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When zoologist Ralph Harding discovered the Belt of Varigon, which granted him the powers that made him the heroic Jaguar, he initially thought the mystic totem was unique. But in time he learned it was just one piece to a set of armor, one of a number of Jaguar Artifacts, each representing a unique power... a living force allowing the wearer to channel the abilities of what some ancient civilizations dubbed as "gods". Of these he also recovered the Helmet of Al Apaec. He kept his work searching for mystic artifacts a secret, known to most as only Dr. Ralph Hardy, zoologist. It was in that role that he came to know young Ivette "Ivy" Velez.

Ivette had a hard childhood, with both her parents dying while she was still an infant. Growing up in an orphanage, Ivette became extremely shy and timid, but also gained a great love for zoology. After earning a job at the zoo in the city of Red Circle, she formed a close bond with her supervisor, Ralph Hardy, who took her under his wing as her mentor. Despite her shy nature, Ivette longed to make new friends, and accompanied Hardy to a reunion of his old friends - actually his old superhero friends. When the Brain Emperor attacked the reunion of the original Mighty Crusaders, Ralph was apparently killed, but Ivette was saved by her mentor's old teammate The Shield, as were the five other teenagers that had been at the party. From this old hero Ivette learned the truth about her mentor, and learned that Ralph had left the Helmet of Al Apaec to her in his will, entrusting the Jaguar legacy to her.

Upon donning the helmet, however, Ivette's consciousness was mystically projected into the realm ruled by the fearsome, bloodthirsty, and powerful Jaguar-god Al Alpaec. As the embodiment of battle and carnage, Al Alpaec had nothing but contempt for Hardy, the god Varigon, and most of all Ivette, who he terrified into fleeing his domain, screaming insults at her so loud his entire firey world shook. Inspired by watching her new friends overcome their own fears, however, Ivette confronted Al Apaec once more, standing up to his taunts and promising the god that if he empowered her he would have the "glorious battles" he craved. Seeing that she might have some use to him, Al Apaec bestowed Ivette with his power. Ivette became the new Jaguar, and joined the New Crusaders.

Al Apaec's power did not come without a price, however, and Ivette soon realized that he had not just lent her his power, he had filled the normally-meek girl with his dangerous thirst for battle and carnage as well.

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