Spoilers ahead for Luke Cage Season 2. Marvel villains may have to face superhuman vigilantes and otherworldly heroes during their quest to take over the world, but they have a lot in common with real-life criminals. The key to running a shady street operation is to launder illegal funds through a seemingly legit business transaction. In Luke Cage Season 2, which premiered on June 22, the newly minted Harlem crime leader Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) invests profits from selling an illegal business in a company to fund her community center. But, what is Atreus Plastics in Luke Cage and why does Mariah choose this business? The fictional company has been popping up all over the Marvel TV universe.
Atreus Plastics was first referenced in the Season 1 finale of Daredevil. Several trucks with the company’s logo were used to help Hell’s Kitchen villain Wilson Fisk escape police custody. It was an Easter egg in reference to the company’s Marvel comic roots (Daredevil #184, 1982) as a high-grade plastic explosive producer, per ComicBookMovie.com. It wasn't made clear who owns Atreus, but it was at the center of a Daredevil/Punisher showdown.
Luke Cage’s second season brings the company and its leader into the limelight. Atreus Plastics is mentioned in the opening episode as Mariah and Shades (Theo Rossi) receive insider information about Atreus Plastics from financial whiz Raymond “Piranha” Jones (Chaz Lamar Shepard), the owner of Uptown Investments. It’s owned by Mark Higgins (Jeorge Watson) and is the largest Black-owned plastics company in the world.
Piranha reveals that Atreus has some innovative technology coming soon and says they should buy while stock is low to make millions. According to Piranha, Atreus is up for acquisition by Glenn Industries, a global giant that will make the company even more profitable, but Higgins doesn’t want to go through with the deal. Piranha tells Mariah and Shades that they have to convince Higgins to complete the Glenn Industries deal and buy the stock ASAP. He will be their power of attorney and the deal will make them legitimate millions.
In Marvel comics, Glenn Industries became involved in criminal activities after owner Maxwell Glenn fell under the control of Kilgrave, who, in the Netflix universe, was last seen in Jessica Jones. The company also joined forces with Atreus Plastics in the books, so this company may become a factor in future seasons.
Mariah inadvertently sells the family gun business to a new enemy named Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir) and blackmails Higgins into a partnership. Predictably, Higgins and Piranha both meet grisly fates after becoming mixed up in Mariah’s schemes. Piranha is temporarily protected by Luke Cage when he is almost killed at a party, but he eventually decides to make a run for his jet and is apprehended by Bushmaster.
The Jamaican villain has an inside person who let him know about the Atreus deal and he forces Piranha to transfer millions out of Mariah’s account before beheading him. Bushmaster has also caught up with the Atreus owner and left his head, along with two others, on a pike inside of Mariah’s new family complex. Mariah eventually reclaims the funds and is gifted an Atreus Plastics bunker under Harlem’s Paradise nightclub for her protection from Bushmaster.
Atreus becomes less of a factor as Season 2 goes on, but there are still a lot of questions up in the air. When Mariah blackmailed Higgins with photos and video of a sexual encounter, she mentions that he is married to her sorority sister. Higgins' wife is never seen in Luke Cage but, in the event of his death, she has to be curious about why her husband was conveniently murdered after the acquisition. Perhaps she will appear in the future and do some investigating of her own. The introduction of Atreus also sets up some potential crossover action with Matt Murdock, who dated Glenn Industries owner Maxwell’s socialite daughter Heather in the comics.
Atreus new technology seems legitimate, but are the owners of Glenn Industries into illegal activities? The acquisition of Atreus can lead to its innovative technology and intellectual capital being used for much more than flexible TV screens and fortified hideouts. Atreus will likely play a future role in the Marvel universe, either helping or harming New York’s heroes.