In 1941, Captain America was introduced to the world. He was the Sentinel of Liberty. A character created to represent the best of America. During a time where racism and sexism were things that weren’t considered issues to the common person, Steve Rogers was a character who was above that. Steve Rogers, the son of two immigrant parents, was always a person who fought for equality. As Rogers evolved, so did the things he represented. Rogers understood that things aren’t so black and white. People deserve second chances and some laws are just wrong (see 2006-2007’s Marvel Comics Civil War) are just a couple of things that Rogers had to come to terms with. Despite how great Steve Rogers is, it’s time for him to pass the mantle of Captain America to someone else.
For those of you who haven’t gotten so angry that you’ve stopped reading, allow me to explain. Steve Rogers is always going to be a symbol of right and he doesn’t need a painted shield to say otherwise. Marvel Comics needs a Captain America. Someone who represents the ideals of America. Let me rephrase, the ideals America is SUPPOSED to represent. Equality, acceptance, and starting from nothing, working hard and getting everything you wanted. Maybe it’s finally time to make Luke Cage the new Captain America
Let me start by pointing out that there is little to no difference between their ideals. They both have the same policy on killing, they both fought against the U.S. Government during Civil War (Luke kept fighting after Rogers surrendered), and they are both leaders without asking for the title. People just gravitate to them.
If they’re so close, then why should Luke Cage be the next Captain America? First, Cage isn’t as judgmental as Rogers. Cage has always judged people by their actions and what they were trying to be. Rogers wasn’t always as accepting as he is now. Let’s take his relationship with Wolverine. Despite Logan trying to be a better man, it took Rogers years and a push from Tony Stark to accept Logan into the Avengers. All Steve Rogers saw was a killer. Even though Bucky was brainwashed and forced to kill like Wolverine was, Rogers always held a grudge. He still does at times.
Cage knows that everyone deserves a second chance because he remembers a time when he needed one. Cage accepted who Logan was from day one and trusted him wholeheartedly. It was Logan that helped Cage make his decision to go against the Superhero Registration Act. Cage respects people’s opinions. Even if he doesn’t, he will at least listen. For all of Steve Rogers’ great deeds, he’s incredibly stubborn.
From nothing to something: The American Dream
The Luke Cage we see in the Netflix series didn’t have the same background as the one in the comics. Carl Lucas was a thug (literally. Not how Phil Jackson uses the term). After being sent to jail for planted drugs by his “friend”, Lucas goes to prison. After being experimented on and escaping, Lucas becomes Luke Cage and decides that it’s time to turn his life around. Luke became a hero, member of the Fantastic Four, leader of the Avengers, and more importantly a father, husband, and pillar in the community. But it’s not just black people that look up to him, the world knows how tough he is.
People don’t forget that when the Avengers were in space or other dimensions, Cage always made sure the people on the ground were safe. That was one of the caveats he had when he joined the Avengers. He wanted to make sure the regular person felt safe. When Thanos’ goons tried to destroy Earth and said there was no Avengers, Cage stood tall and said, “Take a good look. We’re the Avengers.” Cage knows that being an Avenger is more than just the fancy mansion and Quinjets. It’s about being a hero when there’s no one else to step up and Luke always steps up.
This isn’t to take away from what Steve Rogers has done as Captain America or the fact that he is a great character. But his values and the person he is doesn’t fit anymore. We live in a world where black people, women, and anyone that doesn’t fit the mold is looked down upon and treated unfairly. Cage can and does represent all of the oppression and how to take it all, fight back, and never give up. I’m not saying put Cage in a costume (I doubt he’d do it anyway), but I think it’s far past the time to make him the new Captain America. Plus, he’s a strong, well-spoken, bulletproof black man, in America. It’s the perfect image for the world to see.