During Gen12, his father was killed and he and his brother Max were raised by their mother and abusive step-father. Cole's mother died later on in life when he was an adult. Cole left his family to start a life of crime so that he could survive. Despite being a criminal, he had a code of honor which he showed during an incident when he stopped one of his partners' from shooting at police officers. He was arrested, but was given a second chance and recruited into International Operation, during which time he showed that he was an extremely gifted marksman and had great potential.
Grifter was created by Jim Lee and made his first appearance in Wildstorm's WildC.A.T.S in August of 1992. Grifter has appeared in over 360 books and received his own ongoing series in September of 2011. When DC chose to integrate Wildstorm's characters into the DC Universe through Flashpoint, Grifter was the first, appearing in a notable role in the Flashpoint event itself. He then went on to be one of the Wildstorm properties to get an ongoing series as part of the New 52 launches that immediately followed Flashpoint. Grifter was written by Nathan Edmondson and illustrated by CAFU. It restarted the character from scratch and 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.
Major Story Arcs
Wildstorm / Image 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 a variety of psionic powers. In Deathblow's case, these powers didn't show up until 20 years later. The exposure to the Gen-Factor affected most of the members' morality and mental health. After the team was exposed to the substance and 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 began to believe his superiors at I.O., specifically Miles Craven, were behind the experiments on them. After this, 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 this incident, the team (except Lynch and Cray) went into hiding, but was later persuaded by Cray to return to I.O.
When the powers of Team 7 began to weaken and wane, Craven began to take an interest in their children, Gen 13, who would have inherited their fathers' powers. Most of the team yet again went into hiding again while others remained active, deciding to stay with the I.O. After this, the team finally disbanded for good. Cole parted ways with I.O., never to return to the organization. It was during this time that he encountered a women named Zealot. They fell in love and she took it upon herself to teach a male the ways of the Coda. The Coda teachings he was given, returned his sanity and locked away his psionic powers.
Sometime later, Cole and Zealot broke up. Even though it was only another relationship to her, Cole had become grateful to her for the teachings and restoring his sanity. Still on good terms, they both were recruited by Jacob Marlow to be part of his team called the Wild C.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.
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 (Grifter II) 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 a strong amount of telekinesis and telepathy, but these powers began to burn out and by the time of Team 7: Dead Reckoning , he only had the psionic powers to give a person 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 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.
A side effect of the Gen-Factor is an accelerated healing factor, he once recovered from a broken neck and shattered legs without any scaring. The healing factor also slows his aging.
Aside from superhuman powers, he is an excellent marksman. And adept at any firearm, knife, explosive, and throwing weapon.
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.
For further information: Flashpoint
In the alternate world of Flashpoint, Grifter was 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.