"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"
As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!
So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!
By TJ Dietsch
Luke Cage may not be the Avenger with the longest tenure, but he certainly became a huge part of the team in a fairly short period of time.
He happened to be around during the attack on The Raft that wound up spawning a new squad of Avengers, proved to be an important part of the Anti-Registration movement along with Captain America and now finds himself leading the Thunderbolts as well as the New Avengers. You can currently see him in the pages of NEW AVENGERS and THUNDERBOLTS as well as in AVENGERS ORIGINS: LUKE CAGE this November.
The Yellow Shirt
How a dude from the streets of Harlem decided to wear an open yellow button-down shirt with boots, a giant chain belt with matching metal wrist and head bands, we'll never know, but wear it he did. Having a name like Power Man and the abilities to withstand gunfire and punch through walls thanks to a prison experiment must have helped too. He first appeared in 1972's LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE #1 and rocked this looked for two decades afterwards. No matter how much Luke changes or how many teams he joins, this classic look remains the one people talk about.
By 1992, Luke had been around for 20 years with pretty much the same look. When he got his new series that year simply called CAGE it called for a new look. He ditched the yellow and replaced it with a red t-shirt, black jacket, boots and gray pants with a big metal belt. The look didn't last long, but suited him well during that book's 20-issue run.
While not officially set in the Marvel Universe, the MAX CAGE limited series from 2002 set our hero in a gritty version of his usual reality. The intense story showed exactly how tough Cage could be, but also got him out of a costume of any kind and put him in regular street clothes with a “Cage” necklace across his chest. It's a look he's been sporting on and off ever since.
Officially joining the Avengers in 2005's NEW AVENGERS #3 at the request of Captain America, Luke Cage continued his casual look, sometimes sporting yellow as a call back to his original look, sometimes just a simple t-shirt with Avengers belt buckle. He would often jump into the fray of battle wearing whatever he was wearing, whether a white tank top or a black shirt with the Avengers logo on it. Cage kept mixing it throughout Civil War, Secret Invasion and into the Heroic Age.
After the return of Steve Rogers and the overthrow of Norman Osborn, Rogers asked Luke to take over the Thunderbolts program, which attempted to rehabilitate super criminals for specific missions. Luke accepted, having been a criminal himself, and settled on a more regular costume: tight yellow t-shirt, black pants and silver arm and ankle bands; no tiara though.
The New Power Man
During Shadowland, a new Power Man appeared on the scene. Victor Alvarez boasts connections to Luke Cage as the son of his former villain, Shades, but also wound up swiping his name and part of his look after realizing he could absorb the chi of others, making him strong and invulnerable. His look calls back his namesake with a yellow and black body suit with metal embellishments. It's the closest thing to a traditional super hero costume anyone going by the name Power Man has ever worn!