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That Time Luke Cage Punched Through Iron Man’s Armor

by  in Comics, Comic News Comment
That Time Luke Cage Punched Through Iron Man’s Armor

In “The Wrong Side,” I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

Today, based on a suggestion by reader John R. (who more generally complained about characters in general “jobbing” to Luke Cage in early issues of “Hero for Hire” and “Power Man”) we look at the surprising success that Luke Cage had when he fought Iron Man for the first time in “Power Man” #17 (by Len Wein, George Tuska and Billy Graham).

As always, first we spotlight their power levels and then examine the fight itself.

And as always, the first question we need to ask to determine their power level is…

How did these people do when they fought Spider-Man?

Iron Man, as you all well know, is a very famous and powerful superhero. He is so powerful that in “Iron Man” (Vol.4) #14 (by Daniel and Charles Knauf, Patrick Zircher and Scott Hanna), during Civil War, he even DEFEATED SPIDER-MAN!

Don’t worry, things were brought back to normal in “Amazing Spider-Man” #544 (by J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Quesada and Danny Miki), when Spidey takes out Iron Man…

But whatever, the key thing is that Iron Man is a strong guy. And his armor is quite strong.

Luke Cage first fought Spider-Man in “Amazing Spider-Man” #123 (by Gerry Conway, Gil Kane and John Romita) and while Cage puts up an admirable effort, he is just out-classed…

They fight later on, and the same thing happens until Spider-Man convinces Cage to listen to him and trust that Spidey is no murderer (it’s kind of funny, Spider-Man clearly is outclassing Cage, but the whole point of Cage’s appearance is to help promote his new title, so Conway has Spider-Man throw in a “we’re too evenly matched for either of us to ever truly win”…uh, no, Spidey, you kicking his ass all over the place makes it pretty clear that you WOULD eventually win)…

So this takes us to “Power Man” #17, where Luke Cage has been tricked into breaking into Tony Stark’s headquarters as part of when he believes to be a security test (I swear, every other issue of Luke Cage’s comic was him being hired by someone for a secretly evil reason – that guy needs to screen his clients a bit better). So this, naturally, brings him into conflict with Iron Man…

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I actually don’t mind the basic idea of the stalemate here, as sure, I can buy that Luke Cage’s skin is strong enough to withstand Iron Man’s repulsors. Although, do note that just a few issues later, Luke Cage is knocked out by the combined might of…sigh…Discus and Stiletto…

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So it does seem a BIT strange that Iron Man can’t knock him out, especially as we saw how well Spider-Man was doing against Cage and Iron Man and Spidey are roughly in the same strength class.

The bigger issue, though, is Cage’s ability to punch through Iron Man’s chestplate. Similar to the Luke Cage/Doctor Doom fight, that seems to be a bit out of Cage’s weight class. Just a bit.

Honestly, in general, I think that Wein did a good job of propping Luke up without making Iron Man look too bad. But I think John is fair enough in pointing out the chestplate issue, so I figured I’d feature it.

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments (as if I had to let you know to tell me if you disagree)!

Thanks for the suggestion, John R. Everyone else, feel free to send in suggestions for future installments to brianc@cbr.com or bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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