Writer: Genndy Tartakovsky
Penciler: Genndy Tartakovsky
Colorist: Scott Wills
Inker: Stephen DeStefano
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: October 5, 2016
Plot: Cage returns to the simpler times of Luke Cage during the 1970’s and focuses on the character’s less complicated time as a solo hero.
Story: Upon hearing that this book was going to be handled by Genndy Tartakovsky, it made Cage all the more exciting. Not only was the story going to be focused on the original Luke Cage character from the 1970’s, it was going to be written and drawn by the creator of Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory. The book quickly jumps into a similar style to the creator’s previous work with its look, feel and writing by giving off a very traditional comic or cartoon foundation. Tartakovsky immediately seems to be having fun with the writing in Cage and is not afraid to have the book be loud and in your face without abandoning the character’s personality and morals.
The story opens in a very traditional manner with Luke catching some bank robbers, but right as he’s about to flee the scene to avoid the police, some kids recognize him. This is what Luke Cage is all about as a character, promoting a positive environment for kids to grow up with in rough neighborhoods. Rather than immediately cover his own skin, the character realizes it’s a chance to connect with those who look up to him and be a positive role model. Despite the cartoony nature to Cage, it doesn’t overlook what the character stands for and how to depict his intentions.
At this point, Luke Cage isn’t a character who needs a complete retelling of his origin, and it’s nice that the book sheds a little light onto the origin story without wasting time physically showing it in the premiere issue. Cage wants to get right to the point and showcase how great of an individual character Luke is. The story begins to focus on the long-term set up by introducing readers to the mystery that has all of the heroes disappearing, leaving the police spread thin to deal with all of the city’s crime.
It’s a fun idea to play with, that Luke is left on his own with no outside help (except maybe Misty Knight if she hasn’t disappeared as well) and has to use his brain and private detective skills to figure out what exactly is going on. Tartakovsky’s writing is really solid within this first issue and shows that he knows how to balance his playfulness with important story aspects. The style in Cage immediately echoes his previous work with Cartoon Network and seems like a great fit for this character, the setting and the book’s overall tone.
Art: The collective art team on Cage is fantastic already and that, once again, begins with Tartakovsky. His drawing style is very unique and looks different than the majority of other comics hitting the market. Tartakovsky likes to be bold with both his writing and drawing, which is artistically clear in Cage #1. Tartakovsky implements a lot of classic comic and cartoon influences right off the bat with large bold action words during fight sequences, that are a lot of fun to look at while reading.
Cage is a very fluid read and a lot of the credit for that should go to the art team and their design for the panels. Not only does the book do a great job of bringing the action sequences to life in a fun way, but the color and inking are perfect as well. The book’s coloring focuses a lot on warm tones that work around yellow as the primary color. There are a ton of beautifully colored scenes with deep red and orange tones that really pop with the drawing style in Cage. Wills and DeStefano do a great job of adapting to Tartakovsky’s overall style and making sure they compliment it and only add to it.
The art style in Cage doesn’t try to overdo anything and all of the artists seem to know exactly what type of a style is imagined for the book. The scenes all flow very nicely and make the book easy to read wile also being aesthetically pleasing. It’s nice to have Tartakovsky handling the drawing and design but Wills and DeStefano bring Cage to life with their color choices and ability to give panels a full, completed look.
Verdict: Cage #1 is an extremely fun read that looks like it will develop into a well-rounded story. The first issue provides a great feel of mystery, action and fun that make things very enjoyable. Having Tartakovsky handle this book seems like the perfect fit and the art team of Wills and DeStefano knows just what style and tone to incorporate through their coloring and inking.