Awesome: Luke Cage: Hero for Hire

  • From issue #9 of Luke's first ongoing: Doctor Doom has left town to avoid paying Luke $200. Luke does what any self-respecting hero for hire would do in these circumstances: he breaks into the Baxter Building, punches the Thing, convinces Reed Richards to lend him a plane, flies to Latveria, gets caught up in a robot rebellion led by an alien, and beats up Doom until he gets his money, and helps quash the rebellion. Luke gets his $200 and Dr. Doom's respect. Moral of the story: do not welch on Luke Cage.
  • Shortly after Luke begins to use the name "Power Man" for business purposes, he's attacked by Erik Josten — occasional agent of the Red Skull and the Mandarin at the time, and the first one to bear the title — furious that he might be trying to co-opt the legacy of "the man who beat the Avengers".note  After fighting him to a stalemate in the evacuated Gem Theater, Cage discovers a young girl hiding and tries to get her to safety as Josten throws a steel bar at the two of them; when Luke yells that he nearly could've killed her, Josten scoffs and claims "that little twerp don't matter". Furious, Cage promptly no-sells a curtain rod used as a battering ram against his chest, beats Josten to a pulp, and delivers a final knockout punch so hard it sends Erik careening out the doors onto the sidewalk. And then, after all is said and done, he takes the kid out for ice cream. The narration says it best: Luke's more than earned his title.
    Luke: (Grabbing Josten by the lapel) Before you go to sleep, little buttercup, I've got a few heavy words to lay on you. In the future, you may wish to take up this line of work again. Now, you can call yourself Spider-Man... you can call yourself the Invisible Woman... you can stick a flag in your navel and call yourself "The Spirit of '76"... but if you ever call yourself Power Man again... I will tattoo that name on your ribcage! (Turning to the crowd) Will one of you fine folks repeat that to the gentleman in the orange-and-brown suit when he wakes up?
  • In New Avengers, back before One More Day, the Avengers are having a training session. Upon Spidey attacking Wolverine, getting stabbed by him and explaining to everyone that Wolverine has been hitting on MJ, Luke simply turns to Wolverine and says this:
    If what he says is true, I don't care what your bones are made of. They will break.