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Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) is a reformed supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe created by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary. She first appeared in Captain America #310 (October 1985).
Rachel Leighton was born in Austin, Texas. She was once a part time sales clerk at a boutique, but later became a mercenary. One of the members of the original Serpent Society, Diamondback was a seductively sly woman with expertise in hand-to-hand combat, being trained by Anaconda at Taskmaster's academy. Her gimmick was that she threw acid-laced or poison-tipped diamonds at her enemies. After her first confrontation with Captain America while on assignment to find MODOK, she was instantly smitten. Diamondback was assigned to take Captain America into custody from the Porcupine. She later attempted a partnership with Captain America to locate the Scourge of the Underworld.
Viper staged a coup of the Serpent Society, causing several of her underlings to infiltrate as new members and setting Viper up to take over by force. Diamondback and their current leader, Sidewinder, escaped, recruiting Captain America and his allies to rescue the Serpents who were still loyal to Sidewinder. After a fierce battle, in which Viper was defeated, Sidewinder abandoned the Serpent Society. Diamondback stayed on for a while under the new leader, Cobra.
Rachel was later revealed to have resigned from the Serpent Society, and somehow temporarily switched bodies with the X-Man, Dazzler. This led, in part, to a confrontation between the Serpent Society and the X-Men. Diamondback later alerted Captain America to the Bloodstone Hunt. She aided Captain America in combat with Batroc, Machete, Zaran, and Baron Zemo. She also encountered Crossbones for the first time. Diamondback later accompanied Captain America to the Red Skull's Skullhouse.
Diamondback and Captain America eventually went on their first date, aided by Rachel's friends in the Serpent Society, Asp, Black Mamba, and Anaconda. She then battled the Black Widow, and acquired a new costume. Diamondback was eventually put on trial by the Serpent Society for her consorting with the enemy (most of the Society assuming, incorrectly, that Diamondback had betrayed their secrets to Captain America) and found guilty for her actions, and almost executed. She escaped with Captain America and Paladin's help, and later hired Paladin to help get revenge on the Serpent Society. Along with her best friends Black Mamba and Asp, she formed "BAD Girls, Inc." After a failed kidnapping attempt from Anaconda, Diamondback was taken aboard Superia's ship, and joined her Femizons under duress. While aboard Superia's ship, she was attacked by the Femizon Snapdragon, of whom Diamondback developed a phobia. After being rescued and then being used as a test subject by the Red Skull to see if the blood packets that Crossbones brought was really Captain America's blood, the super-soldier serum enhanced Diamondback tracked down and confronted Snapdragon, who died in the fight.
Later, there was a glitch discovered in the serum that Cap was suffering and Diamondback went to Superia in hopes for a cure. Using her as a test subject, there was a 50/50 chance that the cure would either work or kill Diamondback and if it worked, Diamondback had to serve Superia as the second Snapdragon. The experiment was a success, but she later got out of this deal when Superia was killed.
BAD Girls disbanded after that. Some time later, Diamondback was infected with "mind-control nanoprobes" by Baron Zemo. Diamondback suffered extensive neurological damage from the experience and spent an extended period of time recovering in S.H.I.E.L.D. care.
BAD Girls, Inc. recently reappeared in Cable & Deadpool, with the original lineup intact.
Rachel's brother Danny is also known as Cutthroat. It was Danny and another of her brothers, Ricky, who originally fell in with a gang lead by a man known as "Bing." Yearning to be included, she approached Bing alone. Upon claiming she would do anything to join the gang, Rachel was beaten and apparently raped by Bing, who years later became Crossbones, kidnapped her, starved her, and abused her until she agreed, with ulterior motive, to steal packages of Captain America's blood from Avengers Mansion. Bing/Crossbones murdered Danny/Cutthroat, who was attempting to replace him as aid to the Red Skull, and also killed Rachel's third brother, Willy, when, despite being crippled in the military, he sought revenge by rifle for the brutality inflicted on his sister soon after she was originally mistreated.
Civil War/The Initiative
She later turned up along with Asp and Black Mamba during the Civil War as a member of the Secret Avengers. She took part in the final battle of the "war", but did not accept the offer of amnesty that came with Captain America's surrender.
Rachel has been identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1.
Later Diamondback and the other BAD Girls were captured by the Mighty Avengers in a New York City street mall.
Diamondback appears in Camp Hammond, as an official recruit for the Initiative, along with Ant-Man, Crusader, Melee, Geldoff, Dragon Lord, Geiger, and Red Nine.
Powers and abilities
Diamondback is an athletic woman with no superhuman powers. She has skill in gymnastics, and at pitching small ballistic objects with great accuracy, and at piloting small aircraft. She also has knowledge of general street-fighting techniques, and some jujitsu.
Diamondback wears a costume of synthetic stretch fabric backed by Kevlar weave, with two bicep and two thigh belts for carrying throwing diamonds, concealed pockets in the boot tops, boot-heels, glove tops, and brassiere for other throwing diamonds, and throwing diamond earrings. Her personal weaponry consists of throwing diamonds, which are actually 4 inch hollow zirconium octahedrons (though not made of diamond, they are shaped like diamonds) containing various substances; spent uranium, plastic explosives, nitric acid, tear gas, smoke, curare-derived narcotics, etc. Her equipment was originally designed and manufactured by the Trapster, but her later design and manufacture was by the Tinkerer.
Other Marvel characters named Diamondback
Leighton is not the only Marvel character to have used the Diamondback name.
There was a previous Diamondback who was a foe of Luke Cage. Willis Stryker, one of Luke's childhood friends, first appeared in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #1. Known as Diamondback for his mastery of knives, including specially-gimmicked knives that exploded, released toxic gases or created sonic waves, he was apparently killed in an explosion in Luke Cage: Hero For Hire #2.
A third Diamondback appeared in the Secret War. Nick Fury thought to himself that when Rachel found out, she would "kick [the impostor]'s butt". Additionally, while with the Serpent Society, Leighton swapped bodies with the X-Men's Dazzler for a period of time. She and the X-Men went on a mission to get her body back.
Life Model Decoy
A fourth Diamondback, apparently the real Rachel Leighton, resurfaced as a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, trying to rekindle her romance with Captain America, while in fact she was working undercover for the Red Skull. Truly loving Steve Rogers, but still willing to follow the plot, was confronted and killed by the Red Skull himself only to "resurrect" herself with a biomechanical form able to take over pieces of technology, like the empowering armor worn by the Nazi villain. Nick Fury than explained that the "new" Rachel was an advanced Life Model Decoy, in fact so advanced as to believe itself to be human, and kept her in storage while working at a way to restore her proper programming. Before "she" could be restored, the Iron Maniac wiped out all her memories, and reshaped her body in a new neurokinetical armor for himself.