Every MCU comic-based TV show is full of references to Marvel’s long history of minor characters and interconnected plots. This season of Luke Cage follows suit with a barrage of new characters, places and concepts ripped from the pages of classic issues. Here are some of the things we noticed watching through Luke Cage Season 2:
Rivals – Shades meets with someone who greets him as a fellow Rivals. In the comics, The Rivals are a gang from Cage’s hometown of Harlem. Shades is one of its most notable members, along with many other Luke Cage villains.
Night Nurse Song – “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs plays in the background of Claire’s first scene. This alludes to Claire’s comic role as Night Nurse, the underground doctor for many superheroes.
Scarfe – In season one, Misty was partners with Detective Scarfe. Scarfe is also Misty’s colleague in the comics, but he never goes crooked until a storyline called Shadowland.
Luke Cage’s reading material – Luke is spotted reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. Coates, the current writer of Black Panther comics, is also an author who deals with the theme of race in America.
Comanche – We are introduced to Shades’ old friend Comanche. In the comics, they’re both part of the aforementioned Rivals. Comanche is Shades’ partner in crime. He fights with a bow and arrow, but in the show he’s more partial to guns.
Sweet Christmas! – Cage’s signature comic phrase started being used in an attempt to stop his daughter from hearing him curse. He uses it in place of curse words in the show as well, perhaps to avoid having to pay up to the Swear Jar.
Cockroach – Another small-time Power Man villain, “Cockroach” Hamilton doesn’t have any powers, just a weird antenna hat.
Bushmaster – This Season’s “big bad” is Bushmaster, one of Luke’s main foes. In the comics, he’s one of Europe’s biggest crime bosses. He fights Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Claire Temple, and Power Man, leading to his death and rebirth later.
Tilda’s Herbs –Mariah goes to meet her daughter, Tilda, who sells herbs in Harlem. In the comics, Mariah never had a daughter. Tilda is actually based on a villain named Nightshade, the same drug she sells to Bushmaster. In the comics though, her drugs aren’t steroids, they turn people into werewolves that she can control.
Colleen and Misty – An iconic duo, Wing and Knight have been paired together multiple times.
Foggy Nelson – Foggy, from the Netflix show Daredevil, serves as Luke’s defense lawyer in his assault case pressed by Cockroach. Foggy mentions the possibility of wearing a mask, like Daredevil.
Misty Knight’s arm – After Misty loses her arm in Defenders, fans were prepared for her to receive her comic trademark robot arm. In Season 2, she finally gets it, courtesy of Rand Enterprises.
Piranha Jones – Appearing as a stockbroker, Raymond “Piranha” Jones is also a small time Cage villain. He worked with Cockroach for a while, but he’s a bit more powerful in the comics, with his sharp teeth.
Raid Hoodie – Cage is “contract- bound” to wear the sweatshirt he wore during his first adventure in Season 1.
Hire a Hero? – WOW! That’s the thing from the comics! The Heroes for Hire concept actually originated with Luke Cage’s solo series titled Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. In 2010, Marvel debuted a new Heroes for Hire series. The book spins off from the aftermath of the Shadowland storyline.
Hammer Industries – Misty steals a Judas Bullet from the police case with the Hammer Industries logo on it. Hammer has existed in the cinematic universe since appearing as a villain in Iron Man 2.
Cage Under Water – After Bushmaster uses some weird powder to paralyze Luke, he kicks him into the ocean. Since Cage’s power is his unbreakable skin, he can be drowned. In fact, Piranha Jones tries to put him down the same way in the comics.
Cousin Johnsons – When Mariah and Tilda talk about Tilda’s childhood, Tilda says she was sent away to the Johnsons. Tilda Johnson is the name of the corresponding comic character’s secret identity.
Chimichangas –Deadpool would be proud.
“Make Room on the Door” – Reverend Lucas really can’t get over Jack’s death at the end of Titanic.
Black Mariah – It took a long time, but Mariah Dillard Stokes reveals in Episode 9 that her supervillain name was what bullies called her as a child.
Old Styles – D.W.’s merch includes a shirt bearing the logo from Power Man’s OG symbol, emblazoned on his iconic yellow, along with his trademark “Sweet Christmas!”
Power Man and Iron Fist – Definitely has a ring to it. Danny and Luke team up to beat down Bushmaster. When Luke Cage, Hero for Hire and then Luke Cage, Power Man were not selling Marvel published this featuring the superheroes Power Man and Iron Fist.
Big Ben – Ben Donovan, though not identical to his comic counterpart, still goes by the code name Big Ben, but he lacks the super strength that spawned the name.
Turk – Turk Barrett, one of the only two characters to appear in all four Netflix MCU shows, makes his usual appearance, having moved from weapon smuggling to running a small weed shop.
Chinese Restaurant – Luke and Danny go to a Chinese Restaurant to eat after their battle. This is the same restaurant that Luke saved in Season 1.
Bushmaster (The Drug) – After taking some Bushmaster, a bunch of people go rabid and start biting people. This might be a reference to Tilda’s comic powers, when she uses “Nightshade” to turn normal people into werewolves.
Tilda Johnson – With the death of Mariah, Tilda selects the name of her adopted family and comic book character, reflecting the villainous path she’s choosing.