Marvel Comics is full of incredible powerhouse superheroes who possess incredible strength. The most well-known characters of such nature are the Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Thing from Fantastic Four. However, as a guy whose main powers are extreme durability and incredible strength, Luke Cage certainly belongs in that group as well. The question is, how strong is Luke Cage? How much could Power Man actually lift, and how does his immense strength compare to other signature strong heroes? We’ll discuss the matter both from the MCU, and the comics’ perspective.
How strong is Luke Cage in the comics?
In the comics, Luke Cage underwent an experimental procedure known as the Burstein Process. Essentially, the experiment was quite similar to that of Captain America – in which a version of the Super-Soldier Serum was injected into Cage’s blood, causing permanent mutations that led to the emergence of superpowers.
The experiment was designed to increase his cellular regeneration rate but led to other incredible abilities, such as unfathomable superhuman strength. Now, it is evident that Luke’s strength levels varied over the years, depending on the writer or even specific storylines, but we do have a clear idea of what he is capable of in terms of his strength feats.
Initially, the experiment raised his strength to a level that allowed Luke Cage to lift approximately 5 tons. Then he started training extensively, and after years of superhero experience, Luke could now lift over 25 tons and punch his way through a 4-inch thick steel plate (according to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 #10).
That could be considered Luke’s base strength level. However, as it is with many superhero characters, during times of anger, distress, or do-or-die events, we’ve seen Cage’s strength skyrocket to levels well above being capable of lifting 50 tons.
In Cage #18, not only was he able to lift a large bulldozer over his head – but he threw it without breaking a sweat. In ‘Avengers Origins: Luke Cage’ #1, he knocked out the Rhino with a single punch – and the Rhino ate punches from Spider-Man without even getting dizzy.
In ‘Mighty Avengers’ Vol. 2 #2, we’ve seen Cage cause small earthquakes from fighting a powerful alien, but his biggest strength feat came in ‘Power Man and Iron Fist’ #112, where Luke grabbed the bottom of an airplane (easily weighing over 100 tons) and dragged it back down hard enough to force the pilot to shut the plane down.
The most impressive thing about Luke’s strength, however, is not how hard he can hit. It is how hard he can get hit without any damage. You see, in the comics, Luke Cage’s body is nearly impenetrable to physical damage. Bullets ricochet off of him like they’re nothing. Blades can only break when they touch his skin.
And, even if he does get hurt, Luke has an awesome healing factor that allows him to heal three times faster than a normal human being. He might not be the Hulk, but Luke Cage is no joke.
How strong is Luke Cage in the MCU?
In the MCU, Luke Cage’s origin story is a bit different, and so is his power set. Or his power limit, to be precise. While it was never directly addressed, fans have speculated and calculated that this version of Luke Cage is closer to the 5-10-ton lifting range than the 25-50+ range from the comics. Still, his strength is really impressive.
He can knock out a person with a single tap on the head. Cage tore through steel like it was nothing and punched through concrete and brick walls as if they were glass. Not just that – the guy literally crumbled a gun in his hand with relative ease. It takes an incredible amount of grip strength to achieve that – I’d argue well over the 5-ton approximation.
That being said, his strength is evidently more limited than it is in the comics. In one episode, eight human security guards managed to subdue and drag Luke Cage out of the MTA when he tried to learn more about his wife’s death.
In the end, it seems that his strength is connected to his emotional state – much like it is in the comics. In do-or-die situations, Luke can push himself over his normal limits but is closer to Jessica Jones in strength than he is to the likes of Rhino or, god forbid, the Hulk.
How much can Luke Cage lift?
So, how much can Luke Cage lift in the end?
Well, it would depend on the version of Luke Cage we’re talking about. Sometimes, he was only capable of lifting about 5 tons in the comics, but after years of training (and years of his character development throughout Marvel comics), he is now considered a Class 25 (25-ton lifter) character, with upper limits well over 50+ tons during times of extreme emotional distress or need.
In the MCU, Luke is closer to the 5-10-ton range in terms of how much he can lift. However, it seems that even that limit could be pushed to the extreme if the situation requires Luke Cage to push himself.
How does Luke Cage compare to Captain America and the Hulk?
Finally – the two guys you always see Luke Cage being compared to are Captain America and the Hulk. The first one – Cap – is often compared to Luke Cage due to the similar nature of their powers, that being the injection of a serum into their bodies. The second – the Hulk – is often compared to Luke because, well, we compare every strong character to the Hulk.
Now, with Captain America, I’d argue that he’s much more acrobatic in his style than Luke Cage because he has to be. He doesn’t have the same levels of durability as Luke Cage, so he has to rely on his acrobatics, reflexes – and shield – to avoid potential damage.
On the other hand, Luke Cage can take bullets from point-blank range without harm. He is also much, much stronger than Cap physically, meaning, in a fistfight, Cage would likely dismantle Cap due to his durability, stamina, and punching strength.
However, when you compare him to the Hulk… well, everyone loses when you compare their strength to the Hulk, right?
We’ve seen Luke Cage leap over houses and buildings, using his leg strength to pick himself off the ground. The Hulk can literally reach lower orbit by jumping.
We’ve seen Luke Cage punch through steel doors – but we’ve seen the Hulk cause earthquakes by walking. And finally, we’ve seen Luke Cage survive TNT blasts without too much damage – but we’ve seen the Hulk eat nuclear blasts and only get angrier because of it.
The order would be Captain America, then a small gap, then Luke Cage, then a huge gap, and then the Hulk.
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