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Black Mariah (comics)

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Black Mariah
Black Mariah (left) with Jennifer "White Jennie" Royce on the cover of Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 3, #3 (June 2016).
Art by Sanford Greene.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceLuke Cage, Hero for Hire #5 (January 1973)
Created byBilly Graham
George Tuska
Steve Englehart
In-story information
Full nameMariah Dillard
Place of originEarth
Team affiliationsPride
Rat Pack
PartnershipsWhite Jennie

Black Mariah (Mariah Dillard) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of Luke Cage. She was created by Billy Graham, George Tuska, and Steve Englehart, and first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire Vol. 1, #5 (January 1973).

Alfre Woodard portrayed Mariah Dillard in the series Luke Cage, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Black Mariah first appeared in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #5 (January 1973) and was created by George Tuska and Steve Englehart.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Mariah Dillard was the leader of a gang of New York criminals called the Rat Pack. Their primary source of criminal activity was using a stolen ambulance to pick up the bodies of the recently deceased, and then stealing whatever valuables they had on their person.[2] During one of these thefts, a widow of one of the victims hired Power Man (who was at the scene of the murder) to find her husband's body. Power Man finds the hideout of Black Mariah.[3] This led to a clash between Mariah and her men against Power Man. Power Man defeated Mariah and her cohorts and turned them over to the police.[4]

After some time in prison, Black Mariah started a drug-dealing enterprise. She is the primary distributor of a drug called Acid Z, a potent drug that would eventually make its users become crazy and often suicidal. When some of the drug got into the hands of Luke Cage's friend D.W. Griffith, Power Man went looking for his old friend while his partner Iron Fist tracked down the primary distributor and shut them down. Iron Fist found Black Mariah's hideout; however, he also found out that she had hired a special enforcer as protection: Iron Fist's old foe Scimitar. Power Man joined Iron Fist in battle after learning of his old foe's involvement in the drug distribution. The Heroes for Hire made short work of Mariah and Scimitar, crushing their drug operation and turning both crooks over to the police.[5]

Black Mariah is featured in the 2016 relaunch of Power Man and Iron Fist.[6] Here, she teams up with former Heroes for Hire secretary Jennifer "White Jennie" Royce into taking down Tombstone's empire.[7]

Black Mariah later appears as a member of Alex Wilder's incarnation of the Pride.[8]

Black Mariah is among the crime lords that compete with Mister Negative in obtaining the Tablet of Life and Destiny so that she can win the favor of Mayor Wilson Fisk.[9]

Black Mariah is among the crime lords that attend the wedding of Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln. The wedding is crashed by Shotgun who shoots Tombstone. As Spider-Man goes after Shotgun, the crime lords blame each other for calling the hit.[10]

During the "Gang War" storyline, Black Mariah attends a crime lord meeting where she states that Harlem is up for grabs and that nobody has told Janice Lincoln about it.[11] Black Mariah's group attacks a warehouse where White Rabbit and her henchman Kareem are. In the nick of time, Janice Lincoln in her Beetle attire arrives with Syndicate members Lady Octopus, Scorpia, and Trapstr. Beetle flies Black Mariah up to the sky and drops her. White Rabbit later confirmed to Lady Octopus that Black Mariah survived the fall.[12]

Powers and abilities[edit]

While Black Mariah has no powers, her weight, estimated to be 400 lbs., enables her to strike with great force. Outside of her fighting experience, she has been known to catch her enemies off-guard.

In other media[edit]

Mariah Dillard (née Stokes) appears in Luke Cage, portrayed by Alfre Woodard as an adult and Megan Miller as a teenager.[1] This version is a New York City councilwoman, the granddaughter of Harlem crime lord Maybelline "Mama Mabel" Stokes, cousin of gunrunner Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, who funds her political campaigns, and estranged mother of Tilda Johnson who was raped by her uncle "Pistol Pete" Stokes at a young age.[13][14] Throughout the first season, Mariah attempts to avoid getting involved in Cottonmouth's affairs. While his obsession with Luke Cage ruins her political campaign, Diamondback sends Shades to assist Mariah and Cottonmouth.[15] Mariah later kills Cottonmouth for suggesting she seduced Pete and frames Cage for it with Shades' help.[14][16] Following Diamondback and Cage's arrests, Mariah takes over Harlem's criminal underworld, establishes a base for herself at the Harlem's Paradise night club, and enters a relationship with Shades.[17] In the second season, Mariah prepares to go legitimate and retire from her family's criminal activities with help from her childhood friend Raymond "Piranha" Jones while attempting to reconnect with Tilda.[18][19] However, Mariah faces several violent attacks from Bushmaster, who seeks revenge for Mama Mabel killing his parents by murdering Mariah's associates, stealing the Stokes' arsenal, and depleting her bank accounts.[20] After Cage rescues Mariah from one of Bushmaster's attacks,[21] she retaliates by killing Bushmaster's uncle and a plant sent to spy on her, along with several innocents.[22] A disgusted Shades turns himself in to the police and works with them to apprehend her while Tilda learns the truth of her mother's criminal activities and joins Bushmaster.[23] Mariah is eventually arrested by the authorities and fatally poisoned by Tilda,[24] though she bequeaths Cottonmouth's keyboard to Tilda and Harlem's Paradise to Cage to broker peace between Harlem's gangs before dying.[25]


  1. ^ a b UPDATE: Is a Netflix LUKE CAGE Character In CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR? | Newsarama.com, Retrieved April 7, 2016
  2. ^ Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #5. Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #10. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Power Man and Iron Fist #88. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ "Marvel's April 2016 Solicitations Introduce "Black Panther," "Gwenpool" & More". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  7. ^ Power Man and Iron Fist vol. 3 #1. Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ Power Man and Iron Fist vol. 3 #11. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 5 #59. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 #31. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 #38. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 6 #39. Marvel Comic.
  13. ^ "How 'Luke Cage' Made Cottonmouth One of Marvel's Best Villains Yet". Complex.
  14. ^ a b Goddard, Andy (director); Akela Cooper (writer) (September 30, 2016). "Manifest". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 1. Episode 7. Netflix.
  15. ^ McGuigan, Paul (director); Cheo Hodari Coker (writer) (September 30, 2016). "Moment of Truth". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 1. Episode 1. Netflix.
  16. ^ Martens, Magnus (director); Aida Mashaka Croal (writer) (September 30, 2016). "Blowin' Up the Spot". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 1. Episode 8. Netflix.
  17. ^ Johnson, Clark (director); Aida Mashaka Croal & Cheo Hodari Coker (writer) (September 30, 2016). "You Know My Steez". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 1. Episode 13. Netflix.
  18. ^ Green, Steph (director); Akela Cooper (writer) (June 22, 2018). "Straighten It Out". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 2. Netflix.
  19. ^ Jobst, Marc (director); Matt Owens (writer) (June 22, 2018). "Wig Out". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 3. Netflix.
  20. ^ Lemmons, Kasi (director); Ian Stokes (writer) (June 22, 2018). "All Souled Out". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 5. Netflix.
  21. ^ Green, Rashaad Ernesto (director); Nicole Mirante Matthews (writer) (June 22, 2018). "On and On". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 7. Netflix.
  22. ^ Goddard, Andy (director); Akela Cooper (writer) (June 22, 2018). "The Main Ingredient". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 10. Netflix.
  23. ^ Surjik, Stephen (director); Nicole Mirante Matthews & Matthew Lopes (writer) (June 22, 2018). "The Creator". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 11. Netflix.
  24. ^ Gout, Evarado (director); Aïda Mashaka Croal (writer) (June 22, 2018). "Can't Front On Me". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 12. Netflix.
  25. ^ Lopez, Alex Garcia (director); Cheo Hodari Coker (writer) (June 22, 2018). "They Reminisce Over You". Marvel's Luke Cage. Season 2. Episode 13. Netflix.

External links[edit]