Luke Cage has finally made his powerful debut on Netflix after years of stalled movie plans and false production starts. Joining Daredevil and Jessica Jones as another street-level superhero to complement the world-tripping Avengers, Luke Cage looks primed and ready to be a huge series that will dictate the fate of the Marvel Netflix Television Universe and where it goes from here.
While everyone knew the ins and outs of Daredevil, and most went into Jessica Jones totally unaware of the character, Luke Cage sits somewhere in the middle, with most knowing something about the long-time Marvel superhero, but not all that much. That’s why we here are Screen Rant are going to help you along and fill you in on just exactly what makes Luke Cage – aka Power Man – such an exciting hero. What can he do? Is he just some strong guy that can fight? What are his limits? Does he have any? We have your answers with here with our list of the 15 Powers You Didn’t Know Luke Cage Had.
15. Jumping Great Distances
Forget about jumping over Iron Fist to become the third released Netflix-Marvel series instead of the fourth – as was initially planned – Luke Cage actually has some pretty slick moves when it comes to gaining aerial lift. If you thought Cage was just some really strong human, you have to reconsider your entire Marvel viewpoint because as it turns out, Luke Cage has some seriously augmented super-muscles, allowing him to jump to insane heights.
Luke Cage’s jumping abilities have seen him leaping several stories in a single bound, not to mention long distances. Originally discovered after Cage was experimented on and turned into a superhero in the first place, Cage’s jumping has come in handy at different points in the comic books he’s been featured in, and we can only hope that such a cool – albeit underused – power will somehow make its way into his new Netflix series.
14. Incredibly Dense Skin
Let’s assume that we all know Luke Cage’s main power is being incredibly strong and therefore someone you wouldn’t want to mess with in a proper fight. But assuming everyone, including villains, knows this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that taking a gun into a fight with Luke Cage would give you the advantage. However, being forgiven isn’t the same as being right, and in the end you’d just end up pissing off Luke Cage and getting your head bashed in.
Yep, Luke Cage is downright bulletproof thanks to his skin being as tough as titanium. One of the more useful powers in the entire Marvel Universe, Cage’s skin as well as skeleton are so dense that it’s nearly impossible to injure the guy. In fact, you can fire at Cage point blank from as close as 4 feet and he may not even feel it. Add in the fact that attacks from other superhumans (even those stronger than him) won’t hurt him, and you have yourself a badass that you wouldn’t want to rumble with no matter what.
13. Cellular Regeneration
Having nearly indestructible skin is all well and good, but what if the unthinkable happens – as often happens in Marvel-lore – and some kind of super-maniac comes along with a way to hurt Luke Cage? As it turns out, Cage has that covered too, because thanks to his arsenal of under the radar superpowers his entire cellular system has the ability to regenerate itself.
Thanks to a sadistic prison guard – Billy Bob Rackham – and a friendly research scientist – Dr. Noah Burstein – Luke Cage (then known as Carl Lukas) found himself experimented on using a variant of Steve Rogers’ Super-Soldier serum. The serum itself was meant to expedite and superpower cellular regeneration, which it did; but that’s not all. As these experiments often go wrong, Lukas didn’t find himself as the next Captain America, but rather as Luke Cage, someone who took the cellular regeneration powers of the serum and used them to create his own second chance. With Cage’s new ability to heal and the increased durability that he found himself gifted with, he took to the streets and became the Hero for Hire that he debuted in the comics as.
12. Ability to Withstand Biological Attacks
The Cold War was no match for Luke Cage, and considering his 1972 debut – right in the heart of nuclear and biological attack fears brought on by the war – this was definitely a good thing. As part of the experiments conducted on Cage and the powers that he ultimately attained from them, Luke Cage found himself nearly indestructible when it came to chemical or biological weapons. With his healing powers and super-durable skin, none of these horrific weapons seem to be able to impact Cage the way it would a normal human being.
In fact, Cage’s superpowers were born from a type of chemical attack whereby he was left unattended in a vat of chemicals during one of those experiments. When Billy Bob Rackham tampered with the controls and caused an overload in the system, Cage found himself pushed way beyond all normal human limits, and when he emerged he found himself superpowered, complete with the impervious skin and the superstrength that would later make him so special.
11. Superhuman Recovery Time
It seems like every good superhero these days needs some type of insanely quick way of healing, because it’s no fun to get a little bit scuffed up when chasing a baddie and then spending a few off-days trying to feel better. It also doesn’t make for entertaining comic books, TV series, or movies, so enter Luke Cage’s superhuman recovery time.
Described as having a healing time that of one third of a regular human being, Cage’s recovery time is impressive for someone in the Marvel Universe that isn’t a mutant. This has allowed Cage to do things that any sane person wouldn’t normally do, such as jumping out of Avengers tower, without worrying about excessive healing times. And when considering that many in the Marvel Universe still see Cage as mostly-human and therefore not a threat, it’s nice to know that he’s got yet another superhuman ability tucked away in his back pocket that can come in handy during nearly every battle.
10. Athletic and Fighting Abilities
It’s one thing to accidentally become super-strong during an experiment, but it’s a totally different thing to know how to use that strength to the best of your abilities. After years of comic debuts and a Netflix series that’s set to feature some pretty brutal hand-to-hand combat scenes, it’s safe to say that Luke Cage knows how to use his strength. Dude can throw a punch.
Having mastered street fighting and becoming an exceptionally gifted athlete even before becoming a superhero, Luke Cage was already a pretty big threat. Enter a super-soldier serum and extensive martial arts training under Iron Fist and you have yourselves one of the best combatants in the Marvel Universe. Add in the fact that Cage can overpower even those who are stronger than him thanks to his intelligence and understanding of how best to use his abilities, and you have one hero that no one should fight unless armed with incredibly high tech supervillain weapons.
9. Super Jacket that Matches His Own Powers
If you’ve read the headline of this power and wondered “why is this even a thing,” then you’re in the majority. Yes, it’s very strange that a man with impenetrable skin, healing powers, and super-fighting-skills would need a special jacket, but that’s exactly what he has. Just don’t be surprised if this “power” is left by the side of the road and never mentioned in Netflix’s Luke Cage.
The story with Cage’s jacket goes like this… Luke Cage was exposed to a “Power Man” treatment – which was separate from the experiment he suffered through in prison. When Cage was exposed to this he was wearing his trademark leather jacket, and of course the jacket took on Cage’s powers; just like the suits from Fantastic Four. So now Luke Cage – a man who is covered head to toe in his own indestructible skin – owns a jacket which itself is indestructible. And since wearing it wouldn’t allow the comic book reader or TV viewer to see just how intense a battle was (after all, shredded clothes are a trademark of every superhero), we’re left wondering why Cage doesn’t sell the jacket on eBay or give it to The Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy.
We’ve clearly established that Luke Cage can fight like it’s nobody’s business, but how many of us knew that he can punch through 4 inch thick steel? How many of us knew that he can punch through prison walls? How many of us knew that there is basically nothing Luke Cage can’t punch through? And now, show of hands, how many of us are terrified to ever meet Luke Cage?
Perhaps one of the most badass moves in comic book history, punching harder than anyone has ever punched is a skill that the Hulk and Luke Cage definitely have on lock. Knowing that Luke Cage is super-strong is one thing, but being able to quantify that strength is a totally different thing. So sure, we all knew that Cage was strong, but now we know that he can punch a guy’s face off if he really wanted to. You do you, Luke.
7. Can’t Be Cut
With so many shiny powers and such a gruff personality, Luke Cage really is a diamond in the rough; and just like a diamond it’s pretty impossible to cut Luke Cage with anything at all. Trust us, villains have tried, but since Cage’s skin is so impenetrable even the best sword swinging supervillain wouldn’t be able to cut Cage down. Knives at close range, arrows at long range, katanas at any range, they’ve all been thrown out against Luke Cage over the years and he always emerges from battle with skin as flawless as ever.
This power is one that the comics have taken so seriously over the years that they have even put in a caveat, for all the fans wondering what would happen to their favorite Harlem Hero in the event that he needs surgery. In this case, it’s been explained that Cage can be sliced open, but only by a “superpowered laser.”
6. Can Withstand Extreme Temperatures
Comics and TV shows don’t spend a lot of time on a superhero’s personal temperature comfort levels for obvious reasons, but for Luke Cage especially this would be a pretty boring storyline; he’s resistant to pretty much any temperature. Forget about a cold day in the arctic or a sweltering day in the desert, Luke Cage is so tough that he can withstand extremely high temperatures without any ill effects.
Perhaps most useful because of the fact that he can catch on fire and be totally fine, there’s actually quite a few more reasons why being temperature resistant would be a useful thing if you’re a superhero. Whether you want to save a few kittens from a burning building or withstand being cruelly tortured by a psychopath villain, this is a power that might not get that much hype, but it’s one that Luke Cage can rely on when he finds himself in a tight (and not well-air-conditioned) spot.
5. Immense Knowledge of the Law
Everyone knows that Daredevil being a brilliant lawyer is a huge part of his makeup as a superhero, but what almost no one knows is that Luke Cage knows nearly as much about the law as Matt Murdock. Self-educated to the point where he knew the ins and outs of even the most obscure laws, Cage has augmented his physical superpowers with mental ones, and it’s one of the many things that make him so compelling.
Fighting at street level along with Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Daredevil, Luke Cage’s knowledge of the law comes in handy in any number of occasions. Knowing the limits of what he legally can and can’t do, not to mention knowing what he can’t do but how he can get away with it, has always helped Cage out, and it’s exciting to imagine the relationship between formally trained lawyer Matt Murdock and self-trained law-expert Luke Cage when the two finally meet for good in Netflix’s upcoming The Defenders.
One of the most spectacular things about Luke Cage is how – unlike many heroes – so many parts of what make him great are self-taught rather than inherited by science or magic. And although Cage may share this “power” with many all over the world, for a former convict living in Harlem it’s certainly a big deal that Luke Cage is able to master several languages at once.
But this is a list of powers, you say, so why exactly is this a power? Well, because of the nature of Marvel comics and the fact that many of the baddies are often members from a foreign government agency or Nazis or Russian mobsters or any number of other non-English speakers, it’s a huge advantage for Cage to be able to speak and understand other languages, and therefore have the element of surprise. All of this is not to mention the fact that in the comics Cage is noted as a powerful speaker, and it’s often cited that his charisma, charm, and positive speech help him immensely as he goes about his business of being the hero that we all need.
3. Superhuman Willpower
Sure, you may be saying to yourself that this is no superpower, but raise your hand if you could be falsely imprisoned and rise up out of that situation as a deadly badass superhero who fights for justice and eventually joins the Avengers in order to go on to save the world on numerous occasions? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
Thanks to Luke Cage’s insanely strong willpower he was able to overcome his illegal arrest and imprisonment, not to mention the unthinkable experiments conducted on him, and rise up to become a hero. After putting aside a previous life of petty crime, Cage was able to use his street smarts to navigate his post-prison life as a hero and fight for the common people at street level, rather than getting caught up in epic idea of becoming a universal savior. By avoiding the Tony Stark model of becoming a global icon at first, Cage was able to keep a level head and set his life on the right track, eventually helping out his neighborhood before moving onto the world at large.
2. Superhuman Speed
Compared to most fast superheroes, Luke Cage isn’t that fast. In fact, nearly every single Marvel superhero could beat him in a race; whether it’s via natural powers (Thor), attained powers (Hulk), or tech-based powers (Iron Man). But compared to any human – and let’s face it, most of the people Cage has to outrun are lowly humans – Luke Cage is a speedy madman that can run faster than you can imagine.
Thanks to the muscles in Cage’s legs, Luke Cage is able to move faster than any mortal human. According to some comics Cage is able to move so fast that you can’t see him, while other comics have said that he runs just over 30 miles per hour. Considering that the fastest man alive – Usain Bolt – has a top speed of 27.8 mph, and Bolt is essentially a superhero himself, it’s easy to see why Cage would be considered having superhuman speed, despite his relative slowness in the overall Marvel Universe.
1. Ability to Exert Himself for 24 Hours
While many of us probably already want to take a nap after exerting ourselves and reading this article for the last five minutes, Luke Cage would have no such problems; reading this article or fighting any number of world-domination-seeking masterminds. That’s because he doesn’t get tired, what with his body’s insane ability to exert itself non-stop for 24 hours without fatigue setting in.
This is a power we see in some of the best Marvel heroes, from Captain America to any number of X-Men Mutants, and it comes about thanks to Cage’s unique superhero composition. Since Cage is such a finely tuned specimen of cellular regeneration and strength, his muscles actually generate way less toxins than the average human when exhausted. This allows insane amounts of exertion, thus giving Cage superhuman stamina that all of us would kill to have… Just as long as we don’t have to get off the couch to get it.
Which of these powers were you most surprised to learn Luke Cage has? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!