Wow, Power Man (Luke Cage, Power Man – full title) pretty much encapsulates the 70s more than any other issue in Project 475. In today’s terms, it could quite possibly be borderline blacksploitation in comic form. That said, since I wasn’t really “aware” in the 70s and can only look at things via what has come after, I can’t really say how Power Man was originally received. All I know is that Luke Cage is still roaming about the Marvel universe, and has been a part of several notable teams over the years.
Moving on, Power Man number 24 sees Luke stumble into essentially a love triangle.
Synopsis from the Marvel database:
While stopping to see a circus in California on their search for find Claire Temple, Luke Cage and D.W. Griffith witness as one of the trapeze artists is about to fall. Luke saves him, and it turns out to be one of the Great Gambonnos of the Circus of Crime. While wandering the circus grounds, Luke sees Claire and confronts her. She tells him that she is here to see her ex-husband. She explains that her ex is Bill Foster, who she meet, fell in love with, and married in university and that after their marriage Bill became involved with the Avengers, and eventually became the costumed super-hero known as Black Goliath.
At that moment, Black Goliath (who has been forced to be a member of the Circus of Crime) appears and attacks Luke in a fit of jealousy. Their fight is cut short however when both are immobilized by the Circus of Crime and put on the hypnotic spell of the Ringmaster.
Interesting 70s tidbit: There’s one scene where a reporter wants to interview Luke because he’s doing an article on Black Superheroes. Luke’s friend and co-worker attempts to defend Luke. Then there’s the whole speech/slang thing which, like I said earlier, may well border on what some could call racist in today’s society.
End thoughts: Much like the Daredevil issue, the story continues both before and after this issue. Stepping into Power Man for the first time, readers probably won’t be able to gleam much outside of the obvious love triangle.
Final Grade: B. I’ve recently become a fan of Power Man and his future partner Iron Fist. I enjoyed seeing Cage fight solo here, though there wasn’t much to the story.