Taking all the money from the Complex, Cage intended for the funds to go toward fixing Pop’s shop after the shooting. Cottonmouth soon discovered who had taken the money and intended to kill Cage with a rocket launcher. The blast hit Genghis Connie’s, where Luke lived, causing the entire building to collapse, but failing to kill Luke. Luke emerging from the blast unscathed drew the suspicion of Misty Knight, who tried to convince Luke to let the cops get Cottonmouth the legal way, but he refused.
After Cottonmouth was arrested, but then almost immediately freed due to lack of evidence, Luke confronted him at Harlem’s Paradise. Cottonmouth threatened to out Luke as an escaped convict. Luke was tempted to skip town, but Claire Temple—now living in Harlem as well—convinced him to stay and act as a symbol of good for Harlem by bringing down Cottonmouth.
Cage was shot in the stomach by Diamondback with a Judas Bullet, which was capable of piercing Luke’s skin. During the confrontation that followed, Luke was shocked to realize Diamondback was his childhood friend, Willis Stryker, who also reveals he was Luke’s half-brother and that he framed Carl Lucas for the crime that led to his imprisonment.
Luke was shot again by Diamondback and badly hurt. With no conventional way to remove the bullet from his stomach, Claire took him to the only man who might know how, Doctor Noah Burstein. Burstein devised a plan to dip Luke in a vat of extremely corrosive acid in the hopes of separating his powerful cells long enough to remove the bullet. The procedure was successful and Luke and Claire returned to Harlem for a final face-off with Diamondback. Meanwhile, Mariah Dillard intended to frame Luke for the murder of Cottonmouth—a murder she had actually committed herself.
Luke first confronted Diamondback at Harlem’s Paradise where Mariah was holding a press conference. It turned into a hostage situation, ending in Diamondback’s escape.
Diamondback then donned a suit of power armor to be equally matched with Cage, beginning a battle that took the two into the streets outside of Harlem. Taking a piece of advice that Willis himself gave him when they were kids, Luke allowed Diamondback to tire himself out before delivering the knockout punch in front of cheering locals. A SWAT team arrived to arrest Cage, but Misty intervened, having them take away Stryker instead. Though he was cleared of the charges relating to Cottonmouth’s murder, Dillard identified him to the media as Carl Lucas, and Luke was taken back to jail to complete his sentence—something he allowed to occur, no longer wanting to have to run.
Cage spent less time in jail than expected thanks to his friend Bobby Fish and attorney Foggy Nelson, who helped prove that Diamondback had framed him and that Luke was innocent. Back in Harlem, Cage resumed his romance with Claire Temple, while investigating local kids who had been swept up in criminal activities by what turned out to be the organization known as the Hand.
Luke’s investigation led him to encounter Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist, who was also after the Hand—beginning with a fight between Luke and Danny where Luke found that Danny’s Iron Fist power was among the rare elements that could harm him. Claire eventually convinced the two to work together. They in turn discovered both Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil and Jessica Jones were involved in the battle against the Hand as well.