- "Life has taught me this. You can't drown sorrow with tears. If you want to erase sorrow, you must burn it."
John McIver, also known as Bushmaster, is the charismatic enhanced individual who had previously witnessed his family being murdered by Mama Mabel as he vowed revenge on the Stokes family. With a mission of vengeance, Bushmaster soon arrived in Harlem to kill Black Mariah, the last member of the Stokes family, only to be challenged by Luke Cage who stood in the way of Bushmaster's revenge mission. Bushmaster's continued attempts to kill Dillard resulted in him becoming mortally wounded, as he sought Tilda Johnson's aid for his recovery. However, Dillard took the opportunity to massacre the remaining members of Bushmaster's family, forcing him to make an uneasy alliance with Cage to stop Dillard's rampage before more innocent people got killed. Eventually however, Bushmaster was forced to return to Jamaica to recover from his near fatal wounds, having failed to kill Dillard himself.
Meeting the Stokes
Born to Gwen McIver and Quincy McIver, John McIver lived a life as the son of one of the co-owners of Harlem's Paradise. At one point, McIver befriended Sheldon when he was eleven years old. As a child, doctors came around with a free vaccination for the children of his community. McIver was the only survivor of the children who took the vaccination. He was regarded as special by his friends and families ever since.
John McIver's life faced upheaval when his father was murdered by Buggy Stokes. He and his mother moved to Kingston in order to get away from the Stokes family. For a time, McIver lived with his mother and his maternal relatives in Kingston, working in the family's holiday resort. In one particular day, his mother met with the Stokes in order to negotiate for his father's share of assets of Harlem's Paradise. McIver witnessed the hostile negotiation between his mother and Mama Mabel. While watching the meeting, McIver was ordered by the young Mariah Stokes to find her something to drink, threatening to reveal his presence if he didn't do so.
One night, while sleeping in his home, John and Gwen was attacked by Mabel and her gang. They threw molotov cocktail made with Bushmaster Rums into the house. With the explosive quickly setting their house ablaze, the McIver attempted to make their escape. Despite John's plead for his mother to escape first, Gwen made her son get out of the house. She didn't escape in time as John watched his home burn and crumble before him. Mabel arrived, taunting and throwing the legal papers into the fire. She mockingly apologized to McIver before leaving.
Two years later, at Trenchtown, McIver remained under the care of his uncle, Anansi and his aunt Ingrid Mackintosh. One day, while assisting his family by selling vegetables, he was approached by Pistol Pete. Unaware of the danger and not recognizing him, McIver was caught unaware as his assassin shot him in the stomach in retaliation for what his father did to Buggy Stokes.
Determined not to let his nephew die, Anansi carried McIver to the mountains to seek the aid of a healer who might be able to heal him. Once brought inside, the healer began using Nightshade in an attempt to heal the dying McIver. As he inhaled the smokes of the burning roots, McIver began rapidly healing from his gunshot wounds. Miraculously, McIver was saved from death and his hidden powers revealed. The assassination attempt and his mother's murder from two years prior has left McIver with a burning desire for vengeance against the Stokes.
Life with the Yardies
To be added
Taking Complete Control
- "You're saying paper covers rock?"
"Who do you think you're talking to? Mi from the rock, too, you know?"
"I am the rock."
- ―Bushmaster and Nigel Garrison
McIver, now calling himself Bushmaster, began his quest for revenge against the Stokes family and reclaim Harlem's Paradise which he believed to be his birthright. He and his best friend, Sheldon decided to make their first preparation to be establishing themselves in Brooklyn. Bushmaster aimed to do that by usurping control from Nigel Garrison, the boss of his old gang Yardies.
Bushmaster and Sheldon waited for Garrison at his hideout. While Sheldon left the scene, Bushmaster confronted Garrison about his dealings with Black Mariah. He declared that he will take control of the Stylers and reclaim Harlem. Garrison challenged his claim that even if he defeated Dillard, he still needed to content with the local enhanced vigilante, Luke Cage. Deciding that Garrison was unnegotiable, Bushmaster violently killed him and took control of the Yardies after demonstrating his own enhanced powers to the men.
With the Yardies under his control, Bushmaster prepared for the next phase of his plans. McIver headed to Gwen's, a restaurant named after McIver's mother, to visit his uncle, Anansi. He asked his uncle for information on where to get more Nightshade. Despite his uncle's warnings, he refused to heed them. Learning about where to get the roots, McIver also learned about Cage's popularity in Harlem. He decided if he wanted to claim Harlem, he needed to take out both Cage and Dillard.
Following the address provided by his uncle, McIver headed to Mother's Touch and met Tilda Dillard. Unaware of her connection to Mariah, McIver brought nightshades from her and generously gave her extra cash for the purchase. With the nightshades, McIver returned home to inhale it, restoring his power and recover himself from the injuries he sustained from the previous fight.
The next day, McIver and Sheldon planed on how to buy Dillard's guns. They also learned that Arturo Rey III was murdered and Cockroach Hamilton was beaten by Cage. They decided to use this development to their advantage since Dillard had no other option but to approach them for Garrison's money.
Not long after, McIver and the Stylers were approached by Dillard's second, Shades. He made it known to Shades that he was the leader of the Stylers now. He made his point clear when he handed him a bag of money and Garrison's decapitated head. McIver negotiated a deal with Shades for the hammer gun, outwardly appearing that he was satisfied with the deal while he planned for his upcoming retaliation against Dillard.
Meeting Luke Cage
Soon after, the Styler's hideout was visited by Cage who have been looking for Nigel Garrison. Bushmaster confronted Cage. They talked with Cage asking Bushmaster not to harm Harlem and Bushmaster offering an alliance in return. Unable to work together. he ordered the Stylers to attack Cage. As his men fought against the enhanced individual, Bushmaster made sure to observe his fighting style and Sheldon was recording the fight. Cage left when he believed that he had intimidated the Stylers enough.
Once Cage left the hideout, Bushmaster began making preparation for his fight against Cage. Inside his hideout, he inhaled another batch of nightshades as he trained while observing Sheldon's recording of Cage during the fight. Once he was sufficiently prepared, he left to confront his opponent in Harlem.
Confronting his Enemies
McIver managed to locate Luke Cage as he walked down the streets of Harlem. Distracted by his personal life, Bushmaster's opponent was completely unaware of McIver approaching him as Bushmaster caught him by surprise and attacked him. He challenged the vigilante's claim about who was the rightful protector of Harlem. Bushmaster fought against Cage. Using his superior fighting style to his advantage, his own enhanced strength and Cage's lack of knowledge and preparation, Bushmaster handily defeated Cage in front of the people of Harlem. He knocked his opponent unconscious. When Dave Griffith asked who he was, Bushmaster introduced himself before leaving the scene with his task to undermine Cage's reputation achieved.
Not long after, Bushmaster went to meet with Mariah Dillard inside of the Harlem's Paradise. As he held his meeting with Dillard, he inquired about who built the club. McIver also asked if she knew about her grandfather's partner, Bushmaster's father Quincy McIver. The meeting became tenser as Dillard denied all knowledge about Quincy, which infuriated Bushmaster. After briefly taunting Dillard about her family name, he concluded his business with her and left the club while subtly warning her to enjoy her power while she has it.
With his tasks completed for the day, McIver returned back to Gwen's to meet his family and friends unaware that he had been followed by Shades, who watched McIver closely as he interacted with all of his most dear loved ones.
With Dillard's guns and her underestimating him, Bushmaster put his revenge plans in motions. He and the Stylers killed Cockroach Hamilton, Mark Higgins and Andre Jackson/Ray Ray. Decapitating the heads of his victims, he placed them at the entrance to Dillard's Family First project which the aim to ruin all of her plans to become clean. He also planned for the kidnapping of Piranha Jones and gain access to all of Dillard's wealth. Unfortunately, that plan was foiled by Cage who have been invited to Jones' party during the attempt to kidnap him.
Once he was informed of Jones' escape, Bushmaster ordered his gang to begin a manhunt against Jones. While helping his family close the restaurant, McIver confronted his uncle about his disrespect and his disapproval of his actions. Anansi defended speaking his mind. He told his nephew that his actions were making their people look bad. He urged McIver to finish off Dillard rather than prolonging her suffering. Anansi urged his nephew to end his quest for revenge but Bushmaster refused and still intended to make Dillard suffer for what her family did to them.
The next day, McIver received a call from Cage. His opponent challenged him to a fight. If Cage won, McIver and his gang must leave Harlem whereas if McIver won, he will receive Jones. Agreeing to the challenge, McIver told Cage that he will be meeting him at High Bridge at noon.
Heading to the agreed location, Bushmaster confronted Cage who waited for him. Once again, they talked about their difference and Cage made it known that he knew about McIver's identity. Bushmaster made another offer of alliance which Cage refused again. Knowing that they won't be able to come to terms, they engaged one another in another battle on High Bridge.
At first, Bushmaster held the advantage during the fight. Using his fighting style and his agility, he continued with landing hits against his opponent. However, Cage was prepared and his bulletproof skin protected him from suffering major damage. Having gotten used to his fighting style, Cage began landing hits of his own which injured Bushmaster.
As the fight kept dragging on, Bushmaster, exhausted and injured, realized that he had to resort to trickery in order to defeat his opponent. During an opening, Bushmaster pulled poisoned powder from his pocket and blew it at Cage instantly paralyzing him. Having grown to admire his opponent's tenacity, Bushmaster declared his respect for Cage and sincerely wished that they could have been friends before pushing him off the bridge. Victorious, McIver went to claim Jones.
Claiming Harlem's Paradise
McIver and the Styler managed to capture Jones. Bringing him to a warehouse, they intimidated him to hand over Dillard's asset. Once McIver has claimed the wealth, he killed Jones and decapitated him, leaving his head in a fish tank.
Now a millionaire after gaining ownership of Dillard's wealth, McIver held another conversation with Anansi while buying another suit. His uncle asked what he wanted to do now that he has gained the wealth. McIver replied that his revenge wasn't finished until he has claimed Dillard's soul. When McIver asked why his uncle didn't felt vengeful, his uncle answered that vengeance wouldn't bring McIver's mother back.
Bushmaster and his gang headed out to find Dillard and her daughter attempting to gather their remaining money and escape. Holding both mother and daughter captured, Bushmaster told the history of their family. His father, Quincy McIver and Buggy Stokes built Harlem's Paradise together until the elder Stokes betrayed his family. He further explained the motivation for his revenge. Bushmaster revealed that his mother was killed by Mama Mabel.
Wanting to put the Dillards through the same suffering as he did in his youth, Bushmaster untired Tilda from her bonds and set Mariah's apartment aflame. He gave Tilda the option of either fleeing or save her mother before leaving the apartment to claim Harlem's Paradise.
Believing his vengeance to be completed, Bushmaster and the Stylers took over the club and the control of Harlem.
Around this time, Bushmaster also began suffering from the side-effects of the Nightshades. Despite his uncle's advice to stop hunting Dillard since he had won and to stop using the drugs, Bushmaster stubbornly ignored his uncle's advice and intended to kill Dillard and force Cage to surround by targeting his loved ones. He put out bounties for Dillard, Cage and their families.
When some of his men attacked Dillard in front of the police precinct, Bushmaster was soon questioned by Misty Knight and Nandi Tyler. Having already prepared for their arrival and having employed Dillard's lawyer Benjamin Donovan, the authorities weren't able to find anything to charge him with.
Bushmaster's supply of Nightshades had depleted and he began suffering from the withdrawal of it. Growing desperate and knowing that he needed the Nightshades in order to fight Cage, Bushmaster had the Stylers take control of the growhouses in New York City in order to create more of the plant. Bushmaster had an argument with his uncle about his drug uses. Despite his uncle's plead to stop his use of the plant and the impossibility of growing the plant without its native soil, Bushmaster maintained that he will be able to grow the plants in New York.
Attack on Rand Enterprises
- "You wanna stop me? Kill me. Because I will never stop coming. As long as I breathe air, I'll keep..."
"And I'll be here to stop you. Every single time. As long as I breathe."
- ―Bushmaster and Luke Cage
Bushmaster and the Stylers continued their search for Dillard. He had increased the bounty of her enemy. He also had the Styler armed with the weapons they gained from the previous deal with Dillard. The attempts to artificially produce nightshades had also been slow and McIver continued to suffer from the withdrawal. Soon, they were visited by Tyler who had decided to betray Dillard's location for the bounty.
Now knowing his enemy's location, Bushmaster abandoned Harlem's Paradise and gathered Sheldon and their gang to head toward their destination. Arriving at Rand Medical Facility, Bushmaster made an announcement to Cage inside the building. He once again declared his respect for Cage and offered to let him and his loved ones leave as long as he was allowed to kill Dillard. Cage decided to refuse his offer.
Bushmaster ordered his men to begin attacking the facility as he began engaging Cage in single combat once again. Weakened by his withdrawal and the lack of Nightshades, Bushmaster found himself at a disadvantage by his adversary. His strength and speed were slowed by his side-effects. Ultimately, Bushmaster was defeated by Cage. Despite warning his opponent that he won't stop as long as he was alive, McIver was knocked unconscious by Cage. He was subsequently arrested for his crimes.
While being taken away by the authorities, McIver began asking his guards if they knew about Jamaica. After talking about old stories and his country, McIver revealed that he has hidden a Hammer Tech explosive. The explosion stopped the van. McIver was grievously injured by the explosion, but he managed to escape his capture and was brought to safety by Sheldon.
His friend brought him to Mother's Touch to get Johnson's assistance.
A Temporary Truce
McIver was brought to a disclosed location to be treated by Johnson while Sheldon ensured that he was healed. Through the use of Johnson's supply of nightshades, McIver was able to rapidly heal injuries and have his powers restored. He learned from Johnson that his internal organs are poisoned and he was dying from the overuse of Nightshades. Much to McIver and Sheldon's shock and grief, they learned that in his absence, Gwen's was attacked and many of their friends were murdered. To McIver's sorrow, he learned that his uncle was burned to death.
McIver went to look into the abandoned restaurant. Looking at the scene, he blamed himself for his loved ones' death. Despite Johnson being Dillard's daughter, he decided to spare her out of gratitude for saving his life.
He then went to visit the morgue and find his uncle's burned corpse. As he mourned for his uncle, he was unexpectedly visited by his aunt Ingrid Mackintosh having been saved and protected by Cage. His aunt urged McIver to talk to Cage while she mourned for her husband. Outside the room, McIver expressed his gratitude to Cage for protecting his aunt. Cage told McIver to stop his quest to kill Dillard as he would be there to stop him. Respecting his opponent's conviction, McIver simply replied that he didn't look forward to killing Cage. He then returned to his aunt's side and comfort her in her grief.
Not long after, Bushmaster faced further problems when his reputation was damaged by drugs imprinted with his name. Seeking to defend his name, Bushmaster went to confront Hai-Qing Yang who produced the drugs. As he went to fight the gang, he was unexpectedly assisted by Luke Cage. With their goals aligned, they both joined force and fought against the Chinese gang although Cage made sure that Bushmaster did not kill anyone. Once they defeated their attackers, the hostility between them resumed when they disagreed on what to do with the warehouse. Although Bushmaster gave Cage a chance to leave before he destroyed the building, his adversary wouldn't let him. After briefly fighting, Bushmaster managed to fight Cage off and made his escape.
- "All is well, brother. We can't lose. But my mother's calling to me. She wants justice. Hmm? Tonight...I'm gonna give it to her."
- ―Bushmaster to Sheldon
Returning home, he found Sheldon waiting with Tilda Johnson. Having come to terms with Mariah Dillard's villainy, she had decided to assist Bushmaster in his quest to kill Dillard. She revealed where he could enter Harlem's Paradise from a tunnel entrance. When asked about what he could do about her numerous guards, Johnson gave him a supershot of Nightshades which would double his powers. She explained that it might destroy his body and mind for good. Despite Sheldon's protest, Bushmaster agreed to Johnson's offer as he was determined to avenge the death of his family.
At night, Bushmaster went to meet Johnson at the back entrance of Harlem's Paradise. Before he entered, Johnson asked him not to harm any innocents. Once he was right beneath the club, Bushmaster injected the supershot of Nightshades. With his powers enhanced, he charged into the club and began attacking Dillard's guards.
With his powers strengthened, Bushmaster easily defeated all of Dillard's guards. As expected, he encountered Luke Cage and Misty Knight who had tried to stop him. With his strength increased, he easily defeated Cage and Knight before he continued his pursuit of Dillard. He headed to Dillard's shelter and found a metal door barring his way. He began repeatedly punching the door and was able to break it and enter the shelter.
He dodged a bullet from Shades as he went for Dillard. Cage and Knight managed to recover in time to fight him again. Facing all three of his opponents, Bushmaster overpowered them for most of the fight. Eventually, he was able to get his hands on Dillard. Consumed by vengeance and the nightshades clouding his rationality, he decided to strangle her to death. This gave his opponents an opening to take him down. While he was put on hold by Cage, Dillard urged his opponent to kill him. Ultimately, Bushmaster was spared by Cage and he used the opportunity to break his grasp and make his escape. Bushmaster left Harlem's Paradise, having failed to achieve his goal to kill Dillard.
Returning to Jamaica
After his failed attempt to kill Dillard, Bushmaster and his allies hide at Mother's Touch and received medical aid from Johnson. During his stay, McIver told Johnson that Dillard needed to die before she harmed anyone else. With his failure to achieve his revenge and the nightshades taking a heavy toll on his body, McIver and his aunt returned back to Jamaica for McIver to recover and give his uncle a proper burial in his native home.
- "You can't talk tough if you can't breath, eh?"
- ―Bushmaster to Luke Cage
After witnessing the death of his mother and barely surviving an attempt on his own life, John McIver became heavily fixated on revenge against the Stokes family. His vendetta against the Stokes, Mariah in particular, was so strong he frequently insisted on referring to her by her maiden name whenever mentioned. Despite his obsession with revenge and brutal methods, he had a great deal of respect for his close friends and remaining family, namely his aunt Ingrid and uncle Anansi.
He was also very proud of his Jamaican heritage, being particular defensive of Usain Bolt after it was commented that Luke Cage was faster than Bolt. He even implied that he had attacked Cage purely to prove his inferiority for the comment.
Powers and Abilities
- Nightshade Enhancement: After going though an Obeah ritual, performed on him by a Jamaican bushwoman, Bushmaster gained superhuman abilities due to inhaling a lucid compound called Nightshade. Despite being granted with physically enhanced abilities, Nightshade's healing properties are not ever lasting, meaning Bushmaster must take Nightshade, if he suffered severe injuries.
- Superhuman Strength: Bushmaster possesses physical strength sufficient to knock down and injure Luke Cage, and even cause internal damage to his body. Bushmaster is able to break down a steel door with multiple blows that damaged it severely from the back.
- Superhuman Durability: After his first Nightshade enhancement, his skin was hardened, making him far more resilient than a normal human. While not as durable as Cage, he is bulletproof to some extent, with bullets embedding into his skin rather than bouncing off him. He was able to survive a point blank explosion inside a police van, which had enough force two kill two guards and demolish the van; although it should be noted that he was left in a critical state, and required Tilda Johnson's help to heal him.
- Superhuman Speed: Bushmaster can move at speeds exceeding that of the finest human athlete. He was able to fight Luke Cage in close combat, outmaneuvering his attacks as fast as possible and even dodging bullets that are aimed at him.
- Superhuman Agility: Bushmaster is able to perform athletic feats that make him agile, using his acrobatic abilities to excel at close combat and survive from great heights with a simple jump and a roll.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Bushmaster was able to evade a bullet shot at him from close distance by Shades.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: After inhaling the herb of smoke during the Obeah ceremony, his bullet wounds had completely healed in mere seconds. When near death, Bushmaster suffered tearing and scars on his skin, after having Nightshade spreaded onto him, Bushmaster's wounds were fully healed in a short amount of time.
- Master Martial Artist: McIver is an extremely skilled martial artist and combatant, able to easily incapacitate Nigel Garrison and kill him. He also utilizes Judo, Taekwondo, Capoeira, and Boxing in his fighting style. McIver is skilled enough to take down multiple men and Luke Cage, a highly skilled combatant. McIver also went head to head with Cage, Misty Knight, and Shades at the same time, though he eventually lost due to Cage's superior durability.
- Master Acrobat: McIver is extremely skilled in acrobatics, able to take down Luke Cage with a flip kick and utilize his acrobatics in his fights.
- Master Tactician: Mclver is an extreme, highly effective planner.
- Bilingualism: McIver is fluent in both English and Jamaican Patois, often interspersing the two languages in conversation with other Patois speakers.
- Nightshade: To be added
- Knife: To be added
- In the comics, John McIver is a powerful crime-boss who coerced Noah Burstein in replicating the experiment that gave Luke Cage his powers.
Behind the Scenes
- Brandon McClary was a stunt double for Mustafa Shakir and Mounir Quazzani was a stunt double for Mekhi Hewling in the role of Bushmaster.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Luke Cage: 2.11: The Creator
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.01: Soul Brother #1
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.02: Straighten It Out
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Luke Cage: 2.03: Wig Out
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.04: I Get Physical
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.05: All Souled Out
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Luke Cage: 2.06: The Basement
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.07: On and On
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.08: If it Ain't Rough, it Ain't Right
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.09: For Pete's Sake
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Luke Cage: 2.12: Can't Front on Me
- ↑ Luke Cage: 2.13: They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)