For a teenager living in the Marvel Universe, the life of a superhero can seem like a glamorous one - powerful abilities, epic fights and the chance to feel good about yourself by doing some good. It's also a very complex one, especially for the heroes of New York City, and now that the costumed vigilante Daredevil has taken over the ninja assassin cult known as The Hand, things are even more complicated. The Hand is now the blind crimefighter's personal anti-crime army, headquartered in a massive ancient Japanese-style fortress called Shadowland, which looms over the Hell's Kitchen area. It's an area when Daredevil has decreed that no law or heroes may operate unless they pledge their allegiance to him and his organization.
In the "Shadowland: Power Man" miniseries by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Mahmud Asrar, a new teen hero decides to defy Daredevil's edict and take on both the Hand and a violent criminal gang. It's up to Luke Cage, Iron Fist and their ally Shang-Chi to steer this new hero off his destructive path before he gets himself killed. In this week's installment of THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS, our look at the major players of Marvel's Shadowland event through the eyes of the NYPD, Van Lente helps us shine the spotlight on Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the new teen Power Man by hooking us with the classified report of an unnamed police captain tasked with running undercover operations in Hell's Kitchen.
LUKE CAGE (AKA Carl Lucas)
Most of you know know Cage from his activities as a "Hero for Hire" or as a member of the Avengers, but what you may not know is, years ago, he was convicted for heroin possession and sent to Seagate Prison. He later escaped and it was determined that he had been framed. So, I'm not sure if his record has been completely purged, but last time I checked, escaping from prison is still a crime!
That was a while ago, though, so the statute of limitations may have run out and Steve Rogers seems to think he's okay. The guy has been an Avenger for awhile now.
Cage also has a connection to a case that one of my guys is working on. For those of you unfamiliar with the specifics of that operation, one of my men is attempting to infiltrate and gain intelligence on a street gang known as the Rivals. Cage used to run with them back in the day and they're still very active in the Shadowland area. A lot of walls in Hell's Kitchen and it's surrounding areas have been graffitied with Rivals' tags.
The identity of the Rivals leader is currently unknown, but several theories abound about who it is. Some even seem to think it may be Cage himself. I'm not sure what to make of that, but either way, if we brought this guy in for questioning, he could probably give us some useful information about the Rivals; information that could help keep some of my people alive.
I'll be discussing Cage's oldest friend and associate, Danny Rand, later on in this report. He's also been linked to former NYPD officer and detective Misty Knight and her former partner Colleen Wing. He 's also friendly with most of the current members of the Avengers.
Cage also has some criminal connections as well. I know at one time he was pretty tight with Daredevil, but who knows the state of that connection after what happened with Bullseye. Also, information from the Feds seems to indicate that Cage is in charge of the Thunderbolts program, which counts several unsavory characters among its ranks
We have file footage of him basically knocking over buildings and having howitzer shells bounce off his skin, so we're going to have to rate him as a high level threat. He's assumed to be powered and dangerous.
Word on the streets:
Several eyewitnesses have spotted Cage entering Shadowland, that big Japanese castle looking thing that Daredevil built. Sometimes in the company of Iron Fist and sometimes with a large group. We don't have confirmation yet if this is the Thunderbolts, the Avengers or a completely different third group. Evidence is inconclusive, but we're currently thinking it's the third
IRON FIST (AKA Daniel Rand)
As far as we can tell, Danny Rand is clean. He runs a martial arts dojo in Harlem called the School of Thunder, and like his friend Cage, he's also an Avenger. He's been seen with Cage and the aforementioned group of heroes both entering and leaving the Shadowland area. If we can bring this guy in and get him to talk, he should be able to help us get a line on what's going on with Daredevil.
Rand and Cage have been thick as thieves for a long time. Misty Knight is believed to be romantically involved with Rand, and at one time Rand and Colleen Wing were very close friends. We don't know the status of that relationship. Rand is also friends with several of his Avengers teammates, but his most powerful ally has got to be a shyster named Jeryn Hogarth.
Rand is a very dangerous martial artist, but also we have to look out for his lawyers! Even though he doesn't necessarily have a lot of personal involvement, he's still affiliated with the Rand Foundation, which I hear is run by a lawyer. Department brass is suggesting we approach him with extreme caution because you never know when these rich, blonde guys will sue you.
Word on the Streets:
Certain unsubstantiated rumors suggest that he is actively trying to locate the person who has adopted the Power Man identity. Certain C.I.s have reported that this new Power Man may even be one of his students at the aforementioned, School of Thunder, leaving Rand feeling responsible for this individual.
We don't have much on this character, but initial intel seems to suggest that the new Power Man isn't a man at all; he's a boy! Conflicting eyewitness reports have him as young as 14-15.
What we do know is that he has a website where his perspective clients can hire him as a "Hero For Hire." He's been spotted in what's been known as "Purgatory," which is the Northern Uptown portion of Shadowland where it abuts with the Upper West Side. He's been very active there in defeating the Rivals and the Hand alike. This has attracted the ire of both groups and one of my guys has been hearing that the Rivals' mysterious new leader is especially pissed off.
We're very much interested in figuring out who this kid is and what his deal is. It looks like his services go to the highest bidder, and in the pursuit of his "Hero for Hire" activities, he's definitely committed assault. He's sent a bunch drug dealers and pimps to local hospitals.
None that we know of yet, but I have one of my guys keeping an ear out for any info on people who can help lead us to this kid.
The kid is a one man urban renewal project. Eyewitness reports suggest that everything he punches explodes! So when you've got a kid who punches buildings and they fall down, or when he punches cars they explode, that's a bit of a problem! He's a danger to himself and any innocent bystanders. He could be another Stamford waiting to happen.
Word on the streets:
He's a loose cannon in Shadowland. He's aggravating the Hand. He's aggravating the criminals. He's aggravating the heroes who don't know who he is and want to figure that out. All these groups are after him.
A lot of this guy's background is classified. Turns out he was an MI-6 agent, and intelligence sharing between between our government and the Brits have pretty much locked us out of a lot of his file. We're trying to get that overturned, but I imagine there's going to be a lengthy court battle with the Feds over this one.
We don't have anything from his days as a British Agent, but recently Shang-Chi was a member of a Heroes for Hire style group run by Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. As I mentioned earlier in this report, Miss Knight has been romantically linked to Daniel Rand.
As far as we can tell, this guy has no powers and no lawyers! So I'm going to rate him below Iron Fist. Two things to keep in mind, though. His background with British Intelligence means he's not to be trifled with, and we known that in some circles he's known by the appellation, "Master of Kung Fu." We live in a city where there are 15,00 places that claim to be the master of things like pizza; Ray's Famous Pizza, Greatest Pizza in New York, etc., so sometimes it's difficult to gauge these things, but when it comes to "Master of Kung Fu,"you're probably safer taking this guy at his word.
Word on the streets:
Shang-Chi has been seen conferring with Daniel Rand and has assisted him in his duties at the School of Thunder dojo, so we've seen him in the company of both Rand and his associate Cage as well as that aforementioned large group of heroes that were spotted heading for the Shadowland Castle.