Unlike most superhero films and TV series where male characters are the dominant protagonists and villains, the ladies of Luke Cage are the real plot movers whose aims are either to save Harlem or reign over it.
Take Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), for example. Last season, she was the “innocent” and powerful politician hoping to initiate a new era of change in Harlem, until her cousin Cottonmouth thrust her into the turmoil of the city’s underbelly. In season two, Black Mariah has taken over Cottonmouth’s empire and is literally thinking of herself as Harlem’s Sovereign. “You don’t need to be bulletproof to be a superhero. Black women have always had superpowers; turning pain into progress. Harlem doesn’t need a hero, it needs a Queen,” she says in a trailer. But Luke isn’t all she has to worry about. The unstoppable Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) has his sights on her position.
Luke may be the ultimate boy scout savior of Harlem, but he’d be nowhere without Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and vice versa. She’s known for applying “foot to ass. And match[ing] lead for lead,” and putting murderers in handcuffs. Misty is determined to bring Mariah to justice, especially for the murder of innocent witness Candace Miller. And she has some mechanical muscle to help her out, a bionic arm, thanks to Rand Enterprises.
When I say Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) is a bad ass, believe me! Not only is she the nurse known for patching up and caring for other superheroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke, but she also was Luke’s ally when he went up against Cottonmouth and Diamondback. But what’s really most important is that Claire is the reason the aforementioned three even formed The Defenders, which ultimately brought down the Hand. She can fight too and is Luke’s No. 1 lady.
Detective Nandi Tyler (Antonique Smith) is new to the Marvel family because series creator Cheo Hodari Coker created her for Luke Cage season two. Nandi is most connected to Misty Knight because the two have known each other since high school, but they were far from friends. Their animosity still runs deep, especially since Nandi takes over Misty’s position after she loses her hand. Although, Nandi is a police officer, she could be crooked. It’s just very difficult to discern where her intentions lie.
Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis) is also a new character on the series, but one comic book fans will remember. She is a holistic doctor who seems to want to avoid the dangerous side of Harlem, but it always finds her. Of course, being Black Mariah’s daughter doesn’t help her situation.
Luke Cage season two will be released on Netflix on June 22nd.