Luke Cage: A Return to His Roots

The former Hero for Hire heads to Philadelphia in NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE

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NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE #1 black and white preview art by Eric Canete
By TJ Dietsch

Luke Cage has been through a lot lately. He fought in the Secret Invasion, has been on the run since Civil War, almost died recently and now, will be heading back to the streets to help a friend in need in NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE. The three-issue limited series will be out in April with John Arcudi writing and Eric Canete providing art. The story revolves around Cage heading to Northern Philadelphia after a friend of his from the old days gets laid up in the hospital.

"Really, we just want Luke to take a look at his roots; see where he used to be, see how far he's come," Arcudi explains. "Is it too far? I wouldn't say that, but I think after this Luke will more clearly see the value of a nuts-and-bolts approach to doing good. And I think he's happy to discover that he's still got enough street smarts to pull it off."

We'll see plenty of those smarts as Cage throws down against a familiar face-or rather skull-in the visage of Hammerhead, who's causing his fair share of trouble in Philly.

"Without giving too much away, Hammerhead is in Philadelphia to expand his boss's territory," Arcudi says of the hard-headed thug currently in the employ of Spider-Man baddie Mister Negative. "Luke, as is his wont, manages to get in the way of that. Ultimately, though, Hammerhead's involvement initiates a more complicated story than one about just swinging punches over territory."

NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE #1 black and white preview art by Eric Canete
More familiar faces will be present in the form Cage's wife Jessica Jones and his daughter Danielle, who will play a part in the story, though they won't necessarily make the physical trip with him.

"In many ways, his family is what grounds him [during] the grander, bigger adventures he's having in the New Avengers, and without them around, Luke has to find his own grounding," notes the writer.

Arcudi goes on to explain why Cage stands out as such a versatile character who makes sense kicking alien ass or cleaning up the streets of Harlem or Philly.

"You can't very well have Thor get down and dirty in the streets, right? And it's not just that Thor's too strong, but that kind of low-level involvement is not in his DNA," he states. "Readers wouldn't buy it, whereas Luke started in Harlem, started as a crook, then a local problem-solver. So on the one hand, you have the ever-present theme of redemption-and in this story's case, redeemer-in Luke's life, and on the other hand, you've got a bad-ass who's more than capable of playing hardball with the heavier hitters in the Marvel U. It makes him unique, and fun to write."

And speaking of mixing up the large scale with the smaller scale, Arcudi lavishes praise on Canete whose artwork reflects Cage's comic book nature.

NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE #1 cover by Eric Canete
"Eric is hugely talented," he crows. "His work is beautiful, and more than that he's one of the few artists out there who lavishes equal attention to the small, quiet stuff, and the big, wall-smashing stuff. Who better for this book?"

 

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      3 comments
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      Winter_So1dier
      Winter_So1dier

      dig the art. i hope iron fist makes an appearance.