Early Life

Willis Stryker was born and raised in Harlem, New York. He grew up on the streets alongside Carl Lucas, his best friend and future partner.

The Rivals

Willis and Carl were recruited into The Rivals. The gang consisted mostly of Carl Lucas, Stryker, Shades and Comanche. They engaged in many gang fights with The Diablos, a rival gang. Stryker started seeing a woman named Reva Connors, but after he was seriously beaten in a gangland brawl, Reva turned from Stryker and started going with Lucas. Willis, devastated by jealousy, framed Lucas by planting drugs in his home. Carl was sent to Seagate Prison. The drugs belonged to the Syndicate so they hunted Willis but ended up killing Reva.[3]

Rivals (Earth-616) from Shadowland Power Man Vol 1 2 0001

The Rivals

Luke Cage

While in prison, Carl took part in an experiment which granted him super strength and unbreakable skin. Carl broke out of prison and returned to New York, establishing himself as a hero for hire under the alias of Luke Cage as a means of making money while he sought vengeance on Stryker.[3]

At some point, Willis Stryker was a part of the Rigoletto Crime Family alongside Wilson Fisk and Miles Morales until Don Rigoletto was killed by Wilson Fisk.[4]

During Luke's time in prison, Stryker joined the Syndicate and became a high ranking member. Stryker earned the nickname Diamondback due to the speed at which he could strike with a throwing knife.

Willis Stryker (Earth-616) from All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update Vol 1 1 001

Stryker ordered his men to kidnap Cage in retaliation for Cage having interfered in the Syndicate's business. When this failed, Stryker resolved to deal with the hero for hire personally and ordered Gadget, his weapons designer, to create some trick knives that could harm Cage. To draw him out, Stryker kidnapped Claire Temple, a doctor who recently befriended Cage.

After rescuing Claire, Cage revealed to Stryker that he was in fact Carl Lucas, and that he didn't die during his escape from prison. Stryker battled Cage on a rooftop but during the fight Stryker fell through a skylight and was blown up by one of his own trick knives.[5]


Several years later, Diamondback returned from the dead and set up a protection racket in DUMBO.[6] With backing from the former Kingpin of crime Wilson Fisk,[7] Stryker set his sights on becoming a crime leader.[8] When he had his men arrange a meeting between different crime leaders at the Club Ultimate to weave a network of influence, Stryker's plans were intercepted by Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Daredevil. Diamondback decided to strike back, having people carry out attacks in his name while he personally injured Cage's wife, Jessica Jones.[2]

Diamondback was eventually tracked down by Luke Cage while trying to do business with crimelord Black Cat. Having come prepared, Stryker took down Cage with a toxic dust,[8] and left him to die. Unfortunately for Diamondback, Black Cat had compassion on Cage and brought him to the Night Nurse, who saved his life. Jessica Jones and Cage's allies retaliated against Diamondback, ambushing Club Ultimate. Though hurt, Diamondback escaped, displaying previously unseen superhuman strength and speed.[9]

While staking-out Club Ultimate, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones were attacked by Diamondback as soon as he noticed them. Though Diamondback initially had the upper hand,[10] he was pummeled by Iron Fist. Stryker was subsequently arrested, and immediately transferred to prison due to being deemed too high-risk to be held in county lockup.[11] Stryker shared transport with Frank Castle, whom he taunted until Castle attacked him, causing the van to overturn and facilitate his escape.[12] As his next course of action, Diamondback fatally injured the Black Cat at her penthouse to consolidate his position as crime lord. The Defenders tracked down Diamondback and subdued him in spite of him having taken an overdose of the power-bestowing drug Diamond that he trafficked. In a turn of events, Diamondback walked away from the ensuing trial without going to prison thanks to a lawyer provided by Fisk.[7]

Diamondback continued making moves to build up his reputation. First, he killed the Black Cat's second-in-command Hammerhead in order to take over his operations,[13] and then he assembled his own crew of super-villains to take down the Defenders, this team consisted of Moonstone, Fixer and Titania.[4] Not long afterwards, Diamondback was confronted by the Defenders outside Hammerhead's club. Even though Stryker responded with his trio of supervillains and even used Diamond to empower himself and go toe-to-toe against Cage, he was finally defeated after the Black Cat, who had recovered from her injuries, shot him multiple times from behind with an automatic rifle. Following Diamondback's defeat, all of his operations were appropriated by The Hood.[14]


Power-Bestowing Drug: Through the regular consumption of a drug called Diamond provided by Wilson Fisk,[7] Diamondback has managed to display the following powers:

  • Superhuman Strength: Following his return from the dead, Diamondback appeared to possess some degree of superhuman strength, being to flip over a car with one hand, and catch a punch from none other than Iron Fist.[9]
  • Superhuman Speed: Following his return from the dead, Diamondback also appeared to possess some degree of superhuman speed.[9]
  • Superhuman Durability: Diamondback demonstrated the ability to take punches from Jessica Jones and even Iron Fist.[11]


Skilled Combatant: Stryker is a self-taught hand-to-hand combatant with years of street fighting experience.

Knife Throwing: Stryker is self-taught in the use of knife throwing, he is skilled and has amazing accuracy. He is also skilled in knife fighting.

Strength level

Stryker has the strength of a human male who engages in intensive regular exercise.


Knives: Stryker used both conventional knives and ones which have been modified by Gadget Man to include gas, sonic disruptors and explosives.

  • Though they have the same name, Diamondback has no connection or relation to anti-mutant hater William Stryker or his son Jason likely due to the fact that Diamondback's supposed death happened years before William Stryker's debut.

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