Luke Cage is yet another testament to Marvel’s ability of creating great drama with their lesser-known heroes.

Luke Cage is another gritty look at the real world of the Marvel cinematic universe. Like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Luke Cage’s universe is much more grounded when compared to the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and the numerous other heroes who dominate the big screen. Although Cage already appeared in Jessica Jones’ series, you definitely don’t have to watch that show or be accustomed to the Marvel universe to appreciate the show or the characters.

The thing that intrigued me most about Luke Cage was the subject matter, an African American male who is bullet proof. A lot of the themes and messages in the show revolve around real-world situations that are  incredibly relevant in our lives today. It’s an interesting take on the issues relating to the African American community and how they’d coincide with a fictional superhero’s life.

Luke Cage is a man who was given power he did not want. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he moved to Harlem to lay low, avoiding the responsibilities that come with the abilities he’s given. The show gives a lot of nods to Luke Cage’s previous history as Power Man, which fans of the original comic should be very pleased with.

Like Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil, the setting of Harlem is vibrant with character. It’s awesome seeing how the real people of the Marvel universe react to events, tragedy and the heroes themselves. We often see the heroes on the big screen as superheroes, but when you look at characters like Luke Cage, Daredevil, Punisher and Jessica Jones, it’s easier to relate to them as gifted human beings.

While Mike Colter carries the show as Cage, Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey), the show’s villain, is where the show suffers most. When it comes to Marvel’s villains, they often come across as less compelling when compared to their DC counterparts. Unfortunately, Luke Cage’s villain is another fish in a sea of bland, uninteresting Marvel villains.

Diamondback is often more silly as opposed to being genuinely threatening. Where Marvel has always been on point developing their protagonists, they often fail at doing the same for our heroes’ counterparts. With a character like Luke Cage and subject matter that’s so relevant and important, it’s unfortunate that the villain does not do the series justice.

The show starts on a high note and holds it just up until the second half, where it really loses its grasp on the overall message due to a lot of the storyline relating to Diamondback. While the show does fall off a bit during the latter half, the show’s soundtrack remains incredibly awesome throughout, and it really compliments Luke Cage’s themes and setting. It’s also cool  that each episode is named after a song by Gang Starr.

Marvel’s Luke Cage sits comfortably among the ranks of Jessica Jones and Daredevil, although I liked those shows slightly better. It’s refreshing to see an African American hero in the spotlight and one that’s so relevant to the time that we live in. Luke Cage is definitely a treat for fans of Marvel and hardcore fans should feel at ease; the studio has once again done a lesser known character some justice.  As we get closer to Marvel’s Defenders series, it’s hard to contain my excitement to see all of these character’s stories intertwine with one another.