Where to Start With Luke Cage Comics?

Cage.

Luke Cage / Power Man Reading Order

Index:

I) Luke Cage Origins and Early Days

II) Power Man and Iron Fist – Heroes for Hire

III) Secret 80’s & 90’s Luke Cage

IV) Marvel Knights Luke Cage (Early 2000’s)

V) Luke Cage – New Avenger

VI) Luke Cage, Thunderbolt & (New) New Avenger

VII) Luke Cage, Mighty Avenger

VIII) The Return of Power Man and Iron Fist

Origins of Luke Cage

I) Luke Cage Origins & Early Days

Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, Vol. 1

Collects: Hero for Hire #1 to #16, Power Man #17 to #27

Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1

While written in 2013, this is simply a modern reimagining of Luke Cage’s origin story. One shot available in Marvel Unlimited.

Amazing Spider-Man #123

First meeting between Luke Cage and Spider-Man, as Luke hunts for the alleged murderer of Norman Osborn! Not particularly important, but this can be slotted in after Hero for Hire #12 in terms of Marvel release dates.

Essential Defenders Vol. 3

Collects: Defenders #40 to #69, Annual #1

This is pretty commonly overlooked in the history of Luke Cage, but he was actually a recurring guest-hero and eventual member of the 1970’s Defenders. Oddly, of all the Netflix Defenders, Luke Cage is the only one who was actually a Defender in the Marvel Comics sense.

Essential Luke Cage/Power Man, Vol. 2

Collects: Power Man #28 to #49, Annual #1

Note that Marvel Unlimited’s current Luke Cage / Power Man offerings are woefully short (as of 3.26.16). Your MU subscription will get you Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #1, and that’s it.

If nothing else, try to find a copy of Hero for Hire #9, as Luke Cage confronts Doctor Doom about money he’s owed.

Fantastic Four #168 to #170

The Fantastic Four take on Power Man.

Luke Cage and Iron Fist

II) Power Man and Iron Fist Team-Up

Power Man & Iron Fist Epic Collection: Heroes for Hire

Collects: Power Man #48 to #49, Power Man & Iron Fist #50 to #70

Power Man and Iron Fist (Marvel Essentials, Vol. 2)

Collects: Power Man & Iron Fist #71 to #100, Daredevil #178

Luke and Danny, Danny and Luke. Power Man & Iron Fist will give you one of the best partnerships in comics, although it’s again worth noting this series is nowhere to be found in Marvel Unlimited (March 2016).

In regards to Daredevil #178, as always, it’s my duty to tell the world that Frank Miller’s time on Daredevil (first as artist, then as writer and artist) is one of the most highly recommended runs in all of Marvel Comics.

This particular issue has the big “Daredevil… Meets Power Man & Iron Fist” right there on the cover, so it’s the most applicable to our Luke Cage reading experience. Luke and Danny will maintain a street-level bond with Daredevil throughout their comic history, and this is one of their earliest encounters.

III) The Under the Radar Luke Cage – 1980’s Through 1990’s

Power Man and Iron Fist #101 to #125

Sadly uncollected, and seemingly unavailable.

Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1

Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 2

Issues: Cage #1 to #20, as well as a crossover event with Terror Inc (issues #11 to #12) and Silver Sable & The Wild Pack (#13 to #14)

Luke Cage’s early 90’s solo run!

Secret Defenders #15 to #17

A Deadpool, Luke Cage, and Doctor Druid team-up comic. If this was announced as a new ongoing today, I’d have it on my pull list yesterday.

Heroes for Hire #1 to #18

I don’t know how or why a John Ostrander (of Suicide Squad fame) Heroes for Hire is darn near impossible to find, but it is! If you track this run down, let me hear about it.

Black Panther #16 to #17

By my count, this is just about the last time we’ll see Luke in his classic Yellow open-chest jacket and tiara in modern Marvel comics. It’s also my dutiful reminder that Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run is great.

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage

IV) Luke Cage Marvel Knights Renaissance

Marvel Knights #11 to #15

Cage by Brian Azzarello

Six issue Marvel MAX limited series.

Alias

Even though Luke Cage isn’t in every issue of Alias (it is a Jessica Jones series after all), you really need to read the whole series as part of a Luke Cage reading order. This is where Luke and Jessica’s messy, honest relationship begins, and the fact that Alias is one of the best 100 Marvel Comics of the millennium is just icing on the cake.

Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev’s Daredevil

Another highly recommended read that works best (as you’d expect) in the Daredevil reading order.

Nonetheless, there are a handful of cool “Luke tells Daredevil what’s up” scenes, such as in Daredevil #38 (the start of the “Trial of the Century” story arc). It’s a strong series overall, but this issue helps put Luke, Danny and Matt’s interactions into context.

The Pulse #1 to #5

Luke and Jessica’s relationship is brought in to the Marvel Universe proper, after its beginnings in the Marvel Max Alias. The Pulse is more of a Jessica Jones story at its core, but naturally Luke is an increasingly important part of her life.

Secret War #1 to #5

The Pulse #6 to #9

Luke Cage comic books!

V) Luke Cage, New Avenger (2004 to 2010)

New Avengers #1 to #10

The Pulse #11 to #14

Note: From this point forward, you’re basically just reading New Avengers, which is Luke’s core series throughout the remainder of the 2000’s. I break down a Marvel Unlimited reading order for you below so you can work in Annuals and universe-wide events.

New Avengers Reading Order

New Avengers #11 to #21

New Avengers Annual #1

Don’t skip the annual! Important life events for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

New Avengers #22 to #27

Issue #22 is a Jessica Jones and Luke Cage Civil War Tie-In.

New Avengers #28 to #37

New Avengers Annual #2

New Avengers #38 to #47

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage deal with Secret Invasion. There are some definite ramifications for the duo during this event, so if you’re all in on Marvel backstory, you can find the Secret Invasion guide here.

New Avengers #48 to #60

Takes you through Dark Reign and Siege. Various Jessica Jones and Luke Cage throughout.

New Avengers Annual #3

New Avengers #61 to #64

Siege tie-ins. I mean you made it this far.

New Avengers: Luke Cage

Issues: #1 to #3

New Avengers Finale #1

VI) Luke Cage, Thunderbolt & New (New) Avenger! (2010 to 2012)

Luke Cage Noir

Marvel’s Noir series is an out-of-continuity reimagining of some of the coolest Marvel heroes in a 1920’s noir. Luke Cage’s actually works particularly well, and is highly recommended reading for fans of the character.

Thunderbolts: Cage #144 to #168

Following the events of Siege, Luke Cage takes on an all-new role with the Thunderbolts.

New Avengers #1 to #34 (2010 to 2012 series)

In addition to his new role with the T-Bolts, Luke Cage also heads up a team of New Avengers. Meanwhile I can barely put on socks and carry a conversation at the same time.

Shadowland: Power Man (2010)

Power Man and Iron Fist (2010 to 2011)

This isn’t a Luke Cage book per say, but Luke’s tangentially involved, and at only 5 issues it’s recommended.

VII) Marvel NOW! Luke Cage, Mighty Avenger (2013 to 2015)

Mighty Avengers: No Single Hero #1 to #5

Luke’s new Marvel NOW! team begins with several Infinity tie-ins followed by Inhumanity tie-ins. It’s almost like Marvel felt this book would need to crossover with events to get readers…

Mighty Avengers: Family Bonding #6 to #10

Mighty Avengers: Original Sin – Not Your Father’s Avengers #11 to #14

To be fair, we made it five issues before the Original Sin crossovers.

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #1 to #7

Axis Tie-ins

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #8 to #9

I’d note that the second volume of Cap and the Mighty Avengers also features the Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders Secret Wars tie-in, which includes a great alternate reality version of Luke Cage.

Danny Rand and Luke Cage

VIII) Return of Power Man & Iron Fist

Power Man and Iron Fist: The Boys are Back in Town

Issues: Power Man and Iron Fist #1 to #6

 

What do you think? Need more Luke Cage in your life? Have a favorite you want to see added? Do what feels right to you in the comments.

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