Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: In contrast to the Stokes family's use of exclusively male foot soldiers, the Stylers have both men and women among their soldiers. They also have no problem with hiring American-born blacks, Latinos and even a handful of whites into their organization.
- From Bad to Worse: As D.W. puts it, if the Yardies are Al-Qaeda, the Stylers are ISIS.
- Improbably Cool Car: The gang use heavily-modified lowrider cars that are stereotypically suitable for drive-by shootings. Though this does give them an intimidation factor, Misty is eventually able to use this to track their movements.
- It's Personal: Played for laughs but they dislike Luke Cage because of a comment about him being faster than Usain Bolt.
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: They seem to have this reputation among the Harlem gangs, especially when decapitation becomes a regular thing for them. Ironically, as ruthless as they are under Bushmaster, Mariah proves to be far more willing to cross the line.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Many of the higher-ups wear business suits. To quote Bushmaster, "A Styler must style".
- The Yardies: They are an offshoot of the original Yardies, formed by a younger generation.
John "Bushmaster" McIver
Species: Enhanced human
Portrayed by: Mustafa Shakir
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
A Jamaican gangster new to Harlem, who proves capable of taking on Luke Cage by himself.
- Adaptational Curves: Inverted. He lacks the exaggerated physique of his comic counterpart.
- Affably Evil: Oddly enough, yes. The man might decapitate people and stick their heads on pikes, but he's generally fairly polite to friends and enemies alike, sincerely thanks Luke when he saves someone he cares about (which Luke points out he did because it was the right thing and Bushmaster's aunt was just a civilian caught in the crossfire), and remarks on several occasions that he and Luke could have 'brethren' in another life.
- All for Nothing: As soon as he finally defeats Mariah for good, he has to flee back to Jamaica due to the huge manhunt out for him.
- Animal Theme Naming: Subverted, in the comic he is named after the type snake (in the same vein as Diamonback and Cottonmouth) but here it's an Appropriated Appelation tangentially related to the snake.
- Anti-Villain: His methods are incredibly brutal and he harbors aspirations for dominating Harlem's criminal underworld, but otherwise Bushmaster is only slightly worse than extreme anti-hero the Punisher, and possesses just as many redeeming qualities. It doesn't hurt that his primary goal is to murder a woman who slowly comes into her own as a monster far worse than him.
- Appropriated Appelation: His street name comes from the rum his father invented, the same rum in the Molotov cocktail a Stokes assassin used to kill his mother.
- Ascended Extra: Bushmaster is a rather low-tier villain in the comics. He's the main antagonist of Season Two, alongside Mariah Dillard and Shades Alvarez.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Hes a powerful fighter whos often decked out in nice suits, although his tend to be somewhat flashier and more colorful than the ones worn by Cottonmouth or Fisk.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: He kills Cockroach, freeing up Luke from his legal troubles and saving C.J. and Drea from his Domestic Abuse.
- Berserk Button: Two major buttons in fact:
- It's Mariah Stokes, not Dillard. He will repeatedly correct you on this, and angrily.
- Saying (or hearing) that Luke Cage is faster than Usain Bolt. To be fair, Luke himself didn't say this, but he isn't about to let him live it down regardless.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: With Mariah in Season 2. They are on opposing sides and Luke Cage is trying to stop both of them at different points in the season.
- Blasphemous Boast: Gives a good one when Anansi unknowingly echoes the words of Reverend Lucas.Anansi: Vengeance belong ti di Lord.
Bushmaster: Well, di Lord can have it back when mi done wit it.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: His attempts to kill Mariah did a number on his body because of the continued use of Nightshade.
- Byronic Hero: Bushmaster is the scion of the McIver family, who were betrayed and murdered by the Stokeses over rights to Harlem's Paradise. His quest for vengeance and his birthright puts him in conflict with both Black Mariah and Luke Cage. His own allies think his methods are too brutal, but his own code of honour pushes him forward. In any other show, he would be considered a Villain Protagonist at worst. That may even be the case here, considering how much worse Mariah becomes after Luke stifles his assassination attempt.
- Childhood Friends: He and Sheldon have known each other since they were eleven.
- Combat Pragmatist: When his second round with Luke is going badly (because Luke is ready for him this time), he whips out a paralysing powder.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Unlike Cottonmouth, he's able to fight Luke one-on-one. Unlike Diamondback, he doesn't need mechanical aids to do so.
- Cultural Posturing: A minor example, when he takes serious offence to Luke Cage claiming he's faster than Usain Bolt (he didn't, but the lie becomes truth faster than he can correct it).
- Dance Battler: Has a Capoeira fighting-style.
- The Dreaded: Once people see the brutality of the results of his decapitations, coupled with the video of him defeating Luke Cage on the street, they know he isn't someone to be messed with.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Even as a boy, he proved uncommonly strong and resilient when he alone managed to live through being poisoned with a faulty vaccine that poisoned hundreds of other children; when using Nightshade, his body is absolutely flooded with "cold energy", rendering him faster, stronger, and able to fight through getting peppered with bullets. Also deconstructed, as the drug slowly becomes more ineffective and the very thing wearing him down, while his natural physical strength is what keeps his body from deteriorating too quickly and prevents him from dying in agony during the healing process.Sheldon: Nightshade don't give. Nightshade reveal.
- Enemy Civil War: He's involved in a major gang war with Mariah Dillard for control of Harlem at the same time that he's at war with Luke Cage.
- Enemy Mine: Very briefly teams up with Luke towards the end of the season.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: His gang the Stylers includes female enforcers, and unlike any number of the show's villains, he never shows any sign of treating women as anything but equals.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He really loves his mother. That's his primary motivation for taking revenge against the Stokes clan.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loved his mother dearly, and is also very fond of his uncle and aunt.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Along with Just for Pun. He doesn't quip too often, but he does kind of enjoy it when it does.Luke: I'm looking for Nigel, man.
- Evil Is Petty: The first time he fights Luke is to publically humiliate him because Luke's fans boasted that Luke was faster than Usain Bolt.
- Foil: To Frank Castle. Both are after the people who killed their families, both have an Enemy Mine with a main superhero (Matt and Luke), and both even comment to said superhero about how they'd be good comrades in another world. Bushmaster's a little bit more ruthless in his methods than Frank is and doesn't have problem taking over organized crime, seeing Harlem as his birthright.
- Friend to All Children: He gets along rather well with the local kids in his neighborhood.
- Glass Cannon: Only compared to Luke. He is faster than Luke, equally strong and an excellent martial artist, but he can't take the same kind of punishment as Luke. It's why he almost loses to Luke in their second fight: he lands more punches than Luke, but what few hits Luke gets in cause far more damage, and Bushmaster has to resort to his paralysis powder to win. Also, bullets can hurt him; they embed themselves half an inch in his skin like Kevlar rather than bouncing off harmlessly. This causes them to leave wounds, and it's implied that enough bullets will kill him.
- Insistent Terminology: He utterly refuses to accept Mariah's married name, angrily correcting it to "Stokes" every single time.
- It's Personal: He's here to settle an old score with Mariah, and the Stokes family.
- Karma Houdini: Played with. Season 2 ends with Bushmaster managing to escape back to Kingston and his crimes go unpunished. However, his crusade has cost him most of his remaining family and left his body and mind a hollow shell of their former selves.
- Lean and Mean: He has a thinner profile compared to Luke.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The crimelord that decapitates people proved to be more sympathetic than Mariah by the end. To the point Luke partners up with him to take out drugs on the streets that Mariah let roam.
- Lightning Bruiser: He has martial arts skills to rival Danny Rand, and can put Luke on his ass with just a couple hits.
- Made of Iron: John was always remarkably hard to kill, with Nightshade enhancing his resistance. Unlike Luke who is Nigh Invulnerable to almost anything a human being can throw at him Bushmaster can be injured by bullets and explosions.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is left vague if Bushmaster is an enhanced individual, or using a form of Hollywood Voodoo. Needlessly to say, he packs enough punch to defeat Luke with ease first time round - and then give him a good fight the next couple of times - and able to take several bullets without them entering his body. As it is turns out, he gains his enhancement from Nightshade, but he is naturally able to weather its use in ways other aren't for reasons that are kept mysterious.
- Not So Different: Luke Cage and Bushmaster are compared many times regarding their anger issues and how they protect the ones they care about. And even with their respective abilities too, it comes off that Bushmaster is basically the kind of person Luke Cage would be if he was much more brutal in dealing with his enemies.
- Older Than He Looks: He is roughly the same age as Mariah, but looks more around Luke's age.
- Power at a Price: Bushmaster's enhanced strength and durability comes from a chemical cocktail that uses Nightshade as it source which allows him to go toe-to-toe with Luke Cage. However the more he uses it the less effective its powers become and they wear off faster. Not only that it also does damage to Bushmaster's mind and body the more he uses it. By the end of the season, after injecting himself with a concentrated source of Nightshade, he ends up almost completely catatonic and has to be send back to Kingston to try and fix what's left off his body and mind.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: By the end of Luke Cage season 2 Bushmaster's reign of terror ends with Mariah and the Stokes household being destroyed just as he wanted. But his desire for revenge ended with Anansi, one of his few remanning family members, dead, his gang and influence in shambles, and his body and mind damaged possibly beyond repair due to Nightshade overdose. He doesn't even get the satisfaction of killing Mariah like he wanted he has to settle on Tilda doing the deed for him.
- Revenge Before Reason: It doesn't matter if he has reclaimed his birthright that was taken from him, that he has millions of dollars as well as vast power in the Harlem criminal world and that every use of the Nightshade is doing more and more damage to his body. He will never stop until Mariah is dead.
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Though born in Brooklyn, he grew up in Jamaica, and setting up shop in Harlem, putting him at odds with Mariah and Shades.
- Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: He's far more dangerous than both his predecessors Cottonmouth and Diamondback, being able to take on Luke in a fight and come out victorious.
- Strong and Skilled: His biggest asset - he's almost as strong as Luke (though their second and third fight reveal that in a grapple, Luke's got the upper-hand, and he's not quite as invulnerable, as bullets manage to embed themselves in his skin rather than harmlessly bouncing off) but he's faster and has the fighting skills to better use his strength.
- Villain Decay: At the start of Season 2 of Luke Cage, he seems effectively unstoppable, and mid-season he appears to hold all the cards. However, after that he starts taking some heavy losses and ends up looking almost like a Villainous Underdog. Justified in that the only thing letting him go toe to toe with Luke is his use of nightshade, which is both hard to get hold of in the US and gets less and less effective the longer you use it.
- Villain Respect: He develops a genuine respect for Luke, both for his strength/fighting ability, and his principles, sincerely thanking him for protecting his aunt after she survived Mariah's massacre.
- We Can Rule Together: Makes this offer to Luke once. It's unclear whether he means it, as he seems to regard Harlem as his birthright, but it's notable that on several occasions he remarks that in another life, he and Luke could have been brethren.
Portrayed by: Kevin Mambo
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
Bushmaster's right hand man.
- Childhood Friends: He and Bushmaster have known each other since they were eleven. Sheldon is one of the few people that call him "John".
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sheldon is in tears when he learns that Anansi and Stephanie are dead.
- Honest Advisor: Much like Anansi, he sometimes questions Bushmaster's decisions. Unlike Anansi, however, he never questions his motivations and means, and even displays a "kill them just to be sure" mentality with some people.
- Karma Houdini: He and Bushmaster don't get to enjoy the view at the top of the hill, having to flee the country after getting their revenge on the Stokes gang.
- Nerves of Steel: Shows nothing but contempt towards Cage when he tries to get information out of him with a High-Altitude Interrogation. He even does the countdown for him, daring him to go through with the threat.
- Number Two: Right hand of Bushmaster.
- Undying Loyalty: He's been with Bushmaster since they were kids, and stays by his side even when others take issue with his methods.
- Villain Respect: His last appearance has him show up at Pop's Barbershop, tell Luke and Co. they heard about Mariah's death, and tell them to "walk good" before leaving. No threats, no grudges, just respectful acknowledgement.
Portrayed by: R.A. Guirand
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
A childhood friend of Bushmaster and Sheldon and member of the Stylers.
Portrayed by: Tarah Rodgers
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
Sheldon's younger cousin and an acquaintance of Bushmaster's family and gang.
- Boom, Headshot!: How Mariah kills her at Gwen's
- Honey Trap: Mariah uses her to blackmail Higgins.
- Janitor Impersonation Infiltration/The Mole: She gets herself hired on by Mariah at Harlem's Paradise to spy on them for Bushmaster.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite being a relatively minor character, her role as a mole within Harlem's Paradise enables Bushmaster to have the upper hand on Mariah and make several strikes against her organization without her being able to exact much retaliation, including their severed head display as well as killing Piranha.
Paul "Anansi" Mackintosh
Portrayed by: Sahr Ngaujah
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)Bushmaster's uncle and co-owner of Gwen's in Brooklyn.
- Brutal Honesty: As said under Honest Advisor, he is not afraid to speak his mind to anyone, even if Mariah holds him hostagehe will still make it clear he thinks he might have been wrong in reining John in his revenge.
- Defiant to the End: He raves in Mariah's face even after she douses him in alcohol and lights him on fire, and refuses to just die, so she decides to just shoot him. This proves to be Mariah's undoing, as the bullet connects Mariah's signature gun to the death of Candace Miller and becomes the key piece of evidence that puts her away.
- Dying Curse: He gives one to Mariah, while he's burning alive. Doubles as Famous Last Words.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Supports his nephew but does take issue with John's Revenge Before Reason. Once Mariah kidnaps him and he gets a chance to meet her, he decides that maybe John had a point. However he finds Decapitation Presentation distasteful.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Even his own wife calls him Anansi. The audience doesn't learn his full name until "The Creator", after he's dead.
- Honest Advisor: He's not afraid to question John's decisions and tactics. Bushmaster said that anyone else who questioned him like that would have at least gotten roughed up, but Anansi says that if he's afraid to speak his mind, God strike him dead.
- Just Shoot Him: He wants Bushmaster to just kill Mariah and be done with it instead of his long and barbaric crusade that makes the Jamaicans living in Harlem look bad. He won't deny Mariah doesn't have it coming but she is not worth John ruining his body with Nightshade and the police arresting any black man with dreads because they think he beheads people.
- Man on Fire: Mariah lights him on fire, then shoots him as he's burning up.
- Morality Chain: He tries to be this to his nephew John, often pointing out that he's going way too far in his crusade, but John usually rebuffs him and his arguments. While they still clearly love each other, Anansi is worried to see him going down a dark path.
- Parental Substitute: He and Ingrid took John in after Gwen was killed. He also served as a father-figure to Sheldon Shaw, given how torn up he is by his death.
- Reformed Criminal: Though he has a record in Jamaica, in NY he was an upstanding, law-abiding immigrant and worker.
- Retired Monster: He has a record in Jamaica, but by all accounts he's been on the straight and narrow since coming to New York. He only gets involved with the Stylers more out of loyalty to John than any criminal intent.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Refuses Bushmaster's offered money, as he doesn't want any ill-gotten gains. Ingrid, however, is more than happy to take the money.
Matilda "Tilda" Maybelline Johnson (neé Dillard)
Portrayed by: Gabrielle Dennis
Appearances: Luke Cage
- "Being in the middle of nowhere, I just became fascinated with holistic medicine, and Mother Earth's unfiltered power. So I melded together ancient and modern medical practice into Mother's Touch. Mother Nature's Touch."
Mariah Dillard's estranged daughter, the owner of holistic health store in Harlem, and eventually comes to Bushmaster's aid in his vendetta against her mother.
- Adapted Out: Needless to say, this version of the character never seems to have turned anybody into a werewolf... yet.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Becomes this to Mariah.
- Anti-Villain: Like many other antagonists in the MCU, Tilda isn't strictly evil, but more a victim of circumstance. She's certainly more nuanced than her counterpart in the comics, who eventually does undergo a heel-face turn to join Hawkeye's "Occupy" Avengers, and become the new Nighthawk, a vigilante superhero.
- Child by Rape: Her birth father is Uncle Pete (her great-granduncle), who sexually abused Mariah when she was young.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: She doesn't actually call herself '(Deadly) Nightshade" in Luke Cage, but she does use the nightshade flower to create the concoction that heightens Bushmaster's abilities.
- Disappeared Dad / Missing Mom: She didn't have much of a relationship with either of her parents growing up.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being used by her mother and being told that she was never loved (on top of countless utter horrible things), Tilda poisons Mariah.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: She starts styling her fair into two afro puffs after the face-heel turn.
- Family Relationship Switcheroo: The man she grew up believing to be her father, Jackson Dillard, wasn't. She's actually the biological daughter of Pistol Pete (who was also her great-granduncle), which Mabel and Mariah covered up by sending her to live with their cousins, the Johnsons.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Despite Tilda's claims that she wants nothing more to do with the Stokes family, she's clearly furious when she learns that Mariah bequethed Harlem's Paradise to Luke instead of her and her last appearance in Season Two has her looking at Luke in envy of his position.
- Kiss of Death: How she administers the poison that kills Mariah.
- In the Blood: The daughter of two criminals, she ends up murdering her own mother.
- Irony: She named her business the very freudian Mother's Touch.
- Last of Her Kind: Much as she would like to deny it, as of the end of season 2, she is the last remaining member of the Stokes family.
- Mythology Gag: When we last see her in season two, she resembles her comic book counterpart quite closely.
- Older Than She Looks: If Mariah had her as a teen, Tilda is at least in her mid/late forties.
- Related in the Adaptation: In the comics, Tilda has no blood relation to either Black Mariah or Cottonmouth.
- Remember the New Guy?: Despite being the daughter of the show's primary antagonist, she's never mentioned in the first season of Luke Cage, but it's explained and justified after she first appears.
- Self-Made Orphan: Poisons her own mother.
- Shed the Family Name: As a reflection of her fraught relationship with Mariah, she rechristens herself as Tilda Johnson, in respect for the relatives who raised her as child.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Subverted. Mariah describes her as such, peddling holistic "cures" to people, but she really does have chemist know-how and aids Bushmaster in taking down both Luke Cage and Mariah.
- Stockholm Syndrome: She gets accused of this after she willingly helps Bushmaster try to kill her mother after he previously had kidnapped and threatened her, at one point she's even referred to as "Harlem's own Patty Hearst."
- White Sheep: Played with. All in all, she's far less villainous than the rest of the Stokes clan, and is often horrified by everything her mother does...which causes her to kill her mother, pushing her into He Who Fights Monsters territory. She also seemed to have a cordial relationship with Cornell, though she didn't know the extent of his criminal dealings (she knew he was a criminal, but never knew about his Arms Dealing).
Portrayed by: Helena Alicia Simms
Appearances: Luke Cage (2016)
Bushmaster's maternal aunt, wife of Anansi and co-owner of Gwen's, named after her late sister.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Calls the Decapitation Presentation barbaric, not knowing her nephew is behind it.
- Parental Substitute: She and Anansi took John in after Gwen was killed.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Subverted. Despite knowing how John likely got that money, she isn't too proud to accept it.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After he husband is murdered, her restaurant becomes a crime scene, and with her nephew half dead, Ingrid just opts to take Bushmaster and Anansi's body back to Kingston.