Wednesday, July 5, 2017

LUKE CAGE Casts Bushmaster & Nightshade

Sweet Christmas!  Harlem has two new supervillains!

Marvel has announced that the Netflix series Luke Cage, based on the superhero, will feature two new characters in the show's second season of 13 episodes.  According to the press release, Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis will play John McIver and Tilda Johnson, better known as the Marvel Comics supervillains Bushmaster and Nightshade.

Shakir and Dennis will join returning cast members Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard, and Theo Rossi as Shades.

Shakir is probably best known as Victor on the HBO series The Night Of, and has appeared in episodes of Timeless, The Deuce, Quarry, Girfriends, House, and Shameless.

Dennis is probably best known as Pippy Rosewood on Fox series Rosewood and has appeared in episodes of The Game, Bones, Justified, Southland, and My Name is Earl.

"Mustafa’s incredible presence and power ignited us from our first meeting, and Gabrielle brings the charm and smarts to a very complicated role," remarked executive producer, Jeph Loeb.  "Both will be wonderful additions to our already magnificent cast."

"I can’t wait for audiences to see the compelling paces we put both Mustafa and Gabrielle through," said executive producer and showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker.  "From the moment you see each of them on screen, I feel they will be powerful additions to the world of Marvel and Harlem’s Luke Cage."

Created in 1997 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Bushmaster first appeared in Iron Fist (vol.1) #15 as John McIver, a powerful crime boss, criminal financier and organizer, and the brother of Quincy McIver.  As a teenager, John and Quincy grew up on an unidentified island in the Caribbean Sea.  Unlike Quincy, John was quick and savvy enough to stay out of trouble despite stealing from the local merchants.  Years later, John was in the employ of Herve Argosy, where he worked as his muscle man in his gun-extorting business.  John got Quincy in with Herve Argosy, but Quincy lost all four limbs on the first mission, which were chopped off by a motorboat propeller.  John visited Quincy in the hospital to mock his misfortune. John McIver then took on the name John Bushmaster and headed off to Europe to run some of Argosy's trade there.

Several years later, John Bushmaster managed to take over the European branch of the Maggia.  Bushmaster agreed to put a hit out on Iron Fist for a man named Shrieve, then sent his agents to capture Claire Temple and Noah Burstein. Bushmaster summoned Power Man to his mansion at Lake Michigan where he showed them the videos of the hostages and threatened to kill them if they didn't bring Misty Knight to him.  In exchange, Bushmaster offered to give them videotapes provided by Gadget that would prove his innocence for the crimes that Luke Cage was initially framed for.  At Seagate Prison, Bushmaster coerced Noah Burnstein into utilizing the "Power Man" process on him to an even greater extent that was used on Luke Cage.  Power Man, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing fought Bushmaster at Seagate, where Bushmaster proved to be more powerful than Luke Cage.  In the course of the battle, Power Man and Bushmaster pierced a chemical vat and were doused in chemicals which were then electrified by a torn power line.  Bushmaster was believed killed in the resulting explosion.

Bushmaster survived and his body continued to mutate, transforming into unliving metal. While he still could move, Bushmaster had his agents capture Noah Burnstein's wife Emma to force Noah to reverse the process.  His agents also captured Power Man and brought him to Seagate to be used as a guinea pig.  Virtually immobile, Bushmaster watched as Noah Burnstein began the process.  When Iron Fist arrived and shattered the tank to rescue Power Man, Bushmaster reached for a signal switch to order his men to kill Emma Burnstein, but as he did, his transformation accelerated and left him in an immobile inert steel form less than an inch from the switch.  His body then began to crumble leaving only a metal skeleton.

Created in 1973 by Steve Englehart and Alan Lee Weiss, Nightshade first appeared in Captain America (vol.1) #164 as Tilda Johnson, who was born into poverty in New York City.  At an early age, she discovered that she had a natural aptitude for science.  As a teenager, she used her extensive knowledge to begin a career as a criminal scientist.  The Yellow Claw helped her develop a method for turning normal humans into obedient werewolf-like creatures, and attempted to transform convicts into a werewolf army, but the pair were defeated by Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D.  She later took control of a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, and used pheromones to force Captain America to battle the Falcon, but was defeated.  She later turned Captain America into a werewolf known as "Cap Wolf" for a brief period of time.

Nightshade used robots to take over the Harlem protection rackets, but was defeated by Power Man and Iron Fist.  She later worked with the criminals Stiletto, Discus, Man Mountain Marko, and the Eel in an attempt to rob a debutante's ball, but they were defeated and captured by Power Man and Iron Fist.  She later sought to make the Hulk her pawn, but wound up fighting Power Man, Iron Fist, and Machine Man, and was imprisoned again.

Nightshade joined MODOK's 11, with the main objective of stealing the powerful Hypernova. It was revealed after her last battle against the Black Panther, she tried to start her life over without crime.  However, being self-taught and having no official degrees, the only medical job she could get was as a receptionist at a hospital.  After she pointed out a mistake by one of the doctors, she was fired immediately and contemplated suicide, until MODOK contacted her and hired her for the heist. She had "used up all my second chances" and could not afford to turn MODOK down.  She developed a friendship with her teammates Armadillo and Puma, and showed this by backing up Puma in saving the Living Laser's life (and secretly giving him his Puma powers back through her "werewolf serum").  The three of them were the only villains to remain loyal to MODOK and get their cash (with a bonus).

Tilda Johnson will also appear in the upcoming Black Panther movie, played by Nabiyah Be.

Luke Cage will return to Netflix for Season 2 sometime in 2018.

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