the experiment that gave him super strength, Cage is deeply disturbed, claiming the memory of Reva was now ruined but he still loved the idea of her. He was very protective of his Hell's Kitchen bar, Luke's due to it being the only memory of Reva he had left, keeping it clean and protecting it from damage. When Kilgrave had him destroy his bar, leaving him with no real connection to Hell's Kitchen, Cage left to live a new life in Harlem. He has engaged in relationships with other women after Reva such as Gina, Jessica Jones, Misty Knight and Claire Temple but he still loves his wife even after her death. Despite this slight promiscuous side, Cage treats women with utmost respect as Knight was flattered by the way he looked into her eyes rather than breasts whilst staking out Cottonmouth wearing a low-cut dress
In battling criminals, Cage is confident and humorous due to knowing that he cannot be injured or killed in combat or by guns. Whilst usually quiet, such as during his attack on Crispus Attucks, he is not above a sarcastic or witty comment. When Zip and several other criminals were holding up the Lin's Chinese restaurant, Cage reprimands Zip for his harsh tone of voice and disrespect towards Connie before fighting them. Similarly when confronting Domingo Colon at his boxing ring and Colon's goons drew their guns on him, Cage only reacts by saying that "[they] hadn't heard of [him]" and stating dryly that "[he] was tired of buying new clothes" after being shot by them. According to Claire, he is corny due to his constant one-liners and humorous remarks. Cage often destroys firearms when given the chance, either after or during a fight, sometimes even before combat begins.
Due to gaining his powers by accident and doing his best not to use them, therefore not training himself how to use them, Cage does not entirely know the limits of his own abilities which has led him to break bones, sending enemies flying into the air and through walls and land almost-fatal punches. He even attacked a large group of opponents with a sofa and threw it at a gunman, though it missed and crashed out a window instead. Fortunately, he has not killed anyone but this is by Cage's own restraint as murder will get him back into the police system, eventually creating a line that Luke Cage is Carl Lucas and will be imprisoned yet again. He acknowledged that while he would want to not have to use restraint, it would kill his opponents if he did not when warning Zip and his men not to fight him. One way he limits the amount of damage he does to his opponents is slapping them unconscious.
Because Cage does not tend to classify himself or his actions as heroic, on some occasion he has displayed preperation to kill such as ambushing Charles Wallace whom he thought had killed Reva. Also, when a wounded and dying Rafael Scarfe revealed that he killed Chico Diaz, Luke began strangling Scarfe to death without any emotion on his face until Claire Temple reminded him that he was not a killer. When confronting Turk Barrett on ratting out Chico and inadvertently leading Tone to shooting and killing Pop, he spared his life despite threatening to crush him and then nearly crushing a dumpster with Turk in it to get him to reveal Diamondback's location before leaving him trapped in it. His powers and restraint of them appear to be connected to his own emotional state as he lost control of his strength when he discovered that Reva was involved in his experiment and destroyed Noah Burstein's entire barn in distress upon discovery of this revelation. Although not as strong as his half-brother's faith in God, Cage has a religious side to his personality due to his upbringing by a reverend father which is not outspokenly displayed but his alias of Luke Cage was derived from a bible verse his father taught him.
Unlike the rest of New York's vigilantes, such as Daredevil and Spider-Man, he does not have a secret identity or costume and his hero work is seen in the light of day amongst Harlem's citizens. Although initially remaining discrete whilst planning to bring down Stokes, he eventually revealed his identity and what he was doing after surviving Cottonmouth's assassination attempt on his life to prove his lack of fear thereof and to inspire others to move forward the same way Pop did to him. When deciding to keep helping people more, however he considers a costume but Claire Temple encourages him to remain in the light as too much in Harlem already happens in the shadows, with the unsaid addendum that most of these shadowy acts are criminal in nature. Seeing a normal man stand up would give hope to its citizens rather than just a symbol of fear for its enemies. With inspiration from his friends, Cage gives up his secretive lifestyle to finally do some good, becoming a "man of the people" figure who isn't afraid to be seen in the light of day, openly fighting criminals such as the like of Cottonmouth and Diamondback.
Cage has a fondness for basketball and reading, with his favorite genre being detective stories. Like Pop, Cage has a dislike for cursing as he kept Pop's swear jar after his death to keep his memory alive and forced anyone who sweared in his presence to add money. He even salvaged it from the wreckage of Connie Lin's restaurant when Cottonmouth destroyed it. In addition most of Cage's favourite songs are censored due to being heavily profane by nature.
Powers and Abilities
- "You can't fix me. I'm unbreakable."
- ―Luke Cage
- Superhuman Strength: During a fight in his bar where different opponents attacked him, Cage effortlessly tossed them aside and overpowered them with one arm. He is able to punch and dent the auto body of motor vehicles with his fists. He was able to match Jessica Jones in strength, and push her back when she attempts to subdue him. His strength allows him to easily rag doll, lift, drag and send normal humans flying. Cage can tear through steel like tissue paper, break bones with a swift kick, punch through solid brick walls, crumple guns in his hands with ease, knock a person unconscious with a slap to the head, kick down almost any door and easily lift massive concrete blocks and heavy machinery, such as washing machines and refrigerators. In addition, his strength has allowed him to jump several feet in the air over a bar stand while he shielded Misty Knight from gunfire. Despite his strength, he is not invincible and can be overpowered by normal humans in large numbers, as eight guards managed to drag him out of the MTA when he went to Serena Grier tried to find out more about his wife's death. Len Sirkes and his men managing to hold him down and strike him repeatedly until he got the upper hand due to his durability and stamina allowing him to outlast his weaker opponents. His power and restraint of it are believed to be at least somewhat connected to his own emotional state as he lost control of his strength when he discovered that Reva was involved in his experiment and destroyed Noah Burstein's entire barn in distress upon discovery of this revelation.
- Superhuman Durability: Cage has extremely durable skin and resilient enough to withstand using his strength to break stone and metal without injury. The durability of his cells can be likened to those found on abalone shells, due to their structure and super elasticity. Cage demonstrates this durability to Jessica Jones by using a circular saw against his own stomach, and he survived both being stabbed in the neck and being shot with a shotgun, neither of which could break his skin. A doctor's drill began to smoke when drilling against his skin. Cage's skin is also fire resistant, as demonstrated by him being able to withstand a point-blank explosion and not feel a thing when he emerged, while on fire. Shots from handguns at point blank and machine guns only caused Luke minor discomfort or stinging pain at times, which only managed to anger him while in combat. Luke has been shown to be shot point-blank with multiple high-caliber machine guns, with the bullets simply ricocheting off of his skin. He even had an entire building fall on top of him, fell from a height of over 30 feet and cracked the ground upon landing and had a car crash right into him, all of which left him unscathed. The only known thing that able to pierce Cage's skin is the Judas Bullet, and though the bullet would have exploded a normal human, Cage managed to barely survive two of them. Also, Claire Temple was able to stick a needle into his eye, along his optic nerve and into his cranium to drain out cerebral spinal fluid in his head, meaning the tissues deeper into his skin can be more vulnerable. She and Noah Burstein also stuck a syringe down Luke's throat to puncture his mucus membrane and get a blood sample for testing.
- Superhuman Stamina: Cage was able to swim from Seagate Prison to shore, without stopping, a task deemed impossible for any man, such as swimming several miles away from Seagate Prison to get to shore. Cage was also able to attack multiple safe houses and engage in multiple fights in the span of a few hours, without showing any signs of tiredness. However, strenuous activity and extended use of his powers does seem to cause Luke to be hunger, as he is seen eating large amounts of food afterward. His stamina allows him to easily outlast his opponents, especially when they are in great number, meaning that even if they manage to overpower him, he could still manage to get the upper hand.
- "I should be healed up in a couple of hours, right?"
"Sooner than that, Power Man."
- ―Luke Cage to Reva Connors
- Regenerative Healing Factor: The original procedure Cage went under was designed to accelerate tissue regrowth in its subjects; as a result, Cage's body heals at an accelerated rate. During the experiment, all of the injuries he had received in prison were healed within moments. Cage also healed from two gunshot wounds inflicted by the Judas Bullet without retaining scars in a matter of hours, though he needed the shrapnel from the bullets removed beforehand. In a few hours, he completely recovered from brain hemorrhaging and cerebral edema, caused by a shotgun blast against his chin that Jessica Jones used to knock him out, while Claire Temple had to drain cerebral spinal fluid from his eye while he had a seizure and noted that moving him could kill him to Jessica Jones.
- "This nigga's half Houdini, half Ali."
- ―Cornell Stokes
- Expert Combatant: Due to his time in the marines, police training, and experience in the fighting ring at Seagate Prison, Luke Cage is a highly skilled combatant, able to easily get the upper hand on unarmed opponents. This allowed him to defeat Comanche and Shades when they attacked him in his sleep, though they where not trying to kill him and where unarmed. When forced to fight for Albert Rackham, he defeated several skilled and athletic fighters and was one of the best fighters in Rackham's secret fights. He has training in hand to hand combat, bare knuckle boxing, boxing and street fighting. Since the experiment that physically enhanced him, Cage resorts to using his strength while fighting, but he is nevertheless a skilled combatant, using brawling and street fighting techniques, especially when he does not want to injure his opponents.
- Expert Investigator: Due to his time as a police officer, Cage has expert detective skills. He was able to track down Chico Diaz in 4 hours, a task neither the police or Cottonmouth could accomplish. While trying to undermine Cottonmouth's operations, he began taking jobs from the people who Cornell had brought trouble for. Many of these jobs included having to track down missing items.
|Appearances for Luke Cage|
in chronological order:
- In the comics, Luke Cage had Claire Temple as a girlfriend, but eventually married Jessica Jones; he founded "Heroes for Hire", a superhero protection agency, with his best friend Iron Fist. He also went under the nickname of "Power Man" for many years before he abandoned the name for a new start.
- While Luke Cage said that Jessica Jones tossed a man twice her size across his bar with one hand when Andre attacked him, she had actually been tossing them with both hands.
Behind the Scenes
- Quentin Tarantino was once set to direct a film based on Luke Cage after the release of Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino wanted Laurence Fishburne for the role, but abandoned the film due to studio insistence that Wesley Snipes be chosen instead.
- Idris Elba expressed interest in portraying Luke Cage before Mike Colter was cast.
- Eric Thomas Wilson, who portrayed HYDRA Guard in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode Bouncing Back, campaigned to portray Luke Cage in 2011 with a video pitch.
- Luke wearing a hoodie in his own television series was intended by showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker as a tribute to Trayvon Martin, emphasizing "the idea that a black man in a hoodie isn't necessarily a threat".
- Luke's swear jar is a reference to Prince, who kept one at his home. Cheo Coker included it in the hopes it would encourage the late singer to appear on the show.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Luke Cage: 1.04: Step in the Arena
- ↑ Luke Cage: 1.13: You Know My Steez
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Luke Cage: 1.02: Code of the Streets
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jessica Jones: 1.03: AKA It's Called Whisky
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Jessica Jones: 1.06: AKA You're a Winner!
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Jessica Jones: 1.01: AKA Ladies Night
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Jessica Jones: 1.02: AKA Crush Syndrome
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Jessica Jones: 1.12: AKA Take a Bloody Number
- ↑ Jessica Jones: 1.11: AKA I've Got the Blues
- ↑ Jessica Jones: 1.13: AKA Smile
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Luke Cage: 1.01: Moment of Truth
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Luke Cage: 1.03: Who's Gonna Take the Weight?
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Luke Cage: 1.05: Just to Get a Rep
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Luke Cage: 1.06: Suckas Need Bodyguards
- ↑ That time Quentin Tarantino wanted to make a Luke Cage movie
- ↑ Idris Elba On 'Mandela,' James Bond And Why He Wants His Own Superhero Movie
- ↑ Avenger's Luke Cage
- ↑ Wired: Why Netflix’s Luke Cage is the Superhero We Really Need Now
- ↑ Twitter: The "Swear Jar" was for Prince. I was going to show him the first two episodes and convince him to play in episode 13.