Updated July 10, 2017: Marvel has released a breakdown of how they reached Luke Cage's Legacy issue number.
Original Story: For someone without a codename, Luke Cage has many questions about his identity.
Starting with Luke Cage #166, writer David F. Walker and artist Nelson Blake will bring the hero of Harlem into Marvel Legacy by exploring the man behind the muscles – Carl Lucas – and reverting to the title’s legacy numbering.
Walker himself summed up the central question of Luke Cage’s Marvel Legacy story rather cryptically.
“Luke Cage is not Luke Cage. Carl Lucas is Luke Cage,” Walker told Newsarama. “And this story is about what it is in Carl Lucas that makes him Luke Cage.”
“Within the Legacy storyline there is an exploration of who Luke Cage is at his core, and by this I don’t mean Luke Cage - I actually mean Carl Lucas,” Walker explained. “Hardcore fans know that Luke Cage’s real name is Carl Lucas, and that he became Luke Cage after getting super powers and escaping prison.”
“We are exploring what makes Luke Cage who he is, but in order to do that, we really need to get into Carl Lucas,” he continued. “Once he’s gone through the ordeal he will face in Legacy, we will have a better sense of who he is at the core of his being.”
But the question of who Luke Cage was before he got his powers doesn’t just affect Luke’s past – it could affect his future too.
“Luke is facing the threat of losing himself, literally.” Walker explained. “Everything he has become, and worked towards is now on the line. If he fails, he will go back to who and what he was before he got his super powers.”
For fans questioning what Legacy entails for the characters and titles under its umbrella, Walker shed more light on what he views as the “Classic Marvel” essence he’s trying to capture in Luke Cage – and there’s nothing old-fashioned about it.
“What I’m trying to do is take Luke back to the place he was when he was first introduced into the Marvel universe. When we talk about the ‘Classic Marvel’ feeling, I think some people get confused. There was a specific way stories were written in decades past – captions, thought balloons, and things like that. Yes, that’s part of the ‘Classic Marvel,’ but there is something much deeper, and it speaks to the emotional resonance of the characters.”
“Marvel’s characters have always been most interesting because of who they are, more than because of what they do,” he continued. “This particular Luke Cage story is about him and the circumstances he is in, which define him and shape him, and to me that is ‘Classic Marvel.’”
And for Walker, that’s the feeling he’s always tried to capture in his writing, making Marvel Legacy a natural progression for his work on Luke Cage.
“My goals as a writer are always the same – do right by the character, and write the best story I can. My lifelong appreciation of Luke Cage is also coupled with a lot of what I wanted to see for the character, but seldom got to see. It wasn’t until Brian Michael Bendis started writing him regularly that he started to become a more complex and human character.
“What I’m trying to do is to build upon both the character aspects I loved as a kid, and the evolution of the character that endeared him to me even more as I grew older.”
Here’s the full solicitation for Luke Cage #166, expected to be out on shelves this fall.
LUKE CAGE #166
DAVID F. WALKER (W) • NELSON BLAKE (A)
Cover by RAHZZAH
CAGED Part 1
Carl Lucas went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit and came out a new man: the hero Luke Cage. Now, Luke finds himself on the wrong side of the law and thrown back in prison again. What dark power has caged Luke once more and when the entire world is threatened, how can Luke Cage save everyone from the inside of a jail cell?