Luke Cage is one of my favorite little known superheroes. His notoriety got a huge shot in the arm September 30 with the release of the newest Marvel Netflix series. It is the best one so far. Not by an incredible degree as the other two that came before it are also pretty amazing, but still the best. It does everything it needs to do and more to establish a character with such broad cross-demographic appeal. Almost everybody seems to enjoy this guy. Hell, it seemed binge sessions of the show even caused Netflix to crash for a few hours the day after it released.
Luke Cage, who in this incarnation is from Georgia originally instead of Harlem and simply adopted Harlem as his new home, is an upstanding man who just wants to live a moral life. He is the cleanest cut of all of Marvel’s “street heroes.” Even though he is a fugitive on the run (a little redundant.) Innocent and framed, of course.
Yes, this show has politics. But, thankfully, they are kept subtle, outside of a heavy-handed reference to Trayvon Martin. Funny enough, the show confirmed that Obama was a one-term President in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Apparently, the President we first see in Iron Man 3 was elected on a one-issue campaign of national security after “The Incident” in New York City. There are even political musings for both sides of the aisle. We get a very Sharpton-esque (they explicitly name drop him) attempt to aggregate power via propaganda using disgusting lies. We get a very racist prison guard. We get a main character who refuses to curse much or even use the N-word (the actor playing Luke Cage, Mike Colter, personally hates the word and wanted that to be made a part of his character.)
The show even manages to juggle four villains, all of whom play the part they need to. One, the cold and calculating politician. Another, the crazy dude who will throw down with Luke Cage. The third, a tragic figure thrown into a life he never really wanted trying to fulfill the only dreams his life allows him. And the fourth, a lackey with further designs on power beyond his boss. That last guy really needed some Corey Hart to play at some point when he entered a room.
The acting on the show is top notch from everyone involved. Even that dude who played a split personality disorder murderer on that one episode of Psych. The potential that this show leaves the timeline at is absolutely insanely awesome. The first episode of Marvel’s The Defenders had better be called “The Daredevil Went Down to Georgia.”
And that music. So damn good. When one of the show’s villains owns a night club, it is not exactly a surprise that we get a bunch of “live” musical acts to give a scene some added pep. I’ve already purchased the show’s official soundtrack, which went on sale October 7.
You owe it to yourself to watch this show. But I have a feeling a lot of you already have.