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

Hernan Enrique Salazar Alvarez, also known as Shades, is a criminal who was a member of the Rivals before being sent to Seagate Penitentiary where he briefly worked for Seagate's prison warden, Albert Rackham, organising the illegal prison fights. Upon being eventually released from Seagate, Shades was recruited by Diamondback and was sent to Harlem with the order to watch over and advise on all the failing criminal operations of Cottonmouth, 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 employer eventually made him a target, forcing him to side with Dillard and betray Diamondback in order to save his own life.

Shades had remained by Dillard's side as she ruled over her family's criminal empire from within Harlem's Paradise, with the intention to go straight and retire together. However, their attempts to sell the criminal empire her derailed by the arrival of Bushmaster, who was on a mission to murder Dillard and take over. As a result, Shades found his loyalty to Dillard being put to the test, as he witnessed her becoming more deranged and following in Cottonmouth's footsteps. Eventually, Shades made the decision to go to Misty Knight and snitch on Dillard, resulting in her arrest. However, when Dillard was murdered by Tilda Johnson, Shades was arrested as his deal fell apart upon Dillard's death, as Shades was sent back to prison.


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 at May 11, 1977 in Ponce, Puerto Rico[1], growing up in Harlem 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.[2]

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.[3]

Time in Seagate


Shades gets his orders from Albert Rackham

"What's he in here for?"
"I've seen his jacket. With that amount of years for what they said he did, I'm guessing he pissed someone off good. Ah, he was sent here to rot. See if he bends or breaks."
―Shades and Albert Rackham[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 of his attackers out of his room before allowing himself to be arrested by all the guards and put into solitary confinement where Rackham had continued tormenting him.


Shades and Albert Rackham watch the fights

Despite Comanche and Shades being clearly seen to have attacked their fellow prisoner, they faced no consequences for the attack, as Rackham, who had been watching the whole time, declared that he found himself a gladiator in Lucas. Eventually due to threats against his friend Squabbles' life, Rackham was able to convince Lucas to join their fighting matches. Shades joined Rackham down inside the basement of the prison as Lucas got into the ring and quickly proved himself as a highly skilled and very dangerous fighter, beating all his enemies to a pulp until they could no longer even stand up.


Shades follows and threatens Reva Connors

Despite now being actively involved in the illegal fights, Lucas had continued to resent his part, clearly hoping to get out of the racket somehow. 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. While Lucas watched, Shades spoke with Connors as they exited the hallway together, leaving Rackham to speak with Lucas to ensure he remained loyal.[4]

Betraying Carl Lucas


Shades prepares to beat Carl Lucas to death

"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]

When it was discovered that Carl Lucas was attempting to expose the illegal prison fights, Shades and Comanche had been ordered to attack Squabbles in order to learn more about Lucas' plans to bring down the fight ring, resulting in Squabbles' death. While Lucas went into his cell, he was approached by Shades, who complimented Lucas on his fighting in the ring, however, Lucas found his appearance suspicious. Comanche then approached, questioning why Lucas wanted out of the arena despite all of the money his illegal fights were bringing in for everybody else who was involved with them.


Shades and Comanche beat down Carl Lucas

Admitting that they got the information through Squabbles by force, Shades and Comanche told Lucas that they were not happy about Lucas now planned on exposing all Seagate Prison's illegal actions, as Albert Rackham wanted them to deal with the situation. Before Lucas could defend himself, Shades and Comanche then beat him up with steel weapons until he was severely injured, which resulted Lucas being aided by Noah Burstein to save his life by experimenting on Lucas' fatally wounded body, resulting in a massive explosion which killed Rackham while Lucas also seemingly vanished.[4]

Controlling Cottonmouth

Hunting the Stolen Guns

Shades Profile

Shades having a meeting 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 returning into 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[7]

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 Wesley. 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.[2]

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.[2]


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 Wesley brought her new clothes to change into as they then 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 brutally punch into Cottonmouth's skull repeatedly before leaving him to be found by the New York City Police Department, with the waitress Candace Miller being their only 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 finally agreed to the situation, Shades then 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 as he enjoyed the moment.


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 then 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 back to her home.[8]

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.[9]

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.[9]

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 soon 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 Misty Knight and him. 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.[10]



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.[10]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Covering their Tracks


Shades speaks with Mariah Dillard

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

As the fight began breaking out in Pop's Barber Shop, both Shades and Mariah Dillard had then made their hasty retreat back to their car while the furious battle between Luke Cage and Diamondback had continued. 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 Wesley, 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 in order to ensure her safety.


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 Wesley 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 as she 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. Shades later joined Dillard on the balcony to watch the performance and drinking champagne together.[11]

Planning Retirement

Meeting with Piranha Jones

"Nobody knows about this yet besides Glenn Industries."
"So that's why you want our money."
"Atreus' stock is low. You buy a controlling interest before they announce this new tech, a $20 million investment could be worth billions. That's inside information."
Piranha Jones and Shades[src]

During his rise in power, Shades began planning his own retirement, considering ways to ensure he and Mariah Dillard continued making money once outside of the criminal underworld which had once all been controlled by Cottonmouth. Having also heard that Comanche was finally being released from Seagate Penitentiary, Shades went to personally meet with his friend just outside of Graham Court where the pair embraced, happy to be reunited after so many years.

Once Shades had reminded Comanche of their Rivals greeting, by making Comanche note that they did not have any rivals, Shades gave Comanche the keys to a car which was parked directly outside of Graham Court and provided him with employment at Harlem's Paradise, where he would begin working as security for Dillard. With his friend set up with work upon gaining his freedom, Shades then returned to Dillard and had continued pushing her towards a possible retirement so they could focus on their relationship while still making considerable money away from working in the world of crime.


Shades and Dillard meet with Piranha Jones

Shades and Dillard then went to Ginny's Supper Club where they had a meeting with Raymond "Piranha" Jones who suggested that they invest their money into plastics, which Dillard simply began laughing out loud at. Jones however explained that Mark Higgins and his own company, Atreus Plastics were sitting on some brand new plastic based technology which the rest of the world were still unaware of, giving Dillard and Shades the perfect opportunity to get involved. As Jones continued his pitch, he explained that he wanted them to take over control in Higgins' company before their latest technology was announced, so they could all come away with a massive profit.

While Jones noted that their best move was to use both Dillard and Shades' criminal technics to attempt to persuade Higgins to give up his company to them, their conversation was then interrupted by the arrival of the waiter who mistook Dillard for Shades' aunt, much to Shades' considerable annoyance. Dillard however had responded by sucking on Shades' thumb seductively until the waiter walked away. Shades and Dillard then shared a kiss, while Comanche and Jones watched on awkwardly during Shades and Dillard's sexual flirting as they then continued speaking with Jones about his ideas.[12]

Meeting of Criminals

"Runs an off-book casino. Might not have the pedigree yet, but he has the high-rollin' rapper and athlete clientele. These are our best customers. Why sell the business when there's so much more money to be made?"
―Shades to Black Mariah[src]

Back in Harlem's Paradise, Shades and Mariah Dillard were watching a performance by Joi, before Dillard asked Shades to brief her on the men she would be meeting to take over her criminal empire. Shades pointed out Arturo Rey III, noting how Rey smuggled the drugs in his sofas and had taken the cocaine business upon Domingo Colon's death. Shades then briefed Dillard on Nigel Garrison of the Yardies, as Shades reminded Dillard of how they had previously witnessed Diamondback killing Neville Barnwell, the brother of Garrison.

Finally Shades pointed out Cockroach Hamilton who was speaking with Comanche, as Shades noted that Cockroach had been put in prison by Rafael Scarfe and had to then be freed when Scarfe was revealed to be dirty. Shades suggested that Dillard changed her mind about selling their business, suggesting they could sell her Jean-Michel Basquiat painting instead, but Dillard refused, noting that if their deal with Piranha Jones was successful then all of the sins of the Stokes family would wash away, allowing them to live without any risk, which Shades accepted before then collecting Cockroach.

Shades stood by in the meeting as Rey and Garrison discussed a partnership to get ahold of Dillard's guns, putting protection around New York City, while Cockroach confidently expressed a desire to take up a controlling interest in Dillard's business and they could continue making money together. As Cockroach suggested that through his influence and a potential partnership with Dillard, they could focus on keeping Harlem black, appealing to Dillard's personal values while Shades reminded silent while Dillard took ahold of his arm and continued holding him tightly throughout the meeting.

The meeting was interrupted by the arrival of Luke Cage, who calmly walked up the stairs and knocked out Comanche with a slap on the forehead. As Shades and the others came out, Rey, Hamilton and Garrison all drew their guns while Cage threw Shades Comache's now twisted gun. While Shades stood by, he watched as Cage and Dillard exchanging insults and threats, with Dillard reminding Cage of his time in Seagate Penitentiary. Their standoff ended when Dillard threatened the life of Claire Temple, who had just entered the club, forcing Cage to leave with Temple while Shades smirked.[12]

Advising Mariah Dillard

"You could have all the money in the world, you still ain't nothing but a nigga to some people."
"Ms. Nigga. Tell me you're not sick of all this bullshit. Hmm? Don't you want to give Hernan a chance, instead of Shades?"
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

Returning to her Brownstone, Shades found Mariah Dillard drinking a bottle of whiskey alone, when he commented that this was not her usual brand, Dillard noted that it was Mama Mabel's favourite and it was Mabel's birthday, although Shades questioned why she would celebrate somebody who she hated. Sitting down, Shades advised Dillard to go with Cockroach Hamilton's offer to buy their guns, noting that it would be the deal which would bring them the most risk free income which would allow them both to retire.

While Shades noted that selling to Arturo Rey III would not be selling to the top dog in the crime would, however Dillard still insisted that selling to Cockroach would put Harlem at risk as she viewed him as a lunatic. Dillard explained that Shades how the income from this deal could finally allow her to be free of the name of Stokes, which had haunted her throughout her entire life. Shades however noted that even with all the money in the world, some people would still look down on her, but this did not seem to phase Dillard who had jokingly claimed that people would be referring to her as "Ms Nigga".

As Dillard seductively climbed onto Shades' lap, she questioned if he was getting sick of being the gangster for so long, questioning if he wanted to go by his real name rather than Shades, allowing them to finally begin living their normal, crime free life. Aroused by Dillard's touch, Shades informed her that Rey III would make his deal to buy their guns that same evening, also commenting that he had already given him a Judas Rifle as well as a Judas Bullet in order to sweeten the deal. Dillard then passionately kissed Shades while still sat on his lap, commenting to him that she trusted him, like nobody else.

While back at Harlem's Paradise, while waiting for Rey III to make their deal, Shades witnessed Luke Cage burst into Dillard's office, wearing a recently burned hoody. As Comanche and Shades drew guns at Cage, he calmly walked over to Dillard and presented her with a fired Judas Bullet, noting that it had bounced right off him. Noting that no bullet could kill him, Cage warned Dillard that if she mentioned Claire Temple's name again, he would kill her and happily go to jail. Shades watched on as Cage gave this warning to Dillard before walking out, which had left Dillard completely enraged.[12]

Discussing Luke Cage

"It's not what they know, it's what they can prove. And they can't prove shit. Comanche and I are gonna get every dime of Arturo's money. And this weight is not yours to carry alone, baby. This is what I'm here for. This is what I do."
―Shades to Mariah Dillard[src]

With the revaluation of the Judas Bullet was now no longer capable of killing Luke Cage, Shades was then forced to return into Harlem's Paradise where he sat down with Mariah Dillard to discuss a possible alternative solution, with Comanche being sent out the room when he attempted to speak out of turn to Dillard. Once Comanche was out of the room, Shades then told Dillard that it was too early in the morning for her to be drinking hard alcohol, despite all of the stress she was now under with dealing with the current Cage situation.

As they had discussed the situation as Cage's actions as a vigilante determined to end the crime around his beloved city was disrupting all of their current attempts to sell their illegal gun business with the criminal underworld of Harlem, Dillard argued that they could not go legit without Arturo Rey III's cash. While Dillard continued making her point that the situation could not allow her to finally begin making money outside of Harlem's criminal underworld, Shades argued that they could still sell the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting instead in order to fund their retirement and allow them to begin moving forward.

Dillard still refused as she insisted that the life of crime had taken too much of her family, including Mama Mabel and Cottonmouth. When Dillard questioned if Rey III had already spoken with the New York City Police Department, Shades insisted that it did not matter what the police knew, but what they could prove in the court of law. As he then proceeded to take Dillard's hands into his hands, Shades then promised her that the weight of the current situation was not hers to carry alone, while promising that dealing with such a situation was what he specialised in, before holding her close into him.[13]

Assassination of Arturo Rey III

"Our lawyer got you out, and a judge we control allowed us to bail you out. You should show me a little more respect."
"You and the defective Judas Bullet is why I was even locked up. You and Mariah set me up."
"Why would we set you up? You're our customer."
―Shades and Arturo Rey III[src]

Under the orders of Mariah Dillard, Shades and Comanche had then gone to collect the money which was owed to Dillard from Arturo Rey III, while Comanche was complaining about being disrespected by Dillard while in Harlem's Paradise, claiming that Dillard had treated him like a dog while he was there. As Comanche began complaining to Shades for not standing up for him and insulting his dress, Shades stood up to his friend until he stopped speaking out.

As they entered the building, Comanche continued commenting on how he wished that Albert Rackham gave them Carl Lucas' treatment and made them bulletproof, until Shades told him to stop talking. As they entered Merlin Discount Furniture, Shades and Comanche told Rey III that it was due to Benjamin Donovan that he was allowed to get free in the first place, however Rey III argued that it was due to the Judas Rifle and the Judas Bullet which Shades had already sold him which had actually failed to successfully kill Luke Cage that was why he had been taken back into custody in the first place.

As Rey III insisted that he would not longer be doing any business with Dillard in the wake of the current situation, he began threatening to then go up to Detective Misty Knight of the New York City Police Department with evidence against Dillard which would put her in risk of being sent straight to Ryker's Island for several years of her life, which greatly angered Shades who stood up against Rey III. While Rey III's henchmen attempted to show their strength against him, Shades initially attempted to laugh at Rey III's insults, until he began insulting Dillard personally which had greatly annoyed Shades.

As Rey III began calling Dillard a "nigga" in Spanish, Shades lost his temper and shot Rey III directly in the forehead, forcing Comanche to kill Rey III's henchmen. While Shades then looked down at Rey III's bleeding corpse, Comanche commented on how sex with Dillard must be incredible to cause him to be so reckless. Shades then went back to his senses and had ordered Comamche to collect the video tapes from the store in order to ensure that they would not be filmed committing murder before they made their escape from their crime scene, considering how they would get they money for Dillard.[13]

Updating Black Mariah

"I'll handle Comanche. But Che's right. We still have two buyers."
"Who? Cockroach and Nigel? The first is too impulsive. The latter too ambitious. Neither one is a good option."
"I messed up. I admit it. But I couldn't let Arturo snitch or do anything to bring you down."
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

Returning back to her Brownstone, Shades and Comanche then met with Mariah Dillard to discuss their current situation. Shades chose to confess that their dealing with Arturo Rey III had been cut short, which Dillard soon realised meant that Rey III had been killed by Shades, and despite Comanche backing him that Rey III had been insulting the organisation, Dillard still remained furious that Shades had failed to get the money which Rey III had owed to them.

While Dillard had questioned why Shades had killed Rey III, Shades explained how he had threatened to go to Misty Knight of the New York City Police Department and expose all of their entire criminal operation. While Shades insisted that he was protecting them from being exposed, Comanche stepped in and then told Dillard that she should sell the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting if she still wanted to earn some cash, to which Dillard responded by ordering him to get out of her house, furious that anyone who was ranked below Shades was still daring to even speak against any of her decisions.

While insisting that while he had messed it up, Shades insisted that they still had two buyers who they could still sell to, although Dillard had claimed that Cockroach Hamilton who too impulsive while Nigel Garrison who too ambitious and neither one would be a good option for them. Seeking to calm Dillard down, Shades still promised that he could not allow Arturo III to snitch on them, while still promising that they would get their money to Piranha Jones on time to make their deal without risking being exposed to the police investigation, while Dillard relaxed and took comfort within Shades' embrace.[13]

Dealings with Yardies

"Can't understand a word these guys say half the time."
"What about Cockroach?"
"Forget Cockroach. The Jamaicans'll never give us what Arturo was gonna pay. It's enough to get us clean."
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

Seeking to make up for his mistake with Arturo Rey III, Shades then reached out to the Yardies and, although he could still not make an actual deal with Nigel Garrison, he made a deal instead with the seeming new leader of the Yardies, Bushmaster, for the cash that they needed. Shades had returned to Harlem's Paradise and informed Mariah Dillard of this update, insisting that they could still make up their remaining cash which they Yardies could not afford to make up what Rey III would have paid them for their supply of guns.

Shades' meeting with Dillard as they discussed their latest dealing with the newest leader of the Yardies had been then unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of Tilda Johnson, Dillard's daughter who had come to speak with her mother in complete private. Shades watched on with some surprised as Comanche at first questioned Johnson before Dillard gave her access to their private booth. Dillard then asked Shades to give them a moment, as Shades collected his sunglasses and awkwardly left the booth with Comanche, leaving Dillard to speak with her daughter Johnson in private.

Taking their spot by the bar of Harlem's Paradise, both Shades and Comanche listened to Gary Clark Jr. while Shades continued looking at while Dillard was still currently having her private meeting with her long lost daughter Johnson. Seeing his friend's discomfort, Comache leaned over and jokingly commenting that Dillard's daughter had now taken Shades' spot within the prime position of Harlem's Paradise. Despite knowing full well that the return of her daughter put him in a risky position, Shades chose to ignore while he continued listening to Clark Jr. while watching over Dillard and Johnson's interaction.[13]

Mariah Dillard's Insult

"Who are you talking to like that? I'm not the help. I'm your partner, among other things."
"You really gonna talk to me about your feelings right now?"
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

Having learned that Cockroach Hamilton had been arrested, Shades went to speak with Mariah Dillard to inform her of the situation that was putting their deal once again into serious danger of falling apart. Arriving back at her Brownstone, Shades had found Dillard having lunch with Tilda Johnson, who was still clearly highly unnerved by Shades' unexpected arrival. Dillard then took Shades aside for a private conversation, while also confronting him over showing up there unexpectedly.

Despite being annoyed by how Dillard had spoken to him, Shades explained how Luke Cage had gotten to Cockroach, resulting in him being arrested by the New York City Police Department, although he was currently recovering from his beating within the hospital. While Dillard reminded Shades of how they needed all of the money to make the deal with Piranha Jones, as she began questioning who was left who they could make a deal with, as Shades pointed out that Nigel Garrison of the Yardies was the last remaining potential buyer for them to finally complete their deal with Piranha.

Dillard immediately ordered Shades to travel to Brooklyn in order to complete the deal, only for Shades to become annoyed by how she was speaking to him, pointing out that he was not her personal assistant, but her partner as well as her lover. Unwilling to have this discussion however, Dillard simply responded by licking Shades' lip and mocking him over his wish to talk about his personal feelings. Dillard then returned to eating her lunch with her daughter, while the now irritated Shades went to Brooklyn in order to make the deal with the Yardies in order to finally sell their illegal gun business.[14]

Meeting with Bushmaster

LCS2 Shades & Bushmaster (Money Deal)

Shades being first introduced to Bushmaster

"I'm here to speak to Nigel."
"Nigel's business is my business now."
"I don't know you. I'm here on behalf of Mariah Dillard."
"Stokes. Mariah Stokes."
―Shades and Bushmaster[src]

As instructed, Shades went into the Hideout of the Yardies where he was escorted inside and asked to speak with Nigel Garrison. Shades however was instead greeted by Bushmaster who insisted that all of Garrison's businesses was now his business. Unsure by Bushmaster, Shades explained he represented Mariah Dillard, only to get cut off by Bushmaster insisting that she should not be referred to as Dillard but as Stokes.

Their tense negotiation continued as Bushmaster told Sheldon to throw Shades the bag of money. Still remaining on guard, Shades walked over to the bag and opened it up, while Bushmaster and Shades watched closely. Opening the bag, Shades discovered that not only was all the money in there, but also Garrison's severed head with the eyes having been brutally slashed, as Bushmaster insisted that Garrison had a big mouth and small ideas. Bushmaster then noted that he had reevaluated the value of their gun deal and wished for Shades to convince him to still continue with their deal.

Having gotten the money from Bushmaster and the Yardies, Shades had then returned to Harlem's Paradise and had again found Dillard speaking with Tilda Johnson about finally beginning to rebuild her relationship with her long estranged mother. However when Shades entered the room with Alex Wilder, Johnson was promptly sent out of the room in order to allow Shades and Dillard to still discuss their business in private. With a large grin on his face, Shades had handed Dillard the two bags of cash which Bushmaster had handed him with ten more bags still to come in with considerably more money.

Shades began noting that the Jamaicans had pain considerably more than their original asking price. Utterly delighted, Dillard noted her surprise that Garrison had paid so much, as Shades had then told her about Bushmaster making the deal with him instead of Garrison, not mentioning finding Garrison's severed head. Delighted, Dillard passionately kissed Shades before demanding that Piranha Jones be brought into the office so they could finally complete their deal and begin moving towards their retirement at last, while Dillard continued going through the cash which had been given to her by Shades.[14]

Bushmaster's War

Luke Cage's Beatdown

"He's sending a message. If Bushmaster is capable of taking down Luke Cage with his bare hands, what does he need our guns for? Unless it's to weaken us."
"We have $350 million. We are done with this shit."
"What if this shit ain't done with us? I don't think Bushmaster is in Harlem for Luke Cage. I think he's in Harlem for you."
―Shades and Mariah Dillard[src]

Shades and Mariah Dillard then welcomed Piranha Jones into their office, where Piranha noted how their deal had been successful and despite them blackmailing him through the seduction of Stephanie Miller, it had appeared that Mark Higgins had just handed over the company willingly, meaning their investment was already worth at least three hundred million dollars and would continue to grow, however while Dillard and Piranha celebrated, Shades sat silently, considering what their next step would be.

Interrupting the celebrations, Shades demanded to know what the next step would be, although Piranha attempted to dismiss his worries. However, when Piranha was noting how Dillard had given him complete power of attorney over her money, he also revealed that Dillard had put up Harlem's Paradise as part of the deal, much to Shades' horror. Dillard argued that she had to make it appear that the club was part of the deal so it would cover up for the illegal money they had gained on the street to finance the deal, although Shades still remained unconvinced that this was a good move.

They're conversation was then interrupted by Comanche, who then stormed into the office and put on the television while insisting that they needed to check out some footage, much to Dillard's great fury. However Comanche was in fact showing footage of Luke Cage being attacked and brutally subdued by Bushmaster. While Comanche and Dillard celebrated seeing Cage being knocked down so brutally by this new enemy, Shades looked at the footage of Bushmaster, who he remembered from their earlier meeting, and became nervous that Bushmaster could be a potential threat for them down the line.

Before long, the footage that Dave Griffith had shot of Bushmaster beating down Cage went viral and Shades went to speak with Dillard about it, although Dillard insisted that Comanche was not allowed to also be in the room during their meeting. Although Shades tried to stand up for his friend, Dillard warned Comanche to never bust into her office again or she would cut off his testicles. When Comanche continued to mock Dillard, Shades told him to leave, although he still smirked at Comanche's comments, leaving Dillard to demand that Shades finally tell her why he had come to talk with her.

Shades finally explained to Dillard that Bushmaster was also the same man who took over the Yardies, warning that Bushmaster had ambitions to take over Harlem. When Dillard attempted to dismiss these warnings, Shades noted that one of the bags of money had contained the severed head of Nigel Garrison, as Shades pointed out that Bushmaster clearly did not actually need all of their Hammer Industries guns unless his only goal was to weaken them ahead of his takeover, although Dillard insisted that as they had their money, Bushmaster taking over was no longer a concern for them.

Although Dillard still tried to dismiss the threat, Shades claimed that Bushmaster was likely in Harlem to get to her, while Dillard believed he likely had a grudge against Cottonmouth. Shades however noted how nervous Dillard had gotten when the name Bushmaster had been mentioned, as Shades insisted that Dillard tell him everything so he could protect her. Dillard noted that her grandfather had once had a Business called Bushmaster and tried to dismiss the threat, insisting that they focus on making massive profits from their recent investments, although Shades had still remained concerned.

Deciding to step out for a short time, Shades had told Comanche to stand guard over Harlem's Paradise so they could complete all their business with Bushmaster as soon as he got back. However, while he was walking outside of the building, Shades was then stopped by Comanche who had mocked his relationship with Dillard, questioning what it was like to have his balls so far inside Dillard's purse, asking if she rolled them around which she had previously threatened to do to Comanche earlier that day. Ignoring the mockery, Shades simply put on his sunglasses and then walked out of Harlem's Paradise.[15]

Threat of Bushmaster

"Stay with Mariah."
"Of course. I'm on her every step."
"Where's Comanche? I left him in charge."
"His mama called him. Needed something."
―Shades and Ray Ray[src]

Back at Harlem's Paradise, Shades was stood with Mariah Dillard and listening to the music of Christone "Kingfish" Ingram when they noticed that Bushmaster had entered the club and was coming upstairs. Shades then whispered to Dillard before stepping aside, watching closely as Dillard had commented that she had expected Bushmaster to be taller before attempting to shake his hand. As Shades watched, Bushmaster eventually shook Dillard's hand before accepting her offer for a drink as they sat down together.

Dillard thanked Bushmaster for doing a public service for Harlem as he had taken down Luke Cage, noting what a shame it would be for him to return to Jamaica. While Shades stood by, Bushmaster and Dillard discussed Harlem's Paradise and what had built it originally, as Bushmaster noted that Buggy Stokes had designed much of it with the aid of Quincy McIver, although Dillard denied any knowledge of him. Dillard and Bushmaster engaged in subtle threats while also discussing their Bushmaster Rum which they were drinking, before Bushmaster left and called Dillard by Stokes on the way out.

Seeking to learn more, Shades went to follow Bushmaster, before asking Ray Ray to stay and watch over Dillard while questioning where Comanche had gone as he had previously left him in charge while he was gone, with Ray Ray claiming Comanche's mother had called him. Shades then followed Bushmaster to Gwen's where he had observed Bushmaster happily socialising with all his friends and family, celebrating his coming to New York City. While sitting in his car and watching Bushmaster, Shades attempted to call Comanche but got no answer, much to Shades' considerable annoyance.[15]


"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 believes Organized Crime should be handled with discipline, patience, and respect and should only use extreme levels of violence if the situation calls for it. 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. Shades’ takes the criminal code of honor to heart and is willing to punish anyone who breaks it, including his best friend Comanche for his betrayal. 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, but even he was appalled by Mariah’s decision to massacre Bushmaster’s entire family, including the children.


  • 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.



"I want the big one."
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  • 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.
  • Smith & Wesson Model 64: Shades borrowed this .38 pearl-handed revolver from Mariah to execute Candace Miller by shooting her in the head.



  • Mother
  • Cousin




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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