Fighting for what matters

Marvel’s latest Netflix series tackles real world issues


“Luke Cage” follows Marvel’s first black superhero as he fights for equality on the streets of Harlem. “Luke Cage” is just one example of Marvel’s success with TV and the cinema.

Brooke McKelvey, People Editor

What started with some shootings between cops and citizens has now made its way into the lives of celebrities and athletes. The “Black Lives Matter” campaign has been sweeping the nation. Not only is it an imminent concern in our world, the idea of “Black Lives Matter” is also a prominent theme in Netflix’s latest hit: “Luke Cage.”

“Luke Cage” takes place on the streets of Harlem, where weapons are dealt and politicians are corrupt. The teens in Harlem are easily swept into this chaos due to the lack of structure in their family life.

An ex-criminal named Pop, played by Frankie Faison, was known as the toughest gangster on the streets when he was a teen. Now that he’s older, Pop has opened up his barbershop doors to the streets of Harlem as a sanctuary. Even though Pop was involved in crime, he was able to turn his life around and began saving teens from the wrong life. Another ex-criminal, Luke Cage played by Mike Colter, uses his superhuman strength and invincibility in working to take down Cottonmouth, played by Mahershala Ali, and his colleagues around Harlem.

The idea of “Luke Cage” is to clean up the streets and make Harlem a better place, and in doing so, the show dances around touchy subjects. In the show, black teens on the street are stereotyped in baggy sweatshirts and sagging jeans. Cage wears a black hoodie in the show rather than the traditional yellow hoodie as seen in the comics a decision made in honor of Trayvon Martin, a black teen who was shot by a white cop.

This detail describes “Luke Cage” perfectly because it’s considered a show about Marvel’s first black superhero, but Cage isn’t fighting evil villains. He is really fighting for equality between the upper class citizens and the families barely scraping by. Cage sees no reason for people to stand above others and he uses his abilities to level the playing field.

With a city full of powerhouses fighting for control in a time of inequality, “Luke Cage” starts to test the boundary on racism. However, I think Marvel did a really good job with how they handled this topic. Cage always stepped in and fought for equality before things got too heated which I really appreciated.

I always enjoy action movies or TV shows, but my favorite part about “Luke Cage” is the fact that it incorporated real world problems. If I watched this show in 10 years or so, I don’t think it would’ve had the same impact that it does today. Since the fight for equality of black lives is so prominent right now, “Luke Cage” seems like it’s right at home.

“Luke Cage” is Marvel’s third Netflix series following “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” “Daredevil” was a test because Marvel has a big presence in the cinematic world, but they are definitely proving that they belong on TV with each new series they release.

Due to their success, Marvel plans to release “Iron Fist,” “The Defenders” and “The Punisher” within the next few years. If these new releases are anything like the shows currently out on Netflix, Marvel will no doubt earn its keep on TV.