Issue(s): Cage #3, Cage #4
Later, Cage overhears Dakota talking to someone named Teague (who she also talked to last issue) about Cage's father, and when he confronts her, she tells him that his father may still be alive.
Teague tells North and Cage that the villains that attacked Spectator are at it again, and Cage agrees to fight them, with North's info on his father as payment.
Note that the new villain, Kickback, has time-jumping powers. Not just kicking.
The similarities between Tombstone and Cage are drawn out.
But Cage is much tougher.
But Tombstone managed to trick Cage and the Punisher into fighting...
...and Cage also has to stop fighting Tombstone to save Dakota from Nitro, who is becoming characteristically unhinged.
In the subsequent explosion, we see that Cage is bitter about Iron Fist not having contacted him.
Dakota is actually rescued by Kickback, who jumps back in time to avoid Nitro's explosion. He also prevents Punisher from dying. The use of his powers is definitely the most interesting part of these issues.
Kickback isn't exactly switching sides; he's just not on board with killing. Which puts him in a difficult situation when he's allied with Nitro.
And speaking of not being on board with killing, the misunderstanding between Cage and Punisher is settled, but Cage still doesn't want to work with Punisher since Punisher is a killer. So Cage goes after the villains alone. Kickback does again help out when Nitro starts going psycho again, and Tombstone doesn't have a problem with it.
An explosive kick from Nitro knocks Cage out, but luckily the Punisher had been tagging along despite Cage's protests, and he stops Nitro with a taser. When Cage wakes up, though, Punisher tells him that he did to Nitro "what needed to be done", and lectures him about how they're in a war, so it may be that Punisher tried to kill Nitro after all. However, we later see that Nitro has puled himself back together even though the EMS says that he "should be dead". In any event, he's out of the picture for the rest of the story.
Tombstone and Kickback bring Dakota North to Hardcore. When Hardcore starts to torture her, Kickback again comes to her rescue. But apparently Hardcore was anticipating this.
By the time Punisher and Cage arrive, Tombstone has taken his pay and left, so they just have to deal with Hardcore and Kickback. Kickback has become downright obsessed with Dakota North.
But whatever his deal was, he's shot dead by the Punisher and this is his final appearance. Which is too bad. It's not really depicted all that well, but his short time jumps allow for some interesting story telling.
Hardcore is last seen fighting North, and then saying "now we wait", and then he disappears. Later he's seen reporting to his boss that North has agreed to help Cage locate his father, and it all seems to be going to their master plan.
In a subplot, we see someone calling himself the new Power Man collecting people that won't be missed.
I want to like this series. I like Luke Cage. I like the use of Dakota North. I'm happy to see Cage mixing it up with villains like Nitro and Tombstone. And i thought Kickback, with his powers and his conflicted morals, was interesting. But the art borders between bland and bad, and the dialogue is very dry, and so far it feels like the larger scheme of Hardcore and his boss is too convoluted to make any sense. To put a different spin on what AF wrote in the comments of the entry for last issue, i kind of wish that Marc McLaurin was the editor of this series but that he contracted someone else out to write it. And if Dwayne Turner was going to be the artist, i wish he had the time to make things half as detailed as he did in the Panther's Prey mini. I find his art there to be over-rendered, so to speak, but too sketchy here; there might have been a sweet spot in the middle. Obviously that was a prestige format series that didn't have to be done under a monthly deadline, but it still feels like a big drop from there to here.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Noah Burstein is sort-of behind the scenes in these issues; he's a prisoner of the people behind the new Power Man program. So he shouldn't be appearing in other books at this time (which isn't likely), but i haven't listed him as a character appearing. I've mentioned before that i'm not sure if i should take Micro's beard as a placement consideration. It seems to come and go. I suppose he could also be just coming back from a visit to his psychologist or something (we've seen him wear a disguise for that). So i'm going to ignore it.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAnalisa Medina, Cruz Bushmaster, Dakota North, Daryl 'Troop' Andrews, Hardcore, Kickback, Luke Cage, Micky Hamilton, Microchip, Nitro, Punisher, Steele, Teague, Tombstone
The beginning makes it feel like you're in the middle of a thought as if there was something else before it.
And is it just me or do all the pics of Luke Cage here look like this is actually a comic where Luke is played by Mike Tyson?
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 10, 2016 1:12 PM
Fixed my intro. Thanks Ataru.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2016 1:16 PM
Ataru320- good lookin out, Bruh! I agree, it does look like Iron Mike was the model for Cage in this series. Imagine the possibilities if Marvel had had their act together in 1992 with the studios... we could have had real mainstream attention with Mike Tyson playing a semi-major Marvel hero.. I never would have put that together before good work Ataru
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity | February 10, 2016 1:43 PM
Imagine the possibilities if Marvel had had their act together in 1992 with the studios... we could have had real mainstream attention with Mike Tyson playing a semi-major Marvel hero.
Given that Tyson was in the headlines for rape and had just started his prison sentence when these issues were out, I think we can cut Marvel some slack for missing that particular "opportunity."
Posted by: Robert | February 10, 2016 1:50 PM
Marvel did Cage no favors by turning him into a Tyson clone, without his garish 70s look to counterbalance the surliness. Cinematically, I'd much rather have seen Richard Roundtree play him, Blaxploitation-style.
Posted by: Oliver_C | February 10, 2016 2:08 PM
Good spot by Ataru, I hadn't noticed the Mike Tyson resemblance before. It's only certain panels though - the first pic of him hitting Tombstone here looks like Tyson, other panels don't particularly. On looking at the other issues Fnord has done so far, it seems the same thing there - an occasional panel looks a bit like Tyson, but most don't.
I was a fan of the 70s/80s Luke Cage but this series didn't do anything for me, for the same reasons other commenters have made on previous entries. It's kind of amusing that Cage is being made to resemble Tyson here, as previously some (but not all) artists had made his face resemble Muhammad Ali's highly distinctive looks. A good in-joke, if it was intentional.
Speaking of Tyson references, I always thought the gray Hulk's Jack Dempsey-style haircut was based on the 1980's Tyson's use of the same, along with (particularly in the Purves' run) the same short, stocky build.
Posted by: jonathan | February 10, 2016 3:54 PM
jonathan: that can't be possible because that was the Hulk's original hairstyle, if you look at Silver Age Hulk appearances by Kirby, it predates Mike Tyson by a while. The grey Hulk is based on those early Hulk appearances... check out the "Silver Age" section here, bruh
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity | February 10, 2016 7:12 PM
The very early Hulk does indeed have a high hairline, but not as much as the 80's gray Hulk does (which then extends to the merged Hulk's hairstyle). Whether that was artistic styles changing, or an actual influence of the Mike Tyson "look", I don't know. The hairline came before Tyson, what I was suggesting was an artist drawing that high hairline might have noticed the similarity and decided to strengthen it. I don't think McFarlane was doing that, but I think Purves might have been.
It was something I remember thinking when I was reading Hulk comics in the 80's, and I was never sure whether I was imagining it or not. At the time it made sense to me that the sadistic, nasty gray Hulk might be being drawn in a style vaguely influenced by the most famous sadistic, nasty person of that time. I could very well be wrong, just saying that's what I thought at the time.
Posted by: Jonathan | February 10, 2016 8:45 PM
I'm not liking Cage's grudge against Iron Fist. It worked with Wolverine and Nightcrawler in Marvel Comics Presents 101-108, because Wolverine actually faked his death. But Danny was KIDNAPPED. And as soon as he was escaped, he told the authorities and the press he was alive and Luke had nothing to do with his disappearance. So Luke's grudge is basically, "I'm not going to call him. Why can't he call me?" It makes Luke look a teenage girl.
Posted by: Michael | February 10, 2016 11:04 PM
I will eat your childwen!
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | February 11, 2016 1:08 AM
I don't know about saying it's directly Tyson as much as it is inspired by people inspired by Tyson. This cut WAS very popular back then (yes, mostly due to Tyson) and other than that the only other comparison is the skin color.
And as said, by this point, taking inspiration straight from Tyson would probably be ill-advised.
I don't mind the design for Cage though. The main problem is they got rid of any iconography. And in 2 years time, Blade will be wearing an almost identical costume (+ spikes!).
Posted by: AF | February 11, 2016 4:50 AM
I was going to stop talking about Mike Tyson there, as it’s not massively relevant to this issue, but Vin has brought up the subject of bizarre sentences Mike Tyson has said, a very crowded field including making a threat to eat the (actually non-existent) children of an opponent.
Where this is relevant to comics is that he recently claimed that one of his famous quotes was actually quoting Apocalypse: “In the postfight interview, I lorded over my opponents. “How dare they challenge me with their primitive skills?” I sneered. I was quoting Apocalypse from the X-Men. I was just a big kid, quoting a comic book.”
Thing is, I don’t remember Apocalypse saying that. I initially assumed he had been watching one of the ‘90s X-Men cartoons rather than reading the comics, but apparently his quote comes from 1989, which I think rules out any cartoons. I don’t have all of Apocalypse’s 1989 or previous appearances to hand, but I couldn’t find this quote in the ones I have. Anyone know if he’s getting confused here? Maybe his memory’s playing tricks 25 years later, and he’s thinking of Darkseid or someone.
He was apparently a big fan of Apocalypse though, seeing him as an incredibly powerful black supervillain, though I’m not sure how deep his knowledge was: "Jay and I got into a debate about which cartoon character was the toughest. He picked Galactus and I had my man Apocalypse. We went round and round on that topic until Jay said, 'Mike, Galactus eats planets. How can you beat that?'”
Some other comics-related Tyson facts: In a dispute with his promoter Don King, he was especially concerned that Don return 3 items to him: “A green Rolls-Royce, a painting that the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had given me that was supposed to be worth a lot, and the thing I was worried the most about: a drawing of me in the middle of a bunch of X-Men that Stan Lee had done.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Stan being an artist before. Either Mike knows something I don’t, or years of drug & alcohol abuse is not great for the memory. (Maybe Larry Leiber drew it?)
Finally, here’s a very brief 1996 interview where Tyson shows off his surprisingly large action figure collection, seeming to be particularly interested in the X-universe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c71KbzR-UFc (Well, it surprised me how large it was, as I know little about these figures, but then he was a multi-millionaire who was famously impulsive, so I guess expense was not an issue…)
Anyway, thus ends my full knowledge of Mike Tyson comics trivia. I found it amusing and/or interesting, so I hope someone else did.
Posted by: Jonathan | February 11, 2016 5:19 AM
Mike Tyson is a quality guy and I am lucky to have met and hung out with him at a few celebrity events and let me tell you, I wouldn't blame him for not knowing Stan don't draw. This is the same mistake a lot of media peeps make too; they just equate Stan Lee, whom I consider a close personal friend, with comics and think that means "cartoonist".
I will say about Tyson that he is a legit comics fan and knew a lot about me and my comics line and series and had a lot of enthusiasm for Marvel Comics. I also feel his demeanor in the ring hurt his general profile because many feel he was railroaded in his trial to make an example. Unlike OJ, Iron Mike did NOT do it! The accuser had actually been exposed a few years before claiming the same thing for extortion with a rich man and it was proven they were never together.. but this is never considered because Mike Tyson is so hated.
So yes it's probably just that Mike liked the Animated Series but nothing wrong with that it was the gateway prob for a lot of new Marvelites in the 90s just like Batman: The Animated Series was
Posted by: Brimstone: Celebrity Mogul | February 11, 2016 6:55 AM
@Michael, i almost mentioned this in entry: don't forget that the Super-Skrull was impersonating Danny for a while before Danny was actually 'resurrected'. It may have been at that point that Luke saw Danny on television, back to running his company without a word to Luke. Luke may have just missed the later reports.
Again, Danny will be appearing in the series pretty soon so maybe all of this gets addressed, but that was my first thought.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 11, 2016 7:18 AM
I remember this story because it was one of the earliest instances I could recall of the Punisher actually running into established super-villains. Obviously the main reason why the Punisher almost never meets costumed bad guys is because, well, he would kill them without a second thought, and that would put the damper on other writers subsequently using them. So instead the Punisher ends up fighting an unending succession of disposable mobsters. Which made this story interesting since it actually shows the Punisher really making a concerted effort to gun down costumed villains. Now obviously bullets are not going to kill Nitro, a guy who is capable of blowing himself up and re-forming over and over. But at least the Punisher is definitely shown here giving it his best shot!
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 12, 2016 2:05 PM
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