Comics
Published October 31, 2023

How Luke Cage Became the Mayor of New York City

How did Luke Cage become Mayor of New York City? Follow Power Man's path to office here!

In the Marvel Universe, New York City has always been a hotbed of super hero activity—but thanks to recent events in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2023), things are truly heating up. 

In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: GANG WAR, gangs across New York will launch violent plays for territory, putting innocent lives at risk and, of course, drawing in super heroes from every corner of the city—including the mayor himself: Luke Cage. Cage's term as mayor has been a rocky one, with the outbreak of gang warfare being just the latest in a series of would-be crises for a normal mayor. As he prepares to clean up his city's streets, let's take a look back at how this Defender became mayor of the Big Apple.

MAYOR WILSON FISK PASSES THE POWERS ACT

Luke's path to public office actually began with Wilson Fisk, in more ways than one. Fisk himself netted the position during the dark days of SECRET EMPIRE (2017), when Hydra seized power and trapped New York City under an inescapable dome of Darkforce. Fisk used his expansive resources to help the city and, while this wasn't an unselfish move on his part, his aid genuinely helped the people, who began to hold him in high regard—exactly as he'd planned. 

Riding this goodwill, Fisk ran for mayor as an independent candidate and, in DAREDEVIL (2015) #28 by Charles Soule, Ron Garney, Matt Milla, and VC's Clayton Cowles, he won. Many would have voted for him, considering his help during the Hydra crisis, but DAREDEVIL (2015) #605 by Soule, Mike Henderson, Milla, and Cowles revealed that Fisk rigged the vote anyway. 

At the end of his term, Fisk finally made good on his anti-super hero platform, putting all his power as mayor and Kingpin into passing the Powers Act in DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Marcio Menyz, and Cowles. The law was an anti-vigilante legislation that affected every kind of hero, from the Hulks to the Iron Mans. 

Like a harsh evolution of Kamala's Law, the Powers Act gave zero tolerance to vigilantism, the use of super-powers, and, seemingly, even just appearing superhuman. The law was brutally enforced by a villain-filled task force of Thunderbolts, many of whom relished the chance to legally repay old super-vendettas.

LUKE CAGE STEPS UP

Normally, heroes like Luke Cage and his wife, Jessica Jones, are able to pass as normal people, as long as they don't use their powers. During DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) and following the passage of the Powers Act, their initial plan was to take their daughter Dani and leave New York until things calmed down. 

However, with super villains empowered by the law and armed with the knowledge of how to flush out "criminal" super heroes, it wasn't long before the couple revealed themselves while protecting people from a bus crash caused by the Shocker and his Thunderbolts. Just after besting the villain, Luke showed some mayoral qualities, rallying bystanders with an impromptu speech that doubled down on his resolve to protect the people, no matter what the law said. 

Later that night, Luke and his family hitched a ride with Tony Stark to hide out with a small group of Avengers in the sub-basement of the decommissioned Avengers Mansion. There, in DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) #2 by Chip ZdarskyMarco ChecchettoMarcio Menyz, and VC's Clayton Cowles, everyone agreed that the best way to exploit Fisk's election-year power play was to put forth a candidate of their own: Luke Cage.

Despite their best efforts, Luke's campaign made little headway. Surprisingly, even his fellow Avengers found themselves swayed by Fisk's campaign—unnaturally so. Familiar with the influence they were under, Jessica identified it as the powers of the Purple Man, Zebediah Killgrave. Mayor Fisk, ever the good sport, was using Killgrave's powers—amplified with a machine built by Otto Octavius—to subtly influence the minds of New York into voting for him.

PURPLE MAN HAZE

Things only got worse when, in DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) #4, Fisk learned Killgrave had children he could use to amplify the power of his machine. The mayor sent his forces out to retrieve them, only to be confronted by Jessica Jones and the Champions. Due to the arrival of Abomination, now a Thunderbolt, they were only able to save only one child: a purple boy named Joseph. Although his siblings were plugged into Fisk's machine and drained of their powers to supercharge their father, Joseph's freedom eventually made all the difference when Fisk launched his endgame.

Fisk fell into a downward spiral after using Killgrave's power to restore his memory of Daredevil's secret identity. Enraged by Daredevil's violation, Fisk cast aside all of his carefully laid plans and started down a path of self-destruction in DEVIL'S REIGN (2021) #6. He freed the supercharged Killgrave and commanded him—using his own powers—to enslave the population and use them to kill every hero in New York. 

Using Luke Cage's anti-Purple Man neural disruptor and drawing strength from his support, Joseph was able to overcome his father and save the day. Meanwhile, Fisk set out to kill the person he believed to be Daredevil, managing to murder a Murdock—but it was actually Matt's twin brother Mike, not Daredevil himself. So, when Matt Murdock turned up to thwart Fisk's escape, the villain was not only confused but even further enraged. Daredevil managed to overcome Fisk, and the villain was sent off to prison, vacating the mayoral seat

MAYOR LUKE CAGE ENTERS OFFICE

As the only other candidate on the ballot, Luke Cage became mayor by default and set out to undo all the damage Fisk had done. Notably, becoming mayor didn't instantly undo the Powers Act, meaning Cage had a long fight ahead of him to reform the law. 

Cage also faced an uphill battle in reforming the Thunderbolts as a noble, legally-sanctioned super hero team in the DEVIL'S REIGN: OMEGA (2021) story "Mayor for Hire" by Rodney Barnes, Guillermo Sanna, Dijjo Lima, and VC's Clayton Cowles. On top of that, his family gained a new addition in the form of Joseph, who had entered the foster care system after the Fisk drama. 

Mayor Cage has his work cut out for him following the tumultuous reign of Wilson Fisk, but if there's anyone who can handle piecing New York City back together, it's Power Man!

See Mayor Cage in action in LUKE CAGE: GANG WAR (2023) #1, on sale November 29!

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