Michael Cray is the son of US Navy Admiral, Phillip Cray. His mother is Elizabeth Cray and his younger brother is Alex Cray. After both of his parents were killed by (supposed) terrorists, he joined the military to avenge their deaths. Several years after serving in the US Navy as a SEAL operative, he was recruited by Miles Craven to join the newly formed Team 7. It was around this time in which he took the handle, Deathblow.
During a mission set up by Craven, the team was exposed to a substance called the Gen-Factor which gave each of them superhuman and psionic powers. At first, everyone believed that Cray was the only member in the group that didn't receive any special abilities however, his powers would actually manifest many years later. After Team 7 disbanded, he stayed with I.O.
In 1980, an injured Cray sought cover inside of a church during a mission in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. While recovering from his injuries, he meets photojournalist Susan Goldman who treats his wounds. While spending the night together, they share an intimate encounter and Susan becomes pregnant with their daughter, Rachel Goldman (Sublime, formerly from Dv8). She assists Cray in neutralizing the remaining Soviet soldiers in the area. After being separated, she searches for Cray so they can leave, but he is nowhere to be found and the only keepsake she has of him is a lighter with his name engraved on it.
During his time with I.O., Cray's wife, Gabrielle D'Angelo Cray was killed (by Cray's I.O. partner, Travis Trickle) in London while trying to save a young boy caught in the middle of a botched SAS mission to take down the Jackel and members of the IRA. Cray decides to resign from I.O. and atone himself for all of the lives he's taken in the course of his many Black Ops missions.
He later gets involved with the Order of the Cross to protect a young boy with miraculous powers as well as to defeat an adversary called the Black Angel with the help of a former Police Officer-turned Nun, named Sister Mary and his former Team 7 teammates John Lynch, Grifter, Backlash, and Dane. During the Fire from Heaven story arc, Cray sacrifices himself (his second death) to defeat the god-like Damocles with the assistance of his Team 7 buddies and Sigma.
Name: Michael Patrick Cray
Weight: 240 lbs
Place of Birth: USA
Known Relatives: Phillip Cray - Father (deceased), Elizabeth Cray - Mother (deceased), Alexander Cray - Brother, Gabrielle D'Angelo Cray - Wife (deceased), Rachel Goldman - Daughter
Affiliations: Team 7, I.O., StormWatch, The Authority
Powers and Abilities
Accelerated regeneration and healing. Cray has died a total of four times, but resurrected after each death due to the powers he gained after his exposure to the Gen-Factor (although he was resurrected one time with Dane's help). The Gen-Active power he manifested is the inability to stay dead. During one such death, he was completely incinerated by a nuclear explosion, but revived nearly two weeks later.
It's been explained that as long as there's at least a tiny particle of his DNA to survive, his body will continue to regenerate. The time it takes to regenerate varies, depending on how severe the damage is. The other ability he gained was a mental shield which offered protection against telepaths, other forms of mind-control and psi-blasts, although he is only able to use this ability involuntarily.
As a former Navy SEAL and Team 7 member, he has unsurpassed skills in spec ops warfare, military weapons, tactics, demolitions and is an expert in Close Quarters Battle (CQB). He's also an extremely accurate marksman. For example, he was able to shoot out the eyes of several flying vampires in rapid succession.
Darker Image: Deathblow
Deathblow is sent on a mission to Costa Mesa by I.O. to assassinate General Ortega. In a move to provide credible deniability for the current Administration by portraying Cray as having gone rogue, Craven also sends out a SOG unit consisting of Cray's friend, Joey Conrad (as team leader), Hopper, Ford and Blackbird to intercept and terminate Deathblow on sight.
At Ortega's estate, Travis Trickle is with the General discussing a ritual ceremony to draw out one of the Black Angel's servants before Cray gets there.
Just as Cray infiltrates the compound and kills nearly all of Ortega's men, the SOG unit arrives and engages him. In the ensuing firefight, Cray shoots Ford in the throat, killing him, then quickly leaves the area. Blackbird follows him into another room, but Cray manages to ambush and break his neck. Although still alive, Cray shoots him in an act of mercy. Hearing the scream of a woman, Cray breaks down the door to the next room. He finds Ortega performing a sacrifitial ritual, stabbing a young girl in the chest with a dagger. As her body begins to disintergrate, a demon starts to materialize above the partially dissolved corpse.
Conrad and Hopper enter and find the demon attacking Cray. They both open fire and injure the creature, but it manages to regenerate and attack Hopper, mortally wounding him. Cray saves Conrad by pushing him out of the way and fights the demon hand to hand. He tells Conrad to destroy the necklace around General Ortega's neck, after realizing that the item is possibly the source of the creature's powers. Conrad hesitates, due to the fact that his mission was to stop Cray from killing Ortega. Finally, he shoots Ortega in the chest, destroying the charm around his neck. As the General lay dying, the demon screams and immediately begins to disintegrate.
Before Cray can finish his mission by killing the General, Conrad tries to stop him. For saving his life again like Cray has done in the past, Conrad was willing to let him go if he just walks away from the situation. Cray explains to him what Craven and I.O. was trying to accomplish by sending an additional SOG unit, but he refuses to believe that his team was used as cannon fodder, leaving Cray no choice but to shoot him. He then kills Ortega and leaves.
Later, Trickle and some men recover the bodies of the SOG operatives supposedly killed during the mission, stating that they're to be put into cold storage. Back at I.O. headquarters, as soon as Cray arrives, he punches Lynch in the face and tells Craven that he's through working for I.O. Later that night, Cray is seen in the rain, standing in front of a church.
Deathblow: The Black Angel
The series continues where Deathblow: Zero (see above) left off, with Deathblow at a church. Cray is inside a confessional booth asking God to forgive all the sins he has committed. He tries to kill himself with his own gun, but states that no matter how many people he's killed in the past, he is just too much of a coward to kill himself. He leaves the confessional just as a priest walks in.
While performing a hostage rescue training scenario in the "kill house", Trickle appears and applauds Cray's combat skills then informs him that he knows all about Cray's terminal cancer diagnosis. He also taunts him about how he eliminated the entire SOG unit in Costa Mesa, which angers Cray, after which he asks God to give him another chance. Later, Lynch sends Cray's SOG unit (along with Agent Trickle) to Iraq in order to infiltrate and destroy an Iraqi intelligence center.
Deep in the desert of Iraq, a group of Iraqi soldiers are digging furiously in the middle of a winter night, told by their superiors that they are marking future scud sites. Two of the soldiers discover some type of ancient seal hidden within the sands. Their commanding officer appears and is pleased with their discovery. He shoots both of the soldiers and their bodies land on top of the seal causing blood to cover it. He states that only blood from the innocent can break the seal of the gates to purgatory.
Underground, the blood from the slain soldiers begin to drip down onto a corpse located within an enormous tomb. The Black Angel Exael begins to awaken and gather his strength, stating that Armageddon will begin with his messenger of death, Michael Cray. Exael's ultimate goal is to release Lucifer from Hell by using the life force of a prophesied child with miraculous powers.
Members of the Vatican arrive at the Iraqi base to speak with Kussein regarding the demilitarization of a supposed holy site located in the outer desert rim of his country, the same site in which the two soldiers were murdered earlier. The SOG unit consisting of Cray, Trickle, Rollins, Walker and Quincy quickly infiltrates the intelligence center and begin killing everyone inside. They are suddenly attacked by a monk from the Vatican who quickly kills Rollins first. He then subdues Walker and kills Quincy. Before he is able to kill Trickle, Cray shoots him in the back. After checking to see who their assailant is, Cray realizes that he really was a priest, not a soldier.
The monk tells him to stop the Black Angel then dies from his wounds. After gathering all the data from the systems and informing HQ about a potential scud site in the desert, the unit exfiltrates moments before an arclight bombards the area. A nearby US cruiser launches a tomahawk missile at the target coordinates given by Trickle, destroying the seal and releasing Exael and his demonic minions.
In the US, a young boy miraculously resurrects a boy who had just drowned and is later taken away by a Nun. Further testing by doctors, show that Cray's cancer (which was originally in his brain) has rapidly spread throughout his body. Cray lashes out angrily at his doctor as he hears the voice of the Black Angel in his head. The hospital's chief of staff then informs Craven of Cray's current condition. It would seem that he (doctor) was well aware of Cray's exposure to the Gen-Factor years ago and tried to convince the other doctors that what they found was a cancer growth.
In the Vatican, several priests are discussing the situation about the Nun which they sent to deliver the young boy to safety before Herod (a serial killer) is able to find him. They then place death contracts out on the surviving members of Cray's SOG unit. Cray is able to fend off his assasination attempt and survive being stabbed and shot several times, but Walker is not so lucky. Cray's ex-wife Gabrielle saves a little boy from a person posing as the serial killer, but the true Herod strikes in a New York City orphanage, killing everyone inside. Herod is then discovered to be Travis Trickle, in league with the Black Angel.
Cray visits a Bibliotheque to get information regarding the book he obtained from the priest he killed in Baghdad. He is told that the contents describe an ancient Catholic brotherhood called the Order of the Cross who defeated the Black Angel with the Sword of Heaven and then sealed him away within a tomb. The brother who vanquished the Black Angel was mortally wounded, but drank from the Holy Grail and was miraculously healed. Cray realizes that the priest he killed during that mission was from the "Order of the Cross" and that the Holy Grail could possibly heal his terminal illness.
Exael and his demon horde invade the Vatican and are able to gain information regarding the miracle child's location, as well as acquiring the ancient Sigils of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Using a key found within the book, Cray acquires help from his close friend Rayna Masters and sets out for a hotel in Philadelphia which is a possible safehouse connected to the Order of the Cross. Upon entering the hotel, Cray comes upon several men assaulting a monk, This priest was sent by the Order to escort the miracle child (Christopher) and the Nun to safety. Cray shoots and kills two of the assailants, but is unable to save the priest. Before dying, he tells Cray to save the boy and stop the Black Angel. After hearing the screams of the young boy, he quickly enters the room and is immediately attacked by Sister Mary.
He tries to explain the situation to her, but she refuses to listen and is about to shoot him until the young boy states that he is telling the truth. While helping them escape, Cray comes face to face with the Black Angel who offers him a chance to join his side, but Cray refuses. With the arrival of several members from the Order, he is able to escape on a subway train with Sister Mary and the boy. During the firefight, a little boy was mortally struck by a stray bullet and Cray believes there is nothing they can do for him. However, Christopher is able to miraculously heal him, much to the surprise of Cray.
In New York City, Gabrielle is ambushed and taken captive by Trickle and his men. It's soon discovered that Gabrielle is actually the host vessel for the Archangel Gabriel. Arriving at the Montcairn Abbey, Cray and several brothers of the Order get into a brief skirmish which is immediately stopped by Sister Mary. She explains how Cray helped them escape and that he requires the Holy Grail to heal his body from the ever growing cancer. Abbot O'Connor then allows him to drink from the Holy Grail and offers him an opportunity to join their brotherhood, but Cray politely refuses.
Before he is able to depart, the Black Angel's horde attacks the monastery and Cray is shot point blank in the chest with a shotgun. Much to the surprise of everyone, Cray survives the attack while the giant hole in his body instantly heals. Cray, along with Sister Mary and Abbot O'Connor, tries to prevent the horde from over-running the monastery.
Moments later, the Black Angel appears and confronts Cray, telling him that the Brotherhood has tricked him. He shows Cray that the "Holy Grail" he drank from was made in Hong Kong. Lynch makes a sudden appearance, killing Exael with a surprise attack. However, he is able to reanimate himself by using the life force of his demonic minions. Unfortunatley, the group is unable to stop the Black Angel from taking Christopher. After confronting Abbot O'Connor regarding the fake Grail, he is given the broken Sword of Heaven as wells as weapons from the Order's armory to aid him with his upcoming battle with the Black Angel.
In New York City, Exael revives the Four Horsemen, War, Famine, Pestilence and Death by using the bodies of the SOG unit that were killed in Costa Mesa (see Deathblow: Zero, above). Cray and Sister Mary locate Trickle and Gabrielle at an I.O. weapons depot. A battle ensues with Gabrielle killing Trickle and saving Cray from certain death, however she dies in his arms moments later just as law enforcement units arrive at the scene.
Cray and Sister Mary escape and make their way to Cray's apartment. Grifter, Backlash and Dane arrive to aid him against the Four Horsemen. Grifter battles War, while Backlash engages Famine and Dane fights Pestilence. Cray discovers that his friend Joey Conrad has become Death and engages him in battle. The former Team 7 members are finally able to defeat all four Horsemen.
With the aid of the Archangel Raphael, Sister Mary and two federal agents (Fox and O'Brien), Cray begins his final battle with the Dark Angel. Both Fox and O'Brien are quickly killed by the demons, then Exael kills Raphael, who was trying to protect Christopher and Sister Mary. Finally, Cray is able to kill Exael using the Sword of Heaven. Christopher uses his miraculous powers to restore all the damage that was done (as if it never happened) and the many lives that were taken by Exael. Unfortunately, he could not bring Gabrielle back because she actually died two years before, in London. It was during that time that the Archangel Gabriel took her body as a vessel.
With the death of the Black Angel, Gabriel no longer needed Gabrielle's body. Christopher is then taken to Heaven by Gabriel and Raphael. At Gabrielle's funeral, Sister Mary, Abbot O'Connor and Fox are in attendance and give Cray their condolences. After they leave, Cray kneels in front of her tombstone and begins to cry. Rayna stays behind to comfort him.
Deathblow: Brothers in Arms
Deathblow discovers that Miles Craven and his father, Admiral Cray, were directly involved with Project Genesis, as well as John Colt, who was posing as Kaizen Gamorra at the time. Due to Craven's terminal illness, he makes an alliance with Kaizen (Colt) and orchestrates a plan to collect the Gen-Factor from the former members of Team 7 and use the extracts to give him a new lease on life. Craven hires the services of Le Gauche and is able to capture Lynch and extract his Gen-Factor. Cray, Alicia Turner and the Gen13 kids travel to San Francisco to rescue Lynch, but most of them get captured.
After Lynch escapes his restraints, he tries to use his Gen powers, but is unable to hold it in check and it goes out of control. Cray arrives at the scene and is somehow able to shut it down. Later, they are able to rescue Alicia and the other Gen13 kids. Craven orders Le Gauche to New York in order take Dane's Gen-Fator.
Cray finds Dane at the Korean War Memorial in Battery Park and tells him of their storied past in Team 7 and what Craven's planning for the remaining members of the team. They visit Dr. Richard Markus, who had previously worked for Craven and I.O., to get answers. At I.O. headquarters, Craven activates the Brethren (a group of Gen-Actives that he specifically created to deal with Team 7) to assist Le Gauche on his next missions. Cray and Dane discover that during Project Genesis, Craven ordered Gabriel Newman to attempt a Gen-Factor extraction on a living subject. While the extraction worked, it left the subject unable to control his powers.
Eventually, the subject's molecular structure began to lose its integrity until he completely disintegrated and died. Le Gauche and a member of the Brethren named Jackhammer (Otto Bremer) attack the doctor's office and kill Markus. While Bremer distracts Cray, Le Gauche battles Dane and is eventually able to extract his Gen-Factor, causing his Gen powers to go haywire. After defeating Bremer, Cray finds Dane and is once again able to mysteriously shut down Dane's "Mojo". Craven targets Backlash next and proclaims that soon, he'll have the powers of Team 7.
Another member from the Brethren is introduced to aid Le Gauche and Bremer, her name is Double Take. She's a shapeshifter and Craven plans on using her to flush out Slayton by posing as his former fiancee, Diane Lasalle. Cray and Dane arrive at Jack Rhodes' safehouse and bring him up to speed with the current situation. He recieves a call from "Lasalle" saying that she's in trouble. Slayton, Dane and Cray travel to the Ticoneroga Station and soon discover that Le Gauche and Bremer have already arrived.
Pretending to be Lasalle, Double Take causes Slayton to turn against his friends just as Stormforce troopers arrive, giving the two an opportunity to escape. She takes a surprised Backlash to Le Gauche and subdues him. Upon awakening and strapped to a chair, Slayton finds the real Lasalle tied up in front of him and realizes that he'd been duped. The Brethren then extract his Gen-Factor as Cray and Dane try to break into the room. Lasalle breaks out of her bondage and attacks Double Take and Jackhammer, only to be shot and killed by Le Gauche. Cray and Dane finally breach the door, but the Brethren are able to make their escape. Craven discovers that Alicia Turner has turned against him and decides to use her as bait for Grifter. Another member of the Brethren is introduced, a woman named Tensile.
Alicia secretly contacts Cash and tells him about the situation with regards to Craven's plans and Project Renaissance. She is discovered by the Brethren and Double Take uses her powers to pose as Alicia. Arriving at Cash's home, Cray and Dane are attacked by I.O.'s Black Razors. They are told by one of the survivng soldiers that Le Gauche is planning to ambush Cash at Union Station. "Alicia" meets Cash at the train station, but he immediately realizes that it isn't her. A fight ensues between Cash and the Brethren, but ultimately he's subdued and they extract his Gen-Factor. Cray shoots Double Take and kills her seconds before she is about to shoot Cash. The Police arrive and the Brethren uses the distraction to make their escape. Later at I.O. HQ, Craven receives all the Gen-Factor extracts and places it into a Cryo-case to have Le Gauche deliver it to Gamorra. He then contacts Kaizen, who tells him that Project Renaissance is ready to begin.
Cray, Dane and Cash infiltrate a biological warfare research facility in order to find Gabriel Newman, who's been held prisoner by Craven. Gabriel discloses all the information he knows, including how Cray's father is the one responsible for bringing Dr. Simon Tsung to America. He also informs them about something called Project Renaissance. As soon as the three depart, Gabriel commits suicide with the gun that Cray left for him. Later, Cray, Dane, Cash and Slayton rendezvous with Lynch and Gen13 near I.O. headquarters in McLean, Virginia to take the fight to Craven. Craven contacts Kaizen and activates Project Renaissance then begins downloading his consciousness into a clone (created by Kaizen) called the Gen Omega. Team 7 and Gen13 infiltrate the base via an underground tunnel system, but are stopped by Frank Colby.
He surprisingly helps them enter the complex, but the Brethren had already suspected it and laid out an ambush using Black Hammers. During the ensuing firefight, the group splits up. Colby and Gen13 locate and rescue Alicia, while Team 7 hunts down Craven. During a surprise ambush by the Brethren, Cray is shot and "killed", but revives moments later, to everyone's surprise. With the help of Gen13, Alicia and Colby, they are able to take down the Brethren and the group of Black Hammers. Lynch tells Colby to get the children out while they deal with Craven. Team 7 then confronts Craven who tells them that they should all be grateful for what he's done and finally tells Cray the truth about his parent's death.
Because Admiral Cray decided to help Dr. Tsung escape I.O., Craven had him killed by passing his assassination off as a terrorist attack. In actuality, it was Le Gauche, posing as a terrorist, who killed Cray's parents. The only other person who knew the truth, was terrorist leader Kadiz Al Dhabi, whom Cray assassinated in the pages of Team 7: Dead Reckoning. Craven is killed with a shot to the head.
Deathblow: Fire From Heaven
Deathblow: (Worldstorm) And Then You Live
Deathblow: Life and Deathblow (Stormwatch: PHD, World's End)
In the aftermath of "Deathblow: And Then You Live", at Cray's resting place in Manhattan, a hand suddenly bursts forth from the ground and Deathblow rises out of his grave. Jackson King (formerly known as Battalion) appears, walking up to him and welcoming him back to the land of the living. However, Cray is naturally confused and questions how he can still be alive after setting off the Gen-Activator bomb.
King explains that he knew exactly where and when to arrive to witness Cray's return, due to recently becoming one of the most powerful telepaths on the planet. He then tells Cray that after his exposure to the Gen-Factor during his time with Team 7, the power he manifested was accelerated regeneration/healing. Although Cray can technically die, he can not stay dead, making him literally immortal. Cray always assumed that he was the only member of Team 7 that didn't become Gen-Active, but King tells him that he is terribly mistaken.
Cray finds King's revelation about his supposed immortality, extremely hard to believe, but King states that facts do not lie. According to King, Cray has died on two different occassions (actually, it's three if you include his first death during Team 7-Objective: Hell #3) and both times, he's returned from the dead. It would seem that all it takes for his body to regenerate, is one tiny particle of his DNA to survive. King then offers Cray a chance to join Stormwatch, but he politely declines, saying that he would rather live a normal life for a change. King gives him a "teleport fetish" so he can quickly contact King and be transported to StormWatch anytime, just in case Cray changes his mind about the proposal.
Some time later, Cray is at a local bar drinking when suddenly, he hears an enormous explosion outside. He steps outside to see what the situation is and notices a Reaper directly in the sky above him who's about to go nuclear. Cray decides to intervene, but it suddenly detonates, engulfing everything in a nuclear explosion. The entire area is incinerated, including Deathblow. Two weeks later, Cray awakens amid the remains of the completely devastated bar and atop the bones of the locals. After the incident, he contacts King to accept his previous offer, thereby joining StormWatch PHD.
Michael Cray is the second I.O. operative to use the handle Deathblow. The first was a Team Zero agent known as Collins.
Biological International Operations created nine clones of Deathblow as potential replacements for Cray. The only clone to survive is Genevieve Cray.