For other uses, see Shades (disambiguation)
"The secret to every great lie is it has to run parallel to the truth."

Hernan Alvarez, commonly nicknamed Shades, is a criminal who worked for Diamondback. He was sent to watch over and advise the criminal operations of Cottonmouth in Harlem, which put him back into conflict with a former enemy, Luke Cage while also watching the rise of Mariah Dillard in the wake of Cottonmouth's murder. When Diamondback arrived in Harlem to kill Cage, Shades stayed by his side although his constant questioning of his boss eventually made him a target, forcing him to side with Dillard and betray Diamondback to save his own life.


Early Life

Help from Mama Mabel

"I didn't have shit, I grew up on the street, but the one name that always rang out was Stokes. You needed a thanksgiving turkey, go see Mama Mabel Stokes, school clothes, Mama Mabel Stokes. Your old man put his hands on you, Mama Mabel Stokes and it would never ever happen again."

Hernan Alvarez was born in Harlem within New York City, growing up with no money and almost no chance of living a good life as he lived on the streets of the city. During his youth, Alvarez learned to respect the name Stokes, going to Mama Mabel for any form of assistance that may be needed at any time.[1]

Running with Cottonmouth

"Came up in Harlem, rolled around with Cottonmouth in the late '90s, spent some time at Spofford, Sing Sing, then you made it to the big time, went to Seagate."
Priscilla Ridley[src]

By the late 1990s, Alvarez joined Cottonmouth's burgeoning criminal empire in Harlem, although he was arrested multiple times for minor incidents, being sent to Spofford Juvenile Center in the Bronx and also the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. However, he eventually escalated to more serious criminal activities, and was sent to Seagate Prison in Georgia as a result.[2]

Time in Seagate


Shades gets his orders from Albert Rackham

"See, I'm of the mind that we stomp your ass, and find a new dude to fight for Rackham, especially since you trying to expose some shit that's going on a Seagate."
"Guess I can't trust nobody around here, can I?"
―Shades and Carl Lucas[src]

During his time locked up within Seagate Prison, Shades built up a working relationship with one of the guards, Albert Rackham, who was organizing prison fights and needed Shades to recruit potential fighters for him. When Carl Lucas arrived at the prison, Rackham viewed him as a potential candidate for their fighting matches. Shades questioned what Lucas might have done to have earned his prison time but Rackham only speculated he had annoyed someone very badly and had been sent to rot in prison for so many years.


Shades and Comanche attack Carl Lucas

Rackham sent Shades and Comanche to test Lucas' strength by attacking him in the middle of the night with knives. While Comanche covered Lucas' face with a bag, Shades hit him repeatedly in the chest until Lucas was able to recover his senses and threw Shades against a wall, at which point Comanche drew his knife. While Lucas bashed Shades repeatedly with his cell door, he was able to disarm Comanche and threw both his attackers out of his room before allowing himself to be arrested by the guards and put into solitary confinement where Rackham still tormented him.


Shades follows and threatens Reva Connors

Eventually due to threats against his friend Squabbles' life, Rackham was able to convince Lucas to join their fighting matches. Shades joined Rackham down in the basement of the prison as Lucas got into the ring and quickly proved himself as a highly skilled and very dangerous fighter, beating his enemies to a pulp until they could no longer stand. In order to keep Lucas willing to stay involved with the fights, Rackham ordered Shades to build a relationship with Reva Connors, who Lucas was close to so that Rackham could threaten her life and keep him on his side.


Shades prepares to beat Carl Lucas to death

Before long it was discovered that Carl Lucas planned on exposing Albert Rackham's organization, with Rackham learning his by beating Squabbles to death during his interrogation. Shades and Comanche followed Lucas as he made his way through Seagate Prison and at first complimented him on his fighting skills before revealing their true intentions, warning that if he did not change his mind they would kill him and replace him in the ring. They proceeded to beat Lucas almost to death, with him seemingly dying later due to an explosion elsewhere in the prison which also killed Rackham.[3]

Controlling Cottonmouth

Hunting the Stolen Guns

Shades Profile

Shades meets with Cottonmouth

"Y'all got hit last night, expensive and exclusive hard to get hardware that Diamondback gave you is in a police evidence lockup, and the money that Domingo and his crew were supposed to give you is gone. I'm with Diamondback now, you knew that right?"
―Shades to Cottonmouth[src]

When Diamondback learned that the Justin Hammer guns he had given to Cottonmouth to be sold to Domingo Colon had been stolen, he sent Shades to deal with the situation. Shades arrived at Harlem's Paradise where he greeted Cottonmouth and explained the situation, while Tone insulted him. When Cottonmouth suggested this was a takeover, Shades noted that he would be powerless to stop Diamondback.


Shades and Tone discuss finding the thieves

Shades then joined Cottonmouth and Tone as he had a meeting with his cousin Mariah Dillard during her political campaign. Shades kept his distance as Cottonmouth spoke with Dillard about the money he owed her before returning to them. Asking for an update, Shades listened as Tone explained that Dante Chapman was correct that the heist was planned with Shameek Smith and Chico Diaz's assistance. Shades questioned if they were any closer to finding their targets but Tone claimed they were not, so Cottonmouth ordered the hit for them both and find them as quickly as possible.


Shades later returns to Harlem's Paradise

It did not take long for Shades and Tone to track down Smith, who they brought to Stokes under the concept that Domingo Colon's people were looking for him since the heist and Stokes wished to protect him, which was a lie as he simply wished to interrogate the man who had stolen his money from him in order to find the rest and repay Dillard. As Shades walked through the kitchen, he passed by a dishwasher called Luke Cage, who watched him closely as he walked by with Smith, although Shades payed the man almost no attention what-so-ever as he continued walking.


Shades sees Cottonmouth kill Shameek Smith

Shades returned to Harlem's Paradise with the now captured Smith and watched as Cottonmouth proceeded to slap him repeatedly, calling him a little bitch and demanding to know where the rest of his money was. When Smith refused to answer and instead spit his own blood in Cottonmouth's face, Shades looked on as Cottonmouth proceeded to punch Smith in the skull until he had killed him. As Cottonmouth stood up, now covered in Smith's blood, he ordered Shades and Tone to find Chico Diaz and recover the rest of his stolen money and bring them both back to him.[4]

Hunting Chico Diaz


Shades and Cottonmouth go to visit Pop

"I'm from around the way, grew up right here, everyone knows Pop. There's this little Puerto Rican kid, I can't remember his name, it's like Rico or Chico. Yeah, Chico, used to shape me up back in the day, he was real good too, was hoping he was still around."
"People come and go, you know how it is right?"
―Shades and Luke Cage[src]

Shades joined Cottonmouth as they traveled to Pop's Barber Shop in order to try and learn the location of Chico Diaz. As Cottonmouth got a shave with a razor from his old friend Pop, Shades and Tone sat down and watched while Cottonmouth and Pop's discussed life and the luxury of free time. As Shades listened on, Stokes noted that young people wanted everything too fast and would lie, cheat and steal to get what they wanted, clearly referencing Shameek Smith's recent robbery of their money and his death that followed.


Shades asks Luke Cage about Chico Diaz

At one point, Luke Cage accidentally broke his broom and Shades noted that it was clearly very cheap while Cage claimed it was just old. Shades then went on to explain that he had just left Seagate Prison and was looking for Diaz, claiming that he used to cut his hair for him and he wanted to reconnect now that he was back, but Cage told him that Diaz seemed to have gone and would not be returning. Shades joined Cottonmouth as he left, while Cage ordered him to pay for his shave as was Pop's policy, much to Shades' amusement as he left with Cottonmouth while Tone paid the bill.


Shades laughs at Mariah Dillard's insult

Shades then stayed with Cottonmouth as they visited the office of Cottonmouth's cousin, Mariah Dillard to deliver the money they had recovered from Shameek Smith. Dillard however was not impressed and reminded Cottonmouth that she needed the rest and this was his fault as she had stolen the money to fund Harlem's Paradise before Stokes had made a failed gun deal with Domingo Colon which had endangered them all. She then mocked Shades by calling him a guard dog and asking if he needed water before completing her talk with Cottonmouth about reclaiming the money.


Shades and Tone meet with Turk Barrett

Shades returned to Harlem's Paradise with Cottonmouth and Dillard and witnessed Luke Cage offering a peace deal to save Chico Diaz's life, which Cottonmouth agreed to. However when Tone got word of Diaz's location, both he and Shades met with Turk Barrett around the back of Harlem's Paradise and were informed that he had spotted Diaz hiding out in Pop's Barber Shop. Shades and Tone then walked away without paying Barrett, much to his annoyance, and drove to Diaz's location, with Tone arming himself as Shades recommended that they wait for the right moment to attack, but Tone just ignored him and prepared to go into the shop with guns blazing.


Shades watches Tone murdering Pop

Tone however ignored Shades' advice and charged into the shop, firing two guns at once, wounding Diaz and killing Pop as well as seemingly Cage who was protecting a child. Once they entered the now destroyed Barber Shop, Shades once again reminded Tone that they should have waited for Diaz to step outside, as he knew what Cottonmouth's reaction to the death of Pop would be. However Tone continued to ignore the advice and they instead took Diaz's bag which was filled with the stolen money and made a fast retreat back out of the shop and headed back to Cottonmouth.


Shades sees Tone being thrown off the roof

Returning to Harlem's Paradise, both Shades and Tone were forced to explain to Cottonmouth exactly what had happened, with Shades insisting that Tone had ignored his warnings to wait. Tone remained confident in his own decision and explained that he had fired into Pop's Barber Shop, killing Pop and wounding Diaz, which mortified Cottonmouth and the news of his friend's death. Shades watched as Turk Barrett arrived asking for his money, only for Cottonmouth to throw Tone off the roof and tell Barrett to collect his money from Tone's corpse while Shades offered his condolences.[5]

Luke Cage's Secret


Shades questions Cottonmouth's plans

"You're gonna recoup seven million dollars just like that?"
"I don't even know why you back here."
"Look around, you know damn well why Diamondback sent me, Fort Knox, this makes the junk yard rip look like amateur night at the Apollo."
―Shades and Cottonmouth[src]

Back at Harlem's Paradise, Shades stood behind Cottonmouth as they listened to Jidenna performing on stage. He then went into Cottonmouth's office and listened as Darrell Mitchell informed him that he was officially broke, noting that the people supported Luke Cage. When Koko spoke out of turn, Shades witnessed Cottonmouth executing him with a shot to the head. As Cottonmouth ordered Zip and the others to steal the cash, Shades reminded him why Diamondback had sent him there in the first place but Cottonmouth just continued to ignore him.


Shades recommends Cottonmouth surrender

As Shades and Cottonmouth looked over the money collected by Zip and his men, Shades recommended that he let this whole situation go as it was making him look weak and recommended that he sell Harlem's Paradise, which Cottonmouth refused as he felt the club was far too important. Shades continued to remind Cottonmouth that if he did not make the right decision now, he would soon lose everything, but Cottonmouth just insisted that the club was his own reputation, blood and legacy of him and Mama Mabel, and for that reason he would never sell it no matter what.

Shades knows

Shades figures out who Luke Cage really is

Cottonmouth then noticed that Luke Cage had entered the building to speak with him about the situation. While Cottonmouth and Cage began exchanging insults, Shades looked on in amusement. Eventually Cottonmouth ordered Zip, Sugar and Amos to attack Cage, only to watch as they were all very easily defeated, with Cage even surviving several gunshots to the chest without even reacting. Seeing how Cage fought, Shades finally realized that Cage was in fact Carl Lucas, who was assumed to have been killed in Seagate Prison many years earlier.


Shades sees Cage threaten Cottonmouth

As Cottonmouth came downstairs, he declared war on Cage, only for Cage to note that he did not have enough people working still for him to stop him while also making it clear that he knew Shades, who noted that he should have been killed along with Albert Rackham. As he left the club, Cage ordered Cottonmouth not to use his name anymore, when Cottonmouth asked why Cage did not answer and walked away before Cottonmouth confronted Shades about how he knew Cage, demanding to know the details as Shades explained that it was a long story.[6]

Pitching the Judas


Shades shows the power of a Judas Bullet

"Yo, if you wanted to kill Jesus, that's the bullet you'd use. That's why they call it the Judas."
"I can think of a few fools I'd love to baptize with that joint!"
―Shades and Cottonmouth[src]

As they rewatched the CCTV footage, Shades then explained to Cottonmouth who Luke Cage really was and that he was supposed to be dead before he had returned, now bulletproof. As Cottonmouth demanded a find a way to kill Cage, Shades showed off a video of the Judas Bullet which had been designed by Justin Hammer using Chitauri metal that had been recovered directly from the Battle of New York, Cottonmouth expressed his delight at the bullet's power.


Shades explains Diamondback's demands

When Shades explained exactly how much the bullet would cost, Cottonmouth realized he was unable to afford it, and therefore his only option was to consider hiring Diamondback to kill Cage for him, with Shades noting that if that happened, Diamondback would take over Harlem. Refusing to allow this to happen, Cottonmouth decided that he would return the Hammer Industries guns back to Domingo Colon's people and sort out that situation so Diamondback would lend him the money he needed to get the Judas and finally kill Cage once and for all and go back to work again.


Shades and Cottonmouth at Pop's funeral

Shades later joined Cottonmouth in attending the funeral of Pop, where he listened as both Cottonmouth and Luke Cage gave speeches in which they tried to rally the people of Harlem onto their side, with Cottonmouth warning them of strangers with unknown and strange abilities while Cage demonstrated that he was taking on the lessons Pop had taught him and would be protecting the people from bullies. In the end, it was clear that it was Cage to had the support of the people, with Shades smirking at the result while Cottonmouth was furious about his humiliation.


Shades listens to Luke Cage's threats

As they left the church, Shades and Cottonmouth were confronted by Cage, who claimed he was glad that Cottonmouth had come to the funeral as he had enjoyed humiliating him in public rather than just at Harlem's Paradise in private. As Shades looked on, Cottonmouth reminded Cage that although he had won this battle, the war was still ongoing, while Cage told him that if another one of Dapper Dan's suits got damaged, he would be billing Cottonmouth. As Cage left, Cottonmouth laughed while Shades opened the limo door for him and they departed the church.[6]

Making Arrangements


Shades discusses how to kill Luke Cage

"I can talk to you anyway I want, because you got no power to shut me up. Do you like how it feels, being so powerless? Being pushed around by other people."
"What do you think."
"I think that when you get the nerve, you're gonna be surprised at just what you're capable of."
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

With Cottonmouth having been swiftly freed from jail despite killing Detective Rafael Scarfe, Shades joined him in Harlem's Paradise as they discussed the recent events. When Cottonmouth asked when he could get his Judas Bullet to assassinate Luke Cage, Shades told him he would not. Knowing what Cage was doing his business, Cottonmouth told Shades that he wanted to call on the help of Diamondback to get the job done, so Shades left to make all of the necessary arrangements.


Shades arrives at Mariah Dillard's home

Seeing that the situation with Cottonmouth was falling apart, Shades traveled to the home of Mariah Dillard, where he waited for her to complete her meeting with Damon Boone before revealing himself to Dillard and her assistant Alex. When Dillard demanded to know why he was there, Shades told her that they would need to talk once they were alone. Shades went on and explained that although she did not remember him, he remember her and her family name from when he was a child growing up in Harlem, as the reputation of Mama Mabel was known through the area of Harlem during this time.


Shades reminds Dillard of the Stokes' history

Shades when on to insult Dillard's political reputation as he argued that the name Stokes no longer meant what it used to and this was down to her and Cottonmouth's actions. When Dillard attempted to slap Shades, he caught her hand and told her that he had the power right now to talk to her anyway that he wanted, going on to question how it felt to how no power left and to be pushed around by other people. Shades made a final point that he believed she would soon get the nerve to find out exactly what she was capable of doing before leaving Dillard's home to return to work.


Shades learns Cottonmouth threatened Cage

Returning to Harlem's Paradise, Shades found Cottonmouth listening as D-Nice rehearsed on the stage. Cottonmouth apologized for his earlier outburst against Shades before revealing that he had invited Luke Cage to the Paradise and informed him of his knowledge of his past life as Carl Lucas and ordered him to fall in line or be sent back to Seagate Prison. However Shades then made it clear that this was exactly what Diamondback did not want to happen, fearing that now Cage would run away before Diamondback could kill him, although Cottonmouth remained confident he would not.[1]

Covering up Cottonmouth's Murder


Shades sees Mariah Dillard kill Cottonmouth

"I need you to hear me, I want you to win. Do what I say and when you get away with this, you can go back to being the sexy, domineering bitch that we all hate to love."
―Shades to Mariah Dillard[src]

When Shades arrived at Harlem's Paradise, he discovered Mariah Dillard in a rage beating Cottonmouth to death having pushed him out of his office window. Shades greeted Dillard and comforted her as she was clearly shaken by the incident, but he reminded her that the first kill was always the hardest. Shades began working out how to deal with the situation when he decided to blame Luke Cage for killing Cottonmouth in order to protect her and destroy Cage's reputation.[1]


Shades tries to keep Mariah Dillard calm

Shades checked on Dillard shortly after he had gotten everything prepared for Cottonmouth's discovery, asking what she was thinking about. Dillard told Shades she really was not thinking about anything, questioning if that was normal while Shades made it clear that as long as she was still active, she was okay. Shades explained that he would have Joel Spurlock destroy the clothes she was wearing too keep Cottonmouth's DNA off her, ensuring that Alex brought her clothes to change into and they removed the bottle that Cottonmouth had been hit with which still had his blood on it.


Shades deals with Cottonmouth's corpse

As Dillard questioned why Shades was speaking to her like she was a child, Shades explained that he only wanted her to get away with the murder, saying that once she had she could go back to being the sexy bitch he hated to love. Dillard left to get changed, but not before telling Shades to never call her a bitch again. Shades then proceeded to punch Cottonmouth's skull repeatedly before leaving him to be found by the New York City Police Department, with the waitress Candace Miller being their witness to blame Cage for the murder by giving an official statement to the police.


Shades gives Zip's crew their new orders

While hanging out in the Paradise, Shades witnessed the arrival of Zip, Sugar and Amos who were looking to work out the situation now that Cottonmouth was dead. Shades informed the three that they now officially worked for him as while Dillard owned the Paradise, he would be taking charge of it. Once the three had agreed to the situation, Shades handed Zip a wad of cash and told him to buy some new and more presentable clothes. When Zip asked what was to be done about Luke Cage, Shades did not answer and then calmly told them all to leave the Paradise.


Shades waits for Mariah Dillard to finish

Shades later drove Mariah Dillard as she met with Candace Miller to pay her her bribe money for her lying to Detective Misty Knight about the death of Cottonmouth, with Miller noting that she had always hated Cottonmouth and would never had slept with him. Shades listened as Dillard explained that she should view this as a business deal and a way to change her and her family's life. Once Millar had left, Shades asked Dillard what she was willing to do if Miller betrayed them, with Dillard explaining that they would have to kill her, much to Shades' delight as he drove her home.[7]

Diamondback's Command

Search for Luke Cage


Shades take a place in Cottonmouth's office

"Cornell was losing it, you trusted me to take care of him."
"I trusted you to take care of it, not him. Why, did you think I was just gonna give it all to you? Give me one reason why I shouldn't splatter this pristine desk with your brain matter."
―Shades and Diamondback[src]

Shades took position in Cottonmouth's old office inside Harlem's Paradise, where he watched as The Delfonics rehearsed on stage and the glass window was repaired. Shades began questioning Zip and his men about their hunt for Luke Cage who had just recently been nearly killed during his battle against Diamondback the night before, with Zip noting that they had not yet found him despite checking every garbage truck where he may be hiding and recovering from his wounds.


Shades is confronted by Diamondback

They were interrupted by the arrival of Diamondback himself, who made a point about the magic of smoke and fire by making a gun with his fingers and shooting Darnell in the shoulder with another gun. Once Zip and his men had left, Diamondback began mocking Shades for his attempts to seduce Mariah Dillard and take over from Cottonmouth. When Diamondback began blaming Shades for Cottonmouth's death, Shades defended his actions by noting that Cottonmouth was losing control and that Diamondback had trusted him with dealing with him however was necessary.


Shades is threatened by Diamondback

As Diamondback explained that Cottonmouth was his best seller of Hammer Industries' weapons and mocked Shades for thinking he might get to keep Harlem's Paradise, he drew his gun and aimed it at Shades' head, asking for one reason not to kill him. While Shades kept calm and silent, Zip then reappeared and noted that killing Shades would not help him find Luke Cage any faster. Diamondback laughed and dropped his gun, before explaining that until they found Cage's corpse, he was not dead and needed to be found as soon as possible and brought back before him.


Shades calmly speaks with Mariah Dillard

Shades later found Mariah Dillard in Joel Spurlock's funeral home, speaking to the body of her cousin. Shades explained to Dillard that Diamondback was unhappy about the current situation, although Dillard was highly confused about how Diamondback was exactly, explaining that now she would now be effectively taking over all of Cottonmouth's business, she would need to find Luke Cage to frame him for the murder. Shades then explained that she needed to ensure Cottonmouth's clients were dealt with effectively to stop any kind of criminal war breaking out within Harlem.[8]

Losing Control


Shades tries to keep Mariah Dillard focused

"That footage, of Cage and the cops, it went viral. What do you want to do about it?"
"That's great, that's great. He's got nowhere to run now, we'll find him. It's all coming together."
―Shades and Diamondback[src]

Shades escorted Mariah Dillard to Colon's Gym for a meeting with Domingo Colon and other mobsters based in Harlem. Before the meeting began, Shades reminded her not to show weakness as not only would she be done politically, but she would likely become a target of assassination. Shades stood behind Dillard as she greeted them and explained she would be making changes in the wake of Cottonmouth's death.


Shades witnesses Diamondback's massacre

However the meeting was soon interrupted by the sudden arrival of Diamondback, who proceeded to murder Jacques Alef, Neville Barnwell, Juan Carlos Castro and Peter Hong, leaving Colon alive. Shades watched on as Diamondback showed no regard for the war he would be starting by committing such random acts of violence before giving new orders of Dillard, who suggested that he begin selling the Judas Bullets to the New York City Police Department in order to kill Luke Cage. Diamondback noted how impressed he was to Shades before leaving with him to eat.


Shades fails to speak with Diamondback

Returning to Harlem's Paradise, Diamondback then watched the performance of The Delfonics until he was interrupted by Shades, who informed him that a video of Cage attacking some police officers had gone viral. When Shades asked what should be done about this, Diamondback told him that it was great news as it meant Cage no longer had anywhere to run and they would soon be able to find and kill him. When Shades tried to question this new logic, Diamondback rudely sent him away, claiming that he was enjoying the song and wished to listen to it in peace.[8]

Hostage Situation


Shades witnesses a gun fight breaking out

"You shot a female cop in front of a hundred people!"
"All people will remember is Luke Cage going all King Kong with a bitch and jumping off a balcony."
"What they're gonna remember, is Luke Cage running from the bullets."
―Shades and Diamondback[src]

When Shades returned to Harlem's Paradise, he discovered the attendees were now fleeing in terror. Stepping inside, Shades was informed that Luke Cage was hiding behind the bar and the men were attempting to kill him and Misty Knight. Before long Cage made his move, carrying Knight as the men fired at him before taking refuge in the kitchen and blocking the door with a fridge to keep Shades and the other men out, while Shades looked on in shock.


Shades questions Diamondback's plans

As Zip explained the situation, Shades reminded Diamondback that the New York City Police Department would soon be arriving on the scene and they all would need to escape before that happened. Diamondback however refused, noting that maybe they should now freestyle their situation, much to Shades' dismay as he reminded Diamondback that he only had one Judas Bullet remaining, but Diamondback was not concerned as he gave orders to Zip and Sugar to take hostages while Shades looked on at the situation in disgust as he complained about Diamondback's actions.


Shades watches Diamondback's actions

While the hostages were collected, Shades watched in even more dismay as Diamondback was given a grenade launcher by Zip and fired a single shot into the kitchen, destroying the door into the kitchen and the fridge that was blocking it with a large fireball which shook the whole building and altered those outside. As Shades stepped into the burning kitchen with his gun raised, he discovered that Cage and Knight were nowhere to be found. Diamondback then stepped into the room and ordered his men to search every inch of the kitchen to find them and pull them out dead or alive.


Shades questions Diamondback yet again

Shades once again questioned Diamondback's decision making as the police would soon be breaking down the doors to arrest them, claiming that he was not being clear headed, but Diamondback only argued that his was making the right moves as they could easily claim that violence had broken out at this anti Luke Cage rally as soon as Cage arrived. Although Shades remained unconvinced, he confirmed that he had spoke with Mariah Dillard could now close their deal who could not sell the Judas Bullets to the police due to their fear of Cage and what he could possibly do.


Shades is threatened by Diamondback

Shades informed Diamondback that the hostages had been sent to the New York City Police Department as he had ordered, noting that he was not concerned about what they would tell them as either he or Cage would soon be dead. Shades confronted Diamondback on the fact that he had taken these hostages with no plan whatsoever. They were then informed by Sugar that Claire Temple had managed to disappear after attacking Lopes to help Candace Miller, whom Shades noted was the one who Mariah Dillard had bribed earlier so Diamondback sent him to deal with the situation.[9]



Shades considers his own next actions

"I was in the club, I saw what happened, I know who did it."
"Okay, we can protect you, but I need a name to verify, who was it? Was it Stryker?"
"He goes by... Lawyer... You need me to spell it?"
―Shades and Priscilla Ridley[src]

Once Diamondback used his own Judas Gauntlet to murder Damon Boone, he ordered Shades to drop his corpse out the door for the police to collect. Having done the deed, Shades went to the kitchen to wash his hands of the blood, while there however, he accidentally discovered a secret loose panel on the floor which he found led to the basement, while going down the stairs, the lights in the club were shut off.


Shades manages to locate Misty Knight

Going down the stairs, Shades discovered Misty Knight clutching her wounded arm which she gained when Diamondback shot her, as well as a large hole in the wall which Luke Cage had used to escape and was currently fighting his way towards Diamondback. When Shades proceeded to draw his own gun and pushed Detective Knight against the wall, preparing to execute her, he was suddenly attacked from behind by Claire Temple, who used a weapon to knock the gun out of Shades' hands before hitting him repeatedly. Despite being taken off guard, Shades managed to disarm Temple before moving to kill her as she tried to keep him at bay by kicking at her attacker.


Shades fights Knight and Claire Temple

Before Shades could gain the upper hand and murder Temple, Knight returned to the fight and managed to pull him away from Temple. Due to the dark lighting, Shades struggled to regain control of the fight and before long, Knight and Temple succeeded in ganging up on him before they pulled him across the room and slamming his head hard against a steel pipe, which knocked Shades out cold. Knight then proceeded to handcuff Shades to the pipe and left him there, joking with Temple about how badass they had both successfully proved themselves to be during their fight against Shades.


Shades is arrested by the police department

Having been found by the New York City Police Department and named as one of the gang leaders by Detective Knight, Shades was arrested by the SWAT teams that stormed Harlem's Paradise and taken outside under the orders of Priscilla Ridley. While walking to the police van, Shades tripped and dropped his own trademark sunglasses, but before he could pick them back up again, Temple appeared and stepped on them, breaking the glass while Shades was put into the van to begin his interrogation and sentencing for his many crimes that he had just recently committed.[9]

Shades Arrested

Shades has his mugshot taken by the police

Arriving at the 29th Precinct Police Station, Shades had his mugshot taken and awaited his questioning over the hostage situation at the club. While in the waiting room, Shades relaxed and rested up while he made eye contact with both Ridley and Knight, confidently aware that he would be able to get off these charges against him and soon return to his work as a career criminal. As Detective Knight was sent home to recover from the gunshot would caused by Diamondback, Shades looked at her and smiled, before he was taken into the interrogation and left there to wait for somebody.


Shades is questioned by Priscilla Ridley

Before long Shades was interrogated by Ridley who threatened to sent Shades to Ryker's Island if he did not cooperate with her, but Shades only ignored her and calmly requested a lawyer. Ridley noted she knew Shades' history with meeting Cottonmouth while a young man before being sent to Seagate Prison before explaining that somebody had already bailed him out, but Shades still requested a lawyer again. When Ridley even threatened to send Shades back to Seagate for twenty years, Shades mockingly asked for a lawyer while laughing in her face as she walked out of the room.


Shades is mocked by Misty Knight

As was requested, Ridley presented Shades with his lawyer, Kerry Duggan who soon got him released. While Shades was making his way out of the police station, he was confronted by Detective Knight who asked him if he felt he had everything figured out about his situation and future, but even Shades admitted that he no longer did have everything figured out, as he considered how he had witnessed Diamondback acting so foolishly during the heist at the Paradise the night before. He then walked out of the police station with Duggan without another word to Detective Knight.[2]

Assassination Attempt


Shades is collected by Zip and his men

"You're a goddamn puppet, who gave you the order? Who?"
"Diamondback! You stopped playing your position, asked too many questions. Diamondback said you needed to be dealt with."
―Shades and Zip[src]

Having been collected by Zip and some others, Shades was taken to an empty building on the outskirts of New York City, with Zip then claiming that Diamondback had changed things around and recruited new men ever since the shootout at Harlem's Paradise. When Zip noted that Shades may have sold them all out to the police, Shades grabbed his arm and warned him to never question his loyalty to Diamondback ever again before they all then stepped into the elevator together.


Shades overpowers the traitorous Zip

As they made their way up, Shades questioned if Diamondback was on the roof, at which point Zip noted that he was full of questions before he suddenly then wrapped a rope around Shades' throat and attempting to strangle him to death. Determined to stay alive, Shades began hitting Zip against the walls of the elevator but soon found himself running quickly out of breath. In a last ditch effort to gain the upper hand, Shades reached for the gun of one of the other men in the lift, stealing it and quickly shooting them both dead before aiming the gun directly at Zip's own head and laughing in his face.

Shades executes

Shades prepares to shoot Zip in the head

Taking Zip onto the roof, Shades called his would be killer a puppet before demanding to know who it was who had given him the order to assassinate him, hitting him repeatedly with the gun before Zip finally admitted that it was Diamondback who wanted him dead for overstepping his position. Shades then calmly told Zip that he was a disappointment to Romeo before aiming the gun at his head and firing a single shot through his brain, killing him. As Shades prepared to walk away, he noticed Zip had a pair of sunglasses in his pocket which he stole from his corpse before walking away.[2]

Desperate Times


Shades arrives in Mariah Dillard's home

"You both framed me for murder. There's nothing you can offer me that'll make me let that go."
"How about your freedom? Right here is everything you need to prove that Diamondback framed Carl Lucas."
Luke Cage and Shades[src]

Needing an ally, Shades went into Mariah Dillard's home and soon found her holding her gun. He asked her if Diamondback had already told her that he was dead and she insisted that she was not loyal to him at all. As a sign of goodwill, Shades gave her the bottle she used to kill Cottonmouth, explaining that he had kept it to use against her if he had to, but now he wanted her to destroy it and therefore all evidence.


Shades requests Mariah Dillard's help

Changing the subject, Shades and Dillard both agreed that their best move against Diamondback was to recruit Luke Cage onto their side, although Dillard then reminded him how he had beaten him up and caused him to gain his powers while they were at Seagate Prison together and how Tone had killed Pop earlier. Shades however still insisted that they had a way to get Cage on their side by giving him a chance to finally clear his name and become Carl Lucas once again, while Dillard made it clear she wanted Cage and Diamondback to kill each other and solve all their problems in one go.


Shades confesses the truth to Mariah Dillard

While sitting in their car within New York City, Shades and Dillard continued discussing how to get Cage on their side, with Dillard noting that Cage would not have forgiven them for having him framed for Cottonmouth's murder. When Shades noted that only they knew what had really happened in Harlem's Paradise that night, Dillard reminded him that Candace Miller also knew. When Dillard asked Shades why he had been at the club that night, he confessed that he had gone there to kill Cottonmouth too, she just happened to have beaten him to it by the time he had arrived at the club.


Shades offers Luke Cage his old life back

Together they entered Pop's Barber Shop where Dillard was almost immediately insulted by Bobby Fish before Luke Cage then revealed himself and expressed his desire to attack them both. When Shades tried to explain they were there to make peace now, Cage became enraged as he reminded them what had happened to Pop before demanding to know where Diamondback was, reminding Shades that he had beaten him senseless before while they were at Seagate. Dillard tried to calm the situation, but Cage was still furious for being framed for murder, only calming down when Shades handed him the file that would clear Carl Lucas' name for good.


Shades in a standoff with Misty Knight

Just as their current deal was being sorted out however, they were interrupted by the arrival of Detective Misty Knight who attempted to arrest Dillard for the murder of Cottonmouth, with Cage noting that he thought she had gone after Turk Barrett instead. Rather than let this happen, Shades drew his gun leading to a standoff between him and Knight, which Cage tried to resolve peacefully but the pair only made things worse as Knight accused Cage of working with the criminals now while Shades began denying that he knew where to find Diamondback in order to still protect himself.


Shades attempts to shoot at Diamondback

Before a shootout could breakout, Cage spotted a grenade being dropped outside the shop and shielded Shades and the rest from the blast. As they turned around, Diamondback revealed himself now wearing his Specialised Battle Suit which Fish insulted as he then compared Diamondback to a pimp Stormtrooper. Shades quickly stole Knight's phone during the chaos before asking if Dillard had brought him there. Diamondback personally insulted Shades who attempted to shoot his former ally, only to discover that the suit was bulletproof, forcing Shades to escape outside with the others while Cage and Diamondback then began to fight one another.[2]

Covering their Tracks


Shades speaks with Mariah Dillard

"Come on... Where are you Misty?"
"Right here."
Candace Miller and Shades[src]

Shades and Mariah Dillard made a hasty retreat back to their car while Luke Cage and Diamondback fought each other. However Shades quickly realized that he had left the Carl Lucas folder back inside Pop's Barber Shop, Dillard remained calm and instead contacted her assistant Alex, telling him to get Thembi Wallace on the scene to film the fight, noting that Misty Knight would be arresting her but she could still spin the story.


Shades calmly executes Candace Miller

While Dillard was being questioned by Detective Knight and Priscilla Ridley, Shades used Knight's phone which he had stolen earlier to contact Candace Miller, knowing that she was the only person who could prove that Dillard had murdered Cottonmouth. Pretending to be Knight, Shades text Miller and asked her to meet him in a corner within New York City. Once she arrived she began nervously looking around for Knight to arrive, however Shades then appeared behind her and fired a single bullet through the head, killing her instantly before Shades calmly walked away into the darkness.


Shades gives Mariah Dillard a new gun

The death of Miller allowed Dillard to walk free and take her place as the new crime lord of Harlem, while Cage was arrested in order to be sent back to Seagate Prison to continue his sentence. Shades met with Dillard outside of the 29th Precinct Police Station where she was giving interviews before getting into the car, being driven by Alex who was thanked by Dillard for his good work. To celebrate her freedom, Shades handed Dillard a gun owned by Cottonmouth, telling her it suited her better, which she then agreed with before they departed together to celebrate their victory against the police.


Shades begins working for Black Mariah

With Shades now by her side, Dillard reopened Harlem's Paradise and watched as Sharon Jones performed on stage while the filled out audience danced and enjoyed the performance, seemingly already forgetting the many connections to the crime world that the club had become known for. Shades watched as Cottonmouth's Biggie Smalls poster was removed and replaced with a work of art from Dillard's own collection, before Dillard turned towards Shades and kissed him, biting his lip seductively before walking away, leaving Shades with a satisfied smile on his face. He later joined Dillard on the balcony to watch the performance and drinking champagne together.[10]


"Have you forgotten who you're talking to?"
"Have you?"
Diamondback and Shades[src]

Shades tends to be relaxed and dissociated to stressful situations in which others would usually break down or express their emotions, yet always displaying a high level of confidence and discipline in his actions, knowing his place in the food chain of Harlem as liaison to the crime lords makes him a difficult person to intimidate except by Diamondback himself. Shades calm demeanor almost never falters, even in police custody where it seemed certain he will be arrested, he only sarcastically asks for a lawyer and keeps his poise, dignity and reservation meanwhile. His highly controlled attitude is very antagonistic towards most criminals who are usually impulsive such as Tone, Diamondback and Cottonmouth and he encourages other to behave more like him if they want to survive longer. Despite being a ruthless criminal and hitman, Shades is not completely without morality. He was prepared to wait until Chico Diaz had left Pop's Barber Shop so no one else would be killed instead and later expressed his sincere apologies for Pop's death to Cottonmouth. He also seemed to care about Mariah Dillard such as covering up killing her cousin and was a very vital part into ushering Dillard into her criminal roots.


  • Master Manipulator: Shades is a highly skilled manipulator, Starting as merely one of Cottonmouth's thugs, Shades was able to maneuver both himself and Mariah Dillard into becoming the ruling crime lords after successfully removing Cottonmouth and Diamondback whilst also manipulating Dillard into embracing her criminal nature.
  • Expert Combatant: Shades is shown to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat, though not to the level of trained individuals like Luke Cage. When attacked in an elevator by Diamondback's thugs, Shades was able to fight them off and kill all of them.



This section requires expansion
  • Kimber Warrior: Shades carried this handgun as his sidearm, taking it while chasing Misty Knight inside Harlem's Paradise during a hostage situation. He eventually found Knight and threatened her with the gun, but Claire Temple managed to disarm him and both of them knocked him out.
  • SIG-Sauer GSR: Shades took this gun from one of the men that accompanied Zip when he tried to kill him under Diamondback's orders. While Zip tried to choke him, Shades managed to take the gun and quickly killed the two men, getting free and threatening Zip with it. Shades took Zip to the rooftop, where he used the gun to execute him as he revealed that he followed Diamondback orders.
  • Revolver: Shades used the revolver to execute Candace Miller by shooting her in the head.





Appearances for Hernan Alvarez

In chronological order:


  • In the comics, Shades was a member of the Rivals, the same Harlem gang as Carl Lucas, Willis Stryker and Comanche. Once he broke out of prison, he became a criminal for hire until he eventually reformed and became a community organizer in Hell's Kitchen.
  • While Shades legal name in the comics is not known, his MCU's name is a direct reference to Victor Hernan Alvarez, the son that Shades had with his lover Reina Alvarez.

Behind the Scenes


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