Thanos may have willed away half of the universe’s sentient life at the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War, but things seem pretty hunky-dory in the Netflix corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, as hunky-dory as can be expected for a coterie of street brawlers who never run out of season-long villains to tackle. In the first trailer for the second season of Luke Cage, we meet one such dastardly do-badder, a man who goes by the name Bushmaster (The Deuce’s Mustafa Shakir). Like Luke, he can take a bullet — and, more important, he can dish out actual physically painful punishment to the nigh-indestructible hero of Harlem. In the comics, Bushmaster is a New York crime lord born in the Caribbean — and a promo image for Luke Cage implies that this version was specifically from Jamaica:
Other than seeing these mysterious powers and hearing that he’s tearing up a path of violence to get to Luke, we don’t learn a hell of a lot about this iteration of Bushmaster. In the comics, he actually first appeared in the pages of Iron Fist and was created by the legendary comics duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne in their pre-X-Men days. However, he went on to have significant beef with Luke and his Luke Cage co-stars Misty Knight (Simone Missick, here sporting Misty’s comics-classic bionic arm) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). His comics persona isn’t all that compelling, to be honest; he’s just a scheming gangster lowlife who goes mad over his avarice and thirst for revenge. But as demonstrated by the first season’s refurbishing of such hoary figures as Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard, who also returns in this trailer) and Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali, sadly absent and presumed to still be dead), don’t underestimate showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker’s ability to make you care about the also-rans of the printed page. P.S.: Shed a tear for Reg E. Cathey, appearing here to mentor Luke, but sadly gone since his death in February.