Sometimes even an average comic can hit on greatness. Marvel never really allocated their resources to Power Man and Iron Fist, even though writer Jim Owsley (who became Christopher Priest) and artist M.D. Bright went on to long, productive careers. And it took decades for Marvel to get the hang of writing Danny Rand and Luke Cage.
(Sidebar, Luke Cage should have appeared in a film by now, and Marvel was going to make an Iron Fist kung fu movie with Ray Park. Talk about missed opportunities.)
But ‘Getting Ugly’ is special.
‘Getting Ugly’ focuses exclusively on Luke Cage aka Power Man, one of the Heroes for Hire, who works for a commission most of the time. The story starts with a killer that is targeting black people pretty much randomly. (And that killer is called…high blood pressure! No, wait.)
Luke is getting pressure from all sides, although I wouldn’t take guff from a Billy Dee Williams ripoff. If only there was another hero to help him with this immensely powerful villain-
Great. The Falcon.
Oh God, the Falcon is so lame. It like they have a box of powers and once all the good ones are gone they split the leftovers between the black heroes. At some point, they were down to stupid costume and flight, and good hair and impeccable parallel parking, and that’s how the Falcon came to be.
If you were in a fight and needed backup you are literally better off with Squirrel Girl than with the Falcon. They capture the bad guy, but it takes a turn.
And Cage loses it. He’s been taking shots from everybody and they’re adding up. The military handles this indelicately, which is kind of a problem.
The headband and the yellow shirt were wack, and later comics made him much stronger, but there’s a reason he’s called Power Man. He bursts into the stockade and proceeds to stomp a mudhole into this guy and walk it dry.
So Cage knocks him out and then-
William Blake is black. He’s a self-hating black man, which means after the military gets done with him he got a job at Fox News.
As it turns out, punching a computer to make it work isn’t always the best thing to do. But Priest ends this story on a gorgeous last page.
I think Priest was around 21 when he wrote this. He was ahead the curve, I’d say.