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Who Was Luke Cage’s FIRST VILLAIN In The Comics? Diamondback!


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Luke Cage’s First Villain

Luke Cage
©2023 MARVEL

Luke Cage, also known as Power Man or his legal name Carl Lucas, is a superhero who focuses on fighting street-level threats in Harlem, New York. Over the years, he has faced several local villains, including Kingpin, Cottonmouth, and Tombstone. However, the first villain to challenge Luke Cage’s strength was Willis Stryker, also known as Diamondback.

Diamondback was a former fellow gang member alongside the now reformed Carl Lucas. His rivalry with Luke Cage began before Cage obtained his powers. Diamondback framed Carl out of jealousy over a girl named Reva Connors. Despite Luke Cage’s bulletproof abilities, Diamondback remains a formidable opponent, sparking a rivalry that has endured for decades.

Luke Cage
©2023 MARVEL

Diamondback History

Diamondback, aka. Willis Stryker, made his first comic book appearance in Luke Cage: Hero For Hire #1 back in 1972. The character was created by Archie Goodwin and George Tuska.

In the beginning, before Carl Lucas became the hero Luke Cage, he and Stryker were both members of a local street gang called The Rivals. Their main rivals at the time was another street gang called The Diablos, and apart from the recurring dust up their activities mostly consisted of low level petty crimes.

At a certain point, Carl was able to leave the gang life behind after finding an honest job. Willis remained in the criminal underworld, eventually working for a local crime lord named Sonny Caputo. Even with their different life choices, the two remained good friends…for a time.

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Luke Cage
©2023 MARVEL

Diamondback’s Betrayal

Eventually, the two best friends find themselves in love with the same woman, who in turn is in love with both Carl and Willis. The woman’s name was Reva Connors. Things inevitably came to a head, and Stryker wanted Reva to himself, and Carl out of the picture. How was he going to manage that? Framing Carl with drugs, and getting him sent to prison.

It is in prison where Carl Lucas obtains his powers through a government experiment gone wrong, and takes the name of Luke Cage. After Cage escapes prison, he goes on to confront Diamondback leading to their first of many conflicts over the years.


Its Thurday again and that means it’s time for another First Villains episode! This week im going over the first villain to challenge Luke Cage, Diamondback! #NerdInitiative #CreateWithoutFear #ComicBooks #MarvelComics #LukeCage #Diamondback #FirstVillain #Marvel Who was Luke Cage’s first villain in the comics? Luke Cage’s first enemy. Was Diamondback the first villain of Luke Cage? Marvel Comics. First Villain. comic books.

♬ original sound – Nerd Initiative
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Final Thought

While the bulletproof protector of Harlem has faced many more serious threats since his debut. No one else is able to claim that they were the first to attempt to take down Luke Cage. Only one person can claim that title, and his name is Willis Stryker, aka. Diamondback!

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Jeremy Bowersock
Jeremy Bowersockhttps://linktr.ee/jjscomicstuff
Hi there, my name is Jeremy and I'm 32 years old from Ohio, and I LOVE comic books! I'm a content creator on TikTok. I also host two podcasts (Crossover Comics Podcast and The Comic Press Podcast). I'm so excited to have the opportunity to shar this amazing world of fandoms with the rest of the world. I want everyone to be able to enjoy and embrace their most nerdy self!

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