A black superhero. You could say they are rare. You may even say they don’t exist. They seem to come around every so often and when they do, they create a wave of controversy. Luke Cage has done exactly this.
Luke Cage. Or you may know him as “Power Man”, or even “Carl Lucas”, has broken Netflix. This is not a joke—he literally broke Netflix. So many people wanted to watch the series at once that streaming actually went down for about two hours.
What kind of superhero can do that?
Luke Cage speaks to a group of people who have not been targeted for a while—the black community. It seems to give a glimpse into the everyday conversations, dialogue, situations, and problems that they face each day. Even situations that have recently been in the news from police brutality to the Black Lives Matter movement.
From episode 1, you get the background of a humble, young man that seems to have some inner struggles and some inner secrets, something we all can relate to.
He is dealing with Cottonmouth, a drug dealer and big time bully of Harlem; Mariah Dillard, a corrupt politician and cousin of Cottonmouth; and the justice system with its grey areas and loopholes that it carries, creating problems.
Luke Cage sees what is going wrong with Harlem and he decides to do something about it after his mentor and neighborhood, “grandfather” of Harlem is killed.
The thing that works so great with Luke Cage is the emotional connections it makes throughout the show. The characters are so relatable and so real that you have no choice but to see yourself in them.
The realism of the story, plot, and characters plays very well, but also leads to some of the show’s shortcomings. You expect there to be a superhero to save everyone and lose no one in the struggle, yet countless lives and situations are lost.
Luke Cage seems as if he is your everyday normal black man—wearing a hoodie, being targeted by the police, and being sent away for crimes he hasn’t committed. There are many connections to the real world. It gives an insight into the issues and struggles that many minorities had to face and still face each day.
That’s what makes this show so unique. Anyone can be Luke Cage. No not everyone can have bullets bounce off of them or lift a car without breaking a sweat, yet anyone and everyone can make a difference. While Luke Cage’s difference is changing Harlem from the playground of a massive drug dealer to something better, the community in St. Cloud can help free one another from the negative stereotypes about the Somali community from the stabbing at Crossroads Mall.
The powerful thing about a show like Luke Cage is the connectedness of it—the realism it presents and reflection on society it brings.
A black superhero may be rare, but they are needed. Luke Cage is needed.