When Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes isn’t controlling the drug trade in New York City, he’s using his business acumen to recruit new members into his criminal organization. But no one gets away with refusing, let alone betraying him. And just like the venomous pit viper, Cottonmouth has a painful and deadly bite—one that can pierce even Luke Cage’s steel-hard skin.


Crime Boss

Cornell Stokes runs the most successful crime operation in NYC, controlling most of the drug trade across the five boroughs. Sensing a kindred spirit in Luke Cage, Stokes once sent him a package of deadly snakes in a unique attempt to offer him a position in the hierarchy of his organization. Cage, however, was already seeking the crime boss to clear his name from Willis Stryker, AKA Diamondback’s attempts to frame him for drug trafficking. He employed an informant named Flea, but just before Flea was killed by Cottonmouth’s gang, he managed to alert Cage that Stokes is the one he’s been searching for.

In a rage over Flea’s death, Cage battled Cottonmouth. Once he realized Cottonmouth was a formidable foe with strength equal to his own, he paused to hear his offer out. Seeking proof of his own innocence, Cage joined the criminal organization despite the objections of Cottonmouth’s assistant Mr. Slick.

Cottonmouth and Mr. Slick tested Cage’s loyalty and—when he passed the test—they brought him deeper into the operation. Unable to root out any evidence of his innocence, Cage ultimately called the police on Cottonmouth. In learning of this betrayal, he attacked Cage, but during the fight, Slick intervened only to fall to his death. Cottonmouth informed Cage that Slick was the only one who possessed knowledge of all his business dealings thanks to his photographic memory, and thus Luke would be unable to clean his record. Cottonmouth was incarcerated but would later emerge again.

Cottonmouth's first appearance

A Razor-Sharp Bite

Cottonmouth boasts super strength equivalent to Luke Cage. He is an intelligent businessman and an adequate unarmed combatant. Cottonmouth’s razor-sharp teeth can tear through flesh. Initially, his teeth were presumably natural, but after most were broken in a fight, he had teeth made from surgical steel implanted and coated with 18-karat gold.



Luke Cage, a hero for hire with unbreakable skin and super strength, opposes Cottonmouth on several occasions. His first encounter with the crime lord is when he infiltrated Cottonmouth’s organization to clear his name for past charges. Cage, not finding the documents he needs to prove his innocence, betrays Cottonmouth to the police which leads to the death of Cottonmouth’s assistant, Mr. Slick.


Serpent Supporters

Mr. Slick, Mike, and Ike are all hired “snakes” that work for Cottonmouth. Mike and Ike are the muscular enforcer-types, whereas Mr. Slick is Cottonmouth’s right-hand man and adviser.


Cottonmouth fighting with Spider-Man

Tilda Johnson, AKA Nightshade, is a partner to Cottonmouth and the leader of the Rivals, a criminal organization. She joins Stokes in fights against both T'Challa, AKA Black Panther, and Luke Cage. Though New York’s various crime lords constantly jostle for power and authority, Nightshade and Cottonmouth share a mutual respect.







Universe, Other Aliases, Identity, Powers
  • Universe

  • Other Aliases

  • Identity

  • Powers

Slithering History

When Willis Stryker framed Luke Cage for a crime he didn’t commit, the villain used stolen drugs from NYC’s leading crime boss—Cottonmouth. After Cage used an informant named Flea to help clear his name and root out who Stryker stole the drugs from, Cottonmouth and Cage clashed.

Cottonmouth, however, saw Cage as a potential ally and offered him a job in his organization. Cage accepted in an attempt to find out more about the gang and to clear his name from past charges. Cage later betrayed Cottonmouth to the police before Cottonmouth’s assistant Mr. Slick got caught in the resulting crossfire and died. Per Cottonmouth, any information that could have cleared Cage’s name died with Slick. Upon learning this disappointing information, Cage attacked Cottonmouth and, knocking him unconscious, helped incarcerate him.

Later, Cottonmouth emerged again, scheming and working at a time when the Hand was policing Manhattan’s streets by order of their leader at the time, Matthew Murdock, AKA Daredevil. When three ninjas attacked and were about to seriously injure one of Cottonmouth’s colleagues, Victor Alvarez, AKA Power Man, emerged to save her, before breaking nearly all of Cottonmouth’s teeth.

Returning with a new set of dagger­like teeth made from surgical steel and coated with 18-karat gold, Cottonmouth sought revenge, but his partner Nightshade forbade it; she instead offered Power Man a job in her criminal organization, but he refused. When Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, arrived to rescue Power Man, the two destroyed Cottonmouth’s teeth again.


Iron Fist and Power Man destroy Cottonmouth's teeth again.