Carl Lucas. Power Man. Hero for hire.
Luke Cage doesn’t bother with a fancy costume. He doesn’t wear a cape. He doesn’t hide behind a mask. He’s a simple guy with a simple goal: protect the innocent by keeping the streets of New York free of crime. And his bulletproof skin makes easy work of that.
Born and raised in Harlem as Carl Lucas, Cage wasn’t always the hero that he would become later in life. As a young member of a street gang, he was surrounded by violence and dreamed of becoming a top racketeer in the city. Despite his misdeeds and connections to crime, Carl maintained a polite disposition—especially in the presence of his beloved grandmother. Instead of expressing his shock or anger with language strictly forbidden by his grandma, he took to phrases like “Sweet Christmas!” which would eventually become his trademark slogan.
After realizing that his criminal activities were hurting his family, Carl sought legitimate employment. He left the underworld, but kept in touch with his friend and fellow gang member, Willis Stryker. When Stryker was nearly killed in a botched mob hit, his girlfriend, Reva Connors, broke up with him and pursued a relationship with the seemingly more stable Carl.
Jealous, humiliated, and seeking revenge, Stryker planted drugs in Carl’s apartment, which were then found by authorities who arrested Carl for the crime. Sentenced to 20 years in Seagate Prison (A.K.A. “Little Alcatraz”), Lucas initially took to the tough culture of the jail, but soon began to direct his focus on studying legal books in the hopes of clearing his name.