Luke Cage Vs. Dr. Doom! And the Silliest Scene in the Marvel Age!

LC9coverThe story that never had to happen!

“Hero for Hire” scribe Steve Englehart decided he wanted to steer street hero Luke Cage’s adventures, just for a moment, into the mainstream Marvel Universe.

And what better way than by pitting him against the Big Baddie of the MU – Dr. Doom!

It could be an epic showdown for the ages.

Or something we’ll laugh about for a good long time.

Probably the latter.

Luke Cage: Debt Collector does not have much of a ring to it.
“Luke Cage: Debt Collector” does not have much of a ring to it.

In “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire” No. 9, cover date May 1973, “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” Luke storms all the way from the hardscrabble streets of New York to the tops of Castle Doom in Latveria (courtesy of a skycraft borrowed from the Fantastic Four) – all in search of the $200 Luke believes Doom owes him.

In the previous issue, Doom, through a middle-man, had hired Luke to take care of some rogue robots roaming the Big Apple.

That $200 is about $1,105 in today’s money. You can understand why Luke might be peeved. Nobody stiffs Luke Cage!

After fighting his way across the enslaved nation – and somehow becoming part of a robot rebellion with the alien known as the Faceless One – Luke finally confronts Doom.

This is it! The ultimate despot of the Marvel Universe vs. the 300-pound ex-con with steel skin. And Luke demands:

“Where’s my money, honey?”

Umm, what now?

Reed never calls Doom "honey."
Betcha Reed never calls Doom “honey.” Maybe that is why they fight so much.

Never has a moment gone so goofy so fast.

Maybe Englehart thought the quip was urban. Or cute. Or both. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the Marvel Universe, from Spider-Man to the Impossible Man, ever being quite so flip with Doom.

And how does Doom react to this overly familiar manner of debt collection?

Doom is no honey.
Sure, Doom says no, but his blue eyes say yes, yes.


The two brawl, because it’s a Marvel Comic in the ’70s, and a fight has to break out every two pages, and man, do I miss ’70s comics.

When the Faceless One attacks, Luke turns and helps Doom repel the assault, winning his respect – and his money.

Call a guy "honey" just once and he thinks he can put his hands all over you.
Call a guy “honey” just once and he thinks he can put his hands all over you.

Luke Cage is satisfied.

Never mind the cost of the fuel he burned up in the FF’s flier while crossing continents at top speed. Hey, that’s Reed Richards’ problem.

You can find this epic tale in the Marvel Comics app or in “Marvel Masterworks: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire Volume One”.

Luke? He wasn’t done calling villains “honey.”

In the very next issue “Hero for Hire,” No. 10, cover date June 1973, Luke faced off against the electro-shock villain Senor Muerte.

Sweet Christmas! How many honeys can one man have?
Sweet Christmas! How many honeys can one man have?

Those streets sure were a lot meaner back in the ’70s.

7 thoughts on “Luke Cage Vs. Dr. Doom! And the Silliest Scene in the Marvel Age!

  1. Pingback: Because You Demanded It! The Sequel to the Silliest Scene in the Marvel Age! – Far from Rome

  2. This two-parter is my favorite Luke Cage story, because most of the time Cage never actually got paid, anyway, so taking that fragile “Hero For Hire” premise to the absurd extreme of being stiffed by Doctor Doom was priceless! Cage going to the Baxter Building and persuading Reed Richards to lend him the Fantasticar which was pre-programmed to take him to Latveria: hilarious! Cage returning the Fantasticar unharmed and refusing to tell The Thing what happened is the most Blaxploitation this comic ever got 😀


    1. Yeah, the Hero for Hire premise just didn’t work. It took Marvel a couple years to come up with “Power Man” and even that didn’t stick so well. But the ’70s run of Luke Cage has many pleasures to offer.


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