power man pictureSuperheroes continue to dominate pop culture right now, and as I’ve often said, I think hero tales work best when set in their original time period.

Here is Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the earliest stories about Luke Cage, who started out as Hero for Hire before Marvel Comics changed his name to Power Man.

hero for hire 1HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #1 (June 1972)

Title: Out of Hell – A Hero

Villains: Diamondback, Shades and Comanche

Synopsis: Carl Lucas, a black man from New York, was framed for drug possession by his former friend Willis Stryker. While serving his sentence at horrific Seagate Prison in Georgia, Carl volunteered to be the subject of medical experimentation intended to create super-powered warriors for the government.

Albert Rackham, a racist prison guard with a grudge against Lucas had tampered with the experimental device hoping to kill him. Instead, Carl gained super-strength and bullet-proof skin.

cage picUsing those powers, Lucas escaped Seagate Prison but misled the authorities into thinking he died in the ocean while trying to get away. With Carl Lucas pronounced dead, our main character settled in New York City under the name Luke Cage and became a literal Hero for Hire, using his superpowers to earn a living.

After making a positive name for himself in a few fairly routine cases, Luke attracts the attention of the crime boss called Diamondback … who is really Willis Stryker, the friend who framed Carl Lucas years earlier.

h for h 2HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #2 (August 1972)

Title: Vengeance is Mine

Villain: Diamondback

NOTE: In this issue Luke rents an office for his business, an office above the Gem Theater. Cage befriends the theater owner’s nephew, Dave Griffith, a white 20-something named in honor of D.W. Griffith, ironically enough. First appearance of Bertha, the overweight ticket-taker, too. 

diamondheadSynopsis: When hitmen sent by Diamondback (at right) fail to kill Luke Cage, it leads to him being hired by a clinic being hit for protection money by Diamondback. The clinic is run by Dr Noah Burstein, the physician who was part of the Seagate experiment that gave Luke his powers. A romance starts between Cage and Burstein’s fellow doctor Claire Temple.

Luke protects the clinic from Diamondback’s repeated attacks, and winds up in battle with the crime boss himself, who wields high-tech gimmick knives that can explode and electrocute. Our hero realizes that Diamondback is Willis Stryker and hopes to prove “Carl Lucas'” innocence. Diamondback’s death during the battle ruins that hope.

h for h 3HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #3 (October 1972)

Title: Mark of the Mace

Villain: Gideon Mace

Synopsis: While Luke and Claire’s romance continues, Dr Noah Burstein agrees to keep mum about the fact that Luke Cage is really the presumed dead Carl Lucas.

A Vietnam War vet named Owen Ridgely gives Cage cash to stop the plans of a former colonel named Gideon Mace.

cage and gideon maceMace is extraordinarily large and has a huge spiked mace in place of the hand he lost at war.

Ridgely was part of a terrorist group run by Gideon Mace and before he is killed by some of Mace’s men he tips off Luke about the upcoming Mace organization’s plot to blow up every bridge and power station in Manhattan. Our hero stops the attacks and defeats Mace and his troops, while Gideon himself seems to drown in the Hudson River.

Luke Cage soft-heartedly gives the money Ridgely paid him to his widow.

h for h 4HERO FOR HIRE VOL 1 #4 (December 1972)

Title: Cry Fear … Cry Phantom  

Villain: The Phantom of 45th Street (Despite the cover saying 42nd Street) 

Synopsis: One night Luke Cage clashes with a costumed figure who has been called the Phantom of 45th Street for terrorizing assorted theaters in the area. Luke chases off Phantom 45 (as I’ll call it) but is unable to capture it because of its powers.

The next day, Daily Bugle reporter Phil Fox tries to get an interview with Luke, who has been getting a lot of attention lately as a Hero for Hire. Wary that his real name and past will be uncovered, Cage declines to be interviewed.

Phil, as a reporter, is naturally a sleazeball and decides to dig into Luke’s past anyway. Meanwhile, our hero gets hired by Jasper Brunt, who happens to own most of the theaters that have been victimized by Phantom 45. Luke has a few more run-ins with the Phantom and ultimately learns it is really the midget Armand Loring atop an incredibly strong man named Jacques.

Brunt had ruined Armand’s film star father long ago and Armand wants revenge. In the end Armand and Jasper Brunt both wind up dead.

h for h 5HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #5 (January 1973)

Title: Don’t Mess with Black Mariah!

Villainess: Black Mariah

NOTE: Hero for Hire is now monthly.

Synopsis: When an accountant named Frank Jenks is found murdered in the Gem Theater, Cage informs the man’s widow about his death. When an illegitimate ambulance drives off with Jenks’ corpse, his widow wants Luke to recover his body for burial.

After we meet Luke’s informant Flea, making his first ever appearance, our hero gets to the bottom of things. A hefty villainess called Black Mariah (Mariah Dillard) runs a ring of illegit ambulances. They pick up a body here and there, take the corpse’s home address and keys, then steal all the valuables in the home of the deceased. (It’s a comic book, just go with it.)

Cage defeats all the men in Black Mariah’s gang and even captures Mariah herself.

NOTE: This villainess returned years later running her own drug ring. Black Mariah, in slimmed-down form, appeared on the Luke Cage streaming series.   

h for h 6HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #6 (February 1973)

Title: Knights and White Satin

Villain: Ansel and his Knight Androids

Synopsis: After Cage defeats a team of hitmen sent to kill him by an enigmatic figure, he gets hired by two young women – Laura and Catherine Forsythe. An unknown supervillain seems to be trying to kill their elderly grandfather, Raymond Huxley Forsythe, Sr and they want Luke to protect him and catch the would-be killer.

Cage temporarily moves into the Forsythe mansion in the country. He protects Raymond from death-traps and android knights which are set on him by the unknown villain. Luke outfights and destroys all the knightly androids and exposes their creator “Ansel” as a forgotten Forsythe heir who was trying to inherit all of Raymond, Sr’s money.

The Forsythe ladies pay Cage a huge amount and also give him a kiss each, angering his doctor  girlfriend Claire Temple.

h for h 7HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #7 (March 1973)

Title: Jingle Bombs

Villain: Marley

Synopsis: This is a terrific Christmas story that depicts a lot of affection between Cage and Claire Temple. The tale pits Luke against a villain going by the pseudonym Marley to match his m.o. of forcing our hero to overcome Menaces of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Years ago I did a detailed review of this issue as part of my annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon. That analysis can be read HERE

h for h 8HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #8 (April 1973)

Title: Crescendo

Villain: Dr Doom (Obvious from the cover despite the claim of a “surprise” villain.)

Synopsis: Cage is furious after another attack on his office. When a new client – a businessman – is consulting with Luke, he spots one of the men who attacked him recently.

After failing to catch the attacker, Luke takes the case offered by the businessman. The enigmatic man hires Cage to track down people stealing technology from the company he works for. Our hero tracks the theft ring to Bedford-Stuyvesant and, while fighting the seeming black men he realizes they are secretly androids when he destroys one and the three others escape.

luke cage picTracing the number of his new client to the Latverian Embassy, Cage realizes he is actually working for Latverian dictator Victor Von Doom, archenemy of the Fantastic Four. Doom is visiting at the embassy and after Luke fights his way past Dr Doom’s security he confronts him.

Doom admits to Cage that the tech thieves he had one of his lackeys hire him to find are really rebellious artificial intelligence that Doom created. Since they were impersonating black people Doom hired Luke to find them to keep the story inconspicuous. Cage completes the mission and destroys the three other rebellious androids, but Dr Doom flies back to Latveria, refusing to pay Cage his fee.

h for h 9HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #9 (May 1973)

Title: Where Angels Fear to Tread

Villain: Dr Doom

Synopsis: Luke Cage, determined to get his pay from Dr Doom, persuades the Fantastic Four to lend him an aircraft so he can fly to Latveria. (“Luke Cage: Bill Collector”) Because this is a comic book, they DO lend him one.

Cage arrives in Latveria and clashes with the Latverian army before falling in with more of the rebellious androids who are trying to overthrow Dr Doom. They are led by the Faceless One, an alien robot from the planet Kt’kn who fought Doom in the past. (Astonishing Tales #2 and 3 – October and December 1970) 

cage vs doomWhile the Faceless One and his android army keep the palace guard around Castle Latveria busy, Cage fights his way inside the castle and does battle with Dr Doom himself. The Faceless One enters after Luke has Doom on the ropes and tries to kill the dictator.

Cage doesn’t want Doom dead because he wants his money, so he stops the Faceless One from killing him. (Idiot! The Faceless One could have paid Luke from the Latverian treasury and the world would have hailed Cage for helping to rid the world of Dr Doom.) Doom is moved to pay Luke his fee to thank him for saving his life. He allows him to leave Latveria, so our hero flies back to New York and turns the aircraft back over to the Fantastic Four.   

h for h 10HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #10 (June 1973)

Title: The Lucky and the Dead

Villain: Senor Suerte and Senor Muerte (Mr Luck and Mr Death)

Synopsis: Cage has to fight off another attack from hitmen sent by unknown parties. Because he didn’t start suffering these random attacks until after the Frank Jenks incident against Black Mariah, Luke visits the man’s widow to see if she knows what her late husband might have been involved in that would fuel a vendetta against him.

She replies that it might have something to do with the dead accountant’s safety deposit box at the bank. Luke accompanies her to open it but all they find is a matchbook from a Spanish restaurant that burned down a while back. While Cage tries to track down other leads, we readers are shown that the figure behind Frank Jenks’ murder and the attacks on Luke is Hispanic gambling lord Ramon Garcia.

senor suerte and muerteGarcia dons high-tech costumes and alternates between being a supervillain called Senor Suerte and Senor Muerte. (In the future, two different guys will take over the names, making Senor Suerte and Senor Muerte two separate supervillains.) Garcia sets out to kill Cage personally this time, because the Hero for Hire knew enough to investigate the burned-down restaurant.

Sleazy reporter (are there any other kind) Phil Fox, still investigating Luke, steals some of Noah Burstein’s documents about his experiments at Seagate Prison. Elsewhere, Senor Suerte/ Muerte battles Cage then leaves him chained to a wall in a drainage tunnel at the harbor, to drown as the tide comes in.   

h for h 11HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #11 (July 1973)

Title: Where There’s Life …

Villain: Senor Suerte/ Muerte

Synopsis: While Cage manages to free himself from his foe’s deathtrap before drowning, Senor Suerte/ Muerte uses his superpowers and his subordinate gangsters to slaughter rival criminals trying to move in on his illegal gambling territory.

From his informant Flea, Luke learns the location of the supervillain’s HQ. While our hero makes his way there, Flea plays both sides of the conflict, phoning Senor Suerte/ Muerte and telling him he “got a tip” that Luke Cage knows where he is and is on his way there. 

Luke arrives at Garcia’s lair and must fight his way through several gambling-related deathtraps, like he’s up against a Batman villain from the Adam West series. He survives them all, and closes in battle with Senor Suerte/ Muerte, who is killed during the clash.

Cage lets Frank Jenks’ widow know he can finally close the case on Frank’s murder. He found out his boss was really the gangster Ramon Garcia, who then had him killed. Elsewhere, Phil Fox has read enough of the stolen Burstein documents to realize that Luke Cage is really an escaped convict. 

h for h 12HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #12 (August 1973)

Title: Chemistro! (NOT the title of a musical.)

Villain: Chemistro

NOTE: In between the end of the previous issue and this one, Luke Cage guest-starred in The Amazing Spider-Man when J Jonah Jameson hired him to bring in Spider-Man, who was wanted for questioning in Norman Osborne’s death.   

Synopsis: A brand new supervillain calling himself Chemistro rampages through the New York City offices of Mainstream Motors with his Alchemy Gun and injures one of the employees, Annabelle Crawford. She goes to Dr Noah Burstein’s Storefront Clinic, where Noah and his physician partner Claire Temple convince Annabelle and her boss to hire Luke Cage to protect their offices from Chemistro. They do so.

chemistroChemistro is really Curtis Carr, a former Mainstream Motors employee who invented his Alchemy Gun which can alter the chemical makeup of objects or people. The company wanted to claim the gun as its intellectual property so Carr quit, trained in unarmed combat, weight-lifting and marksmanship, then set out for revenge as Chemistro.

Phil Fox pitches a story on Luke Cage’s suspicious past to J Jonah Jameson. After getting manhandled and humiliated before his staff by Cage after he learned Spider-Man was innocent, Jameson wants nothing to do with either antagonizing OR publicizing Luke and his business. Phil resolves to sell his story elsewhere.

chemistro picThe next day, Cage is on hand when Chemistro raids a Mainstream Motors board meeting. He fights the villain, who manages to escape. Back at his office, Luke is approached by Phil Fox who threatens to expose our hero’s past unless he robs a bank for him. Cage throws him out, further angering Phil.

Three days later, Chemistro strikes again at a public exhibition at Mainstream Motors’ test track. Luke is there and this time he defeats the villain and turns him over to the police.

h for h 13HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #13 (September 1973)

Title: The Claws of Lionfang

Villain: Lionfang

Synopsis: After city accounting auditor Clark Seacrest becomes the latest New York City employee to be killed by seemingly intelligent tigers, panthers and lions, the Mayor hires Luke Cage to get to the bottom of it all.

When Cage’s investigation uncovers a department whose funding was cut by Seacrest shortly before he was killed, he himself is attacked by a group of tigers, panthers and lions. The animals are apparently under intelligent control from somewhere and their claws have been coated with poison. Though Luke subdues the animals he can feel the poison affecting him through the small wounds the creatures’ claws managed to inflict on his tough skin.

lionfangAt Noah Burstein’s clinic, Dr Claire Temple and Dr Burstein are able to save our hero from the poison. He resumes his investigation and begins interviewing personnel from the department whose funding Seacrest cut. Eventually, he learns from the wife of Alejandro Cortez that her husband was furious that the funding cut ended his experiments in refining a helmet which let him psychically control wild felines. He then disappeared.

Ultimately, Cage tracks Cortez to a circus performing at Madison Square Garden. He is the costumed lion tamer Lionfang and our hero realizes that Lionfang had perfected his helmet and can control ALL big cats, not just lions.

Luke and Lionfang engage in a running fight throughout the circus, terrifying the crowd. Cage outfights all the lions, tigers, leopards and panthers that Lionfang sics on him, bringing about the supervillain’s downfall.

h for h 14HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #14 (October 1973)

Title: Retribution

Villain: Big Ben

Synopsis: While passing by a construction site in New York City, Cage does some spontaneous pro bono work, saving some construction workers from dying in an accident.

Meanwhile, at Seagate Prison in Georgia, Luke’s (Carl Lucas’) former fellow inmates Shades and Comanche learn that Albert Rackham, the guard who used to brutalize them and Carl Lucas has finally been fired. He moved to New York City where he has family. Shades and Comanche are inspired to break out and go to New York City themselves, not only for revenge on Rackham but to become supervillains.

Phil Fox, still trying to cash in on a Luke Cage expose or at least blackmail the Hero for Hire into stealing some money for him, seeks out the former Seagate Prison guard and the pair plot jointly against the former Carl Lucas.

retributionElsewhere, at Luke Cage’s office above the Gem Theater, Mrs Jenks shows up to hire our hero. She had been dating a freakishly large man – and lawyer – called Big Ben Donovan. Big Ben’s pushy airs turned her off but now he won’t leave her alone and she wants Cage to set him straight. After Luke wins the first round of his fight against Donovan and his solid iron platform shoes (it was the 70s), he hustles Mrs Jenks away in a cab to safety.

Unknown to our hero, Phil Fox and Albert Rackham observed this from hiding and trail the cab, mistaking Mrs Jenks from behind for Luke’s girlfriend Claire Temple. Soon Big Ben is back for more and he and Cage clash once again in a destructive battle until Donovan surrenders. Elsewhere in NYC, the fugitives Comanche and Shades get a lead to Rackham’s apartment. 

big benPhil Fox and Albert Rackham have followed Mrs Jenks to her residence and do a home invasion, tying her up. Phil Fox is alarmed as he realizes this is NOT Claire Temple. Meanwhile, the real Claire Temple turns up at Mrs Jenks’ residence looking for Cage after learning that he was once again working for Jenks.

Before entering, Claire overhears Phil and Rackham arguing about how Luke is really an escaped convict. Soon she hears a gunshot and fearfully enters. (She’s a doctor, conscientiously doing her duty.) Inside she sees the lone Phil Fox, shot to death on the floor, with Rackham and Mrs Jenks gone. Foolishly, Claire picks up the murder weapon from the floor, which gets her prints on it just as the cops show up and order Claire to put her hands up.   

NOTE: Big Ben Donovan, like Black Mariah, showed up on the Luke Cage series.

h for h 16HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #16 (December 1973)

Title: Shake Hands with Stiletto

Villain: Stiletto 

Synopsis: After skipping a lackluster previous issue in #15, we resume with this story. Luke Cage has joined up with the fugitive Comanche and Shades (this is before they had become supervillains and were just normal humans). With Claire still in jail for Phil Fox’s murder (and now knowing that Luke is an escaped con using a false name) our hero joins forces with Comanche and Shades, who also want revenge on Rackham.

The trio trail Rackham to his New Jersey residence and break in to try freeing his hostage Mrs Jenks. Suddenly, all of them get attacked by the supervillain Stiletto, armed with knives that explode, electrocute, contain toxic gas and freeze things on impact. He also shoots mini-knives from his wrist gauntlets.

stiletto picThe battle royal eventually causes Rackham’s home to collapse, killing him and mortally wounding Mrs Jenks. Stiletto manages to escape in the confusion, leaving his secret identity and motives unknown to Cage. (For now.)

Big Ben Donovan, now Luke’s lawyer, proves Claire Temple’s innocence with a death bed statement from Mrs Jenks saying that Albert Rackham, not Claire, killed Phil Fox. Cage and Claire are reunited when she is released, but things are a little tense now that she knows Luke has been keeping information from her.   

NOTE: Down the road, Cage would learn that Stiletto was really one of the sons of the Seagate Prison warden who got fired when Carl Lucas escaped and seemed to drown. Stiletto wanted to recapture the escaped Shades and Comanche.

pm 17POWER MAN Vol 1 #17 (February 1974)

Title: Rich Man, Iron Man, Power Man, Thief

Villain: Orville Smythe with stolen Stark armor

NOTE: Luke’s title was back to bi-monthly instead of monthly because sales of Hero for Hire had fallen so low that the series was in danger of cancellation. Marvel Comics felt a catchier superhero name for Luke Cage’s character might revive sales, and so as of this issue the title and Cage’s nom de guerre changed to Power Man.

              Sales improved enough to not only keep the series alive but eventually get it back to monthly publishing instead of bi-monthly. The next title change came with anniversary issue #50, when the series became Power Man and Iron Fist, who were partners. Previous partner titles from Marvel had been Captain America and the Falcon plus Daredevil and the Black Widow.

Synopsis: In this story our hero changed his superhero identity. Above I gave the real-world reason for Luke Cage changing his hero name to Power Man. In the story, the writers used a similar reason, having Cage decide that a flashier alias like Power Man would elevate his Hero for Hire brand to the next level.

Orville Smythe passes himself off to Cage as a Stark Industries executive who is hiring our hero to test the security at the Stark compound on Long Island, specifically the security systems around Tony Stark’s latest invention – armor custom designed for use in space.

pm vs imWhile Luke participates in what he thinks is a legitimate drill to test Stark security, he succeeds in fighting his way through all of the high-tech devices, while Orville Smythe secretly follows in his wake. Ultimately, Cage faces Iron Man himself. (Back then Tony Stark kept it a secret that he was really Iron Man. He claimed that Iron Man was just his high-tech bodyguard.)

The battle between the two superheroes provides sufficient diversion for Smythe to escape in an airship with the Stark Space Armor. When Iron Man tells Luke that Orville Smythe is NOT a Stark Industries employee, he realizes he was tricked. He overtakes Smythe in the airship and recovers the stolen armor for Tony Stark, but Orville falls to his death during the resulting conflict.     

pm 18POWER MAN Vol 1 #18 (April 1974)

Title: Havoc on the High Iron

Villain: Steeplejack

Synopsis: This story opens with Luke Cage visiting the grave of Reva Connors, his girlfriend in the days before he went to prison. She was killed back then when Willis Stryker (later Diamondback) was trying to kill Cage as Carl Lucas.

Claire Temple shows up, comforting Luke and saying she has had time to accept everything he told her about how he was framed, then gained super powers and HAD to keep his real name a secret from her. She and Cage decide to stay together no matter what.

jake mallardOn their way back into the city, Power Man and Dr Temple come across a construction site where a brand new supervillain calling himself the Steeplejack is running amok high up in the girders and threatening to drop the construction company’s owner Maxwell Plumm to his death.

Our hero saves Plumm and clashes with Steeplejack who is armed with a souped-up rivet-gun that shoots red-hot rivets and/ or high intensity flames. The villain also has a degree of unexplained super-strength, presumably from some construction-related accident in typical comic book style.

Steeplejack escapes, and Maxwell Plumm hires Power Man to guard this under-construction building that night in case the supervillain strikes again. Plumm claims that Steeplejack is just a disgruntled employee.

steeplejackThat night while on guard duty, Cage battles Steeplejack again, and during the fight all over the high-rise construction site it becomes clear that the “villain” is really just out for revenge on Plumm. The unscrupulous tycoon uses sub-standard material and equipment to save money, and his neglect caused the deaths of Steeplejack’s two brothers.

During his battle with Power Man, the costumed figure’s weapons damage the girder he’s on and he falls to his death.

NOTE: Maxwell Plumm won’t get what he has coming to him until years later. He stole the late Steeplejack’s weaponry and eventually becomes the second Steeplejack, who gets defeated by the original Ms Marvel – Carol Danvers. (Ms Marvel #14 – February, 1978)   

Comment: Back then, asbestos was used frequently in construction, until its dangers to the lungs became clear. Power Man uses some nearby asbestos to protect himself from Steeplejack’s red-hot rivets at one point. (Hell, the Johnny Storm Human Torch once had a villain called Asbestos Man, who dressed in an asbestos costume to be safe from the Human Torch’s flame powers.)

pm 19POWER MAN Vol 1 #19 (June 1974)

Title: Call Him … Cottonmouth

Villain: Cottonmouth

Synopsis: Power Man’s sleazy informant Flea has died from tainted heroin injected into him by gangsters who work for the supervillain Cottonmouth. Not long after that, he gets a package at his office which contains cottonmouth snakes that strike at him but he subdues them without killing them.

Soon some gunmen sent by Cottonmouth show up at Cage’s office but he defeats them, then threatens to let the snakes bite them unless they answer his questions about their boss. It turns out that Cottonmouth – Cornell Stokes – is a major heroin dealer in New York. Luke’s old enemy Diamondback was part of Cottonmouth’s gang back when he framed our hero.

cottonmouthHoping for another chance to prove “Carl Lucas'” innocence, Power Man accepts Cottonmouth’s subsequent offer to work for the heroin dealer just so he can infiltrate his operation. The villain mistakenly thinks Power Man is a criminal mercenary and is impressed he survived the box of snakes and his gunmen.

Mister Slick, Cottonmouth’s closest aide, suggests a way for Cage to figuratively “make his bones” and prove his sincerity – he advises Cottonmouth to send Luke to steal part of a heroin shipment from the competing gangster Morgan, the crime boss of Harlem (and archenemy of the Falcon).

Power Man’s raid on Morgan’s territory is a success, but while he is busy marking the containers of heroin in subtle ways so they can be used as evidence for the police later, he fails to notice he has company. Suddenly, Boss Morgan and some of his men announce their presence and have their guns aimed at our hero. 

NOTE: Cottonmouth – like Black Mariah and Big Ben Donovan – appeared on the Luke Cage streaming series.   

pm 20POWER MAN Vol 1 #20 (August 1974)

Title: How Like a Serpent’s Tooth

Villains: Cottonmouth and Morgan

Synopsis: Power Man fights and defeats several of Morgan’s men, then uses Morgan himself as a human shield to keep the rest of Morgan’s army from attacking him until he can get far enough away. After that, Cage returns to Cottonmouth’s office with the marked heroin he stole.

At the Storefront Clinic, Dr Claire Temple, having received troubling but unknown information, tells her partner Dr Noah Burstein that she needs to leave for a time and will be in touch. 

Back with Power Man, when his long-range plan to play along with Cottonmouth until he can find evidence that Carl Lucas was framed years earlier falls apart, he winds up in all-out combat with the villain and his gang. Mr Slick is killed as collateral damage early in the battle.

cottonmouth pours a drinkAt one point in the fighting, Power Man demands access to Cottonmouth’s records going back years the gangster laughs and says that the now-dead Mr Slick had a flawless memory and kept all of Cottonmouth’s organizational records in his head. (It’s a comic book, just go with it.)

Having lost another way of trying to prove his youthful innocence, our hero angrily clobbers Cottonmouth and the rest of his gang and turns them over to the police.     










Filed under Superheroes

14 responses to “LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN: EARLY 1970s STORIES

  1. WOW!!! Once again, Balladeer…..You teach me something and blow my mind at how much Your brilliant mind holds!!! I never heard of Luke Cage! What a badass!!! Thank for the smile You just gifted! Cheers and Rock on!!! 😃

  2. “Not the title of a musical” 😂😂😂

  3. Renee Dailey

    Impressive! Balladeer’s Blog has the best articles!

  4. Jacob Marion

    Luke Cage never got to be this cool on his streaming show.

  5. Like a private eye superhero.

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