Frankie Corello has gone mad and killed his father. Now, in Luke Cage #3, he's turned his sights on Luke Cage and Warhawk.
Even if Luke can survive the fight, there are a lot of things he still needs to figure out about the mystery of Dr. Noah Burstein's alleged suicide, and a lot of things aren't adding up — especially things he's heard from Dr. Mornay.
There is a fair bit more action in Luke Cage #3 than in previous issues. Luke Cage has thus far run more like a detective story than a traditional superhero story. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, of course, and it's been a damn solid detective story. It's also nice seeing Luke's pensive and analytical side being put on display. That being said, he's also a guy with unbreakable skin and super strength, and he has a lot of anger buried deep down at the core of his character. It's pretty cathartic watching those things get let loose once in a while.
However, that isn't what David F. Walker wants to be the driving force of this story, and I can respect that.
This issue starts cutting more to the questionable side of what Burstein has been doing. Warhawk is shown in a more sympathetic light, and we get a brief flashback with the two characters. Burstein holds himself responsible for what has happened with Warhawk, and Tanner himself starts showing remorse for the things he's done.
However, what happens in the present shows there are some things that Tanner can't let go of, and he is a violent person whether he is aware of it or not.
There is this weird thing going on in the first few pages where Luke's thought captions are kind of confusing and loosely connected. I think it was attempting to riff on the metaphorical language of noir stories, but doesn't really work that well, and it's more baffling than anything.
Like I said, there is a bit more action in this issue, and it's great seeing Luke Cage cut loose on some bad people. You know that he's going to have to turn some of this on Warhawk eventually, and it's a bit of a shame. Tanner is an unstable person, and he can't help it. However, he is also a violent criminal with blood on his hands. The bond that he and Luke are forming and the fact that they share a similar origin makes it a little heartbreaking. Warhawk is actually a fairly likeable character too, which makes it all the more painful.
Nelson Blake II's art continues to give me mixed feelings. It looks good, with deliberate, clean lines and expressive faces, but it's still so stark. It's a little too simplistic for the story the comic is telling. However, he can show cause and effect really clearly, and he can show expression and body language. The bright color work of Marcio Menyz does bolster the aesthetics a good bit. Overall, it's a pretty book, but it's less visually interesting in its artistic style.
I will gleefully recommend Luke Cage #3, though. Luke Cage is one of Marvel's greatest heroes. The comic does tell an interesting story, and the art is good, even if it's not fitting. I want to see more tight and character-focused comics like this, even if this one feels like it still needs refinement. Give it a read.