Real Name: Carl Lucas
First Appearance: Luke Cage Hero For Hire #1 (June, 1972)
Powers: Luke Cage possesses superhuman strength and durability. He is also impervious to most attacks and has nearly indestructible and impenetrable skin.
Affiliation: Avengers, Thunderbolts, Heroes For Hire, Defenders, Fantastic Four
Did You Know? Luke Cage was once a police officer for the NYPD
A Little History
Carl Lucas was born into poverty in the streets of Harlem. As a child, he and his best friend, William Stryker, were members of a local gang known as The Rivals. The two were involved in many gang-related activities, some of which included theft and violence.
Ultimately, Carl and his time in The Rivals came to an end and due to his criminal activity, he was incarcerated in Juvenile Hall. Under incarceration, Carl had time to reflect on his past and realized the errors of his ways. Because of this, he would later become a member of the New York Police Department.
As for his childhood friend, Stryker’s criminal activities caught the attention of a rival gang. The gang ordered a hit on him and he would’ve been killed if not for Carl’s interference. Styker’s girlfriend, Reva Conners, grew worrisome of his ways and feared that his lifestyle would bring harm and pain to the both of them. As a consequence, she broke up with him and turned to Carl for comfort. Furious with Reva and blaming Carl for their breakup, Stryker planted drugs in Carl’s apartment and called the police.
Enraged and in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, Carl begins to pick fights with fellow inmates and even tries to escape. Neither, of course, do him any favours in the eyes of the authorities and he is shipped off to a different jail. At the new jail, Carl is subjected to extreme forms of racism and discrimination. Worse yet, he was wrongfully blamed for the demotion of a prison captain, Captain Rackham.
With nothing left to lose, Carl volunteers for an experimental Super Soldier procedure. He is then loaded into a electrical field being conducted by a chemical compound. The Doctor overseeing the procedure steps away for a moment and the former Captain Rackham uses the opportunity to change the settings on the machine. When the unsuspecting doctor returns, he flips the switch on the machine and it instantly overloads. This causes an unforeseen change in Carl and he awakens with super strength and durability, and his skin is nearly indestructible.
Carl uses his power to escape the prison, take the new name Luke Cage and hires himself out as a mercenary to anyone able to meet his price.