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Max Comics: Cage

“Max Comics: Cage”

Cage. Original Art Plate

22+22+22+22+22 (series) pgs. Appeared first time [COLOR] in Max Comics: Cage #1 to #5 (2002). Reprinted [COLOR] in Max Comics: Cage [HB] (2002).
Story: Brian Azzarello. Color: José Villarrubia. Art: Richard Corben (no signature). Lettering: printed (Marvel/IS & Comicraft’s Wes Abbott).

Brazil [BRA]: as “Cage [BRA]” in Marvel [BRA] Max #1 (2002) to #5 (2003).
Finland [FIN]: as “Cage [FIN]” in Cage [FIN] (2017).
France [FRA]: as “Mafia Blues”, as one in Mafia Blues (2003), and as “Cage [FRA]”, in Banner/Cage/Ghost Rider/Punisher (2019).
Germany [GER]: as “Cage [GER]”, as one in 100% Marvel [GER) #1: Cage [GER] (2009), Luke Cage: “Ein Mann räumt auf”, as one in Luke Cage: Ein Mann räumt auf (2016).
Italy [ITA]: as “Cage [ITA]”, as one in Cage [ITA] vol 1 (2003).
Spain [SPA]: as “Max: Cage [SPA]”, as one in Max: Cage [SPA] (2002).

Style: Black line with colors. Genre: Super Hero/Crime. Time Span: Present Day. Nudity: Full frontal.
Original Art Plate: Drawn in Sharpie pens and Pigma pens on 11″ x 17″ Strathmore paper [Corben’s web site]. 27,6 x 43 cm [Source: Angoulême, 2019].
Background for the Marvel character: Cage is a Marvel hero who debuted some 30 years ago as “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire” Marvel’s first African-American hero to star in his own comic. He later became Power Man, a more traditional super-hero, but the original concept was an urban variation on hard-boiled detective noir: an ex-con mercenary who sells his services to the highest bidder, but has a conscience under his steel-hard exterior. Literally steel-hard, in Cage’s case, because a botched prison experiment has left him with bulletproof skin. Azzarello and Corben’s redition of a character is back to his roots.
Keywords: Contract killer. Neighbourhood. Gangs. Girls. Bars. Guns. War. Money. Cops. Mayor. Fist fighting. Coolness. Bulletproof.
Synopsis: Ex-con and contract killer Cage will be hired by a sorrowing mother of accidentally killed young girl. Research leads Cage into more paying waters: a killer neighbourhood is run by Clifto, a leader of youngster ballers, Tombstone Lincoln, a Harlem businessman, and Hammer, an Italian money washer. Cage will be involved with all of them, and his appearing will also mix the harmony of three. And when the Mayor puts his nose down to hood, the war is loose.
Comment: Cage is an old Marvel character from who Nicholas “Con-Air” Cage stole his athletic pseudonym. Disparate from Brian Azzarello’s two other stories, “Banner” and “Hard Time”, this one has a lot of leg work. Cage is walking around and making a lot of talk, but actually not much happenes during story. In the beginning he is an observer, and as soon as he has got relationship with all tree, the action starts. During the story he has got flashbacks from his past, which ultimate truth is revieled not until in the end. Pay atenttion, that in the front cover of Part #1, “Cage Knuckle-Duster”, the two sparkles form a fench in front of Cage. That means he is both a con vict and a guy from the street. Artwork is creative from the start to the end. Cage is muscular and attracts women, this time a Korean bartender Dixie. Story has got an exceptionally beautiful color work by José Villarrubia (dirty/sandy backgrounds and beautiful mirror reflections). But like all Azzarello’s stories the end sucks! – Well, after reading more about the backgrounds of the character (Luke) Cage, it makes the ending a bit better, but still not excellent.
Connections: In an interview Rapid Fire with Brian Azarello by Tom Waters (Dec. 1, 2006) Brian said, “I just basically did Red Harvest [by Dashiel Hammett]”. Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) was said to be inspired by the book, Sergio Leone’s Per un pugno di dollari aka A Fistfull of Dollars (1964), and Walter Hill’s Last Man Standing (1996) have been based on Yojimbo. All the above connects to “Cage” by Brian Azarello.
Extra: Because of the Marvel policy, José Villarrubia was foreced to remove the manhood of Cage on page 8 of part 3 in the final comic story. José said, it was a common prosedure in Marvel; they would not print it otherwise. The deed was accepted by Mr. Corben.
Special: All cover arts describe Cage character brilliantly: violence, bulletproof, broad, con vict, and coolness. Cage’s smile with a reveal of golden teeth in last issue resambles his occupation of big, big money. Though in reality he’s got only one golden tooth. Pict is “taken” from the same Part (pg 3), where Dixie asks from beaten Cage, “How you feelin’?“. Cage replies, “Like I look.“That bad?”, Dixie asks, and Cage smiles to mirror, “Baby… I always look bad.”

Cage, Part 1, 22 pgs
Cage, Part 2, 22 pgs
Cage, Part 3, 22 pgs
Cage, Part 4, 22 pgs
Cage, Part 5, 22 pgs

Copyright © 2003 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: June 6, 2003. Last updated: April 12, 2020 at 11:58 am

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