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Carl Lucas was born and raised in Harlem, and in his youth, ran with gangs and committed minor criminal acts like theft with long-time friend Willis Stryker. When he met Reva Connors, though, he tried to turn his life around, only to have it instead turned upside-down when Stryker framed him for heroin possession. Sent to Seagate Prison, called Little Alcatraz, he tried simply to survive, until Dr. Noah Burstein. In exchange for a possible parole, Carl Lucas consented to be the test subject for Burstein's experiment; the chemical bath gave him extraordinary powers, and he emerged from prison Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.
Luke now serves on the New Avengers and balances life as a superhero with his life as a husband and father.