Why Bushmaster is a Formidable Villain in ‘Luke Cage’ Season 2

Lauren Gallaway
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TV Streaming Netflix Marvel MCU

Bushmaster is quick on his feet and powerful enough to knock Luke Cage out! But who is this mystery man? Let’s take a look at Bushman’s powers in the comics and how the show adapted him for Luke Cage Season 2.

Bushmaster in the Comics

Bushmaster Luke Cage Season 2

Two versions of Bushmaster have appeared in Marvel Comics. The first version, John McIver will be appearing in Luke Cage Season 2. John McIver first debuted in Iron Fist Vol. 1 #15, in 1977. He grew up in gangs and street crews in the Virgin Islands, eventually becoming a local crime boss.

McIver was one of many Marvel Comics’ characters who tried to replicate the Super Soldier Serum that transformed Captain America. In McIver’s case, he kidnapped Dr. Bernstein, the man who first experimented on Luke Cage AKA Carl Lucas, and forced Bernstein to experiment on him. These experiments gave him powers akin to Luke Cage, including regenerative healing and unbreakable skin.

After he acquired his powers, Bushmaster regularly worked against Iron Fist and Luke Cage. He also tried to work with Misty Knight in the comics, to the point where she faked a relationship with him in Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1 #63.

Bushmaster in Luke Cage

Bushmaster Luke Cage

Mustafa Shakir (HBO’s The Deuce and The Night Of) plays John McIver/Bushmaster in Luke Cage Season 2. He arrives in Harlem to reclaim the birthright that the Stokes family took from him many years prior. Bushmaster wants Harlem for himself and he doesn’t care who gets in his way as a fights to claim it — this includes Luke Cage.

When Season 2 begins, Harlem is under Luke Cage’s protection. At first, Bushmaster has no beef with Luke, but as Bushmaster’s violence increases, Luke begins to investigate why he’s in Harlem and how he can stop him. This puts Luke on the same side as Mariah Dillard, temporarily. In fact, Bushmaster’s arrival in Harlem makes Luke question a lot of his loyalties and allegiances.

Bushmaster is a formidable villain for both Mariah and Luke. Bushmaster is strong like Luke. He inhales Nightshade to give him bulletproof-like skin. Bushmaster is a skilled fighter and lays Luke out a few different times. Bushmaster also has a wicked business sense and sets up Mariah to lose millions. The closer he gets to Mariah, the more violent he becomes.

Bushmaster also has an interesting relationship with Mariah’s daughter, Tilda. Tilda was estranged from her mother for many years, but returns to Harlem to practice holistic medicine. It’s her skills with herbs and plants that sends Bushmaster after her to begin with. When he finds out she’s Mariah’s daughter, his hatred for her family is put to the test.

Luke Cage Season 2 hits Netflix worldwide on June 22, 2018.

Lauren Gallaway
TV editor at FANDOM. Creator of The Marvel Report. Journalist, Comic-Con reporter, Podcaster.
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