With their father killed when they were children, Cole and Max Cash were raised by their mother and abusive step-father. Cole left his family embarking on a life of crime. Despite being a criminal, he had a code of honor. He was recruited into International Operations, demonstrating exceptional marksmanship and great potential.
Grifter was created by Jim Lee and made his first appearance in Wildstorm's WildC.A.T.S in August of 1992.
When DC chose to integrate Wildstorm's characters into the DC Universe through Flashpoint, Grifter was the first. He then went on to be one of the Wildstorm properties to get an ongoing series as part of the New 52 launches. Grifter was written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by CAFU. It rebooted the character stripped him of his Wildstorm history with Team 7 and the WildC.A.T.S. The new continuity instead emphasized him as a former operator and con man and pitted him alone against the Daemonites.
Wildstorm / Image Comics
Grifter became quite possibly the most prolific character in the Wildstorm franchise as a member of WildC.A.T.S. and as a regularly featured character throughout the many changes of the Wildstorm Universe over the years. Twice, he was given his own solo series, and he starred in multiple limited series featuring Team 7.
Post-Flashpoint / Earth-0
As a former Delta operator for the U.S. Army, Cole Cash made a living for himself and his girlfriend Gretchen as a con man. He was on the verge of his biggest score when he was abducted by the Daemonites, an alien race secretly infiltrating Earth by taking human bodies as hosts. They attempted this process on Cole only for him to awaken prematurely and escape. The experience left him with the ability to sense the Daemonites and hear their telepathic communications, making him a target. Since only he could perceive the Daemonites, his actions against them quickly had him deemed a murderer and terrorist by human authorities. He is now hunted by aliens and humans alike, donning a mask and becoming Grifter. He's recently had a run-in with Green Arrow and managed to catch an arrow bare handed.
The Wild Storm
Cole Cash worked as a former operative of International Operations as a cleaner in their services. Some years later he would undergo an augmentation process as apart of the Gen 12 initiative heralded by Project: Thunderbook spearheaded by former Director John Lynch. One day while secretly defecting from his employers, Cash faked his own death in order to go off the grid; around that time he would eventually end up in the services of Jack Marlowe C.E.O of the Halo Corporation as a sweeper. Enforcing the conglomerates public and private interests.
Major Story Arcs
Image / Wildstorm Comics
Cole's natural talents landed him in a group called Team 7, a special operations unit whose main purpose was to safeguard the United States' national security overseas. The team consisted of John "Topkick" Lynch, Marc " Backlash" Slayton, Jackson "Arclight" Dane, Philip "Bulleteer" Chang, Stephen "Wraparound" Callahan, Alex "Slaphammer" Fairchild and Michael "Deathblow" Cray. Cole's handle in the group was Deadeye. The group was purposely exposed to a substance called the Gen-Factor which gave the team members a variety of psionic powers and affected most of the members' morality and mental health. After the team became Gen-Actives, the team was labeled as Gen12. Several members of the team were either killed, died or committed suicide due to the side-effects of the exposure. Cole believed his superiors at I.O., specifically Miles Craven, were behind the experiments on them. He had a violent falling out with his team leader, John Lynch. Cole took charge and came up with a plan to combine the teams' mental powers against a low-yield nuclear missile that was targeted at the team by Craven as a test of their abilities.
After the team disbanded, Cole parted ways with I.O. He encountered Zealot and they fell in love. She taught him the ways of the Coda. The Coda teachings allowed Cole to regain his sanity and locked away his psionic powers.
Sometime later, Cole and Zealot broke up. Still on good terms, they both were recruited by Jacob Marlow to be part of his team called the WildC.A.T.S . Cole later quit the team when they were forced to ally with Hightower, a Daemonite who had killed Grifter's friend Lonely. He rejoined the team when they came back from Khrea, and he even became team leader for a stint. During this time, his younger brother Max was killed, he left the team again after Zealot's apparent death. At this point, most of his teammates left as well and the WildC.A.T.s disbanded.
Soon, he joined another team with the same name alongside Lord Emp, Spartan and an arms dealer by the name of Noir. After Emp's ascension Cole sank into depression, he began drinking and having one night stands with women who looked like Zealot. One night she returned, but Grifter was too drunk to recognize her. After a night of sex, she left him before he realized who she was. She had come back to destroy the (Earth-based) Coda because they had betrayed the teachings and she was going to kill every member of the Coda, but spared Cole's life due to their history together and close relationship. After this meeting he straightened out his life and joined Jack Marlowe's (Spartan) Halo Corporation. During this time Cole was mind controlled by a villain named Tao. Tao made him shoot his friend, John Lynch which left him in a coma. These events were erased from his memories by Tao.
Wildcats Version 3.0
During a mission for Jake Marlowe, Cole's legs were shattered by Agent Orange, therefore he couldn't operate as Marlowe's agent. He trained accountant Edwin Dolby to take his place. Dolby turned out to be unsuitable for the violent and often bloody missions Cole sent him on. After Marlowe apologized, he re-joined but only as an accountant. Cole later remodeled the robotic body of former teammate Ladytron as a remote-controlled body for himself.
Several weeks later, his legs are healed, a side-effect of dormant Gen-factor according to I.O. scientists. John Lynch woke from his coma and restored Cole's memory. Cole was assigned to take down Tao and Holden Carver who was a double agent. Tao's organization was completely dismantled and Tao was imprisoned. Since then he has joined a makeshift team of former Wildcats to take down an assassin called Nemesis.
Captain Atom: Armageddon
In the series Captain Atom: Armageddon, Jake Marlowe is dead and Cole has taken control of the Halo corporation. Cole was killed by Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority, but was revived along with the rest of the Wildstorm universe. In this series, Captain Atom was mysteriously transported to the Wildstorm Universe and he exploded causing the death of everyone in the universe.
In the new team of Wildcats, Cole is shown to be a man trying to change his life yet is continually sucked back into the hero lifestyle. He appears to be an employee of Hadrian as a core member of the Wildcats team. Cole Cash briefly worked as an assassin for the US government, targeting Islamist terror networks. His latest assignment went awry when his target turned out to be an alien shape-shifter who was being hunted by others of the same race. Zee, as he/she calls itself, has now drawn Grifter and Midnighter into an interstellar conflict involving weaponized giant worms.
Grifter returned to the Wildcats after Armageddon, helping survivors in Los Angeles. He was later summoned by John Lynch and regrouped with Team-7 where he and his teammates learned of Tao's nihilistic threat. After the Halo Building in Los Angeles is destroyed, Grifter had himself and the Wildcats teamed up with Team-7 in stopping Tao. Ultimately their battle ended with Grifter shooting Tao pointblank in the head, thus relinquishing his powers from Void, Max Faraday, and Providence.
Grifter was among the many heroes that were notified of the Authority's Carrier's leaving, in which Grifter is among the few heroes to leave Earth when he is ordering the panic refugees who were boarding the shift-ship. Grifter and along with his old comrade Deathblow officially joined the "new" Authority and together helped in establishing order among the Carrier's influx of refugees. Cole entered into a sexual relationship with Stormwatch member, Flint.
Powers & Abilities
As a result of the Gen Factor exposure, Cole had gained a strong amount of superhuman talents that came with the cost of insanity and moral degeneration. These abilities would also enable the establishing of a psychoempathetic link between himself and the rest of his Team 7 operatives, which made said abilities that much stronger the closer they all were together. These powers began to burn out over the following years however and by the time of Team 7: Dead Reckoning, he only had the psionic powers to give a person a bloody nose. Despite this however, the Gen-Factor in his system ran the risk of causing Grifter's abilities to fly out of his control and at unprecedented intervals. His Coda-training at the hand of Zealot sealed his psionic powers away, but he can still use them under certain circumstances (like being able to undo his own mental blocks his Coda teachings bestowed upon him, or more usually in the presence of another Team 7 member so they are able to combine their powers). Note: As of Grifter/Midnighter #1, which takes place after the Worldstorm relaunch, Grifter has apparently regained control of his psionic powers and can use them unaided.
- Psionics: Cole's Gen-Factor exposure gave him vast supernatural mental abilities, some of which were stronger than those of his brother operatives. He had powers of the mind such as telekinesis, which enabled him to psychically control and operate objects remotely. And telepathy, through which he could commandeer the motor-functions of other sentient minds against their will, scan and read the thoughts of another person, experience whatever those whom he controls are witness too; e.i. seeing, feeling, smelling etc. Even cause their physical grey matter to explode within their skulls via mental overload.
- Healing Factor: A side effect of the Gen-Factor is accelerated regeneration, but said power is incredibly temperamental as it stands. Most of the time being rather unreliable to the point of dormancy to sometimes recovering from more fatalistically severe physical trauma. Having once recovered from a broken neck and healing shattered legs without any scaring. This facet of his power also slows his aging, making him decades to half a century old and yet remaining in his physical prime.
New 52/Futures End
The former navy seals operative known as Cole Cash had once been taken in and experimented on by an invasive race of aliens called the Daemonites. The procedure had fundamentally altered his physiology in unexplained ways, he was created to be some kind of augmented super host for the invaders higehr caste of some kind. Thanks to his newfound abilities Grifter has access to greater physical and mental facilities not shared among his fellow homosapiens; the extent of which has yet to be properly determined in practice of theory.
- Telepathy: One of the first newfound aspects of his bio-modding presents itself as low tier ESP, simply being able to see and perceive the thought patterns of the Daemonite's who experimented upon him to begin with. Over time his capacity with it expanded and now he can read the minds of anyone he focuses on as well as control their physical actions as well as their mental facilities with a thought. Through this he can even operate alien mental based weaponry by channeling his thoughts through them.
- Telekinesis: Cole has latter shown fine tuned psychokinetic control over matter with his thoughts. Able to lift, push and move objects just by focusing on then as well as operate more complex mechanical functions remotely. Like utilizing several firearms and other such heavy ordinance without usage of his hands, his TK was so powerful he could knock over the cleft of a mountain range atop of his enemies and even temporarily stalemate a Daemonite high lord such as Helspont for a brief period. Focusing his power inward he could use it to physically bolster himself, giving Cole enough of a boost to battle and even injure superhumans such as Midnighter in combat.
- Physical Enhancement: Whatever process used by his captors to enhanced his condition, Grifter would find himself anatomically altered in various ways. Being fast and reactive enough to catch arrows with his bare hands, as well as quick enough to stop bullets in midflight before they could tag him using telekinesis. He's also got an extended lifespan which carries him well over 45 years into the future without ageing a day in his life.
- Clairvoyance: As time passed him by, Cole's powers continued to evolve and expand. He would eventually discover that not only could he see the true nature of the invasive aliens who abducted him, but leaned he could also see them even through their hosted disguises. Eventually in the near future Cole learned to distinct people from different universes or alternate timelines as well, moreover he could even see through the vale of shape changers or other entities wearing humanoid form like a costume with ease.
Aside from any superhuman powers he might possess, he is an excellent sharpshooter and adept with any firearm, knife, explosive, or throwing weapon on hand. Able to make impossible trick shots that can disable or rebound flash grenades and jam enemy artillery with ease.
He can take out a group of enemies single handed. He was already a formidable hand-to-hand combatant due to his military training and experience, but the Coda training he received has sharpened these abilities even further.
Given his code name, Cash is an avid trickster and con-artist. Having enough guile to be able to escape any dangerous situation that would pose leather to anyone else.
Having many decades of combat experience under his belt. Cole Cash has a cunning strategic mind hidden beneath the layers of grit and reckless abandon, combine with his master Marksmanship, CQC Skills, years of Black Ops, Military and Extraterrestrial Assassin's training puts him in a planners category on par with the likes of Spawn or Batman.
For further information: Flashpoint
In the alternate world of Flashpoint, Grifter is the leader of an underground resistance group in England who were standing up against the Amazons and their occupation of London. Grifter and company rescue Lois Lane from the Amazons after she is revealed to be a spy for Cyborg and has been sending him secret information about their activity.
In Flashpoint #5, Grifter and the Resistance enter the final battle between the Amazons and the Atlanteans but are killed in action.
Wild Times: Grifter
Cole Cash is a 1920s Chicago cop, trying to maintain order in a big city chock-full of hustlers and organized crime.
In alternate future Spawn overthrows Malebolgia and takes over the planet with the armies of hell. Many years pass and Spawn rules the world. Grifter is still part of the WildC.A.T.s and decides to join Cyan in going back in time to kill Spawn, before he takes over the world.
Grifter appeared in the cartoon show, he was voiced by Colin O'Meara.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
He appears as part of the resistance in London. He's voiced by Danny Jacobs.