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"I mean, look at these super freaks. This is nothing less than a battle for the soul of Harlem."
Mariah Dillard[src]

The Duel at Malcolm X Boulevard was an open confrontation between Luke Cage and Diamondback, with the latter using an enhanced Hammer Industries battle suit to replicate Cage's abilities.

Background

"You have to get past me first."
"I don't go past. I go through."
Luke Cage and Diamondback[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. 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 while Diamondback remained calm throughout.

Eventually Diamondback made it to the back where he opened a crate which contained his own Specialized Battle Suit, as he looked down upon it, Diamondback quoted the bible before putting it on. Stepping out into the gunfight, Diamondback soon defeated his attackers before using the Judas Gauntlet to punch Colon in the stomach and crush his bones. He then set off a bomb, causing massive damage and disposing of any survivors.[2]

Luke Cage headed back to Pop's Barber Shop where he met Mariah Dillard and Shades. They told Cage that they came to offer him a truce and an alliance against Diamondback. The suggestion was that in exchange for helping him find Diamondback, Cage would stop hunting them. In addition they would help exonerate him from his crimes as both Carl Lucas and Luke Cage. While Cage considered the offer, Misty Knight appeared, having followed Cage. Before the tension got violent, they were interrupted when a grenade exploded outside the shop. Diamondback was ready for the battle and he had also prepared his battle suit to fight Luke Cage.[3]

Duel

"Where you going, Carl? I'mma whoop your ass up and down the block."
Diamondback to Luke Cage[src]
Diamondback gets upper hand

Luke Cage and Diamondback fight each other

Diamondback punched Luke Cage, knocking him down to the street with crowds of people watching him. Diamondback kept punching Cage, sending him flying through the air. He then approached Cage again and proclaimed that James Lucas never loved his wife but he loved Dana Stryker, in reference to his own mother. They continued to fight while Knight was discussed the matter with the police force. While the fight continued, Mariah Dillard went on record, saying that Cage was the very same Carl Lucas who escaped from Seagate Prison. Watching the intense battle, Claire Temple asked Knight if Cage could win the fight with Knight responding confidently that she believed in Cage.

Diamondback-Defeated

Diamondback is defeated by Luke Cage

Diamondback then demonstrated his power further by throwing a motorcycle at Cage, but Cage was able to withstand the attack. Diamondback understood that he needed to use a new tactic to defeat Cage, remembering how he was able to fight strategically to leave his opponents exhausted in a fight when he was younger. While Cage struggled against Diamondback's relentless attacks, the crowd cheered for him, pushing him to remember his own successes when he was younger and to defeat Diamondback with a final and powerful punch.[3]

Aftermath

"Looks like this place don't wanna be a barber shop anymore."
"Maybe not."
"But whatever it is, it's gonna be famous. People are gonna be talking about what went down here for years."
Bobby Fish and Luke Cage[src]

At the precinct, Luke Cage explained his side of the story to Misty Knight, discussing his experience with Cottonmouth and his desire to protect the people of Harlem. Cage was eventually able to clear his name and was no longer a suspect. He and Claire Temple stayed in the precinct to eat and relax after the ordeal they had all gone through. Cage noticed Mariah Dillard was about to leave and approached her, only for Dillard to deny any knowledge of the information they required and escape. Knight entered and explained that their only witness, Candace Miller, had been killed, negating the evidence in the case against Dillard. Temple blamed herself for Miller's death. As Cage went to comfort her, Marshall Franco and Marshall Johnson entered and called Cage by his real name, Carl Lucas. While Cage may have been cleared of his more recent charges, they had come to arrest him for his unlawful escape from Seagate Prison.

Diamondback was arrested by the New York City Police Department for his crimes, but was first taken to a hospital where he was given a neck brace to help him recover from the fight. While he sat in his hospital bed, Diamondback was visited by Noah Burstein.[3]

References

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