Name: Luke Cage (legally changed;
his full given name is Carl Lucas)
Occupation: Hero for hire
Legal Status: American citizen acquitted of criminal
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
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
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.
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.