Luke Cage: Second Chances—Volume 1

luke cage second chances volume 1 cover trade paperback review
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Art: 3/10

Cage has great potential as a character

Bad '90s art and bad '90s storytelling

Comic Info

Comic Name:   Cage/Marvel Comics Presents

Publisher:   Marvel Comics

Writer:   Marc McLaurin

Artist:   Dwayne Turner/Rurik Tyler/Gordon Purcell/Sal Velluto

# of Issues:  13

Release Date:   2015

cage #7 cover evil and the cure iron man wonder man scarlet witch power man

Cage #7

Reprints Cage #1-12 and Marvel Comics Presents #82 (August 1991-March 1993).  Luke Cage has been on the run after being accused of killing his former partner Iron Fist.  Now cleared of the murder, Luke Cage is ditching his Power Man persona and returning to the Hero-for-Hire business…but the past might be through with him.  When a villain named Hardcore targets Cage, Cage learns his past might be the reason…and a whole new batch of Power Men could be coming.  Plus, an attempt to stop the Rhino puts Cage on a collision course with the Hulk!

Written by Marc McLaurin, Luke Cage:  Second Chances—Volume 1 reprints the 1990s Marvel Comics series.  The collection also contains a short story from Marvel Comics Presents #82 (August 1991) which serves as a lead in to the series.

The ’90s were pretty rough on comics.  The ’80s taught comic book reader (and creators) that comics could have a real message and if the message reached mainstream, a comic could be critically acclaimed like Watchmen or The Dark Knight.  The result seemed to be a bunch of unbalanced comics trying to be socially relevant with artists trying way too hard…Cage is one of those comics.

I remember the release of Cage and hoping that it would be good.  I was a big fan of Power Man and Iron Fist which had a fun, light combo of action, classic super-hero comics, and fun characters.  Cage took the fun (aka Iron Fist) and deleted it from the title.  Cage and Iron Fist were a good balance with their totally different upbringings, abilities, and mindsets…they worked well together.  Here, Cage must find his own way.

cage #12 cover vs iron fist dwayne turner art

Cage #12

McLaurin never gets the balance down.  The story is way too heavy handed but it is also unbalanced with lots of action sequences that aren’t always easy to follow.  The original Luke Cage, Hero for Hire series was edgy and different.  It followed the popular blaxploitation trend but used it in innovative ways by creating a relatively rounded character that went beyond stereotypes.  Here it feels like there is an attempt to do the same but it misses the mark…and Cage comes off as lame (and that isn’t just a post-’90s view…I felt that way then too).

The art for the series is also quite poor.  The ’90s featured the explosion of the artist and companies like Image permitted this.  It often felt like artists at Marvel and DC were auditioning for Image at this point and Dwayne Turner just has a lot of square headed characters grimacing and gritting their teeth every page (seriously, just look at all their mouths throughout the collection).

Luke Cage:  Second Chances—Volume 1 wasn’t a very good second chance.  With twenty issues, I’m actually surprised that the series lasted as long as it did.  The much hyped showdown with Iron Fist ends this collection, and it ends where I stopped reading in the initial run.  I hope Luke Cage:  Second Chances—Volume 2 is better, but I approach it with a wary eye.

Related Links:

Luke Cage:  Second Chances—Volume 2

Luke Cage Noir

Luke Cage—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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