The first issue of the new Power Man title, CAGE!, set the tone for the series with a retro style and street-tinged artwork that made it a wonderful debut. How about the CAGE! #2? Let’s take a look.
WRITER/ARTIST: GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY
I’m going to get this out of the way right up top: the second issue of CAGE! is story light. VERY LIGHT!
Normally this would be a deal breaker for me, but the visuals on this title are so captivating that I didn’t mind at all.
NOBODY CAGES CAGE
The second page of the issue is a double gatefold of Luke Cage breaking free of a wooden box. Not sure who thought that was going to hold him, but I digress.
Power Man then makes like CCR and runs through the jungle with a pair of rejects from Dr. Moreau’s island on his trail. He gets gassed by some kind of tropical plant and before you can say “OZ,” 8 pages of truly bizarre splash pages that hearken back to the concert posters of the 1960s and the work of Robert Crumb.
These pages are truly spectacular and totally in sync with Tartakovsky’s vision for the book. The throwback aesthetic is on full display here and is a welcome change of pace. I enjoyed Luke Cage on Netflix as much as the next guy, but the hip hop update of Power Man loses some of the inherent silliness of the character’s blaxploitation roots. Tartakovsky has a firm grasp on those roots and even their antecedents and he’s riding them hard in what is fast becoming a required pull for me.
After two issues, I have no idea where this title is going, but so far I’m firmly enjoying the ride. Give CAGE! a look the next time you’re at your comic shop. You won’t be disappointed.