There are various accounts of Cole's early youth: in Gen 12 his father died while he was still young and Cole and his brother Max were raised by their mother and stepfather, with his mother dying when Cole was already an adult. In Point Blank his mother died while he was still young and he and his brother were raised by their father. It is certain though, that Cole left his family while still a teenager and turned to crime to survive. Despite being a criminal, Cole had his own code of honor and stopped one of his partners in crime from shooting at the police. Cole was arrested and offered a second chance. He was enlisted by International Operations and turned out to be a gifted marksman and an excellent soldier.
Cole Cash's natural talent for combat landed him in black ops, taking the dirtiest jobs as part of a squad known as Team 7 (which also included John "Topkick" Lynch, Marc "Backlash" Slayton, Jackson "Arclight"Dane, Philip "Bulleteer" Chang, Stephen "Wraparound" Callahan, Alex "Slaphammer" Fairchild and Michael "Deathblow" Cray). Cash's codename during these operations was Deadeye. The group was deliberately exposed to an experimental chemical called the Gen Factor, which activated a variety of psi powers in them (in Deathblow's case, this did not happen until twenty years later), but which also detrimentally affected their sense of morality and mental health. After the experiment the survivors were classified as Gen 12. The experiment killed some of their teammates and Cole suspected that in fact their own superiors, International Operations (I.O.), were behind the experiment, while their superiors claimed that it was an unknown chemical weapon. Cole grew more and more disgruntled with I.O.'s manipulations and secrecy and rebelled against team-leader John Lynch. Cash took charge and united the team's mental powers against a nuclear weapon that I.O. team-leader Miles Craven fired at Team 7 as a test. Team 7 went into hiding, but was eventually forced to return to I.O. (Team 7 #1-4)
When the powers of many of Team 7's members started to wane, Craven became interested in their children, the Gen¹³, who should have inherited their fathers' powers. Most of the team went into hiding again, while others stayed with I.O. The team finally fell apart and Cole came to work as an assassin for International Operations (I.O.), but he soon became disenchanted with them too. He went freelance, and it was during this period of his life he encountered the ancient Kherubim warrior Zealot. They fell in love, and she took the unprecedented measure of teaching him, a male, the ways of the Coda, the warrior order she had once belonged to. Her Coda-teachings stabilized Cole's sanity and locked away what remained of his psionic powers. (Team 7: Objective Hell #1-3, Team 7: Dead Reckoning #1-4 and Gen 12)
The Wild C.A.T.s
Some time later Cole and Zealot broke up; for Zealot it was just another relationship, but Cole had become devoted to her, being eternally grateful to her for restoring his sanity. However they remained on good terms, and both were recruited to become part of Lord Emp's Daemonite hunting team, the WildC.A.T.s. Grifter later quit the team when they had to ally with Hightower, a Daemonite who had killed Grifter's friend Lonely. He rejoined when the team came back from Khera, even being the team's leader for some time. During this time Max, his younger brother, 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 were disbanded. (WildC.A.T.s volume 1 and Grifter)
Months later he joined the Wildcats, a small group that included Lord Emp, Spartan and the French weapons dealer known as Noir. After Emp's ascension, Grifter sank into a depression, he began drinking and having one-night stands with women who reminded him of Zealot. Finally Zealot herself returned, but at the time Grifter was too drunk to recognise her. After a night of sex, Zealot left him before Grifter realised who she was. He caught up with her again while she was fighting the Coda. Zealot told him that the Coda had betrayed her teachings and she had sworn to wipe them all out. She added that she would spare Grifter, despite being Coda-trained, because of their history. After this meeting, Grifter straightened out his life and joined Jack Marlowe's (Spartan) Halo Corporation. (Wildcats volume 2)
During this time Cole was mind-controlled by the villain Tao into shooting his former teammate and current I.O. director, John Lynch, leaving him in a coma. Tao then erased Cole's memories of these events. (Point Blank #1-5)
Edward Dolby, Grifter II
During a mission for Jack Marlowe, Cole's legs were shattered by Agent Orange. Therefore he could no longer operate as Marlowe's field agent. He trained accountant Edwin Dolby (Grifter II) to take his place. Dolby turned out to be unsuitable for the violent life that Grifter planned for him and resigned from Halo. After Marlowe apologized to him, he rejoined, but strictly as an accountant. Grifter remodeled the robotic body of former teammate Ladytron as a remote-controlled body for himself. (Wildcats 3.0)
Several months later, Grifter's legs were healed, a side-effect of the dormant Gen-factor according to I.O. scientists. John Lynch, who had woken from his coma, restored Cole's memory. Cole was sent to take down Tao and working together with double-agent Holden Carver, Tao's organisation was completely dismantled and Tao was imprisoned. (Sleeper Volume 2)
Since then he has joined a make-shift team of former Wildcats to take down the assassin Nemesis. (Wildcats: Nemesis)
In the series Captain Atom: Armageddon Jack Marlowe (Spartan) has died and Cole has taken control of Halo Corporation and all its assets. In issue #8 of the series Cole was killed by Apollo and Midnighter of the Authority, but was revived along with the rest of the WildStorm universe in the event dubbed WorldStorm.
WildCats vol. 4
The new WildCats series has shown Cole to be a man who has attempted to change himself, but keeps getting sucked back in to the hero lifestyle. He appears to be an employee of Hadrian as a core member of the new WildCats team that he is assembling.
During World War II, Team Zero, a precursor of Team 7 was formed. This team had a member codenamed Grifter and a member codenamed Deadeye. Team Zero's Grifter, William S. Miller is a gambler and a corporal, formerly a 1st lieutenant, formerly a tech sergeant and formerly a 2nd lieutenant. His specialty is requisitions and as his demotions hint at, most of those requisitions are illegal.
Team Zero's Deadeye is sergeant Samuel (Saito) Nakadai. He is the team's sniper. There has been some tension in the group because of Nakadai's Japanese origin.
Neither Miller nor Nakadai seem to be related to Cole Cash in any way. (Team Zero)
Powers and Abilities
As a result of the Gen-factor exposure, Grifter had strong powers of telekinesis and telepathy. These powers began to burn out over the years and by the time of the Dead Reckoning mission, his telepathic assault was only enough to give an enemy agent a bloody nose. His Coda-training sealed his psionic powers away, but he can still use them under certain circumstances (usually the presence of another Team 7 member so that they can combine their powers). A side-effect of his Gen-factor exposure seems to be accelerated healing. He once recovered from a broken neck and his shattered legs healed without any scars, but these powers are unpredictable at best. This healing factor also appears to have slowed his aging.
His Coda-training has honed his senses so that he can detect the presence of other living beings near him. It also made him highly resistant to interrogations and mind-altering drugs.
Apart from these superhuman powers, Cole is an amazing marksman with both firearms and thrown weapons. He has single-handedly taken down large groups of armed opponents.
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