Willis Stryker

    Character » Willis Stryker appears in 58 issues.

    Willis Stryker, formerly friends with Luke Cage, framed Cage, who ended up in prison. Stryker was a knife specialist. He died when one of his own customized explosive knives detonated.

    Short summary describing this character.

    No recent wiki edits to this page.

    Grew up with Carl Lucas, now known as Luke Cage, and together helped one another to survive. Between the two, Carl had the hands and Willis had blades, and with these expert skills they ran a life of small time crime. Eventually Carl would grow tired of the dishonest life and get a small job, but Willis was just getting started. Willis eventually attempted to move in on mob territory.

    Carl and Willis were still good friends despite their different turns in life, but all that changed over a woman named Reva. She liked both men, but would come to love Carl. Stricken with paranoia and jealousy, Willis contemplated revenge on his old friend for stealing his girl. Willis framed Carl for narcotic charges, and Reva went back to him since her true love was in prison. As it turns out Willis stole the narcotics from the Maggia, a big time mob syndicate. They came after Willis, but ended up only killing Reva in the crossfire.

    Years later and Willis was getting closer to the top of organized crime, and now went by the alias of Diamondback. Carl broke out of jail after undergoing a special experiment that left him with steel-hard skin. Now going by Luke Cage, Carl sought revenge on Willis for getting Reva killed and to clear his own name.

    In a climactic fight, Diamondback killed himself by accident with his own exploding knife. Willis fell through a skylight window and landed with his knife next him. The blade exploded as it hit the ground, and just as he got a false sense of safety too.

    He had a henchman named the Gadget Man who made all his special knives for him.


    Willis Stryker, a.k.a. Diamondback, was created by Archie Goodwin and George Tuska in 1972 and first appeared in Hero For Hire #1.

    The Rivals

    A gang that operates in Spanish Harlem. It was recently revealed that Cage, then known as Carl Lucas, started the gang alongside Willis Stryker, Comanche, and Shades. According to Comanche the gang's activity got them sent to Seagate Prison.

    In Other Media


    Luke Cage

    Erik LaRay Harvey as Diamondback
    Erik LaRay Harvey as Diamondback

    Willis "Diamondback" Stryker appears as the main antagonist of the show's second half, played by Erik LaRay Harvey. He is heavily mentioned throughout the show's first half, with Hernan "Shades" Alvarez appearing as his proxy. He is a shadowy gangster and arms dealer who supplies experimental tech from Hammer Industries to Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, a powerful crime boss in Harlem. When Luke Cage proves to be a recurring thorn in Cottonmouth's side, Shades tells him that Diamondback has specialized bullets made from Chitauri metal that could pierce Cage's bulletproof skin. He informs Cottonmouth that he can either pay a ridiculously high price for the ammo, or ask Diamondback to kill Cage himself, with the latter option requiring Cottonmouth forfeit his territory.

    When Cottonmouth is killed by his cousin, Diamondback travels to Harlem to kill Cage. He manages to wound him, but the hero escapes. As the series progresses, it's revealed that Willis is not only Luke's childhood friend from back in Georgia, but also his illegitimate half-brother as well. Their father was the town's popular preacher, and he secretly had an affair with Willis' mother. Though Luke and Willis were close as children, their friendship ended when the two of them were arrested. Luke was able to avoid jail time by serving in the military, while Willis was given a lengthy sentence, with the boys' father refusing to help him. This caused Willis to develop a bitter hatred towards Luke, which only worsened when his mother died while he was in prison. This version of Willis is effectively combined with James Lucas Jr./Coldfire, Luke's brother from the comics.

    Diamondback's Hammer Industries suit
    Diamondback's Hammer Industries suit

    Once in control of Cottonmouth's territory, Diamondback sets out to ruin Luke's reputation by framing him for the murder of a police officer. The incident causes increased police hostility towards the people of Harlem, which consequently causes tempers to boil in the community. Willis plans to finish his plan by donning a suit of high-tech Hammer Industries battle armor, which allows him to fight Luke on even terms. The two engage in a fierce battle, which ultimately ends with Luke victorious and Willis sent to the hospital. In the series' closing moments, Dr. Noah Burnstein, the man responsible for Luke's abilities,is shown visiting the severely injured Willis in his hospital room, implying that he will offer him superpowers.


    This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

    Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

    Comment and Save

    Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.