Sergeant Rachel Cole served in Afghanistan as the leader of a 1st Marine Expeditionary Force FET (Female Engagement Team). She became, for her experience under fire, only the third woman to be awarded the Silver Star since World War II. Returning home, she married Doctor Daniel Alves, a trauma surgeon at a Lenox Hill Hospital. They had been married for less than two hours when Exchange's operatives, hunting Owl's people, killed her husband and all of both their friends and families.
Surviving thanks to emergency surgery, while she recuperated, her tragedy came to the attention of The Punisher - whose informant on the NYPD handled her case - who then began a campaign against The Exchange. After rehabilitation, Rachel Cole-Alves couldn't cope with the NYPD's lack of action against the criminal organisation and sought justice her own way.
After meeting Frank Castle aka The Punisher after an assault on one of The Exchange's private meetings, they parted ways respectively as fellow Marines after collecting intelligence, but as they both continued to pursue The Exchange independently, mutual respect would draw them together as a force to be reckoned with!
Rachel Alves was created by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto during the first issue of their Punisher series as the catalyst for Frank Castle's war against The Exchange. However she quickly became a strong female character and a contrasting parallel to The Punisher.
Lying in her hospital bed and contemplating a dark future after the loss of everything she lived for, Rachel Cole-Alves was visited by Daily Bugle reporter Norah Winters, who had her own run in with a gravely injured Punisher after he had killed New Vulture - sent by the Exchange to assassinate him. Norah befriended Rachel and their friendship went on through Rachel's rehabilitation.
But unable to let the death of everyone she loved go unpunished, Rachel exploited her friendship with Norah to gather intel on The Exchange, preparing to launch her own war campaign. Rachel then travelled to New Jersey to assault a meeting of Exchange directors, only to find The Punisher doing the same and after gathering intel, they went their own ways.
Later on, when a stealth assault on an Exchange office was met with unexpected opposition, Frank saved Rachel's life and in return, Rachel saved his. Consequently, much impressed by her determination, strength and marksmanship, Frank employed her into his own campaign and they vowed to
The two then appeared immediately in Omega Effect as a Punisher duo, allying themselves with Daredevil and Spider-Man in the hopes of getting their hands on the Omega Drive; a disk that held intelligence on all the world's most powerful and dangerous criminal organisations, so powerful and threatening that it could start a world war. Forced into working to help Daredevil and Spider-Man to prevent that a war breaking out on the streets of New York, Rachel betrayed them all to steal the Omega Drive but was foiled by Daredevil before the disk could spell her demise.
In the end of the series, Rachel assaulted the Exchange HQ with Punisher and took out some of their most important operatives but Frank's police informant Walter Bolt was killed, taking responsibility, Rachel became deeply affected and twisted by the death of an innocent and the volume of slaughter she has caused by siding with Punisher. When faced with Detective Ozzy Clemons and Norah Winters, Rachel dares to pull the trigger on Clemons. But Punisher, knowing that she has crossed the line already, has removed the firing pin from the weapon he has supplied her with. Breaking down and surrendering, Rachel is arrested and sent to prison.
In Punisher: War Zone, Frank is struggling with his conscience over how far he has pushed Rachel before betraying her. Pursued by none other than the Avengers, he attempts to break Rachel out of prison!