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For other uses, see Diamondback (disambiguation)
"I am a snake. I shed my skin for something better. Stronger."
―Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]

Willis Stryker is the half-brother of Luke Cage who became angered by their father's treatment of him and had eventually became a criminal under the alias of Diamondback. Finding his brother in Harlem, Diamondback used Hammer Industries weapons to take control over Cottonmouth's criminal empire before then attempting to kill Cage while working with Black Mariah to control Harlem's criminal underworld. Diamondback attempted to frame Cage for multiple murders until he finally decided to kill his half brother in a public showdown, only to be eventually defeated and then arrested. However, as Noah Burstein decided to use Diamondback as a test subject in an attempt to perhaps recreate Cage's superhuman powers, only for Cage to have Diamondback imprisoned inside the Raft.

Biography

Early Life

Rejected Son

"The great Reverend Lucas wasn't man enough to give his first son his last name. You see, I was still Willis Stryker. But his real son was Carl Lucas. But here's the crazy thing. Nobody said nothing. And Carl and I, we grew up best friends, but there was all this tension. You could just feel it like a draft coming in from under a door. I just wanted him to see me. I was a good boy. I did well in school. But he always loved Carl more."
―Diamondback[src]

Willis Stryker was born when his mother, Dana Stryker had an affair with James Lucas, a preacher who she was working as a secretary for. However, Lucas refused to leave his wife and therefore rejected Stryker, having his own son, Carl Lucas, two years later. Lucas' mother was thought to be unable to have children, leading to Lucas being called a miracle baby, something that enraged Stryker as the truth about him also being the preacher's son was kept hidden from everybody, including Lucas whom Stryker became friends with.[1]

Boxing Training

"Why you doing this, Carl? 'Cause some fool smacked you up outside of a bowling alley? You're gonna get yourself killed."
"Nah, I'm gonna get this dude, Willis, it's about respect!"
"We're city champs, Carl. My arm, your legs. You got nothing to prove, all right?"
―Willis Stryker and Carl Lucas[src]
Stryker trains carl

Stryker trains Carl Lucas to fight with boxing

When Carl Lucas was beaten up in front of a bowling alley by another teenager, Stryker helped train Lucas how to box by taking him to a gym in Savannah. Even though he told Lucas that he had nothing to prove to anyone, Lucas remained determined to prove himself as a skilled fighter and get his revenge for the recent attack. Lucas then went on to note that he was a part of the proud Lucas family and had to prove himself to James Lucas, which annoyed Stryker more due to his own relation to the Lucas family, although he kept quiet about his own thoughts to Lucas.

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Stryker celebrates Carl Lucas' boxing victory

Stryker basically taught Lucas how to fight, reminding him to keep focused on his breathing while he threw his punches. Stryker later watched Lucas in a boxing match, yelling out advice and support from the side of the ring. Although Lucas was briefly pinned against the wall and hit repeatedly, he eventually managed to push back against his opponent and knocked him out, with Stryker celebrating when Lucas had finally won the match, with Stryker excitedly still cheering for his friend's great victory in the fight. Stryker and Lucas continued training together and remained good friends.[2]

Fall from Grace

Young Luke and Willis

Stryker and Carl Lucas go on trial

"When it came time for sentencing, the preacher convinced the judge to let his golden boy join the Marines. Me? Juvie. Got jumped two days in. Boy drew a shank and I killed him in self-defense. So I got sent away to hard time. And sweet Dana? Oh, her cancer ate her alive and she died alone in a shelter without a friend in the world."
―Diamondback[src]

Time later, Stryker and Lucas stole a red Chevrolet Corvette, just for a joyride and discussed music, with Stryker noting he liked Prince and Lucas liked Michael Jackson. They were pulled over by police and arrested. James Lucas convinced the judge to let Lucas go so he could join the United States Marine Corps. As for Stryker, he was put in juvenile detention where he was attacked and killed the inmate in self-defense and sent to prison. Hating the Lucas family, Stryker vowed revenge.[1]

Watching over Cottonmouth

Sending in Shades

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Diamondback's personal police mug shot

"Why's this feeling like a takeover?"
"It's not. If it was, you would never even see Diamondback coming. He wants you to win."
Cottonmouth and Shades[src]

Using the weapons made by Hammer Industries, Stryker, who now used the name Diamondback, set up a business deal with Stokes Crime Family, allowing Cottonmouth to sell the weapons to Domingo Colon and others based in Harlem. However when one of these sales was interrupted by a robbery, leading to all of the money being stolen, Stryker sent Shades to investigate.[3] As Stokes' operation continued to be challenged by the activities of Luke Cage, who was revealed to actually be Carl Lucas, Stryker had Shades take control of the situation and offered to sell Stokes the Judas Bullets.[4]

Attack on Luke Cage

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Diamondback takes close aim at Luke Cage

"Can you dig it? Carl, come out and play! I'm enjoying this shit, Carl. Keep running!"
―Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]

Diamondback was learned from Shades that Cottonmouth had just been murdered, so he took the opportunity to come to Harlem and finally kill Luke Cage himself. Finding him taking his walk with Claire Temple across New York City, Diamondback had stayed out of sight inside his armored truck and then armed his Judas Rifle with one of his Judas Bullet, muttering to himself that the bullet was for Cage as he had considered him a Judas, before firing the bullet into Cage's stomach, who punctured his skin and caused him to fall to the floor in agony, all while Diamondback remained in his truck and had watched with delight.[5]

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Diamondback causing Luke Cage to crash

As Temple tried to control Cage's bleeding as the Judas had failed to exit his body and was still in his stomach, Diamondback chose not to kill him but rather continue tormenting him. While Cage was loaded in an ambulance with Temple to get medical treatment, Diamondback prepared his Hammer Industries guns and followed closely behind in his armored car. But before they could get away from him, however, Diamondback used his gun to destroy the bottom of the ambulance, causing it to crush in the streets of Harlem while Diamondback had watched all of the chaos he had caused unfolding in front of him.

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Diamondback calls to Luke Cage to fight him

Cage and Temple quickly escaped the crashed ambulance and hid behind a car, while Diamondback followed and called out to Cage by quoting The Warriors, a movie they had both watched together years earlier when they were young men, with Diamondback calling Cage by his real name. When Diamondback then heard the sounds of the New York City Police Department just arriving there in order to investigate the ambulance crash, as Diamondback took his chance to make his escape, telling Cage to keep running away from him and he was now beginning to enjoy himself in this chase.[6]

Threatening Misty Knight

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Diamondback attempts to shoot at Luke Cage

"Come on, aren't you gonna beg? Not even a little bit?"
"If you gonna shoot me, then do it!"
"You're slowing me down, baby girl. Besides Luke likes you. I'll hurt you later, he'll suffer more that way."
―Diamondback and Misty Knight[src]

Diamondback soon tracked Luke Cage and Claire Temple down into a medical centre, where Temple was attempting to remove the Judas Bullet from his stomach. Diamondback took aim at Cage's head, but missed and instead tried to grab Temple only to get stabbed in the arm. Cage then ripped Diamondback through the window, causing them both to come face to face. Diamondback used Cage's hesitation to kick him into his stomach wound before being thrown through the wall, discovering to his frustration that he was out of ammo.

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Diamondback takes Misty Knight as a hostage

Refusing to give up, Diamondback had then used his Judas Rifle to hit Cage in his wounded stomach, ensuring that he was in too much agony to fight back, falling to the floor and clutching onto his wound while Diamondback prepared to make his escape. As Diamondback attempted to leave as he could not kill Cage without another Judas Bullet, he also managed to grab ahold of Misty Knight, who had tried unsuccessfully to ambush him, and stole her gun. Shooting Cage in the stomach three times, Diamondback placed his gun onto Knight's temple and threatened to execute her if Cage had even attempted to follow him as he exited the building as he walked out backwards.

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Diamondback telling Misty Knight to beg him

Once outside, Diamondback began to cruelly mock Detective Knight as he compared Cage to the devil and noted how Cage had a love for "frizzy hair and a tight frame" in women like her as well as Reva Connors. As he held her own gun to her head, Diamondback asked Knight to beg for mercy, which she refused to do, so Diamondback forced her down to her knees and placed the gun to the back of her head. But rather than executing her, Diamondback explained that he would continue hurting Knight later in order to make Cage suffer, as he knocked her out before he escaped in the dark city streets.[6]

Fight In the Cinema

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Diamondback reloads his rifle with the Judas

"The crimes you went to jail for, the torture you endured once you were inside, all me, I'm afraid. Well not Reva's death, I just like saying her name just to watch you squirm."
"You ruined my life."
"I gave you wings! I sent you to hell! And you come back with superpowers. Ain't that a bitch?"
―Diamondback and Luke Cage[src]

Running down the streets of Harlem, Diamondback found the empty United Palace Theatre where he shot off the lock before entering, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Taking his position hidden inside the theatre, Diamondback loaded his gun while Luke Cage arrived and searched for him. Diamondback tormented Cage, explaining how his mother had destroyed herself due to his father's actions.

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Diamondback awaits Luke Cage in the theatre

Before long Cage found him above him, comparing Diamondback to a snake much like Cottonmouth, with Diamondback also agreeing with this statement, noting that much like a snake he shed his own skin and replaced it with something stronger ever since Cage had left him to go to prison while he walked free. Noting that the people of Harlem had been worshiping a false idol in Cage, Diamondback then promised that he would expose his time in Seagate Penitentiary as well as the tragic death of Reva Connors, which enraged Cage, explaining that he was to blame for all of his torture while inside prison.

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Diamondback and Luke Cage continue to fight

Expressing his rage that Cage had gone to prison and returned with superpowers, Diamondback attempted to shoot him with the Judas Bullet, but Cage had dodged the shot before destroying the platform Diamondback was standing on, causing him to fall all the way down to his level down below. Despite being vastly outmatched by Cage's strength, Diamondback had continued fighting, kicking and punching him repeatedly in his gunshot wound to gain whatever advantage he could, at one stage even hitting him with the golden beam in order to cause Cage the maximum pain that he could inflict upon him.

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Diamondback being defeated by Luke Cage

Diamondback mocked the fact that Cage was now bleeding, only for Cage to gather his strength and disarm Diamondback and knock him to the ground. Before he could get to his feet, Cage simply grabbed Diamondback by his collar and with all his strength, launched him out of the door where he hit a pillar with incredible force. However, this move took all the energy that Cage had left as he collapsed onto the ground in agony, Diamondback, upon seeing this, had regained what energy he had left and quickly left the theater, escaping back to New York City before Cage could recover himself and then follow him.

Diamondback Final Shot

Diamondback shoots at his own half-brother

Cage however also got away and stumbled into Harlem searching for Diamondback, barely able to walk let alone run due to all his injuries. Eventually, Diamondback caught up with him and began explaining the deadly power of the Judas Bullet, noting that it was designed to kill you with the second blast. As Diamondback asked Cage for any final words, Cage apologized for everything that happened, noting he loved him like his brother. Diamondback, however, revealed that they were brothers before shooting Cage and causing him to then fall in a garbage truck which drove away, leaving Diamondback behind.[6]

Hunting Luke Cage

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Diamondback greets and threatens his men

"Two rulebooks got me through the darkness: the Bible, and The 48 Laws of Power. Do you want to know what the forty-ninth is? Luke Cage ain't dead until you find his goddamn body."
―Diamondback to Shades[src]

Since all of Shades' men had been incapable of tracking down the corpse of Luke Cage, Diamondback had decided to confront them himself. Coming to Harlem's Paradise, Diamondback mocked their efforts by asking if his disappearance was due to magic. He made a shape of a gun with his fingers and shooting Darnell in the shoulder with another gun, explaining that it was not magic and they would have to keep looking until they found Cage dead or alive and brought him back to him.

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Diamondback discusses Cottonmouth's death

Once the men were had left, Diamondback began mocking Shades for all his attempts to seduce Mariah Dillard while also trying to take over the Stokes Crime Family from Cottonmouth. As Diamondback began blaming Shades for Cottonmouth's death, Shades defended his actions by noting that Cottonmouth had been losing control and that Diamondback had trusted him with dealing with him, although Diamondback insisted that his instructions were for Shades to deal with the situation not to kill Cottonmouth himself who Diamondback wanted alive so they could continue their successful business.

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Diamondback considering executing Shades

As Diamondback had explained that Cottonmouth was his best seller of Hammer Industries' weapons and mocked Shades for thinking he might get to keep Harlem's Paradise, he drew his gun and aimed it at Shades' head, asking for one reason not to shoot him as punishment for everything that Shades had done wrong. While Shades kept calm and silent, Zip had then reappeared and simply had noted that killing Shades would not help him find Luke Cage any faster. Hearing this answer, Diamondback laughed and dropped his gun, noting that Zip was clearly smarter than his ridiculous name suggested that he was, before putting his gun away and continuing to talk with his men.

Stryker the King

Diamondback sits on Cottonmouth's throne

Diamondback had then taken a seat underneath Cottonmouth's large photograph of Biggie Smalls, explaining that he had gotten out of the darkness of his own mind by reading the Bible and obeying The Forty Eight Laws of Power. He then explained that until they found Cage's corpse, he was not dead and he now needed to be found as soon as possible, ordering Zip and Shades to go and continue their search all throughout New York City until Cage had been found dead or alive. Shades, however, decided to focus his efforts not on the search, but protecting Mariah Dillard's control of Harlem's criminal empires.[7]

Wiping out Rivals

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Diamondback greets Harlem's key mobsters

"No one's coming at me. They'll ask around so you tell 'em, I'll murderize everything in sight, because I don't care, and I won't quit. You can't bargain with me, you buy or you die."
―Diamondback to Domingo Colon[src]

When Diamondback learned that Shades was now assisting Mariah Dillard, he decided to take matters into his own hand, interrupting the meeting that they were having between Dillard, Domingo Colon and several other mobsters all based in Harlem. Diamondback explained that he had become offended since their group was not buying Hammer Industries weapons from him anymore, which was now affecting his income and had pissed him off, leaving all of the men fearing for their own lives.

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Diamondback murders all his rival competitors

Diamondback shot Peter Hong through the head before throwing his knife straight into the eye of Jacques Alef, killing them both instantly. While the group all sat in terror and then awaited their own deaths, Diamondback explained that he had killed Colon's men outside and moved behind Neville Barnwell and shot him through the throat, with the bullet then managing to strike Juan Carlos Castro in the eyeball. Colon called Diamondback crazy for his actions, but he was unfazed, while explaining that he had no issue with Colon's cousins elsewhere and therefore he would be keeping him alive for the time being.

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Diamondback speaking with Mariah Dillard

Going over to Dillard, Diamondback called her crazy for not reacting to the murders before asking why they should be friends. Dillard had suggested they had a mutual enemy in Luke Cage who had allegedly killed her cousin Cottonmouth, telling Diamondback that he should be making a profit on the fact that Cage was now a target, explaining that he should be selling the new Judas Bullets to the New York City Police Department as they needed a weapon which could kill Cage. Diamondback agreed and ordered her to go suggest the idea to the police herself as her own political position gave her credibility.

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Diamondback threatens Domingo Colon's life

Collecting his knife from Alef's eye, Diamondback then apologized to Colon for making a mess while he cleaned the knife. While Colon had asked why he was being kept alive, Diamondback explained that he would soon be having other mobsters in New York City questioning what had happened, and Diamondback wanted Colon to explain that if they dared challenge him ever again, he would kill them all. Making his point that he was not the man who could ever be bargained with, Diamondback then left to get a meal at Peter Luger Steak House with Shades following closely behind him as he calmly walked out.

Diamondback-ListeningToMusic-CU

Diamondback returns into Harlem's Paradise

Returning to Harlem's Paradise, Diamondback then closely watched over the performance of The Delfonics until he had been interrupted by Shades, who informed him that a video of Luke Cage attacking some police officers had gone viral. As Shades asked what should be done about this, Diamondback told him that it was great news as it meant Cage no longer had anywhere to run and they would soon be able to find and kill him. However, when Shades tried to question this logic, Diamondback sent him away, claiming he was enjoying the song and had wanted to listen to it in peace without Shades.[7]

Working with Mariah Dillard

Diamondback-OutsideWarehouse

Diamondback meeting with Mariah Dillard

"Well, you don't need to kill God with one shot to sell a weapon, you just need to make him bleed."
"That's all well and good but who's going to be able to afford it?"
"What price can you put on peace of mind?"
―Diamondback and Mariah Dillard[src]

Diamondback ordered Mariah Dillard to come and meet him outside his Warehouse located just on the outskirts of New York City, as he had insisted that she not be driven by Alex Wesley, explaining that he would have had to kill him and that he would not have come to her as he had considered that power should not travel. Dillard, however, had argued that Diamondback had no real power without all of her political influence.

DiamondbackDillard-WarehouseTour

Diamondback giving Mariah Dillard the tour

Bringing Dillard inside, Diamondback gave a tour of the Warehouse and showed off his Judas Bullets, explaining that they all were made with Chitauri metal, although Dillard was not so impressed as he had failed to kill Luke Cage with them yet. When Dillard questioned who would be able to pay for these bullets, Diamondback explained that they could be broken down into smaller bullets to be sold for mass-production to be used in machine guns which were all less powerful. Diamondback made it clear that he had still needed Dillard's political influence to convince the people that Cage had become a threat.

Stryker Dillard Tour

Diamondback showing off his Judas Bullets

Although Dillard had attempted to explain that she needed more time to convince the New York City Police Department on the idea, while Diamondback informed her that she was now out of time since they would be beginning right away. Diamondback was then given one of his Judas Gauntlet which he put on while Dillard had confronted him about this revelation, arguing that this would not possibly work, but Diamondback explained that he would cause random murders that would then be blamed on Cage to spread fear around Harlem, while also promising that he was personally focused on killing Cage.[8]

Framing Luke Cage

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Diamondback frames Luke Cage for murder

"I killed two birds with one stone by sticking a body on Luke Cage. He's hiding somewhere in the blessed aquarium, so I turned the heat up. Old Carl, he's either going to stand up and defend his name, or he's gonna run and hide like a bitch. Either way it doesn't matter, I've got the gun to take him out."
―Diamondback to Mariah Dillard[src]

Wearing the Judas Gauntlet which gave him new incredible strength, Diamondback wore a hoodie and followed Officer Jackie Albini as he was buying socks for his wife off the street. Stepping behind Albini and, when the Officer simply questioned who he was, Diamondback said that he was Luke Cage before punching him so hard into the chest that he broke his rib cage and caused him to go flying across the street about twenty feet, landing hard on the ground, dead.

Diamondback-PresenceOfDeath

Diamondback returns to Harlem's Paradise

While Diamondback made his escape, he began shouting out that he was Cage, ensuring that these people in New York City had someone to blame for the murder. Returning to Harlem's Paradise, a now calm Diamondback sat reading the bible while being confronted by Mariah Dillard, who was furious that the murder of Albini had just resulted in children being arrested and harassed by the police before mocking Diamondback for constantly quoting the bible, only for Diamondback to turn the statement back on her by noting that she was now in the presence of death himself, which had greatly unnerved Dillard.

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Diamondback calmly threatens Mariah Dillard

Diamondback explained that he felt that Dillard's methods of pitching the bullets to Harlem's council were proving to be taking far too long. Diamondback explained that his way of doing things put the pressure back onto Cage by accusing him of the murder, meaning he would either come out to defend his name or run and hide. As Dillard then accused him of having become completely insane as well as out of control, Diamondback calmly informed her that she clearly was not a real politician as he thought that if she was, since she would have already been able to make the situation work for them both.

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Diamondback sees Mariah Dillard's speech

However, Diamondback and Dillard had gained a helping hand when Detective Dorsey assaulted the young Lonnie Wilson during the New York City Police Department's desperate search for the fugitive Cage. This allowed Dillard to spark outrage across Harlem, blaming Cage for the fried tempers across the city and calling for the people to turn on the former hero of the people. As Dillard gave a speech outside of the 29th Precinct Police Station, Diamondback just sat inside his car, watching from a safe distance, taking pleasure at seeing his all plans coming together as the public's opinion had gone Dillard's way.[8]

Hostage Situation

Creating Utter Chaos

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Diamondback overlooks the ongoing protests

"Anybody ain't us is a hostage. Make sure none of them look me in the eye. Lopes, Sugar, you're babysitting, move them up there and face them towards the wall. Anybody resists, blindfold 'em. Too much lip, shoot 'em in the head. The rest will get the message."
―Diamondback[src]

Using Harlem's Paradise as their meeting place, Mariah Dillard held a massive press conference condemning the actions of Luke Cage and blaming him for the assault of Lonnie Wilson. While she spoke, Dillard then also noted how Cage had seemingly murdered Cottonmouth as well as Detective Jackie Albini, while calling upon all the people to turn against Cage before comparing his super-powered actions to those of Jessica Jones and Kilgrave, calling for their police to be armed to protect them, all of which Diamondback watched closely from the balcony without getting involved.

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Diamondback shoots Misty Knight in the arm

While Dillard invited Reverend John Pope to take the stage while she spoke with Damon Boone, Diamondback watched from his balcony as Detective Misty Knight arrived and began making her way towards his location. When Knight stepped into his office, Diamondback then greeted her with a cruel smile, despite Knight claiming that he was under arrest, Diamondback denied this before drawing his guns and shooting her in the arm. Before he could kill her, Cage returned and blocked Diamondback's bullets with his body while chaos unfolded downstairs as all the terrified guests ran for cover until Diamondback eventually ran out of ammunition in both of his two handguns.

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Diamondback gives his men their new orders

Taking Knight into his arms, Cage jumped downstairs and hid under the bar while Diamondback's men opened fire upon him.[8] As the shooting continued, Zip complained that Cage was bulletproof, but Diamondback reminded him that Knight was not. Eventually, Cage hid in the kitchen with knight and blocked the door, as Shades had arrived and advised that they should all escape now before the New York City Police Department arrived. Diamondback, however, refused Shades' advice to leave at all, advising instead that they freestyle the current situation, much to Shades and others great dismay.

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Diamondback has an argument with Shades

Shades reminded Diamondback that he had one Judas Bullet left but Diamondback was not concerned, ordering Lopes, Sugar and Ty to take all the remaining guests hostage and execute them if they had offended him, demanding that Boone to taken upstairs to his office and that Zip collect a specific key there. Once they were alone Diamondback confronted Shades for talking out of turn in front of his men, explaining that his plan was to frame Cage for the shooting and that when they finally killed him they would be celebrated for having stopped his rampage, a concept which Shades still disagreed with.

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Diamondback shoots a grenade at Luke Cage

With their hostages in position, Diamondback and Shades moved to the kitchen door where they then reunited with Zip, who immediately presented Diamondback with the steel case that he had asked for which contained a Grenade Launcher. While Shades had questioned what such a weapon was for, Diamondback ignored the question as he loaded up the gun and joked that this was the moment when the panties dropped. He fired a single shot into the kitchen, destroying the door into the kitchen and the fridge that Cage had been using to block it with a large fireball, while debris flew towards the group.

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Diamondback being questioned by Shades

As his men had stepped into the burning kitchen with his gun raised, Diamondback discovered that Cage and Knight were nowhere to be found. Diamondback then ordered his men to search every inch of the kitchen to finally find them both. Shades once again questioned Diamondback's decision, claiming that he was now not being clear-headed, but Diamondback only argued that he was making the right moves as they could easily claim that violence had broken out at the anti Cage rally as soon as Cage arrived, while he noted Dillard could now close their deal with selling all the weapons.[1]

Using Damon Boone

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Diamondback speaking with Damon Boone

"Unpredictability gives us leverage."
"All you're doing is scaring them, let me help you. What do you want?"
"Reciprocity."
―Diamondback and Damon Boone[src]

With Damon Boone in his office, Diamondback held a gun to Boone's head as he ordered him to call Priscilla Ridley and claim that he had been taken hostage by Luke Cage. Before Ridley could ask for all his demands, Diamondback then snatched the phone away and hung up before claiming that unpredictability was his ally. Boone tried to offer to help Diamondback get what he wanted, although he noted that the police would not bow down to terrorism, something which Diamondback did not deny was true or seemed to worry him.

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Diamondback has a drink with Damon Boone

Diamondback offered Boone his drink of whiskey before beginning a discussion about the Scottish and how there was a time when they would not think twice about cutting a man's head off with the sword, which Diamondback claimed he liked about them. Ignoring Boone's offers to help with negotiations with the police, Diamondback handed Boone his own bible, which he noted was once a gift from his father to his mother, inviting him to read sections of it while Diamondback overlooked Harlem's Paradise and checked on the condition of all of his hostages downstairs who were still being guarded by his men.

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Diamondback makes demands to the police

Giving him new instructions, Diamondback had Boone call up Ridley and Blake Tower again and request a helicopter onto the roof of the Paradise, still claiming it was Cage holding him hostage and offered to hand over half of his hostages in exchange. Ridley promised to do this and had asked if Detective Misty Knight was also still alive, with Diamondback claiming that she was, although he refused to prove this. Diamondback began playing Blue Eyed Soul for Boone before showing him the photograph of his mother while explaining how she had met his father while she had been working at his church.

NowYoureMine

Diamondback explains his true family history

Becoming more frustrated as he spoke, Diamondback explained that his mother had had an affair with his father while he was still married, before his father's actual wife finally had a miracle child and had then refused to accept Diamondback as his own son. Diamondback had explained how he and his secret half brother had grown up together as best friends, although he had always felt tension between them and only ever wanted his father to accept him as his own son, but his father had always loved his other son through his marriage more and had never accepted him, something Diamondback still hated.[1]

Dealing with Issues

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Diamondback personally threatening Shades

"Here you go again, bobbing and weaving because you're too scared to take a hit. It's just like I taught you in the ring, no matter how much you duck eventually you're gonna have to nuck and buck. If you don't surrender yourself and Misty Knight, I'm gonna kill a hostage every ten minutes, starting with Damon Boone."
―Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]

Diamondback was updated by Shades that their hostages had been sent into the New York City Police Department which he had ordered, noting that he was not concerned about what they would tell them since either he or Luke Cage would soon be dead. Shades confronted Diamondback on the fact that he had taken these hostages without a plan. They were then informed by Sugar that Claire Temple had disappeared after attacking Lopes to rescue Candace Miller, who Shades had then noted was the one who Mariah Dillard had bribed so Diamondback sent him to deal with it.

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Diamondback offering Luke Cage his warning

Having warned Shades that once they were out of this situation they would be having a long talk, Diamondback then returned to his office where he turned on all the speakers in Harlem's Paradise to address Cage. Diamondback reminded Cage of their time training together as young boxers before he ordered Cage to surrender himself and Misty Knight. While he spoke, Diamondback loaded his Judas Rifle with his final Judas Bullet before explaining that if Cage failed to surrender to him, then he would begin executing one hostage every ten minutes until he finally showed himself, noting he would kill Boone first.

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Diamondback prepares to kill Damon Boone

Diamondback had soon been contacted by a weapons manufacturer who informed him that Dillard had convinced the police to buy all the new Hammer Industries guns from him. Diamondback proceeded to continue telling his stories to Damon Boone, explaining how he and Cage had been arrested as young men, with Cage getting off while he was sent to prison before committing his first kill and doing a hard time while his own mother also died of cancer. Collecting his Judas Gauntlet, Diamondback then hit Boone hard into the chest, throwing him backwards and killing him as his chest had been caved in.

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Diamondback threatens Candace Miller's life

Diamondback ordered Shades to drop Boone's outside for the police to collect, while this was happening, all of the lights across Harlem's Paradise were all suddenly cut off. Needing to now regain his control quickly, Diamondback took Miller and waited for Cage to appear and rescue the hostages in the darkness. Once Cage arrived there and knocked out Sugar, Diamondback revealed himself and forced Cage to choose to either catch him and let Miller die, or save Miller and let himself be killed by the police who were coming in armed with Judas Bullets in their guns which would not bounce off Cage's body.

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Diamondback and Zip making their escape

Diamondback dropped Miller off the balcony before then attempting to shoot Cage as he caught her, however, Diamondback missed the shot and was forced to run back into his office as the SWAT teams stormed the building. While Cage was surrounded and captured by the police, Diamondback collected their equipment and found Zip, who promised to show him a way outside despite being threatened with a gun. Diamondback followed and walked free into Harlem while Cage and Shades were both being arrested by the police along with Sugar, Lopes, and Ty and taken away for their questioning.[1]

Keeping the Business Running

Diamondback-BrownSuit

Diamondback has a meeting with Turk Barrett

"My only condition is loyalty. Stick with me and Harlem will be remade in your own image. We'll be doing this for years to come."
"Harlem is already in my image. You staying?"
"Once I've finished with Carl I'll evaporate, but don't worry, you'll still feel the occasional cool breeze. Sweet dreams, Mariah."
―Diamondback and Mariah Dillard[src]

In order to deal with his situation, Diamondback had all of his money cashed in and reclaimed all his equipment. He had then called in Turk Barrett who complimented him on his tactics after Shades had been arrested in the wake of the hostage situation and Luke Cage had now gone on the run before being informed by Diamondback that he was needed to sell their Hammer Industries weapons onto the streets of New York City in order to continue making profits for his own organization during this highly difficult time and highly tense time.

DiamondbackChockingZip

Diamondback laughing while choking out Zip

They were both then interrupted by the arrival of Zip who informed Diamondback that some of their equipment had gone missing, so Diamondback responded by briefly attempting to strangle Zip before laughing and telling him that he liked Zip's ambition. Diamondback went on to explain that Shades had become too much like Icarus by talking back to him. Diamondback had explained that he would have Shades freed from the New York City Police Department's lockup in order to immediately have him assassinated, promising Zip the job if he wanted to take it, which Zip made it clear that he really did.

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Diamondback requesting Turk Barrett's help

Diamondback had then asked Barrett if he was still willing to help his organization, at which point Barrett made it clear that he was always willing to do the work as long as it was all uncomplicated business. Upon hearing this, Diamondback then asked Zip to take Barrett out in order to begin his work. Once Barrett had left the warehouse, Zip came back and asked Diamondback what he had in a box he had delivered, to which Diamondback did not explain it was a Battlesuit and instead called it one of the Seven Deadly Sins which he planned to use against Cage very soon during their upcoming rematch.

Diamondback-RedCoat-Dillard

Diamondback arrives at Mariah Dillard's home

With Zip being sent to assassinate Shades, Diamondback had then contacted Mariah Dillard to inform her of this latest update, while he noted that he also killed Damon Boone to help her political standing within Harlem, although Dillard insisted that she was out of politics and would be focusing on Harlem's Paradise instead. It was at this point Diamondback revealed he was actually inside Dillard's house, noting she should never talk about that murder on the phone before handing over the large bag of cash to her to be used in repairing the Paradise following the shootout against Misty Knight and Cage.

Diamondback-CoolBreeze

Diamondback says goodbye to Mariah Dillard

What Dillard questioned what the money was really for, Diamondback informed her that all he wanted was her loyalty to him, noting that if she continued to work for him then Harlem would be remade in her own image and they could continue their business for many years to come. As Dillard had questioned if Diamondback was staying within Harlem or not, he promised that once Cage was dead then he would be disappearing, although he still vowed that he would never be too far away. With this note, Diamondback left Dillard's home with a cruel smile on his face, greatly unnerving Dillard once again.[9]

Domingo Colon's Rebellion

Diamondback-ColonAttack

Diamondback is betrayed by Domingo Colon

"You know when a rattlesnake is at its most dangerous, Domingo? When it's cornered!"
―Diamondback to Domingo Colon[src]

While reading the bible inside his Secret Warehouse, Diamondback was confronted by Domingo Colon and several of his own men, who noted that he preferred Harlem's Paradise to this empty warehouse where Diamondback was currently conducted his business. Colon then revealed that he had come to that warehouse with the intention of killing Diamondback, drawing his guns with men while Diamondback's own men came to his aid, leading to a tense standoff between the two rival criminals as Diamondback remained calm throughout, despite the danger.

Diamondback-TwinGuns-ColonAttack

Diamondback is shot at by Domingo Colon

Colon informed Diamondback that his men had found the bodies of Zip and two others, noting that this was not Luke Cage's style and therefore it was most likely Shades who had killed all of them since Diamondback had just bailed him out from the New York City Police Department's custody in order to assassinate him. While putting his bible back into his pocket, Diamondback had then told Colon that a snake like him was most dangerous when cornered before drawing his own two guns and shooting at Colon, running to the back of the warehouse as a violent gunfight then broke out in the warehouse.

Wrath Diamondback

Diamondback prepares to set off his bomb

While their shootout continued, Diamondback took cover and ran to the backroom, while Colon promised that he would rip his head off. Eventually, Diamondback made it to the back where he opened the crate which contained his own Specialized Battle Suit, as he looked down upon the Battle Suit, Diamondback had then quoted the bible before putting it on. Stepping out into their gunfight, Diamondback soon defeated his attackers before then using the Judas Gauntlet to punch Colon in the stomach and crush his bones before setting off a bomb and leaving any survivors to burn in the incoming blast.[9]

Duel at Malcolm X Boulevard

Hammer Tech Stryker

Diamondback reveals his armored Battle Suit

"You know I'm gonna kill them all later, right?"
"You have to get past me first."
"Oh, I don't go past. I go through."
―Diamondback and Luke Cage[src]

Diamondback tracked Luke Cage down to Pop's Barber Shop where he threw a grenade before revealing himself wearing his Specialized Battle Suit, which was insulted by Bobby Fish. Diamondback noticed that Shades was in the shop, who attempted to kill his former employer by shooting at him, only to discover that the Battle Suit was bulletproof. While Misty Knight took the others outside, Diamondback and Cage faced off, as Diamondback had promised that he would soon kill all of the others as soon as he had gone through Cage.[9]

DiamondbackSuitCloseUp

Diamondback telling Luke Cage to fight him

As Cage hit Diamondback across the Barber Shop into a photograph of Pop, Diamondback smugly revealed that his Battle Suit had been made by Hammer Industries and could, therefore, withstand even his blows. Ripping out one of the chairs, Diamondback then launched it at Cage, missing but with such force that it flew out into the Harlem street. While Cage continued punching his half brother, Diamondback insulted his fighting skills, calling all his punches weak, so Cage had responded by slamming him on the ground before he then threw him painfully into the ceiling which Diamondback had recovered from.

DiamondbackSuit-AngryFace

Diamondback soon takes their brawl outside

Diamondback quickly recovered and called on Cage to keep the fight coming. The brothers began throwing each other through the walls of the Shop as Diamondback recalled their time training as two young boxers before they pulled each other upstairs where Diamondback was then able to launch Cage out of the upper floor window, with him landing onto the street below in front of the many onlookers. Despite the crowds calling on Cage to win and Dave Griffith filming the entire brawl, Diamondback promised to beat Cage's ass up and down the block as he kicked him across the street with incredible force.

LCage-vs-Diamondback-StreetFight

Diamondback quickly gaining the upper hand

With Cage becoming exhausted, Diamondback began punching him repeatedly with increasingly powerful blows, only for Cage to gain the upper hand and smash his body into the side of a car, but the Battle Suit still kept him fighting. Diamondback then began explaining that James Lucas had always planned on leaving his own wife to marry Diamondback's mother, causing Cage to attack him yet again while SWAT Teams arrived armed with Judas Bullets before Diamondback threw a motorbike at Cage, which he quickly deflected, as they had continued exchanging powerful blows at each other. With all of their brawling was viewed by the media and then broadcast live.[2]

Defeat and Arrest

Diamondback-GreenSuperSuit

Diamondback ignoring Luke Cage's requests

"I'm done, Willis. I'm not doing this anymore."
"You ain't done, not 'til one of us is dead."
"You're more like dad than you think. When I got shipped to Seagate he called me a mistake, too. I'm not paying for his sins anymore, and neither should you. You want me dead? Then kill me."
Luke Cage and Diamondback[src]

Once Diamondback got back to his feet, Luke Cage told him that he was done the fighting, explaining that when he was sent to Seagate Prison, their father had called him the mistake too. Cage then invited Diamondback to kill him, claiming that it was something he was not ready to do, as Diamondback responded by charging in and began furiously hitting Cage repeatedly in the chest and head, knocking him into a parked car.

Diamondback-Defeated

Diamondback is finally defeated by Luke Cage

Despite being close to beating Cage to death, all the constant blows that Diamondback was delivering against his foe eventually caused him to completely run out of breath, as Cage used the technique that Diamondback had taught him years early for boxing, to take all these blows and then fight back. As Diamondback attempted to regain his breath as his Battle Suit ran out of power, the crowds began chanting Cage's name, led by Claire Temple. Cage then stepped back into the fight and beat Diamondback into submission, landing the final punch which sent Diamondback had flying backwards and taken him out.

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Diamondback being treated by Noah Burstein

Diamondback was arrested by the police for his crimes but was first taken to a hospital where he was given a neck brace and waited to recover from the brutal beating. While in the hospital, Diamondback was accused of the murder of Cornell Stokes, as Mariah Dillard had sworn to Priscilla Ridley she saw him killing her cousin. While he sat in his hospital bed, Diamondback was visited by Noah Burstein, who had closed the door behind him to speak to Diamondback in private about becoming stronger.[2] However, Cage interfered in the situation and Diamondback was sent into the Raft to serve his sentence.[10]

Personality

"The first of the forty-eight rules of power, never outshine the master."
―Diamondback to Zip[src]

Willis Stryker grew up with Carl Lucas, the son of the respected reverend, James Lucas and they became best friends despite Stryker's strong animosity towards Lucas due to being the illegitimate child and therefore not allowed the Lucas name whereas Carl was the supposed firstborn and revered for it. Despising this injustice for most of his life until his breaking point was when he was sent to prison yet Lucas was only forced to join the army for a crime they both committed, Stryker was overpowered by hatred and jealousy in captivity becoming vindictive, obsessive and ruthless to the point of insanity.

Upon discovering that Lucas was not only alive but returned from Seagate Prison with superpowers, Stryker's hatred festered, citing that he was sentenced to Hell but was granted yet another miracle given to him from the God Stryker himself believed within so devotedly and wished to destroy his life the way Lucas destroyed his. After meeting with Luke Cage over years apart, the first he thing he does is reveal the secret that the two of them were brothers that he kept to himself for years and tormented Misty Knight upon discovering that she was close to Cage, only keeping her alive so he could torture his half-brother further before running his life. Once again, Stryker became deeply frustrated over Cage's idolization by the people of Harlem, having suffered for it his entire life, he framed him for the murder of an officer and a hostage crisis in Harlem's Paradise to destroy his legacy as a hero as was his name as a Lucas in the past. For all of his negative qualities, Stryker loved his mother dearly as he wasn't there for her when she got cancer and died because he was imprisoned due to not being a Lucas and Reverend James simply stopped caring for her without Stryker being there, also greatly motivated his need for revenge.

Stryker's ruthlessness and cutthroat demeanor extends to those whom he does business with, Mariah Dillard, Cottonmouth, Shades and Domingo Colon all seem to be submissive towards him and Stryker does not hesitate to kill the other mob bosses for purchasing Hammer Industries weapons from other buyers. Despite this Stryker regards loyalty in his allies very highly. He was prepared to kill Shades to avenge Stokes as he considered the latter to be his friend, he spared Colon partly to send a message to the absent mob bosses, but also because Colon only purchased Hammer weapons from Stryker's 'friend' and representative Stokes. He also showed some respect for Zip and Turk Barrett and was willing to trust Barrett whilst most do not and are wise to do such. When Stokes' former enforcer Zip helped Stryker escape, Stryker asked if Zip had his own method of escape showing some form of concern. Whilst Stryker did not approve of Zip copying Shades' style, he briefly hinted that Zip should try and be his own man and even stated to like Zip, probably due to his loyalty to Stokes and Stryker.

His misotheism seemed to enforce his revenge mission against Cage, quoting several bible verses that directly link to Cage's betrayal against Stryker within the theatre and to illustrate his point across multiple times. The Judas Bullet was designed to symbolize this act of treachery; stating "one Judas to another" before shooting Cage in the abdomen and vowing to repeat the same words that Cain said to his father after slewing Abel when he finally did kill Cage.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Power Suit Enhancement: Stryker wears a power suit developed by Hammer Industries, that enhances his strength and durability by manipulating kinetic energy, allowing him to fight on par with Luke Cage.
    • Superhuman Strength: Thanks to the use of the gloves from the Power Suit, Stryker's strength was increased to superhuman levels, being able to send people flying away several feet, and instantly killing regular human beings with a single blow, by crushing their chest. He killed Jackie Albini and Damon Boone by punching them in the chest, sending them flying several feet, caving in their chests and breaking their ribs. Stryker also managed to cause Luke Cage internal injuries, through Luke Cage's nigh-impenetrable skin. The strength granted by suits increases with the damage it takes, as it is capable of transforming the kinetic energy of the impacts received into strength for the gloves.
    • Superhuman Durability: The Power Suit made Stryker extremely durable, being designed to absorb kinetic energy to reduce physical damage to its user. Stryker was able to withstand direct bullet hits and blows from Luke Cage's superhuman strength.

Abilities

"I'mma whoop your ass up and down the block."
―Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]
Luke and Diamondback

Diamondback fighting against Luke Cage

  • Expert Combatant: Stryker is a highly skilled combatant. He is skilled in Boxing, as he has taught this fighting style to Luke Cage. In their later fights, Stryker was able to hold his own against the super strong Cage, although during one fight Cage was weakened by Judas Bullet wounds and another fight, Stryker had used his Battle Suit to enhance his own strength.
  • Knife Mastery: Stryker is also highly proficient in knife throwing, as he was able effortlessly to hurl a knife into Jacques Alef's eye from across a table.
  • Master Marksman: Stryker is a master marksman. He is highly skilled with various firearms such as assault rifles, pistols, and sniper rifles.

Equipment

Weapons

"You wouldn't believe how expensive these things are. Untraceable, alien metal, explosive."
"You hit Luke Cage with one of these. He's still alive. If it didn't work, what's the big deal?"
―Diamondback and Black Mariah[src]
DiamondbackHoldingRifle

Diamondback taking aim at Luke Cage

  • Judas Rifle: Stryker was able to obtain one of these firearms as part of his black market dealings, and kept it for himself. Once he decided to step up and deal with Luke Cage himself, following Cage's interference with one his dealers, Cornell Stokes, Stryker sniped on Cage and was able to shoot one of the bullets on Cage's stomach. Claire Temple managed to take Cage into an ambulance, but they were chased by Stryker into Harlem Women's Clinic, where he shot another bullet, perforating the wall and making it explode. Cage went to confront Stryker, first in close quarters inside the clinic, and then stalling him preventing from firing again inside United Palace Theater, where he left Stryker unconscious. Stryker followed Cage, and shot another bullet to him, that made Cage fell inside a garbage truck, where Stryker hoped he would die. Stryker then took his rifle to Harlem's Paradise, and he assembled it to shoot the last Judas Bullet he had with him while Cage bumped inside and caused a hostage situation. Stryker managed to ambush Cage while holding Candace Miller hostage, and shot at him while Cage rushed to rescue her. However, Cage managed to avoid the bullet, that ended up hitting a chair and causing it to explode.
  • Glock 19: Stryker took Misty Knight's gun when he entered inside Harlem Women's Clinic, taking her hostage. He threatened Knight with the gun, but instead of killing her, he knocked her out with it.
Stryker shoots Misty

Diamondback shooting at Misty Knight

  • Walther PPK: Stryker carried two of these handguns as his sidearms, resorting to its use in order to deal with his enemies. He used one of them to shoot at Darnell to demonstrate his leadership when taking over Cottonmouth's organization following his death, and to execute mob leaders Neville Barnwell, Peter Hong, Juan Carlos Castro and Jacques Alef during a meeting. Stryker then shot at Misty Knight during a hostage situation inside Harlem's Paradise, trying to kill her to frame Luke Cage and then using it to threaten Damon Boone before killing him with his Judas Gauntlet. Stryker then resorted to using them to engage in a shootout against Domingo Colon and his men, who ambushed him to kill him. Stryker retaliated until he managed to get his own bulletproof battle suit, and killed Colon and all his men.
  • Hammer Industries Grenade Launcher: Stryker used this grenade launcher in order to go through the barricades that Luke Cage put inside Harlem's Paradise during a hostage situation. Stryker shot a grenade to the kitchen's door, causing an explosion that blasted the door and the furniture placed behind it.
  • Hand Grenade: Stryker used this grenade to ambush Luke Cage at Pop's Barber Shop.
  • Knife: Stryker threw this knife to kill Jacques Alef.

Other

WStryker-JudasGauntlet

Diamondback wears the Judas Gauntlet

  • Judas Gauntlet: The gauntlet allowed the user to punch with superhuman strength. It is powerful enough to crush a man's bones with a single punch, and while Luke Cage could survive hits from it due to his unbreakable skin, it was strong enough to launch him several feet into the air and cause him pain.
"Surprise, Carl. This suit's Hammer tech, made just for you."
―Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]
  • Power Suit: A powered suit developed by Hammer Industries that absorbs kinetic energy to reduce damage to the user, and power gauntlets that enable to user to inflict massive damage. It is also incredibly durable, able to withstand Luke Cage's punches and Shades' gunshots with almost no damage done to the wearer.

Facilities

  • Lieber Academy: With the checks provided by James Lucas, Stryker was able to attend the Lieber Academy in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Harlem's Paradise: Upon Cottonmouth's death, Stryker arrived at Harlem to hunt down Luke Cage himself. He took the command of the Stokes Crime Family members, using Harlem's Paradise as his personal headquarters. Later, Stokes' gangsters cornered Cage and Misty Knight at the club, so Stryker ordered his subordinates to hold other attendants as hostages, while the club was surrounded by the NYPD. Eventually, Stryker had Cage to save Candace Miller and escaped from the club, leaving Cage and Shades for the police.
  • Pier 22 Warehouse: Stryker established the production of the Judas Bullets and ordered to store them at the warehouse at Pier 22. He invited Mariah Dillard to join him at the warehouse where he showed her the Judas Bullets 2.0 which were less stronger but could be used by the NYPD against Luke Cage.
  • Diamondback's Warehouse Hideout: As Harlem's Paradise was kept by the NYPD, Stryker had to relocate his operations at the abandoned warehouse in Harlem. Stryker met with Zip and Turk Barrett at the warehouse to discuss their business and also ordered Zip to assassinate Shades. Later, Stryker and his subordinates were attacked by the Colon Crime Family led by Domingo Colon. During the confrontation with Colon gangsters, Stryker used his battlesuit to take down all hostiles and set up the bomb to destroy the warehouse.

Prisons

  • Raft: Following his duel with Luke Cage, Stryker was sent to the Raft to serve his sentence.

Relationships

Family

Allies

Enemies

Appearances

Appearances for Willis Stryker

In chronological order:

Trivia

  • In the comics, Willis Stryker was a childhood friend of Carl Lucas and Shades. Jealous of the love of Reva Connors for Lucas, Stryker framed him hiding stolen Maggia's drugs in his house. Maggia then tried to kill Willis but ended up killing Connors instead.
    • In the comics, Cage had a brother named James Lucas, Jr., codenamed Coldfire, who underwent an experiment led by Karl Malus to gain superpowers in order to fight his hated brother.

Behind the Scenes

References

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