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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Luke Cage

Recovering from a brush with death, the former Power Man seeks out therapy

By Tim Stevens

Luke Cage is an adult male who appears to be of above average physical fitness. Cage is an active-although not sanctioned by the Superhuman Registration Act-super-powered vigilante who claims to be part of the "real Avengers." He was subjected to an experimental medical procedure several years ago that, up until recently, seemed to only benefit him with significantly above average strength and impenetrable skin.

Recently though, after exposure to a device that affected his powers, the client experienced a cardiac event and nearly died. Surgery proved near impossible due to the complications of his "gifts." In the end, however, a team at the behest of Norman Osborn was able to save and revive Cage before his "real Avenger" teammates and other friends stole him away from the H.A.M.M.E.R. director.

In the wake of this incident, the client has been left with a complicated mix of emotions that he is largely unaccustomed to. By his own admission, the client has been a man largely concerned with the health and well-being of those around him and rarely his own. While knowing he is by no means immortal, he had given little thought, over the years, to how and when his death might come. Even given his various dangerous roles as "hero for hire," private investigator, public hero, and so on, Cage rarely entertained the idea that he might be struck down in the line of duty. Having encountered his own mortality in a very real way for the first time, the client has reacted by becoming even more deeply concerned about those around him.

He expressed anxiety about what might happen to his wife, Jessica Jones, and child, Danielle, if he was no longer around. While he was able to acknowledge that Jones is "tough as hell" and not someone in need of saving, he also wondered aloud about how she might handle his death and what sort of burden leaving her alone with a child might be. He also expressed deep worry about leaving his daughter without a father.

Follow-up questions that attempted to connect the client more deeply with what his own feelings about dying might be, his own worries, fears, etc. that did not have to do with how it might hurt others were largely ignored, deflected, or otherwise minimized.

It is the opinion of this writer that the client is unprepared and unwilling to allow himself at this time to consider what dying might mean to him, as opposed to those he cares about. Rather than confront whatever feelings he might have on the matter, he is utilizing the defense mechanisms of

intellectualization and displacement to distance himself from those emotions and/or attribute them to being about others, not himself.

Additionally, Cage admits to some ambivalence regarding his having been saved by Osborn. While he acknowledges that Osborn was likely only helping to meet his own ends, the client finds himself feeling indebted to the H.A.M.M.E.R. Director. He claims to be a man who does not like to owe people favors, who likes to honor his debts and that his first instinct is to therefore find a way to help Osborn out. This is increased due to the fact that Osborn also recently helped Cage and Jones located their kidnapped daughter. On the other hand, the client finds Osborn to be an evil man who has sullied the Avengers name and remains every bit the villain he once was. Therefore, he cannot imagine a scenario where he could help the former Green Goblin in good conscience.

The writer has encouraged the client to continue with therapy to further explore his emotions surrounding his near-demise and the parties involved and Cage has agreed.

NEW AVENGERS #60 cover by Stuart Immonen
Luke Cage's next appointment is set for December 23 with Doctors Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. For more information, the writer recommends reviewing file NEW AVANGERS #60.

Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Doctoral Intern at a college counseling center currently pursuing his Psy D.

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even if Luke Cage stops Bucky Cap from taking Norman Osborn out there are still plenty of characters that would not hesitate to take out Norman Osborn (cough Penance cough Spider Man cough Songbird cough and that list will grow during SIEGE) so the question is can Luke Cage handle [i] all[/i] of the people that want a piece of Norman Osborn?


Ok now i dont trust Luke Cage. He think he ows osborn!!! That could ruin siege!!! Ok think about this: Bucky has a clear shot at normans head like in that teaser picture right? Bucky says something like "normans uve put me throuhg hell so now im gonna kill u" and luke who "ows norman" KOs Buck and just gives norman over to the police!!! what if that happened!!! that would suck!!