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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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[2]

Return

Several years later, Diamondback returned from the dead.[3] Having set his sights on becoming a crime leader, from Harlem to the Eastern Seaboard,[4] Stryker had his men arrange a meeting between different crime leaders at the Club Ultimate with the objective to begin weaving a network of influence. When the gathering was disrupted 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.[3]

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,[4] 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.[5]

Powers

Superhuman Strength: Following his return from the dead, Diamondback appeared to possess some degree of superhuman strength, being able to throw a person across a room, catch a punch from Jessica Jones and lift her up with one hand.[5]

Superhuman Speed: Following his return from the dead, Diamondback also appeared to possess some degree of superhuman speed.[5]

Abilities

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.



Equipment

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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