Wendell Elvis Vaughn was an unassuming young man born in Fon du Lac, but raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He had served his country in the army with distinction, and had applied at SHIELD with the intent to be a field agent. However, despite his high marks in all his classes it was the committee’s opinion that Vaughn lacked a certain ‘killer instinct’ that they felt was required in all their field agents. Feeling that he would likely be relegated to desk work Wendell went home and quietly awaited word of his first assignment. Word came weeks later in the form of a letter offering him an assignment working security for Stark International on his father’s project. Wendell assumed that his dad, Dr. Gilbert Vaughn pulled some strings.
Agent Vaughn reported for work and was assigned a post at the main door to the lab. He watched as test pilot William Wesley (a possible allusion to Hal Jordan) was shown a pair of bracelets apparently made of a highly durable metal unknown to modern science and immune to the energy output of the most powerful lasers on earth. Wesley was asked to put on what was dubbed the Power-Bands; as he did so there was a strange energy emission. Wesley reported that he had seen alien landscapes and attributed the vision to his eating habits. Dr. Gilbert Vaughn ordered Wesley to field test the seeming alien bracelets. Over the course of several hours Wendell stood in awe as Wesley was able to channel energy through the power-bands, forming shapes made out of energy, using the power of the bands to counter-act gravity itself. Finally, an exhausted, yet, glowing Wesley was given the okay to take off the bands. He placed his wrists in the restraining clamps, but to his shock, the bands refused to come off. Wesley panicked exploded in a burst of energy before everyone’s very eyes. All that remained was the pair of power-bands on the floor where Wesley had been standing.
As everyone slowly recovered from the shock, the bands were re-collected into the restraining clamps, but it was in this moment of shock that A.I.M attacked. One of the scientists was a traitor and had signaled the terrorist cell that it was the time to strike and acquire the alien power-bracelets. Over fifty AIM robots led by an attack ship began to tear into the SHIELD agents. Wendell’s first thought was to protect his father. They both ducked down behind the console that held the bands in clamps and Dr. Vaughn informed his son that the bands were more important than the their lives, but was horrified as he watched his son put the bands on his own wrists to protect them.
The same energy emission that had afflicted William Wesley minutes earlier now affected Wendell Vaughn. Wendell saw an atmospheric dome covered city; and felt an ancient alien intelligence. He blinked away the vision and over the course of the next few minutes, he single-handedly defeated the AIM attack force, punctuating their defeat by cutting the AIM attack ship clean in half. By this time however, he was glowing as wildly as Wesley was before he died. In order to protect the scientists, his fellow agents, and his father, Wendell flew as high as he could to minimize the damage caused by his explosion. He calmed down and went with the flow of the energy currents and was astonished when the energy build-up dissipated. His lack of ‘killer instinct’ actually saved him. He had accidentally clued in on how to work the power-bands!
Nick Fury arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and after getting briefed on what happened, he offered Wendell a new job. He became a founding member of the SHIELD Super-Agents.