The superhero genre is one I’ve found perfectly resistible in the past. Then Netflix came out with the darkly compelling Jessica Jones, and I was introduced to Luke Cage.
Swoon. After binge-watching Marvel’s Luke Cage from beginning to end, I was convinced Luke was the perfect contemporary alpha hero. Here are five reasons why:
Why call a tow truck for a flat tire when your boyfriend could just lift the car? And dangerous situations? Luke’s got you covered. He can stand between you and a bullet by, uh, standing between you and a bullet.
He loves strong women.
Whether it’s Misty Knight, Claire Temple or the kick-ass but complex Jessica Jones, the women around Luke have their own code and constantly challenge Luke. (The show passes the Bechdel Test too.) They’re in charge of their lives and don’t need Luke to save them – except maybe when the bullets fly. Then those superpowers come in mighty handy, see above.
Who can resist a hero who reads anything from Ralph Ellison and Malcom Gladwell to Walter Mosley and Dennis Lehane?
He’s committed to social justice.
Luke is proud of his roots and dedicated to his community. He’s the best kind of hero, with too much integrity to take on the role willingly, but the courage to stand up for those who need his protection.
He can be kind of nerdy.
In the midst of violence and corruption, Luke maintains an idealistic sweetness that is very endearing. He values compassion and authenticity. Speaking as an editor, I love how this quality adds humour and nuance to Luke’s alpha hero persona.
Oh, and as an added bonus, Mike Colter just happens to make a bald head and goatee look super cool and sexy.
I never expected to find the ideal romantic hero in a superhero television show. But heroes can show up where you least expect them to. Have you ever found inspiration for your hero in a surprising place? Let us know in the comments!