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Luke Cage

Real Name: Luke Cage (legally changed; his full given name is Carl Lucas)
Occupation: Hero for hire
Identity: Public
Legal Status: American citizen acquitted of criminal charges
Other Aliases: Hero for Hire, Power Man (II)
Place of Birth: New York City
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Known
Group Affiliation: Avengers, formerly Heroes for Hire Inc.
Base of Operations: New York City
First Appearance: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1

History: The man who would come to call himself Luke Cage grew up in Harlem, often committing petty thefts with friend Willis Stryker. As the two matured, Cage took odd jobs in legitimate fields of employment, while Stryker turned to crime as a profession. The young men differed on another matter, as well: They had become rivals for the affections of Reva Connors. Stryker, whose ill-gotten wealth cast him as a more able suitor than his childhood friend, was badly beaten in a mob hit. Only Cage's intervention saved his life. Connors and Cage developed a deep friendship while Stryker was recovering, often meeting during hospital visits. Insanely jealous, Stryker planted two kilograms of heroin in Cage's apartment and tipped off police. Following a raid, Cage was arrested and incarcerated. A few days later, Connors was killed in a mob hit targeting Stryker. From prison, Cage swore vengeance against his former friend. Consumed with rage, he frequently engaged in brawls and attempted to escape. Cage's reprehensible behavior landed him in Seagate, a maximum-security prison in Georgia. There, he was taunted and beaten constantly by racist correctional officer Albert Rackham.

While serving out his sentence, Cage was approached by research psychologist Dr. Noah Berstien. After hearing his story, Berstien promised to do what he could to secure Cage's parole if he participated in an experiment. Although suspicious at first, Cage agreed. In Berstien's absence, Rackham relieved the guard on duty and ignorantly operated the machine's controls. He hoped to maim or kill Cage; instead, Rackham unintentionally advanced the experiment beyond its design, inducing a body-wide mutagenic effect that enhanced Cage's body tissue and strength. Cage freed himself and knocked Rackham unconscious. Thinking he had killed the guard, he fled. When the authorities discovered Cage's bullet-riddled shirt, they assumed he had been swept out to sea. A free man, Cage returned to New York to exact revenge on Stryker. On one of Cage's first nights back, he foiled a robbery at a diner. When the owner offered him cash as a reward, Cage was inspired to put his newfound powers to use for profit. Subsequently, he established himself as Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

To promote his business, Cage routinely sought out and fought mob collection agents. Following each brawl, he would hand out business cards to onlookers. After he found and defeated Stryker, who had assumed the underworld identity of Diamondback, Cage's enterprise began to turn a sufficient profit. Frustrated by the lack of publicity his exploits garnered in comparison to the adventures of New York's other crimefighters, Cage adopted the super-heroic moniker "Power Man."

Several years later, the European crime lord known as Bushmaster coerced Cage into kidnapping private investigator Misty Knight in exchange for the life of Dr. Berstien and his friend, Claire Temple, whom he held captive. As further incentive, Bushmaster had acquired videotape of Stryker planting the heroin in Cage's apartment. Hoping to clear his name, Cage found himself locked in battle with Knight's friend: the martial-arts master called Iron Fist. Learning of his predicament, Knight and Iron Fist elected to help Cage. Following Bushmaster's defeat, the videotaped evidence was presented to the court. Finally, Cage was acquitted of the crime that had dogged him for years. Although their backgrounds and temperaments were diametrically opposed, Cage and Iron Fist formed a new Heroes for Hire agency and soon became close friends.

For years, Power Man and Iron Fist were in high demand as special bodyguards and private detectives. Following the seeming deaths of most of Earth's heroes at the hands of the sentient psionic menace known as Onslaught, the duo decided to expand the membership of Heroes for Hire. The agency merged with Oracle Inc. -- the corporation owned by Prince Namor, the Atlantean Sub-Mariner -- to protect the world from danger...for a price. The World War II-era Human Torch, Jim Hammond, lined up the jobs; Iron Fist acted as field commander. The team rarely collected its fee, however, and eventually disbanded when Namor saw fit to diffuse Oracle Inc.

Height: 6 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 425 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

Powers: Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength, dense muscle and bone tissue, and steel-hard skin. His recovery time from injury or trauma is about one-third that of a normal human.

Weapons: None

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