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Wednesday, August 09, 2006 

Luke Cage is a soldier of fortune or bounty hunter, but NOT a mercenary

I don't agree with everything the old Quarter Bin website has to say, and I must disagree with the following description they gave of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire:
Power Man ... came on the scene as a mercenary, as suggested in the title of his first book: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. This represented a considerable break with precedent and convention. Granted, high-mindedness never completely eluded Luke Cage. He kept slipping out of his mercantile mode and into crimefighting for its own sake, even in his earliest and most mercenary days. However, his circumstances and experiences inclined him to view per se benevolence as a secondary goal and a secondary means.
I don't agree with the assertion that Luke Cage is - or was - a mercenary, just because he often did crimefighting jobs for pay. A mercenary, to say the least, is someone who does criminal acts like assasinations for money, and rarely ever for good causes. Villains like Kraven the Hunter, Deathstroke, Bullseye, Cheshire, and possibly Lady Shiva Woosan, in her early depictions, are mercenaries, and have pulled crimes either out of criminal greed or for sheer sport. Luke Cage, by contrast, is what I would call a soldier of fortune or a bounty hunter, since, while he may have done some of his crimefighting for money, he did it all in good cause. And for a TV-based version of soldiers of fortune, look at The A-Team, surely the best example!

It's probably a good question and argument of if superheros, whether vigilantes or not, should do it for money, but as long as they're earning it in good cause, and not in bad like the supervillains are, that's a good thing.

Update: here's Wikipedia's own entry on all the terms used to describe mercenaries. But I think some of the best descriptions come from an old Collins English Dictionary I took out: venal; greedy.

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