Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Luke Cage & Iron Fist Fantasy Series: Year 2
Well, the first part of my fantasy summaries (link: http://ljaconesbunker.blogspot.com/2008/06/luke-cage-iron-fist-fantasy-series.html) seemed to be pretty popular with everyone here, so I am unfurling the second year of the series for your perusal. This bacth contains my favorite story of the bunch (#17-18), and builds to a climax of all the main plots of the first two years in #25. Frank commented that he liked the street-level approach to the series; the third and fourth year would have introduced more fantasy elements as the focus shifted slightly over to Iron Fist and K'un L'un, as a sort of balance. But, for good or ill, here is the second year of the existing-only-in-my-mind Luke Cage & Iron Fist series. Enjoy!
#13 "It's Just A Game" -- Hired to protect the controversial and outspoken football player Londell "Bad Boy" Jonas, Danny and Luke are forced to put up with the prima dona and his rodent-like agent. But even as Jonas gets the job done on the field, Luke becomes more and more impatient with his racial rhetoric, as "Bad Boy" sprouts epithets against anyone in sight. The climactic confrontation between Luke and Londell doesn't come to blows, but is a knock down, drag out fight nonetheless.
#14 "New York Underground" -- Lt. Scarfe contacts Luke and Danny asking them for help with a case he is working on involving several mangled, mutilated bodies of underground-dwelling homeless. Scarfe and the police think it is a crazed killer, but when the boys venture into the tunnels under the city, they find something quite different: A hideous, carniviorous, subterannean beast with an appetite for human blood!
#15 "West Coast Heroes For Hire pt.1: La-La-Land" -- Brought out to LA to meet with entrapanuer Grant Nettles, the boys meet with the eccentric billionaire and learn his plan -- he wants to "franchise" the Heroes For Hire brand and put locations all over the country! Danny is shocked, but Luke immediately goes into business mode, talking about licensing fees and intellectual property copyright. The negotiations are cut short, though, when the Wrecking Crew make their presence known!
#16 "West Coast Heroes For Hire pt.2: Down In The Valley" -- The LA Freeway is brought to a halt as Luke Cage and Iron Fist brawl with The Wrecker, Thunderball, Piledriver, and Bulldozer! Businessman Grant Nettles looks on with glee as the 6 men pummel one another during the middle of rush hour and right in time for the news stations to pick up live footage! What is his connection to the Crew? And what of his franchise idea?
#17 "Vice City pt.1" -- Luke and Jessica are caught in the middle of a drive-by on the streets of Harlem, and only Luke's quick thinking -- and thick skin -- keeps his lady from harm. Pissed off beyond belief, Luke begins to investigate into the shooting, and they find a twisting path of heroin, corruption, and sex, all leading to the man known as... Piranha Jones?! And where the Pirhana is, you know the Cockroach soon follows!
#18 "Vice City pt.2" -- Now facing down Piranha Jones, Cockroach Hamilton, and the barrels of "Josh," Luke and Danny learn that Jones runs all vice in Harlem -- and has been for years, right under Luke's nose. Further, they learn that Jones isn't the top of the food chain -- Power Master is! The fight spills from the tenements of Harlem down into the sewers, as its Cage's strength and Iron Fist's skill against Jones's steel teeth and Hamilton's now even more lethal Josh!
#19 "Interview With The Living Weapon" -- Jessica convinces Danny to do an interview with a new reporter from The Bugle, after ensuring him that she will only toss him softballs. Turns out Jessica is more correct than she realizes, as the young reporter, Jeanie Akers, has a bit of a crush on the handsome martial artist. While Luke complains that he would make a much better interview, Danny takes the girl to dinner to conduct the interview. It's all going swimmingly at the posh penthouse establishment, until dinner is interrupted by the might... the menace... the muscle of... Stilt-Man?!
#20 "A Double Dose of Iron pt.1" -- After the boys were unable to apprehend The Ghost last year, he has begun to make trouble again -- this time at a subsidiary of Stark International! Taking the gig partly for the money, and partly for revenge, Cage and Iron Fist search high and low for the mysterious corporate saboteur. Just as they are about to give up, having found nothing even close to a lead, who should pop up to help by Iron Man!
#21 "A Double Dose of Iron pt.2" -- Now working with Iron Man, Cage and Iron Fist track down the physical hideout of The Ghost while Shellhead works on protecting the Stark facility from further harm. When the Heroes for Hire surprise The Ghost, though, they are in for the fight of their lives, as he can not only negate the effectiveness of Danny's attacks, but reach right through Luke's skin! Can the boys hold out long enough for Shellhead to make the assist?
#22 "The Calm Before the Flood" -- With no cases on docket, Luke and Danny each take a day off to relax and unwind. Luke spends the day with Jessica, and Danny spends the day in meditation and training. Unknown to the Heroes for Hire, Power Master is also taking the day off -- getting a massage and making last minute preparations for next week's "big day." Caesar makes good of some free time as well, honing his skills and swearing that he will kill both Luke Cage and Iron Fist!
#23 "Gang War pt.1: The Rising Tide" -- The heads of the Maggia families are meeting in New York, and Power Master is not about to let this opportunity slip past him. He assembles an army of both powered and non-powered thugs -- including Caesar, Piranha Jones, Cockroach Hamilton, Hardcore, Wreckage, Stiletto, Discuss, Scimitar, and the Steel Serpent -- and sends them to "retire" the Maggia bosses -- so he can step in and take control! But, the Maggia are not so easily brushed aside, and have assembled their -own- forces to defend their interests, including Blizzard, Whirlwind, Shocker, Mr. Hyde, the Unicorn, Crossbones, Tombstone, the Rhino, and Hammerhead! Its all out war on the streets of Manhattan, and with the Avengers gone and the FF missing, its up to the Heroes For Hire!
#24 "Gang War pt.2: Never Tell Me The Odds!" -- On one side, Power Master's army is bearing down, while on the other, the Maggia's forces are standing their ground. And who's in the middle but the Heroes For Hire, outmanned and outgunned. Its a desperate fight, but in the end, Cage and Iron Fist have to retreat lest they become casualties of the Gang War. But all is not lost, as some phonecalls are made and REINFORCEMENTS are called in!
#25 "Gang War pt.3: Back In Business!" -- Double Sized Issue. With the Gang War raging out of control, Luke Cage and Iron Fist call in some backup -- in the form of Hercules, Black Knight, Sersi, and She-Hulk! The HEROES FOR HIRE are back! But can their combined might be enough to save Manhattan before Power Master and the Maggia destroy it all in their bids to run the Underworld? And what about Caesar, and his vow to kill Cage and Iron Fist? Its all out chaos on the streets as the three way battle roars to its conclusion. Plus: What will the fate of Power Master be?