Once upon a time, back when black people weren’t creating and crafting film and television ideas for mass consumption, you could count on so many stereotypes to go forth and represent black people in a really loopy way.
These stereotypes, often crafted by individuals without a hint of what it is to exist in the same skin as the characters they create, have to be continuously fleshed out or they would remain antiquated representations of a bygone era.
As classic as they might feel in retrospect, many of those old black Bond villains were more like cardboard caricatures than fully-fleshed individuals with wants, needs, and traumas to spur them along. However, with a someone like Cheo Hodari Coker tasked to bring a character such as Bushmaster to life we see what a fully-realized character of African descent looks like when handled with care. This is what fans are in store for when season 2 of Luke Cage drops on Netflix in a couple weeks.
When you see a Yankee boy like Mustafa Shakir speak flawless Patwa as Bushmaster, you’ll know that his performance was inspired, respectful, thoughtful and thorough. John McIver’s past have been altered for television, but the Bushmaster in the Netflix series is actually better.
In the comic book, Bushmaster’s origins are just a little bit more stereotypical. A black gangster with superpowers? That type of character is over 40-years-old.
I believe this is largely because of who created and crafted the original character. In this case, it’s Chris Claremont, John Byrne. His origins as a “street urchin” who rose up through the ranks to become a gang lord sounds like the origins story of five or six other black supervillains, and a couple superheroes too. But, in fairness, even individuals who believed they were doing the work of angels when crafting some black characters, couldn’t have possibly been aware of how some of the things the mainstream believes are essential to crafting black characters are only superficial at best.
With the Netflix version of John McIver, we find a fully-realized, properly motivated and righteously angry brother who is out to right several great wrongs. In the Marvel Universe, every mad scientist has been losing their sh*t trying to replicate or outperform the super soldier process that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America for decades. Both Wolverine and Deadpool, as well as Luke Cage and dozens of others characters, were changed or enhanced while trying to replicate the super soldier process.
One of the many processes that attempted to replicate Cap or a decent facsimile was called the Burnstein Process. This process was also used to create the comic book version of Bushmaster. However, be warned that Bushmaster of the Netflix series and the Bushmaster of the comic books are only similar in passing.
Here’s some more info that will help you familiarize yourself with his power set.
*He possesses various superhuman physical attributes after undergoing an experiment designed to increases his body’s cellular regeneration process.
Superhuman Strength: After undergoing the original experiment, his strength was increased to superhuman levels sufficient to lift approximately 3 tons.
Superhuman Stamina: His muscles generate fewer fatigue toxins than the muscles of ordinary humans, granting him superhuman stamina. He can exert himself at peak capacity for about 24 hours before fatigue begins to affect him.
Superhuman Durability: His skin is as hard as titanium steel and his muscle and bone tissues are considerably denser than the tissues of an ordinary human, granting him much greater resistance to physical injury than an ordinary human. He can withstand conventional handgun fire at a range of 4 feet and cannot be cut by any blade forged of conventional material, although in the event of required surgery his skin can be lacerated by an overpowered medical laser. He can withstand up to one-ton impacts or blasts of 150 pounds of TNT without serious injury and is highly resistant to extreme temperatures and electrical shocks. His current level of durability enables him to withstand gunfire at point-blank range and can withstand being lit on fire without suffering any serious or permanent injuries.
Accelerated Healing Factor: Despite his near invulnerability, it is possible for him to be hurt. If injured, he is capable of recovering from mild injuries in 1/3rd the time it would take an ordinary human.