- You like my Biggie photo? Me too. You know what draws your eye when you look at that? The crown... Wanna know why? 'Cause everybody wants to be the king.
- -- Cottonmouth
- -- Cottonmouth
- All I did your whole life was protect you! Your junkie mamma dropped you off at Mabel's and never looked back! Your daddy didn't want ya! Who was there changing ya diapers, tending your needs, dealing with your whining!
- --Mariah Dillard to Cottonmouth
As the unwanted son of Jazmine Stokes, the infant Cornell Stokes was dropped off at the home of Mama Mabel, where he was cared for mainly by his cousin Mariah Dillard. From a young age, Stokes proved himself to be a great pianist and wanted to pursue a career. But with Mama Mabel basically running the neighborhood of Harlem and being head of the family mob, she wanted something different for Cornell. Instead he was encouraged to go out in the street with Pop and Fredo Diaz, beating people up to steal cash, becoming notorious enough that they were once photographed by Jamel Shabazz. When Stokes lost three of his teeth during a fight, he gained the nickname of Cottonmouth, a name that he despised from the start.
One night, Stokes played his piano while Pistol Pete complimented his talent, noting that he really should be going to a school like Juilliard School to pursue his passion. Mama Mabel however made it clear that she did not support his talent and instead told him to keep quiet so that Mariah could continue with her studies. They were interrupted by the arrival of Pop and Donnie who brought cash and a stolen watch to Mabel, inviting Stokes out to join them on the street to continue their work, only for Pistol Pete to insist that he stay and continue to practice on his piano instead.
However Mabel told Pop he could leave but confronted Donnie on the fact that he had been selling drugs on the streets of Harlem, the one aspect of crime she refused to get involved with. Donnie insisted that he was only trying to help her organization, noting that Salvador Colon was making a lot of money selling crack which they could get involved with. Stokes listened as Mabel furiously confronted Donnie before using flower cutters to cut off his finger, before ordering Dillard to return to her room and Stokes to stay and watch the violence, in her mind to turn him into a man worthy of her.
Mabel then ordered Stokes to take Donnie downstairs in the basement and deal with him, despite Pistol Pete's objections. Stokes went downstairs and alongside Pete, beat and stabbed Donnie to death as punishment for dealing with drugs outside of their mob. He returned upstairs from the basement with blood on his hands where he returned to his piano, his hands visibly shaking from his first kill. Mama Mabel comforted him with a hug as she put her hands on top of him, making it clear that she was proud of her own grandson for murdering Donnie for her and protecting the family.
Executing Pistol Pete
Returning to the house, Stokes was confronted by Mama Mabel who explained that while he was gone, a punter had attacked one of the prostitutes named Sister Boy. When Stokes joked that she should have defended herself, Mabel slapped Stokes for being disrespectful, Stokes then revealed that Pistol Pete had taken him to an audition before stopping off at Spanish-Harlem to meet with Salvador Colon while Stokes had spoken with Domingo Colon, seemingly revealing that Pete was betraying Mabel's organization as well as their close family.
Mabel confronted Pistol Pete in their living room for betraying her to the Colon's mob family, with Pete noting that he was trying to make a deal that would help them rule New York City and that this entire criminal empire should have been his if he had been able to marry Mabel instead of his brother marrying her. When Pete noted that Mabel always had a plan for these situations, she revealed that Stokes was standing behind him, threatening Pete with a gun much to his horror. Mabel then ordered Stokes to force Pete outside of the house to be executed for his betrayal against them.
Pete desperately tried to reason with Stokes, reminding him that he was not built to be a murderer and that he should be pursuing the musical career that he had been supporting for all these years. Mariah Dillard then stepped out and told Pete that he deserved to die for what he had done to their family and to her, with Mabel keeping him calm before Stokes fired two shots into Pete's chest, killing him. While Stokes looked at the corpse of his uncle in horror, Mabel took the gun away from him and reminded him that family always came first with them, leaving Stokes as a cold-hearted killer.
Selling Hammer Guns
- Nah, what I sell is pure, this is the kind of shit that can blow a hole in a battleship, but it's light enough to hold in your hand. Trust me Domingo, you can bribe someone's day permanently with this shit. Top of the line, the crème de la crème, this that grade A, military, Justin Hammer level shit. A hundred large per case, ten cases, a cool mil, whole sale, brand spanking new, no serial numbers, because my connector's nice like that.
- --Cottonmouth to Domingo Colon
In the wake of the eventual death of Mama Mabel, Stokes took control of Harlem's Paradise while also building himself a new career as a criminal who more or less ran all of Harlem's criminal activities. During this time, Stokes overlooked the quality of Harlem's Paradise, ensuring that they kept the best quality of service and the best music acts they could find. He also ensured that he kept the most beautiful women around him at all times while he still overlooked the club and listened to the music.
One night Stokes was visited by Mariah Dillard, who commented that the performing Raphael Saadiq was very impressive. When Dillard noted that she should not really be in the club with her cousin, Stokes explained that Colon's Gym was prepared to make a donation both to his organization and to her own political campaign. While Dillard noted that the true power remained in politics, Stokes claimed that while her campaign slogans got her reelected, it was "niggas" like him to get the city running as it was, despite Dillard's hatred of that word and what it represented.
The pair were then joined by Domingo Colon, who Stokes ordered a bottle of champagne for as they prepared to make a deal that Colon and Stokes wanted as both Pistol Pete and Colon's uncle had both been close friends. While Colon thought they're deal was a get out of jail free card, but Dillard refused to accept this, noting what had just happened to Kingpin, but Stokes ignored her and explained he would be selling Colon guns made by Justin Hammer and stolen by Stokes' contact, Diamondback, a deal that Colon happily agreed to by offering Cottonmouth a firm handshake.
- I slapped you like a little bitch, I'm not the kinda man to use a closed fist on a woman. Where's my money?"
"I... I didn't..."
"Ah ha, only thing worse than a thief is a damn liar. Where's... My... Money?!
- --Cottonmouth and Shameek Smith
The next day while inside Harlem's Paradise, Stokes was forced to defend the events of the night before to the furious Domingo Colon, who believed it was an inside job. While Tone tried to learn more what had happened, they were interrupted by Shades' arrival, who announced he was now out of Seagate Prison and working for Diamondback. Shades asked if the hit was an inside job before questioning how he and Diamondback could sort the situation out.
Seeking assistance, Stokes found Mariah Dillard as she was giving an interview about her hopes to improve Harlem, ensuring that Zip and Sugar stayed close to her. Once they were alone, Dillard confronted Stokes for getting too close to her and endangering her political reputation before demanding that she get her money as quickly as possible. When Dillard questioned how the deal went down and if anything had gone wrong due to Shades' arrival, Stokes noted that she did not really want to know what had happened and did not tell her the details which she always preferred.
Stokes then returned to Tone and Shades, who noted 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. Needing to find them as quickly as possible, Stokes ordered Tone to send a message out to their allies to find them, with eventually led to Smith being tracked down to a strip club within New York City where he was spending all Stokes' stolen money on lap-dances with the various strippers who had called Tone to inform on him.
Stokes later returned to Harlem's Paradise where he had his various models, who were stripped down to their underwear, listen to him while he played some soft music on his keyboard. While Stokes still relaxed in his office with his models and his music, he sent Tone and Shades to collect Smith under the concept that Domingo Colon's own people were looking for him since the heist and Stokes now wished to protect him from any harm, which was a lie as he simply wished to interrogate the man who had stolen his money from him while also losing his Hammer Industries guns in order to find the rest and repay Dillard to keep that scandal quiet and pay back anyone else he owed money to, to protect his own organization's safety.
With Smith now tied up in his office, Stokes confidently walked up to him and began a conversation about the poster of Biggie Smalls that he had hung up in his office, noting that it was the crown that drew people's attention. Stokes then proceeded to slap Smith as he demanded to know where his money was now, noting that he was slapping him because he viewed Smith as a little bitch and he did not wish to then punch a woman, explaining that Dante Chapman had exposed him in the heist before his death and now they wanted Chico Diaz's location to get the rest of his money back.
The definite Smith proceeded to spit his own blood in Stokes face, which he only laughed at as he wiped the blood from his face. Cottonmouth however only laughed and noted that he could now hit him like a man. He then dragged Smith off of his seat and pinned him to the floor before repeatedly punching him in the skull until he had beaten Smith to death in front of the horrified Shades and Tone, beating him so hard that his face was almost unrecognizable. With Smith now dead, Cottonmouth ordered Tone to dispose of his corpse and locate Diaz in order to recover the money.
When Diamondback wanted to frame Carl Lucas for drug trafficking, he stole heroin from Cottonmouth's organization. One of Cage's informants, Flea, eventually discovered this information, but was killed by Cottonmouth's men.
Powers and Abilities
- Hand-to-Hand Combat: Cottonmouth was exceptionally strong.
- Expert Tactician
- Golden Teeth: Cottonmouth has sharpened, gold-capped teeth.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Cornell Stokes (Earth-1010)
- Character Gallery: Cornell Stokes (Earth-1010)
- Quotations by Cornell Stokes (Earth-1010)
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