I was going to try and throw together an Iron Fist/Luke Cage “Heroes 4 Hire” deck on paper today when I discovered a problem: hardly any Luke Cage/Iron Fist supporting characters have appeared in the Vs. System!
Danny Rand and Luke Cage have been Marvel Comics staples for decades, yet only recently have they received any love from our favorite card game. At a time when Luke is running the Avengers* and Iron Fist is starring in a critically acclaimed solo title one would expect RnD to be tripping over themselves trying to incorporate more of the characters and their rich histories into the game.
However this is not the case, at least not yet. I want Iron Fist and Luke Cage legends! I want a proper Heroes 4 Hire team affiliation! I want Misty Knight!
Misty Knight is what happens when you make a good character out of a bad idea. You see, Marvel is quick to jump on the bandwagon for certain pop-culture trends, and it has launched literally dozens of characters in hopes of capitalizing on someone else’s good idea. Heck, according to Stan Lee himself the Fantastic Four were only created because his editor found out that DC was working on a team book. Oh Stan!
Anyway, in the 1970’s Marvel had received some degree of success from their new black hero, Luke Cage, Power Man. Luke Cage was created to cash-in on the popular ‘Blaxsploitation’ movement sweeping the nation. These were movies created specifically for the black audience, and often featured a negative portrayal of blacks as pimps, thugs and prostitutes.
Despite the controversey, Blaxsploitation turned out to be extremely profitable, and one of the most popular movies was called ‘Cleopatra Jones.’ Although I haven’t seen it myself, it’s the story of Cleopatra Jones, a smart and sassy secret agent taking down drug runners and lookin’ fine doing it!
Coincedence? I don’t think so!
So, never one to pass on a good idea, Marvel created Misty Knight in Marvel Team-Up #20. Not quite a secret agent, Misty is a former police officer who quit the force after losing her arm in a horiffic accident. Fortunately Tony Stark was kind enough to offer Misty a new cybernetic arm which granted her limited superhuman strength. Thus a superheroine for the 1970’s was born!
Unlike many Marvel heroines at the time, Misty was smart, sassy and independent. Although she often teamed up with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, she preferred working with her best friend, the kung-fu vixen Colleen Wing. At some point during this time the two were adopted by writer Chris Claremont, and guest-starred in dozens of stories throughout the 1970’s and early 80’s.
For someone with only limited super strength and an afro, Misty Knight got around a lot. She teamed-up with Spider-Man and the X-Men on various occasions, and even took in Jean Grey as a roommate when the redhead decided to stop being a superhero for all of five minutes. She also developed a romantic relationship with Iron Fist, which remains on-again off-again to this day.
The weirdest Misty Knight story is when she teams up with Namor to take down the Super Skrull. I remember reading this when I was a kid, and having absolutely no idea why Namor would team up with this woman from the Bronx. In hindsight, it makes even less sense now, but those were the 90’s! In that particular comic the Super Skrull was posing as Iron Fist, but I doubt that’s the kind of detail they’re going to bother bringing up during Secret Invasion…
More recently Misty Knight and Colleen Wing have reunited as the ‘Daughters of the Dragon,’ working as bailbondsman (women?) to track down rogue supervillains. Eventually Misty joined The Initiative and reformed the Heroes 4 Hire, putting her on opposite sides of the Registration Act from her boyfriend. Uh-oh!
The Heroes 4 Hire relaunch was pretty embarassing, but I still have a soft spot for Misty. It’s clear that she was only created to earn a few bucks for Marvel, but somewhere along the way she outgrew that and became her own character in her own right.
Here’s hoping that Misty remains a player in the Marvel Universe, and that we see her in the VS. System real soon. I know you guys at UDE are working on something with Spider-Man. Make her a Spider-Friend, please!*Unless Luke Cage is a Skrull, which seems entirely possible.