Review by: Deanna Chapman (@deeechap)
CAGE! #1 is the long-awaited Luke Cage series from Genndy Tartakovsky. It comes at a perfect time with Luke Cage being out on Netflix now. The comic gives us the classic looking Luke Cage with his blue jeans, yellow shirt and boots, and his steel accessories. “Dig it” is the catch phrase of the week, and it brings us to Luke of the 70’s.
Genndy Tartakovsky does an excellent job with taking you right back to the 70’s era. He has the slang and swagger down in the tone of his writing. It’s witty and fun, which is how the original Luke Cage comics are. There is one thing of note to mention, though, that is different: he doesn’t use quite as many words. In the older comics of the 60’s through the 80’s, there was a lot more narration and dialogue going on. In a lot of comics today, we get fewer words and allow the art to speak volumes. It’s a great mix of the old and new, and it pays off.
The art is straight up classic. Stephen DeStefano and Scott Wills make a great team for this style of comic. It’s a throwback and they do a great job of making Luke Cage come to life with his facial expressions and the action scenes. While it may be over-the-top at times, it works well for the vibe they’re going for. There’s a great page in the issue where Cage is fighting The Bank Rollers. There’s no dialogue, but there are nice, big block letters for the sound effects. VC’s Clayton Cowles is the man on letters and he tailors the lettering for each effect to fit the action.
It’s hard to have any complaints when a comic is truly a joy to read. There are multiple bad guys (and a gal) for Cage to tango with in this issue, but there’s still a deeper story at hand: Misty Knight, and all of the good guys, have gone missing. Cage is trying to figure out why and people just seem to keep getting in his way. The issue ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which will no doubt make you want to come back for more.
Verdict: Buy. After reading through a handful of issues of the older Luke Cage comics, this one was a pleasant surprise. It gives that throwback feel without being heavy on words. It was a blast to read and made me want to follow along issue to issue. If you already like Luke Cage, there’s no doubt that you should pick this up. And if you aren’t familiar with Luke Cage, this is a good place to start.