The development of the upper class Princeton Walk neighborhood funded largely by Grace & Tumbalt, a company tied heavily to the 66 Bridges gang, pushed crime from that area and into the neighborhood that became known as Little Mogadishu or simply, the Mog.
The Mog also became the focal point of the Crew. Four heroes, each guided by their own self-interests, converged on the crime-infested neighborhood. Josiah X
was first, thinking he could help through nonviolent Muslim teachings while ignoring his heritage as the son of the black Captain America
. Then, Kasper Cole
joined the scene both as a cop and as the White Tiger, looking to help out his own career. Junta
, a former CIA
operative left out in the cold, arrived later with the belief that the Mog held the key to him getting back in.
But the catalyst that created the Crew as Jim Rhodes, who came to the Mog looking to settle scores for the death of his sister there and dragged the other three into his plans.
The Crew was created by Christopher Priest
and Joe Bennett
in the Crew
, its own self-titled series that lasted for seven issues. The series was developed and launched after the cancellation of Priest's critically acclaimed Black Panther
series, which introduced Kasper Cole as the new White Tiger at the end.
Priest compared the premise of the team to the movie Three Kings, in that it was about a handful of men banding together in pursuit of their own individual agendas but ultimately choosing to selflessly do the right thing. The idea of family was another major factor. The characters were all suffering from family losses in some way and had holes in them as a result.
Originally, the cast of the Crew was quite different from how it turned out. The team was cynically labelled the "Black Avengers" when it was first announced due to three of its four members being black, but this was not the case in the beginning. Kasper Cole and Josiah X were intended for the team from the very start, but Quicksilver and Justice were originally meant to be the other half of the Crew. When Quicksilver was deemed unavailable, he was almost replaced by Alex Power, but that did not work out due to concerns over how old the character should be in the Marvel Universe. Finally, Jim Rhodes was decided on as Quicksilver's replacement. Junta was then swapped out for Justice, who no longer fit in since the team now needed a new self-serving, somewhat antagonistic character.
Major Story Arcs
Big Trouble in Little Mogadishu
Jim Rhodes, formerly War Machine but now down on his luck, came to Little Mogadishu to look into the murder of his estranged sister, and when it became apparent that the police were not going to get any results, he took the matter into his own hands. He delivered the men responsible for his sister's murder to the police in a neatly tied up package for them, coming across the local Muslim preacher Josiah X along the way. However, this was not enough to satisfy Rhodey, and he set his sights on the 66 Bridges leader, Triage. His covert, vigilante action and contact with Josiah put him on Kasper Cole's radar, making Kasper suspicious of what a guy like Rhodey was doing in a place like the Mog.
Rhodey hit Little Mogadishu like a force of nature, derailing the secret money train that delivered bribes in bulk to a large number of corrupt officials. This action drew in Junta, who smelled opportunity to leverage his way back into the spy business if he could get a piece of the action. He found himself drafted into Rhodey's plan along with Kasper Cole and eventually a reluctant Josiah X.
Together, the Crew blackmailed a long list of corrupt officials to turn in evidence against 66 Bridges and Triage and then went after Triage directly. As Triage was no lightweight, the situation got messy and some of the Crew had to decide between their self-interests and being heroes. For Josiah, the decision to do the right was simple and instant. Junta reluctantly turned Triage into the authorities, blowing his chance to use Triage to get back in with his former bosses. Kasper Cole kept busy saving lives as the White Tiger, sacrificing his chance to get in on the big bust as Kasper Cole and further his police career.
The Crew apparently did not remain together after this event. Rhodey soon went back to being War Machine, and Josiah was said to have disappeared.