This is the second half of our Cornell Cottonmouth character profile.
- Cornell Cottonmouth (1970s). Read this one first !
- Cornell Cottonmouth (2010s). This here writeup.
- Real Name: Cornell Stokes.
- Note: PM&IF (2016 run) establishes that the last name “Cottonmouth” is an alias.
- Marital Status: Unrevealed.
- Known Relatives: Raymond “Piranha” Jones (distant cousin).
- Group Affiliation: Boss of his own criminal crew.
- Base of Operations: New York City.
- Height: 6’ Weight: 200 lbs.
- Eyes: Brown Hair: White.
Powers and Abilities
He returned to his early “Fang Gang” gimmick. Now his filed teeth are reinforced with sharp, stainless steel. His bite can easily kill or maim a man, and he’ll do so with no hesitation. But if he expects serious combat, he’ll use firearms.
Cottonmouth remains an experienced, wary criminal.
History (part 1)
When he was seen again, Cottonmouth’s heydays were long past. Even the reign of “Boss” Morgan had been over for decades.
He refocused on pimping, developing a flamboyant blast-from-the-past image as a Dolemite type.
The rising power in the Harlem underworld was young Nightshade (Tilda Johnson), who had returned to her old neighbourhood. She enjoyed working with Harlem’s older enforcers. Cottonmouth in particular became her lieutenant.
In 2010, the Hand took over a large swathe of Manhattan. Cottonmouth’s primary stomping ground became Purgatory. That was the area under the West Side highway, so named because it was outside of Daredevil (Matt Murdock)’s turf.
However, young hero Power Man (Victor Alvarez) was hired to rescue one of Cottonmouth’s underage prostitutes. The pimp was easily defeated. He also had to have his steel teeth redone.
Coincidentally, Hand ninja then came to claim dominion over Purgatory. They lethally forced the criminals out.
Cottonmouth later accompanied Nightshade as she confronted Power Man. The pimp was about to finish off the defeated hero, but Nightshade changed her mind at the last second. She now wanted to hire Mr. Alvarez.
Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K’ai) then came in. Power Man sucked-punched Cottonmouth to ally with the Fist.
A Fang Gang reunion
Cornell Cottonmouth was apparently in and out of prison for years. He occasionally appears in crowd scene, usually with his 1970s getup.
His longest prison stay apparently occurred after Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln) ratted him out. Tombstone then swept in and consolidated his power, becoming Harlem’s newest crime lord.
In late 2016, Cottonmouth escaped from prison. This was during the tail end of Civil War II , while superheroes were too busy fighting each other. But by that point, Cottonmouth had little left – no crew, no assets.
Cottonmouth thought that was a fool plan. He bailed out, after warning Piranha that his plot would end badly.
Something suitable that loudly says 2010…. mmm, let’s go with Ludacris.
History (part 2)
Nefarious resurrected blerd Alex Wilder was also mounting an assault on Tombstone. He was setting up a new Pride organisation in NYC. Two other former Fang Gang members were interested — Dontrell “Cockroach” Hamilton and “Black” Mariah Dillard.
Cornell Cottonmouth decided to join as well, as did Carlos Cabrera (formerly Gamecock) and Scimitar.
As a sign-in bonus, Wilder erased the criminal history of his New Pride associates. Though Cottonmouth remained wary, he and Scimitar agreed to lead a kill team into Tombstone’s headquarters.
It’s a trap
However, that was a trap. Tombstone ensured that this assault took place while Piranha Jones (and his mercenary lieutenant Montenegro) attempted their theft, *and* while Luke Cage and Iron Fist came in. Tombstone then triggered a huge charge of explosives to kill everyone.
Cottonmouth only survived as Alex Wilder teleported in and out of the blast to snatch his ally. Piranha Jones was killed.
Cottonmouth dropped out of the New Pride to bury his old friend Piranha Jones. During the funerals, Luke Cage came to pay his respects. He also encouraged Cornell Cottonmouth to skip town. The conflict between Alex Wilder and Tombstone was about to get much worse.
Though this initially angered Cottonmouth, he soon realised that Cage meant well. He apparently followed his advice.
In 2010/11, Cottonmouth ran with an over-the-top, flamboyant 1970s pimp act. He was garbed in green and gold, complete with cane and lushly feathered hat.
In late 2010, he added a 24-karat gold plating to his steel teeth.
He has green eyes – we assume that these are coloured lenses. Sometimes it looks like his eyeballs are green, with vertical snakelike black irises. This might instead mean he still has weird eyes after losing his powers, but this seems less likely.
I guess he now shaves above his nose to avoid the unibrow thing.
By 2017, he looks older. He dropped the pimp thing, simply dressing in slacks and an off-white shirt.
His teeth are still filed but no longer steel-shod, and he now trims his eyebrows. His eyes look human.
In 2010, Cottonmouth is sticking with his vintage pimp act. Presumably this is a #brand #image thing.
The “vintage” part might be a way to remind people that back in the 1970s he was feared – and that there were solid reasons for that. It might also be a way to seem retro cool rather than has-been.
This is a flamboyant persona, where he slings a lot of old jive and acts extra. He also emphasises the teeth thing, for (generally successful) intimidation.
However, his heart doesn’t seem entirely in it. Perhaps because he isn’t comfortable having to follow Nightshade’s orders.
By 2017, Cottonmouth has dropped this schtick. He’s an older, realistic, wary, somewhat bi(t)ter mobster. He sees himself as a honourable old-schooler, who speaks his mind and is true to his word. Cottonmouth also seems a bit burnt out.
He often refers to himself using the third person, or even as “Cornell”.
His dialogue comes across as more naturalistic and credible — but still old-fashioned — than in previous takes.
(In his green and yellow pimp suit) “From North to South they call me Cottonmouth, ’cause the scales tell the tale ! Green for the money and gold for the honey, ahehehehehehhe ! Oh yaaassss ! You have a fine eye for the finer things in life, playa !”
(Witnessing some crooked cops beating up a colleague) “The ham is fighting with the bacon is fighting with the pork ! If they made a TV show of this I’d never leave my damn house !”
“Watch your mouth, boy !” (bites off a chunk of somebody’s arm) “Wait, no. Watch mine ! So much prettier ! Aheheheheheheh !”
“First off, let me say that Piranha is my boy — but he ain’t got much by way of brains or vision. And that’ll get you killed. Which leads to number two — Cornell ain’t escaped from prison just to get killed. Third, because I escaped, I’m on the run. Cornell ain’t got but so many places he can hide, and let’s be honest… hidin’ ain’t no way to be livin’. Might as well be back in the joint.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04||Motivation: Power|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 04||Occupation: Criminal|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 03||Spi: 03||Wealth: 004|
|Init: 012||HP: 030|
Claws (bite): 05
Bonuses & Limitations:
Claws only while he has steel teeth – this is gone by 2017.
Charisma (Intimidation): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04
Area Knowledge (New York City).
New York City mobs (Low), Street (Low).
Source of Character: Marvel Comics.
Writeup updated on the 20th of November, 2019.