The New Avengers: Luke Cage – Town Without Pity
Written by John Arcudi, various
Art by Eric Canete & Pepe Larraz, various
Colors by Chuck Chuckry, Andres Mossa, various
Letters by Joe Sabino, Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: September 22, 2010
Luke Cage’s most recent solo adventure is the lead story collected in this trade paperback. The cover is a bit misleading because it implies that Ronin (now Hawkeye again) and Spider-Man play a major part in the series. Actually, they mainly appear in the first issue.
The story takes place during the end of the Superhuman Registration Act era in the Marvel Universe. Luke Cage gets a call from his old friend Leodis Dyson. Dyson is beaten and hospitalized by gangsters in North Philadelphia, so Cage travels to Philly to help Dyson out. After he arrives, he encounters a much deeper scandal that involves corrupt politicians, gangs, and the return of a classic Luke Cage villain.
John Arcudi‘s characterization of Luke Cage is consistent with Cage’s current portrayal in the Marvel Universe. Arcudi also does an excellent job of capturing the dynamic between Cage and his wife, Jessica. They constantly bicker, but you can feel the genuine love and concern that the characters have for each other. He also writes some awesome action scenes for Cage. Eric Canete‘s artwork is kinetic and exciting, but I’ve been a fan of his art since I read the Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin trade paperback a while back. Town Without Pity is a good example of the type of story that Luke Cage is perfectly suited for, showcasing his often-ignored detective skills.
The backups stories in this trade paperback serve as a “Luke Cage primer,” showcasing different periods and facets of Cage’s life. The excellent Daredevil: Cage Match> one-shot is reprinted, showing an untold 1970s-era tale where Luke Cage and Daredevil have a “friendly fight” for respect. Also, the “Citizen Cage” story from Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectaular #2 is reprinted. In this story, Cage considers a run for Borough President. It’s written by Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac and drawn by Todd Nauck. Finally, Heroes for Hire #1, the first appearance and origin of Luke Cage, is also reprinted as a part of this collection.
The excellent lead story plus these additional tales make this collection a must-have for fans of Luke Cage, or those familiar with the character due to his appearances in several projects written by Brian Bendis. I would LOVE to have a regular Luke Cage series, but until then, his appearances in New Avengers and Thunderbolts, along with this collection, will keep me satisfied. As Luke Cage might say: “Sweet Christmas!! This trade paperback is great!!”