‘The Defenders’ Gives Luke Cage A New Harlem Nemesis

Sarah Shatz/Netflix

Before the narrative can bring The Defenders together, each of the four Marvel heroes starts off the series by pursuing individual mysteries. There are spoilers for The Defenders Season 1 ahead through Episode 3. For Luke Cage, who has recently returned home a second time from Seagate Prison, his journey begins with yet another threat to Harlem. Who is Sowande in The Defenders? Played by actor Babs Olusanmokun, this member of The Hand has a very specific look.

While investigating a rising body count in Harlem and an unknown person or group that has been getting young men to do their dirty work, Luke confronts everyone's favorite weapons dealer Turk — who first tells him about Sowande. Turk says that this guy is new to the area and unable to be missed, thanks to his all-white suit, alligator shoes, and Panama hat.

Known on the streets as "White Hat," Sowande is recruiting kids in the street to do some kind of clean up that promises a paycheck but often seems to end badly. Cole, the kid that Luke Cage tries to protect, describes White Hat as "next level dangerous" and alludes that he is part of The Hand. However, he's not connected to Mariah Dillard or Shades, the Luke Cage villains that Turk tells the audience have "ghosted" since Luke Cage was last arrested. Their dastardly deeds are on the back burner for now.

This isn't the first time that The Hand has recruited in Harlem. Colleen and her mentor Bakuto also reached out to kids in the area. At the end of Episode 2, Danny and Colleen track their investigation to the same place as Luke, and the two heroes get in a scuffle that unfortunately results in Cole getting arrested.

He doesn't appear to be a Marvel comics character, but presumably Sowande is working with Alexandra and Madame Gao. Luke tracks money that Cole has been getting from Sowande and giving his mother back to Midland Circle — a Hand cover corporation that previously worked with Rand Enterprises. This stylish antagonist's role in the secret organization pulling New York City's strings will be revealed as The Defenders continues.