I finally finished Luke Cage a day ago and it’s definitely up there on the list of great Marvel series. Not to parrot @“Dangerous J” but I pretty much share all his sentiments.
First and most importantly, THE MUSIC! The music was a fantastic centerpiece to the entire story, whether it was the club performances or the blaxploitation era inspired outro, everytime music was introduced it heightened the whole black experience and the overall vibe.
Misty Knight’s rack is a thing of beauty, it’s a shame her character is way too stiff and surly for any sane man to realistically deal with on a permanent basis.
I was surprised she managed to keep her arm considering what happened to her in the comics with the Antarctic vibranium and such.[/details]
The side characters didn’t feel like paltry centerpieces for Luke to save or rebuff, they all seemed to have their own philosophy that you could relate or at least understand (the hustlin’ kid selling bootlegs and superhero footage for instance).
As for the villains, Cottonmouth was brilliant, Mariah and Shades were respectably conniving and manipulating, and Diamondback was a pure psychopath full of crazy, plus his one-liners and bible verses added some humorous depth to him. All of them had varying degrees of breaking points and underlying motivations. The series’ production definitely had a lot of black names on board for the humor and delivery to be realistic.
I think what most impressed me about their Cottonmouth’s and Mariah’s backstory was how deep they made it, namely, how the Queenpin’s traitorous husband molested Mariah, but was simultaneously trying to spare Cottonmouth a life of crime. They could’ve easily went the cliched route and made him into an irredeemable monster with no good qualities whatsoever, but his approach with each cousin scarred them in different ways. I thought that was masterfully done considering how many non-comic book readers see the genre as simple action and drama.
The pacing of the story was great as well, unlike Jessica Jones, which frustratingly drew things out until I stopped caring near the end; this series kept it engaging and fresh. By making the side characters worthwhile and the flashbacks engaging and relevant, I was never questioning where everything was headed.
My only very, very minor gripes, was…
[details=Spoiler] that the action/ choreography was predictable unlike say the martial arts action in Daredevil, due to Luke Cage being pretty much a god amongst men (which I know couldn’t be helped). Diamondback was mostly a psychological and legal threat, but other than those very limited alien metal bullets nothing made me worry. Luke was pretty much slapping niggas around 90% of the time. I was also really hoping they’d retcon Shades into another powered human who survived the testing, but alas…
I have a feeling some the tech we saw in Luke Cage will spill over into AOS.